AI marks perhaps the clearest passage to the end-times. | [PHOTO: UNSPLASH/ANDYKELLY]
Your most valuable possession, by a long shot, is your soul. The “real you” includes your thoughts, emotions, decision-making ability, desires, and goals for the future.
The most astonishing aspect of your soul is that the real you is going to exist forever. God designed you this way, and the Lord would love to have you spend eternity with Him. “God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Some people these days get far more excited about artificial intelligence than about the incomparable intelligence of our Creator. “Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks.”
The late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said, “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race…it would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans…couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Really? The end of the human race?
In actuality, there is nothing man can do to change the reality of his immortality. Your soul will spend eternity in one of two places. There is no third option.
The Holy Spirit inspired the prophet Daniel to pen this universal certainty: “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13,14).
Artificial intelligence pales in comparison to God’s creation of the human soul. AI is just that…artificial. Your soul, on the other hand, is genuine. You are one of a kind, and there is nothing about your free will that is artificial. You get to choose where to live, who to love, and how to spend your time and energy. You are not a machine or a robot, but a living human being.
Your soul is capable of exhibiting genuine kindness toward others. A machine cannot perform this function. A heart and soul are needed in order to pull it off.
The late mathematician and computer scientist Claude Shannon said, “I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans, and I’m rooting for the machines.”
No matter how badly someone may want machines to replace man, God will never insert a soul into a machine. Robots do not enter Heaven and Hell. These two extreme destinations will be inhabited forever by human beings and angels.
Alan Perlis made this curious comment about AI: “A year spent in artificial intelligence is enough to make one believe in God.” Perhaps, but a person must first be open-minded regarding the reality of God. Intelligence alone will not get you there. It requires humility.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). “See, I am against you, O arrogant one, declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty, for your day has come, the time for you to be punished. The arrogant one will stumble and fall and no one will help her up” (Jeremiah 50:31-32).
Pride prevents people from seeing what is truly important in life. Sadly, some people choose to sell their immortal soul for material things. Are you one of them? Jesus said, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
No one in Heaven or Hell today is thinking about AI. Instead, they are consumed with their intense circumstances, be it joy or sorrow, pain or pleasure.
Man has a deep sense that he was created to exist forever. Solomon wrote, “God has set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Solomon added: “I know there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That every man may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil – this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-14)
Machines do not find satisfaction in their work. This sense of fulfillment is reserved for man who has been created in the image of God.
God is three Persons in One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Likewise, man is three in one: body, soul, and spirit. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). In order for your spirit to come alive, you must be born again, redeemed, saved, forgiven, and justified through faith in Christ alone. (Galatians 3:10-11; Ephesians 2:8,9)
Machines, on the other hand, do not need to be born again. Machines are not sinners. Jesus did not die on the cross for robots. Christ suffered and died for the sins of human beings. And Jesus rose from the dead on the third day so that all believers will likewise rise one day and be granted a resurrection body to enjoy forever. (1 Corinthians 15:35-57)
These perfect bodies will be free from sin, pain, and death.
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:11).
Robots are incapable of enjoying pleasure, either in this world or in the world to come. Your soul is by far your most valuable asset, which explains why artificial intelligence pales in comparison. And since eternity is a long time to be wrong, you definitely want to get this one right.
You could speak this sincere prayer to your Creator today from your heart: “Wash me, Jesus, with your precious blood.”
And then fill your mind daily with Scripture. It is the only way to remain in sync with God as you freely seek to please the Lord with your thoughts, words, and behavior.
Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska.