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What happened next...

"So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city." Genesis 11.8

La Technique or the mechanisation of everything on the basis of rationality and efficiency is not only de-personalising but has implications for the environments of place and time, in which God's created order is supposed to blossom and flourish. Mass production and the relentless universalising of taste is conforming unique places into uniform spaces so that homes, offices and airports are increasingly similar wherever in the world one may travel. At the same time social media and digital technology are collapsing the passages of time which used to punctuate everything from the hobbies we enjoy to the rhythms of business. Where we used to gaze around in wonder at the rich variety of neighbouring cultures and communities, we now inhabit what is becoming a sanitised, standardised "global village". Has post-modernism taken a sinister turn into post-humanism?

On account of his trenchant challenge to La Technique, Jacques Ellul was accused of pessimism. In response, he insisted that he was a champion of hope and not a prophet of doom. His antidote to the dehumanising and anti-Christian tendencies he perceived was not direct opposition, which would be futile (this is a band-wagon we are not going to stop any time soon!), but through seeking and celebrating opportunities for freedom, wherever we can find them.

As an adequate response to the threat to human dignity and the rejection of God's sovereignty we are confronting, this falls short. Looking for what must surely become ever more scarce room for manoeuvre smacks of a "God the the gaps" theology which, in turn, amounts to as much of a surrender as allowing Vladimir Putin to walk out of Ukraine with all of his demands for Crimea, the Dombas and neutralisation. On a previous occasion when humankind united in defiance of our Creator, God intervened and sent everyone packing to get on with his mandate to "fill the world", sowing abundant varieties of language and culture as his preferred antidote. History repeats itself but never in exactly the same way. So what new thing should we be looking forward to and preparing for?



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