Creation stories often address life’s ultimate questions that have broad application and many possibilities. These are not questions about the nature of mundane things, such as a horse (although mythologically, questions into the nature of a horse might be very interesting and revealing) but are questions having to do with subjects such as where humanity came from. Are we sparks of the divine like many of the religions put forth? What is the nature of this relationship between the creator and the created? It was once so clear and apparently un-muddled.
The tree appears, temptation arises, and the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is consumed. God extends his judgment and punishment. Human existence is now under the guidance of its own free will with the choice to follow one road or another.
Now in the world, in the midst of making decisions and acting for survival, humankind manipulates, manufacturers, and creates its own world. Civilization, institutions, and technology are created in application of our intellect. These tools will help us understand the nature of the world, our life, and if we choose, the nature of God and the role that He might play in guiding the work of technology.
Philosophy can help with understanding. It’s been said that philosophy is the handmaiden of theology. The German philosopher Martin Heidegger in the 20th century had a lot to say about technology and what it really means for us as a species.
In his book The Question Concerning Technology, he refers often to ancient Greek thinking in philosophy. In the context of understanding mankind’s ability to grasp the often confounding relationship between essence and substance, he employs the Greek term “poiesis.” Poiesis essentially means “to make.”
Poiesis is a verb that signifies a process of transformation or some kind of continuation of a process. Heidegger uses it to explicate, or lay out, how human technology is a bringing forth of something that has, up until now, been concealed or hidden. The goal might be to accurately represent truth through this process of poiesis and technology.
Now, you can apply this philosophical interpretation and understanding of human technology to the paradigm of the garden and humanity’s expulsion. You can see Adam and Eve toiling in the mortal, earthly realm, constructing languages and cultures, towers of Babel, and everything else.
Technology is not, says Heidegger, a romantic longing for some past truth but an effort that might accurately reveal truth through some very authentic process. He says it is the sober readiness to be astounded before the coming of the dawn.
Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Ted Fairchild.