The Legacy of Steve Jobs

Oct 15th, 2011 | By | Category: Featured Issues, Politics & Current Events

One of the key founders of the Apple brand and product line was Steve Jobs, who died recently as a result of his struggle with pancreatic and liver cancer.  His contribution to our technological society was truly revolutionary.  In 2011, one cannot imagine the world without the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad.  Each completely remade the technology available to each human being.  His innovations made it possible to individualize everything?music, entertainment, information access, TV, and how we communicate.  He was a technological revolutionary.  Several observations about his legacy:

  • As Andy Crouch recently observed, Jobs turned Eve?s apple, the symbol of fallen humanity [with a bite out of the apple so evident], into a religious icon for true believers in technology.  Perhaps intentionally, the Apple icon sought to reverse the fall and communicate powerfully that technology was the hope for the future.  It was our new savior!
  • Jobs championed the gospel of the secular age, an age which sees redemption and progress as an individual thing, fostered by facilitating a smorgasbord of choices that face each human.  What is important is that you choose, not what you choose.  Jobs sought to enhance the world of sovereign, personal choice?through technology.  He therefore would provide the tools to do so.  Jobs?s world and vision were not based on revelation or on dogma.  It was a free-floating individualism enhanced by superior technology.  Crouch shares that Jobs was a ?convert to Zen Buddhism [and] was convinced as anyone could be that this life is all there is.  He hoped to put ?a ding in the universe? by his own genius and vision in this life alone?and who can deny that he did??
  • Jobs?s view of progress was of course technological in its orientation.  But for him, the world will get better only through technology.  His religion of hope was rooted in technological solutions that are remarkably personal?elegantly so due to technology.  For Jobs, a meaningful life and genuine hope were only to be found in the self actualizing its meaning and purpose through technology.
  • The legacy of Steve Jobs is truly awesome.  Few have left this world with such tangible contributions to human development and technology.  Indeed, the world will continue to be marked by the ubiquitous Apple icon.  But his legacy and his life beg this question:  Is technology, at least the secular gospel Jobs represented through technology, sufficient to overcome the true need of the human race?that vacuum left in the vital center of every human by sin?  As a Christian, I can only answer that no, it is not enough.  Steve Jobs died?and the Bible helps understand why each one of us will also die.  But the true ?gospel? is the one Jesus Christ preached.  Salvation is not technological but it is cosmic in its proportions and individual in its application.  Each human has an opportunity to fill that vacuum through Jesus.  My hope is that Steve Jobs did that before he drew his last breath.  He changed the world (and mine through the Apple products I have bought).  But his technological gospel is not sufficient for the human race to provide true hope in a hopeless world.  May we see Steve Jobs and the technology he produced as a good gift from God?an example of God?s common grace to humanity.  May we not see Steve Jobs as a promoter of a gospel that solves the core problem of humanity.  Only Jesus can do that!

See Andy Crouch in the Wall Street Journal (8-9 October 2011). PRINT PDF

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5 Comments to “The Legacy of Steve Jobs”

  1. John Bradley says:

    Dr. Eckman,

    Thank you so much for being “Fair and Balanced” in your article about The Legacy of Steve Jobs. He had a truly remarkable mind and ability to product technology that has helped mankind in many ways. But, the one way it does not help is in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Technology will never get us to heaven. It can tell us about heaven, but it is Jesus who made it possible for “Sinners such as I” to go to heaven. I am so thankful that I realized early in life that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life and by placing my faith and trust in Him He has given me purpose, hope, joy and the assurance that I will go to heaven.

  2. Arlie Rauch says:

    Thanks for the well-done article on Steve Jobs. I too have appreciated his contribution in that I have used Apple products since about 1985. In the providence of God, some individuals make great contributions to mankind. But as someone wrote in another place, he accomplished much but had no gain. We would be wrong to deify Jobs. We can be grateful for his contributions. And his contributions are being used widely in the service of God. If he did not in the end trust in Christ, his life becomes a sort of tragedy. Eternal life is in Christ alone.

  3. Ann B says:

    One thing to consider is the iphone allows everyone to have the bible in their pocket at all times. I see this as the start of every tongue, every tribe, and every nation knowing about Jesus. God says he will work things for HIS good.

  4. I admire apple products years now,i feel pith i cant buy an iphone that i dearly love to have.I small African like many Steve admirers have realised that,our love to pacesetters doesnt end here on earth we need also to feel that ur save in the next world with Jesus.Now ‘the Lord has hidden the wisdom of tc world in the humble; Now with Steve we dont know but God knows his status.My Point,Our CELEREBRITIES just as humble take time listen to Your products and buy. Please do Us a favöur and listen to our free life changing product Jesus.I Loved Steve.

  5. kyle says:

    Technology promises that while human life may get worse, it will always get better. It certainly has made life easier. But has it caused us to misplace our hope? Has it merely masked the symptoms of a deeper illness?

    The gospel of Steve Jobs may give people temporary hope or distraction from the impermanence of life, but it can?t save people.

    For ?all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass has withered, and the flower has fallen off, But the word of the Lord abides forever.? And this is the word which has been announced to you as the gospel. – 1 Peter 1:24-25