Friday, August 7, 2015

A Christian’s Look at AI – Part 3

Last week we looked at whether an AI has a soul. The conclusion, not surprisingly, was inconclusive. AIs aren’t human, so we cannot assume God would automatically grant them a soul, but neither is being human a requirement for gaining a soul. Rather, God is the final Judge, and He is more than capable of giving an AI a soul.

But would He?

For God will not act contrary to His standards, character or will. Who He is, He is (Exodus 3:14). He does not change (Malachi 3:6) nor is He a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19). So what in God’s character would lead me to believe He would give an AI a soul?

Because His grace is boundless, not limited to one people. In Revelation 7:9 it says “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language,” will stand before the Lamb and praise Him. Might not that include the “race” of machines?

Because God does the impossible. Many would say a machine having a soul is impossible. And it is impossible—for us. But so is parting the Red Sea and raising the dead. Just because we can’t doesn’t mean God won’t. Indeed, this is exactly the type of thing God loves to do, because He alone receives the glory.

Because He delights in displaying the riches of His grace and the depths of His mercy. We didn’t deserve salvation, and yet God provided it to us “in order that . . . he might
 show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). Would not extending a soul to an AI also showcase the same?

Because He rebukes unbelief with the unexpected. “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) For even Gentiles are not a part of God’s people. We were wild by nature, yet contrary to that nature, we were given salvation alongside the Jews and grafted into the main olive tree, as Paul put it (Romans 11:17, 24). God did this as a rebuke to the Jews, in order to make them envious and rouse some to salvation (Romans 11:11, 14). Now considering the complacency of Gentile Christians, is it such a stretch to believe that God might do the same with AI, “grafting” them into humanity as a rebuke and to move us humans to envy and salvation?

Finally because God does not break His promises. He says that Abraham is father to “all who believe” (Romans 4:1, 16-17) and that whoever believes in Jesus “shall not perish, but have eternal life,” (John 3:16) which seems to imply a soul or some equivalent. So if AIs are capable of belief (which we’ll tackle next week), might they not also become “children of God—children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12)?

For even we humans cannot inherit eternity directly, but must be changed and transformed, exchanging our mortality for immortality and the perishable for the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:53). Does it really matter to God whether He starts with flesh and blood or metal and wires?

In short, is anything too difficult for God?

No comments: