Thursday, January 20, 2005

Engineering = Overcoming the Effects of the Fall?

I've often pondered over the idea of how a Christian specifically brings his faith to engineering. If we are to do whatever we do to the glory of God, how does an engineer do this? We can think of some things that should be true for any vocation: honesty and integrity in everything, excellence in performance, etc. But what about engineers specifically?

(not a non-sequiter) I visited my sister's special ed class recently and talked to her students about engineering. My definition of engineering for them was: Engineers design things so people can live better lives. Ultimately that is the goal, right? Yes, efficiency and performance in our designs, but ultimately those are so people can live better lives. Isn't that a noble goal for a Christian?

A major aspect of this for me is to think of engineering as overcoming (some of) the effects of the fall. We design structures to protect us and our things from the elements, methods of communication to overcome separation, better agricultural tools for increased food production, etc. In human factors, we work to design for safety (since we can be hurt and killed) and usability (to overcome frustration and hopefully increase the ease and pleasure of work).

So perhaps that is one specific focus for Christian engineers - working with a view to overcoming the effects of the fall.

I don't even know where to start reading to see if someone else thought of this already (most likely, "nothing new under the sun" and all that).

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