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Jonny Whisenant
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Worldviews
Rev. Jonny L. Whisenant 
Tuesday, December 05 2023

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

Question: Why are we really afraid of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence)?

Answer: Is it because that down deep we know it has no Soul and that we may get in over our heads?

For years, or at least since Mary Shelley wrote her novel “Frankenstein” in 1818, a continuing theme expressed in books and movies has been our fear that our “creations” (mechanical and otherwise) might just get out of hand, rival us, and then possibly enslave us, or seek to do away with us. Consider a small portion of the better-known train of popular books, movies, or shows that feature this fear as a central theme in their stories: Terminator (Skynet), The Matrix, Battle Star Galactica (the Cylons), Star Trek (the Borg) and other installments from the various Star Trek series, “Star Trek The Motion Picture” with V’Ger, “The Wrath of Kahn” with Kahn and the genetically engineered “Augments”, “I Robot”, and the list continues. And this does not even include the list of “non sentient” things we could create that might end humanity, the Atom Bomb, “global warming”, runaway diseases “I Am Legend”, “World War Z”, “The Walking Dead”.

This reflects what I believe is a general cultural uneasiness or suspicion of the possibilities of what our “creativity” might produce, and an understanding that it might just have dire consequences.

But why this underlying suspicion and fear repeatedly expressed in our popular cultural commentary and errr…” entertainment”? Perhaps it is because we know deep down that we are only “secondary” creators, that we don’t really have control over the whole process, and that we are flawed with sin. Are we deep down fearful that our flawed and sinful natures could easily be unleashed through our creations upon ourselves and on the world as Mr. Hyde was upon Dr. Jekyll in Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”?  

As Christians we believe that God our Father allows us to participate with Him in creative activity on earth as a Father teaches and allows his children learn and imitate his own work and workmanship as they mature. In the realm of Providence this is called “secondary causes” and we participate in that realm as “secondary creators”. Our Father uses the participation of our work and involvement to accomplish His will just like he did with Adam when he creatively named the animals in the garden of Eden. And also, with Abraham in the fulfillment of the Promises He has made us through His Covenant. “For I have chosen him, so that “he may command his children and his household” after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may “bring upon” Abraham what He has spoken about him.” So, He does use our works and faithfulness in the accomplishment of His Will.

But they are no substitute for Him, the “First Cause”.

The Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 5:2,3 Has a good explanation of the relationship between God our Father being the first cause in Providence and His use of second causes and the creativity that we are invited and allowed to participate in.

2."God is the first cause, and in relationship to him everything happens unchangeably and infallibly. However, by this same providence, he orders things to happen from secondary causes (physics, chemistry, mechanics, etc.). As a result of these secondary causes, some things must inevitably happen; others may or may not happen depending on the voluntary intentions of the agents involved; and some things do not have to happen but may, depending on other conditions.

3. God uses ordinary means (physics, chemistry, mechanics, etc.) to work out his providence day by day. But, as he pleases, he may work without, beyond, or contrary to these means."

So how are these getting confused?

Our culture coming out of the “Enlightenment” has been often “enlightened” with false lights. Matt.6:23b:” If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” Enlightenment philosophers generally made “graven images out of God’s “secondary causes”, such as man’s reason, and the worldly mechanisms of physics, chemistry, etc.., fueling the birth and amoral progress of the Industrial revolution. “The main ideas that dominated Enlightenment thinking included: Deism – the belief in the existence of a creator who does not intervene in the universe.” “Central to Enlightenment thought were the use and celebration of reason, the power by which humans understand the universe and improve their own condition.” They substituted and assigned God’s “secondary causes” of governing the world, for the Prime or “First Cause” of all things, (Himself) eliminating a moral God, the true first cause for the amoral mechanizations of the world. Replacing the “Person”, God, and leaving only the mechanics as “god” (i.e., Darwinism) of which we then become like. As A.W. Tozer once said, “We tend by a secret law of the soul, to move toward our mental image of God”. Then we ourselves and the societies we create begin to take on the characteristics of this “soulless” non-personal god as expressed in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984. And this error has continued and metastasized into many different avenues up until today.

So, knowing that we do not create life (something that only God who has Life in and of Himself can do) He being the Primary cause of all things. Is what we really fear, is that we (as secondary creators) we might be capable of creating a soulless reproduction of ourselves without the possibility of the life giving / governing influence of our Father? For even in man, as Blaise Pascal said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” And in this soulless vacuum we create without God, what “spirit” might govern it? Because “No one is “GOOD” except God alone.” Mk.10:18. And if that is true, then what we create without His guidance will not be …“Good”, and this present infatuation with the A.I. and transhumanism merely the latest ugly self-conscious expression of an epistemology based upon men’s fallen aspirations to “play God”.

So, deep down do we suspect we may get in over our heads like “The Sorcerer's Apprentice” in the Disney Movie “Fantasia 1940” where only the “Master” can control and rescue us from our errr… “experiments” that are beyond the bounds set by our Masters training and care?

May God Bless,

Jonny

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