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Author: Ron Graham

Renewing our Anchors

Scared by Artificial Intelligence
—The Biblical View

There are three topics that scientists are talking about which have caused widespread concern, and even fear. These topics are: Climate Change, Artificial Intelligence, and a Godless Universe.

In this lesson we look, from a Biblical perspective, at the second of those,  artificial intelligence.

1 The Machine Mind

As we passed into a new millennium, we found ourselves increasingly interacting with computers. Today computer circuits drive robots of every kind, including humanoid.

Artificial intelligence can communicate in human language, interpret images, write computer code, learn by itself, and share its "knowledge" with other units.

Given the right equipment, it can manufacture all sorts of things including other AI robots.

The Growing Fear

There is concern that machines are becoming self⁠-⁠aware with a general intelligence like humans. This is called “the Singularity”.

Machines will, it is feared, become thousands of times more intelligent than we are, and millions of machines will connect to make a global hive entity that thinks like a god! Some people even fear that demons could possess the robots.

The main fear is that artificial intelligence will rule the world and likely decide to exterminate us.

What Jesus Says About Such Fear

Jesus has an answer to these fears: "Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

Although man may create robots that kill humans, we may say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Hebrews 13:6). Man [and robots] can kill the body but not the soul which is in God's hands.

We can pray to God for help and commit our souls to his keeping. Robots cannot do that. No matter how smart and powerful, they do not have what God has given man.

"So do not fear, for I am with you. Don't be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you by my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10).

2 The Human Mind

Man is a sentient and spiritual being, because man is made "in the image of God" (Genesis 1:27).

There is an assumption that the human mind is a function of the human brain and a physical organ. Therefore, if you make a machine that emulates the human brain it will be a self⁠-⁠aware being, one that can think on a par with humans.

However, thoughts do not arise in the brain, although they may be processed there.

The preacher of Ecclesiastes says, "the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7,14).

The brain is a part of our body. It returns to the dust. The spirit returns to God. Our mind and our thoughts are in our immortal spirit.

Jesus on Body and Soul

As Jesus was dying he said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" (Luke 23:46). Jesus believed that human beings have physical bodies and spiritual souls.

Jesus told one of the thieves crucified with him, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Jesus and the thief survived the death of their physical bodies and were together as departed souls.

So Jesus said, as we quoted earlier, "Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

The Thoughts of the Heart

The Bible here and there speaks of the thoughts of the heart. For example,"Let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing in your eyes, O LORD my strength and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14)

The word “heart” is used as a metaphor for the non⁠-⁠physical part of the human being. For example, "And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength" (Mark 12:30).

You Cannot Make an Artificial Spirit

An artificial intelligence is a pseudo-intelligence. Machine intelligence may emulate the human brain, but regardless of the trillions of data it accumulates, it cannot think as humans can.

God says,"Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart and be still. Offer the sacrifice of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD" (Psalm 4:4-5). No machine intelligence could ever do that.

Dangerous Creatures

However wonderful artificial intelligence may be, it has no conscience or sense of justice and being so godless it could kill and destroy without compunction.

There have always been humans who take up weapons against humans. Wars and weapons of mass destruction have been with us all our lives. But we have never had to cope with new, inimical, super⁠-⁠intelligent creatures, who make up their own minds to exterminate us by means we cannot anticipate.

3 The Mind of God

The Bible’s perspective includes the belief in a higher, indeed infinite, intelligence. This is the mind of God the Creator of all things.

David says, "How precious also are your thoughts to me O God. How great is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would be more in number than the sand" (Psalm 139:17).

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts [says the LORD]" (Isaiah 55:8-9)

There is no higher intelligence than that of God. He rules the Universe. Heaven is his throne, and Earth his footstool (Isaiah 66:1). We should fear him and not a god created by humans.

Listen to his words. With your mind, and in your heart, examine his thoughts revealed by his own Son. There is true super⁠-⁠intelligence, not artificial. Learn from him how to have eternal life. You will touch the mind of your Creator, not the non⁠-⁠mind of a creature humans created. And you won't be scared anymore.


Webservant Ron Graham

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