On 25 November 2022, Doru Costache has given the paper “Paradise and Technology: The Next Best Thing” for Christian Living in a Techno-Scientific World, ISCAST’s thirteenth biennial Conference on Science and Christianity (COSAC) 2022. The conference took place at Ridley College, Melbourne, on 25 and 26 November. Costache was also involved in organising the conference’s first day, Insights, academic in its purpose. While he meant to attend the conference in person, sickness prevented him from travelling. This is how he ended by reading his paper remotely, given the conference’s hybrid structure. This audio recording includes the paper and the ensuing discussion.
The scriptural story of paradise and its aftermaths (Genesis 2-4) suggests that the transition from non-technological life to civilisation overlaps with the story of sinful humankind. As the nadir of this process, Genesis 11 depicts technological civilisation run amok in the story of the tower, a tale of arrogance leading to disaster. Against this backdrop, an early Christian author, Gregory the Theologian (d. ca 390), contrasted the paradisal, non-technological life and the fallen world of arts and crafts, deploring human dependence on tools and technology. In turn, the early monastic movement, especially in the eremitic tradition, viewed itself as embodying paradise and accordingly used tools in limited fashion. Recent archeological discoveries indicate a different course of history: humanity, Neanderthal and modern alike, has always depended on technology to survive; before tools, humanity was prey. Yet paradisal pockets seem to dot the map from time to time—as the lives of the saints wish to convince us. But is it only a matter of choosing either paradise or technological civilisation? Maximus the Confessor (d. 662) believed that the two can and should cross paths. It is these possibilities that I wish to discuss.
25 November 2022 © AIOCS
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