April 14, 2010

The Upside of Knowledge Explosion

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”1

2010 1511 page31 capHESE WORDS FROM DANIEL’S PEN ARE VERY FAMILIAR TO MANY OF US—WE even sing them in worship: “Knowledge increases; men run to and fro; Jesus is coming again!”2

Some suggest that the increase of knowledge is a negative thing, that there’s so much information popping up that we just don’t know what to do with it all. For example, one estimate puts the number of Google searches at 31 billion per month, up from 2.7 billion in 2006. Or, the fact that today, more text messages are sent and received each day than there are people living on earth.3
It’s all too much, some people say. And, on one level, it is: the torrents of information, of knowledge, that are issuing forth are way too much for any one individual to keep up with. If one were to dwell on that for long, depression could result.
2010 1511 page31But I look at these things with a more hopeful perspective. The April 3 release of Apple Inc.’s iPad device promised to put vast quantities of information into people’s hands. Personally, I expect that the current iPhone version of Logos Research Systems’ Bible study software will also be available for the iPad. That means that a wide range of Bible tools, including The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, will be available in the palm of my hand.
What a wonderful thing it is to have access to so much Bible information, so quickly and in such a convenient package! The iPad, for example, will weigh about 1.6 pounds, or less than one third of the five-pound weight of the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible I used to tote around. I love the printed word as much as anyone, but to have an entire Bible library in such a neat setup is a blessing.
Such gratitude can extend to the Internet as well. Yes, there is plenty online that’s not edifying, and the diligent Christian will want to avoid the pitfalls that are out there. But the bad side of cyberspace shouldn’t deter us from finding the good, and taking advantage of the many research resources that are out there.
Indeed, it is my belief that you and I are living—and working—in “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) exactly because technology is able to extend our reach in so many ways. As The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary notes in analyzing Daniel 12:4: “This prophecy has also been interpreted as pointing to the stupendous advances of science and general knowledge in the last century and a half, advances that have made possible a widespread proclamation of the message of these prophecies.”4
What used to require a lonely evangelist’s long-distance travel can be accomplished via Webcams and Internet streaming. Questions and answers on a Bible correspondence course no longer have to go through the postal system, but can be transmitted in a matter of seconds. A person who wants to connect with Jesus can find an Adventist community quickly and easily.
This technological era demands a certain response from us as well. If “content is king” online, we need to make sure that Adventist content is available and accessible. We need to be “out there” offering the good news with as much gusto and ingenuity as (if not more than) anyone else.
I sincerely and deeply believe that God has indeed guided the growth of technology, its development, and, dare I say, revelation to the inventors and pioneers of the past century in order for Christians, and specifically Seventh-day Adventists, to take advantage and bring the gospel to more and more people. I am grateful for all this, and pledge to try and do my part in helping increase the world’s knowledge of Jesus and His love. 
1Dan. 12:4. From the New King James Version. Copyright ” 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2“Jesus Is Coming Again,” The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1985), No. 213.
3Source: “Did You Know,” www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY, accessed March 4, 2010.
4The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 879.
Mark A. Kellner is news editor of Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines. This article was published April 15, 2010.