The passing of Steve Jobs: one Christian perspective

Steve Jobs occupies a place in the lure of America along with Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison. He changed our world and the lives of millions. While no human being dare speculate on the condition of Mr. Jobs’ soul, there is still a lot to be said for this great man’s place among fallen humankind.

We know that human beings are essentially evil. There is a terrible inherent tendency toward selfishness and a craving for power. Some folks call this “total depravity,” but that can be misleading. If human beings were completely bad, and beyond being changed, there would have been no point to the Incarnation. The Second Person of the Trinity would not have become human in the person of Jesus Christ if it were a hopeless cause. With God’s grace and leading, and our own faith following, sinful men can be saved. This is good news, but it does not tell us much about Steve Jobs.

This takes us to the creation story.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)

Whatever it means to be created in God’s “image,” it must be a very prominent attribute. Now, many fine theologians (of which I am not one) have had much to say about this and I would not attempt to go wading into the deep end of that pool, but there are a few considerations that stand out today.

The “image” and “likeness” of God might just hae something to do with communications and creativity. The Genesis story is not a scientific study, but it tells the reader that God spoke the creation into existence. Whether this means literal words or Divine thoughts does not really matter. The two are so closely connected that we see God speaking the commands that are his desires. He eve speaks his commands to the animals (Gen 1:22). The author is telling us the power of language.

Of course, the Divine language is infinitely wise and powerful. Since we are created in the “image” and “likeness” of God, that probably can be said to include creativity and the power to communicate. Christians believe that sin, our rebellion from God’s ways, places an ugly mark on that once perfect “image.” Remember that the “image” is not the same the real thing.

It is a good inclination, in my opinion, that we remember and celebrate Steve Jobs’ wonderful contribution to our lives. Not only were his products functional, they are works of art. That is very much like the divine creativity. A few weeks ago, Stevie Wonder took a moment in one of his concerns to praise the co-founder of Apple Computer. Stevie Wonder remarked about the experience of being a totally blind owner of an iPhone. He was overflowing with praise because he, as a blind person, could do the same thing on his iPhone as everybody else. Apple Computer has a longstanding policy of remembering to include the people who are less than physically perfect. That is an uncommon and somewhat surprising corporate act of mercy.

We know nothing of the interior life of Steve Jobs, but his life’s work is held in our hands and experienced through electronic marvels enjoyed all over the world. He had what the Sisters of St. Joseph used to call a “God-given gift.” Everybody who went to Catholic school knows what I am talking about, and they were right. Here in Steve Jobs is a little hint of what the divine creative capacity looks like. If we are in awe of this man’s ability, and we should be, imagine the power of God in every aspect of the universe. Look how he has not only shared the creation and his life with us, but see how he has given mankind just a tiny sliver of the divine mind.

This line of thought requires faith, I know, but it is not blind faith. If you look, God shows himself to us all the time.

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About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

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