Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
MBTJ 3:2 (Fall 2013) p. 121
John Dyer. From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2011. 192 pp. Reviewed by Mark Zockoll.
John Dyer’s vocation, Director of Web Development for Dallas Theological Seminary, combines his dual passions of “teaching the Bible” and “computer programming” (14); it also renders him capable of writing on the philosophy of technology. Dyer challenges outright the neutrality of technology, and ultimately desires his readers to affirm that “technology changes everything” (175). By affirming such, the reader must then scrutinize their position in a technological age in which they may neither “be content merely to criticize technology” nor may they dismiss its shortcomings “and use technology as much and as often as we can . . . because at Christ’s return he will remake all things, including our problematic technology” (176). Such scrutiny leads to a course of action prescribed by Dyer which “will help us become better stewards of the technological tools God has entrusted to us” as we seek to live lives pleasing to Him (179).
Dyer reaches these goals by quickly presenting the issues generally associated with technology and then travelling back to the Garden of Eden to provide a common genesis of thought. After describing the mutual transforming power of humanity’s tools, like a simple shovel, he defines technology as “the human activity of using tools to transform God’s creation for practical purposes” (65). A major point of this early section is that the creativity evident in man’s design of these tools reflects the image of God and His creativity in man. He then notes the fallen nature of mankind, and necessarily, technology, but continues on to argue that God’s redemptive acts, as portrayed in the Ark
MBTJ 3:2 (Fall 2013) p. 122
and the cross, show God’s pleasure and interest in mankind’s creativity as well as its redemption. Next Dyer deals with the restoration of mankind by God to a perfect state. This state will be the new Jerusalem, which represents the restoration of a city, one of man’s earliest and greatest technological achievements, a reoccurring theme throughout the Bible and Dyer’s book. In conclusion Dyer presents how this information should transform the way Christians think about technology.
Dyer’s use of language appeals to a wide audience, not only by his sparse use of philosophical and theological jargon, but also by his continual reference to both those younger readers who, in general, are comfortable with the latest technology as well as their older counterparts who are wary of newer technology. To disarm either side, Dyer returns to Socrates’ distrust of what was the nov...
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