Oct 26, 2011

Starting Knowledge for Technology

Creating and using technology requires knowledge. I assume that's pretty clear; an engineer needs to know quite a bit to be able to design an effective car engine or a safe bridge. And in engineering (and other technical fields), one subject builds on another so you go from foundational knowledge (algebra, chemistry, physics, technical writing, etc.) to more advanced, specialized knowledge for your field. But where do we start? What is the ultimate foundation of knowledge?

Proverbs 1:7 tells us that "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge." What does that have to do with getting through arithmetic, algebra, and calculus? After all, non-Christians learn those things all the time and can design perfectly fine technology. I suppose we could limit "knowledge" to spiritual matters, such that fear of God is the foundation of all spiritually-related knowledge. However, Matthew Henry in commenting on this verse says "an eye to God must both direct and quicken all our pursuits of knowledge."

Fear of God is the foundation for rightly doing technology in that it sets our goals and boundaries. In the examples above, I said an "effective" car engine and a "safe" bridge. Those values (effective and safe) are rooted in a moral/ethical system we learn through the fear of God and thus a desire to keep His commands. Do not murder (i.e., protection of life) is one commandment, and our negligent design of a bridge can lead to injury and death. Multiplying and subduing the earth can include making effective means for transportation, thus making an "effective" car engine.

That's my take on this verse and the first of my walk through Proverbs thinking about technology. I welcome conversation over this in the comments.

No comments:

Post a Comment