There’s no doubt that modern technology is brilliant. There’s so much that can be done now by our gadgets that would have seemed to have been magic to our predecessors. I have heard it commented a number of times that there is more computing power in a pocket calculator or digital watch these days than was in the Apollo craft that took humanity to the Moon! The problem with technology, however, is the more complex it becomes, the more there is that can go wrong, and over time lots of quirks and bugs can accumulate making what was once a fine specimen sluggish and prone to problems.
There’s a scene in The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy that encapsulates this when Arthur Dent, a human from earth, meets Marvin, an android with a brain ‘the size of a planet’ for whom life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
“Marvin trudged on down the corridor, still moaning. “…and then of course I’ve got this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left hand side…”
“No?” said Arthur grimly as he walked along beside him. “Really?”
“Oh yes,” said Marvin, “I mean I’ve asked for them to be replaced but no one ever listens.”
“I can imagine.”
Recently my home computer gave up on me. I still don’t know what the problem was, and could have simply discarded it and bought a newer model, but instead I spent hours trying to resurrect it. In the end I managed to reinstall its software bringing it back to its original state. In a similar fashion I recently installed a new operating system on my tablet computer in an attempt to clean it up and get it working better. Both cases were very stressful; what if it didn’t work and I ruined the machine forever, and both took time and effort. In the end, however, I was left with two machines that were as new again, restored to how they were in the beginning, if not better.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if humans came with a reset button, if we could reboot ourselves to get rid of all the accumulated bugs and quirks, physical and emotional that we develop and acquire over time, restoring us to an ‘as new’ state? Sadly there isn’t one and although like computers we are remarkable creations, over time we do begin to deteriorate. Paul puts it starkly in Romans, ‘the wages of sin is death…’ (Rom. 6:23); in other words the inevitable outcome of living the lives we do is decay. There is hope, however. Our designer and programmer has not abandoned us to move onto the next piece of kit. He remains ever vigilant, watching over us and is aware of our dilemma. In fact, through the sending of his Son he has offered us the chance to be rebooted, made new. ‘…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’ (2 Cor. 5:17) Let’s embrace and live out this new life that he offers with joy and enthusiasm!