Technology Teaches: What Does Applied Science Reveal About God? About Love?

The Reasons to Believe (RTB) Voices blog publishes well-researched and dynamic articles from our Scholar Community. Though much of our content is focused on scientific discoveries, this devotional article will help you explore God’s Word in a deeper way in regard to the technological revolution we see today. We hope you leave inspired and equipped. Enjoy!

—The scholar department team at RTB

It’s common knowledge in the twenty-first century that technology powers and shapes our world. Beyond this understanding of how technology has advanced civilization, the development and use of technology teaches us things about God. That’s the focus of this article. A follow-on article will look at temptations that come with technology.

Scripture, especially Psalm 19:1–6 and Romans 1:18–20, clearly teaches that nature reveals God’s existence, glory, and divine attributes. Many other passages point toward creation as proof that God has the power necessary to care for his people. So, as natural science progressively reveals the wonders of nature, it offers more and more reasons to love and worship the Creator. In this way, natural science helps us keep the first and greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:36–37).

Based on natural science, many applied sciences provide ways to fulfill the second great commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” Matthew 22:39. Medicine, engineering, information technology, and many other fields rely on science to mitigate the curse (of living in a broken world affected by sin in every way) that followed the fall, at least in part. So, because of science, we have new ways to love one another, such as improving the living conditions of people globally.

How Technology Enables Science
On this view, it seems obvious that science comes first, and its applications follow. However, there’s more to appreciate than this linear model of progress. In our day, technology often comes first, and science follows.

Consider the tools today’s scientists use: telescopes and microscopes; particle accelerators and sophisticated instruments; computer hardware, software, and networks to store and analyze data; and many more high-tech devices. As science expands, technology is critical to its continued success by bridging ever-growing gaps between nature’s secrets and the ability of human senses to observe and human minds to comprehend.

Compared with science, enabling technologies often operate in the background—something I learned as a child. Growing up in the 1960s, I was fascinated by America’s space program. Famed broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite and other news reporters described Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions in terms of scientific achievement. Only later did I learn that it was engineering that took astronauts to the Moon and back. Science began exploring the Moon’s secrets when those missions returned. Yes, science helped NASA to plan the missions, but executing those plans was all about technology: rockets, communications, life-support, and other systems.

Beyond supporting science, technological systems and devices give us a broader view of nature, especially its hidden features and possibilities. This knowledge helps us orient our minds and hearts toward the God who created it all and toward our fellow human beings.

God’s Universe
In antiquity, the size of the heavenly sphere, as it was called, was unknown. Later, with telescopes and Isaac Newton’s physics and calculus, our comprehension of the universe grew, along with perceptions of its size. Today, with terrestrial and space-based telescopes operating across the electromagnetic spectrum, plus other advanced tools (e.g., gravity wave observatories), we explore the farthest reaches of our inconceivably large universe. It is vaster and more wonderful than our predecessors could have imagined, and so is God who created and sustains it all.

God’s Power
Likewise, modern physics and its engineering applications reveal God’s power in more detail. Since the invention of fire, the fact that energy is bound up in matter has been well known. Centuries later, scientists identified the process by which the oxidation of fuel releases that energy as heat. However, the presence of energy stored in every atom was completely unknown. Then, Einstein’s E=MC2 relationship between mass and energy revealed, at least to physicists, that energy went into creating every bit of matter in the universe. How?

In every atom heavier than hydrogen, two or more protons—in uranium atoms there are 92 protons—are crammed into a tiny nucleus. Their positive electrical charges would blow the protons apart, but what’s known as the strong nuclear force holds them together.1 Conversely, to assemble a nucleus from its component particles, work is necessary to overcome the repulsive forces and bring everything within range of the strong force. When it does, energy—what is known as binding energy—is trapped in the nuclei.2

Binding energy is present in everything physical—in the air, in your coffee cup, in you—but so far, we only know how to release that energy under special conditions. By human ingenuity, in the core of a nuclear reactor or bomb, some of the binding energy is released as small fractions of matter are annihilated. Physicists are pleased if they can split a few percent of the uranium in a power reactor or bomb.3 But the universe, immense in size and mass, was created by God out of nothing, creatio ex nihilo.

And power? Cosmology’s “big bang” occurred over a brief period, so the rate at which energy was expended in creation—the binding energy divided by time—is unspeakably vast. So, modern nuclear physics and engineering teach us, for the first time, how great is the Creator’s power!

God’s Image-Bearers
Beyond the knowledge obtained through science and technology, we can also learn about God by examining the people who do scientific work. Genesis 1:26–27 tells us human beings are made in God’s image, in his likeness. Can we know more about God by examining his image-bearers? Yes! In the words of philosopher Esther Meek, “On the Christian theological vision, all reality is either God, or God’s personal effects.”4 So even in our fallen state, we still get glimpses of God’s intelligence and creativity, and those qualities are reflected by scientists, engineers, doctors, and many others.

Consider research into quantum physics and its possibilities in communication and computation. This work highlights the human desire to understand nature, and then use that knowledge for good purposes. Quantum phenomena were first explored about a hundred years ago. Still, they remain difficult to comprehend, even mysterious. By applying intelligence and creativity as God’s image-bearers, people strive for a detailed and working knowledge of these things. Centuries after Johann Kepler sought to “think God’s thoughts after him,” we have the same aspiration. Our technological advances display our intelligence and creativity. They also teach us to love God and neighbor.

But how much more intelligent and creative is the God who conceived of the universe, its space, matter, energy, and physical laws? And beyond the existence of the created realm, God also planned to draw people to himself, even after they rebelled against him.

Praise be to God, the great and powerful Creator of this vast universe, who loved us and came to earth as a man to save us by grace!


  1. The strong force holding together atomic nuclei reminds us of the description of Christ in Colossians 1:17: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
  2. For a fascinating account of this phenomenon, its release in nuclear devices, and its practical possibilities, see John McPhee, The Curve of Binding Energy: A Journey into the Awesome and Alarming World of Theodore B. Taylor (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1974).
  3. Consider the Manhattan Project, as it is portrayed in the summer 2023 movie Oppenheimer, based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (New York: Knopf, 2005).
  4. Esther Lightcap Meek, Contact with Reality: Michael Polanyi’s Realism and Why It Matters (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017), 439.