As some of you are well aware, I have been doing quite a lot of research around Transhumanism and AI in recent years. For those who are wondering what I am talking about, AI is Artificial Intelligence (& it is very advanced in the world today) and Transhumanism is merging humans with technology, using AI systems that equal or exceed human capacities as we know them in the natural world.
Some of these advancements have been very good and have made life more efficient and productive, helped alleviate suffering, and given faculties or mobility to many who would otherwise not have those capacities, but for the technology.
So, that’s all good, but there are other agendas for this technology that are not so benign, and there is something further afoot here … Some of the elite dream of a technological advancement of humans that will lead to the evolution of the human species entirely …. and to what end, you may ask? Well, this is the big question… What does it mean to be human? When are we no longer human? Is there a God who made us and what does He have to say about our purpose on the earth?
The goal of some transhumanists is to reach immortality, and/or to intensify the pursuit of pleasure in this life by re-engineering homo sapiens. And although this might sound very attractive and exciting, can we really upgrade humans into gods? and turn Homo Sapiens into Homo Deus? Can we do this ourselves? Or has God already done this through Jesus Christ?
This yearning to be gods or the “de-godding” of the true and living God, will be a familiar theme to those acquainted with religious icons and myths. Today, more than ever, humankind is poised to replace natural selection (micro evolution) with intelligent design, and extend life from the organic realm into the inorganic “uploading” of their souls into machines/technology. The science fiction movies have relentlessly explored these themes in recent years, and have significantly raised consciousness of these possibilities for the future, not to mention what is going on in secret in the most elite circles of government and military operations in the world. But, what is a soul anyway? Are we merely biological material that only returns to the dust? or do we carry something transcendent in us?
A lot of these pursuits for godlike status are both exciting and dangerous. These yearnings seem to be wired into the very fabric of our beings, but from whose perspective do we make meaning of it all? Does your worldview include a Creator God, who made humans “in his image’? or if you don’t believe in God are you ready to trust the elite and powerful with your future? Whose values and what morality will be guiding the technology of the future? And, if God is who He says He is, and He made us “in his image”, what does that really mean, anyway? How important are we to God in this world?
It needs to be reiterated that there are fundamental differences between machine intelligence and human intelligence. So, although we have the appearance of intelligence in AI, it is not conscious! As Professor Joseph Macrae Mellichamp famously said “the artificial in artificial intelligence is real”. That means the intelligence IS “artificial”. Furthermore, no one really has any idea of what consciousness is, although many attempts to identify it have been made. So while the Creator God links consciousness with intelligence, AI separates them. So, as we drive to refashion ourselves, I wonder what God thinks about all this? And furthermore, where are the Christian voices in these discussions?
The truth is, according to the bible, that Super Intelligence already exists in God, and in His Word. In the beginning, He created the universe and all that is in it, by His creative speech/power. But our first parents grasped at autonomy from God by believing the lie of the serpent and separated themselves from dependence upon God’s good and abundant paradise. They were further “blocked” from eating from ‘The Tree of Life” which would have meant that they would have physically lived forever, but in their corrupted state. The prohibition was a compassionate one and a further solution was designed and provided for later in history.
And here we come to the incarnation. The Word was made flesh. The “second Adam”, a perfect human being, arrived on the earth, sired by God Himself, to reverse the curse of the garden, and to return man to his divine like status before God. Many ancient mythologies tell the story for mankind’s search for the “elixir of life”, the pill that will make us immortal and incorruptible, but it cannot come apart from God Himself. It is a failed mission at the outset.
But the good news is, something infinitely superior has been offered to us. There has already appeared a Homo Deus (a God man) from heaven; a man who is God in the flesh, and His name is Jesus Christ. The Word (the eternal logos of the universe) became flesh and dwelt among us. He died, was resurrected (as death had no hold on a sinless being), and ascended into Heaven with an incorruptible body. Furthermore, He invites us all to follow Him! through death into resurrection into the kingdom of His Father. Can you see that all these other ambitions to become Home Deus ourselves (without God, without the cleansing of sin and corruption in our beings) are mere parodies of what we already have been offered through Jesus Christ? … what our hearts truly long for …
We have already been offered an “upgrade” through the new creation in Christ. We can become a child of God. The Homo Deus will return from heaven and come again to take us to be where He is now. God’s design for us is not bio-engineering but an inheritance in the kingdom of God. After death we will be raised up imperishable and changed from mortal to immortal, without any trace of corruption in our being. This is incredibly good news for humankind! and it is the reason Jesus was born! (See 1 Cor 15:50-53).
The divine upgrade is NOT artificial, it is REAL. The Christian’s future is so much better than anything AI has to offer you. Let us thank God for the gift of His Son: it is the best news ever!!!
An imperishable and secure hope!
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after meis preferred before me, for He was before me.’( John 1:12-15 (NKJV)