Christmas Musings From An Unashamed Theologian – 23/12/2018

 

As some of you know, I have been doing quite a bit of research around Trans-humanism 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 Trans-humanism 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 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, 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 meaning of Christmas J. 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 mankind ! 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 this Christmas. 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 me]is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”( John 1:12-15  (NKJV)

 

 

Remember this …..

Sometimes it is the people no one images anything of

who do the things that no one can imagine …….

I love this quote from the movie “The Imitation Game” (2014) telling the story of Alan Turing, who cracked the Enigma Code from WW2.

Don’t let anyone steal or dissuade you from your vision !

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Inexorable longings …..

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A dear brother reminded me today of a longing we all share for the glory of another world, a world which once was so pristine and perfect that most of us only carry a dim reflection and a faint echo of it in our hearts.  And yet we yearn for this world of beauty and harmony because we were made for it….. We search for it because we vaguely remember that we were once more than what we are now ….

Indeed before the world began we were hid in Christ and designed for glory. Our story didn’t start with sin and death and a broken world, and thank God, it does not end with it either. It ends with glory restored…. eventually.  But presently we are in the twilight zone – there are powers of darkness that seek to obscure the light and truth of the gospel (the good news of our salvation).  But even in the dark,  we must not lose hope……more is going on than what we see with our physical eyes.  Hold fast to God  …. like glow worms in the darkest caves, Christ is still with you.  He has not forsaken you.  The Lord can cross all worlds and meet us inside our darkness… He is truly that powerful.  He is only a whisper away and has the power to conquer even death.  Trust Him. He comes according to our faith, not just to our need, and definitely not to our whining  🙂

May 2015 bring you deliverance and joy, unprecedented freedom, and a love and security that can never be stolen because it has been secured in the heavenlies by the blood of the lamb and the unbreakable covenant between God and humankind.  Seek Him …….  He can be found !

Musings on pain and new life …..

I’ve been thinking alot about how renewed life can spring forth from genuine pain (as opposed to just dull despair :)……… It seems that in our utilitarian and materialistic society, very few people appreciate that tragedy is not only unavoidable but an indispensable part of this life …. but if we know how to respond to tragedy, it can make us grow …. it can enlarge our hearts. I’ve been reading a bit of Oscar Wilde’s “De Profundis” ….. and he also bears witness to the truth that some things can only be known “de profundis”, out of the depths…. Consequently, one is able to appreciate that there is nothing terribly wrong with a broken heart per se ….at least it is alive …. the problem however begins when a heart is no longer capable of breaking, when it turns into stone ……… that is the hopeless despair one must seek to avoid.  In this world, one cannot experience the full glory of life without going through the crucible of death ……..

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The Atonement

On earth, at the crossroads of time

When silence pervaded the universe

For three fateful hours

Darkness reigned ______

And our Lord hung

On that tree

And nature and eternity met

In cataclysmic fusion _________

And Jesus was abandoned

On our behalf

No one reached out to rescue Him

Indeed no one could_________

The price was being paid

God Himself suffering

He was in Christ

Reconciling us that day _______

What indescribable love

What unfathomable humility

All to effect union with us,

His beloved,

Estranged and without hope

Now brought close_______

Selah …..

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