Thank you for this thoughtful post. I hope Jo and Vince decide to address your question in the near future! In the meantime, I hope you don’t mind if I participate in your topic.
Would your definition of technology as it relates to the Bible be anything of that period in Scripture that is innovative or practical in work, home or development (agriculture, cloth production, building construction, etc.)? Let me know if I’m off track on your meaning.
As I read the passage in Genesis 4 regarding Cain, Abel and Lamech and Genesis 11:1-9 regarding the tower of Babel, I see a different problem that God is addressing in all these situations. At the foundation of the problem would be pride.
Cain is actually cursed because he killed his brother, Abel, out of jealousy. God, in His compassion and concern, even gave Cain a “heads up” that he was at risk for sin because of his attitude about the offering. But Cain gives into his attitude after God rejected his offering, but accepted Abel’s.
The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but he did not have regard for Cain and his offering. Cain was furious, and he looked despondent.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you furious? And why do you look despondent? If you do what is right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field. And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”
Then he said, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! So now you are cursed, alienated from the ground that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood you have shed. If you work the ground, it will never again give you its yield. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth. Genesis 4:4b-12
1 John 3:11-12 tells us that Cain already had evil in his heart, and lacked love.
For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another, unlike Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
Genesis 4:1-5 does not give direct explanation of why God rejected Cain’s offering, but we can assume that since Abel knew how to make an offering that is regarded as acceptable by God, Cain had the same information as it would pertain to his part. Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel’s sacrifice was offered in faith and accepted by God. So we have to assume that Cain’s offering was not offered in faith, but perhaps in his own self righteousness.
I would venture to say that Cain decided to worship and make an offering in his own way and expected God to just accept things Cain’s way. Cain’s bitterness led to an avalanche of unfortunate events, and Cain was cursed. It is never revealed that Cain ever demonstrated any remorse. BUT even then God listens to Cain’s response to the curse.
But Cain answered the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Since you are banishing me today from the face of the earth, and I must hide from your presence and become a restless wanderer on the earth, whoever finds me will kill me.”
Then the Lord replied to him, “In that case, whoever kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” And he placed a mark on Cain so that whoever found him would not kill him. Genesis 4:13-15
Now Lamech is another situation. Yes, Lamech is a descendant of Cain, and he appears to have the same misguided attitude toward God and other people as his ancestor. He takes the promise God gave Cain that no one would murder Cain and used it as an excuse to murder other people. God did not give Cain permission to kill, but put a mark on him to prevent others from killing him.
Lamech killed others and misused God’s promise to Cain to justify his own murderous actions. Pride is again a significant problem here. The quote you referenced (Genesis 4:23-24) is his boast to his wives after killing 2 people who wounded him, rather than a real confirmation of God’s approval of Lamech’s choices.
The tower of Babel: I’m seeing that trendy pride again. We read between Genesis chapters 4-11 that the population of the earth increased, and the flood takes place wiping out all but Noah’s family who came from Seth’s line. And the earth repopulates again through Noah’s line.
The text does give detail about how they used bricks for stones and asphalt for mortar, so this would be a very early example of building material innovation. But the people state that their motive for building is:
Let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise, we will be scattered throughout the earth.
It seems their motive is pride. It doesn’t seem to be the building that concerns God, but the motive. God sees this (like He did with Cain) as a trend toward self destructive behavior that would form a huge wedge between mankind and God. So He shuts it down to protect them from themselves by confusing language and spreading population.
In the Exodus passage you mentioned, God uses the opportunity to remind the builders that the altars are to remain the rocks He produces and not become an object of human-made pride. Those natural rocks that God provided were His preference. In His holy nature, each time one looked at the altar, where sacrifice for sin is made, one would see His work on our behalf, not our own.
He has enabled the use of Spiritual gifts and innovative skills in the creation of garments and items for the Jewish Tabernacle in
Exodus 28:2-4, Exodus 31:1-10, Exodus 35:30-35
So we know God does not shun the use of creative innovation that He has bestowed on mankind.
In my observations, technology/innovation is truly a gift from God that is an outflowing of His creative nature. He gives us ability to produce things that are useful, beautiful, beneficial, healthful, delicious, etc. But we have to guard our use and our motives.
We see this valuable technology on Connect being used to share Truth and the Bible with the world! We see wonderful things to learn on video platforms, the gospel on Instagram, etc. That’s pretty epic! But we also know that social platforms can be used to harass, human traffic, view porno, and blaspheme the Lord.
But, it is our responsibility to manage our blessings God’s way, and be on alert for the things that offend His Spirit and bring Him grief.
I hope this offered some new insight into your inquiry. I am always grateful for opportunities to revel at the way the Lord works in His creation to declare His character, love, grace and nature to all of us.
Happy New Year to you!