So God created humankind in his own image;Gen 1:27
in the image of God he created him:
male and female he created them.
Man has been created by God in His image. God took 6 days to create an environment and everything necessary for man to survive and thrive. We are not going to talk about how literal those 6 days are to be taken. It is a wonderful picture, a great story, portraying the creation of the world by God so each and every generation can understand. Independent of its scientific achievements.
In his image means that we carry the fingerprint of God in all areas. This includes especially his creativity. We take what God created and assemble new things. We started with primitive tools, fire, the wheel, and advanced to forms of government, computers the size of our palms, airplanes and rockets.
We even managed for many centuries now to mould our own forms of animals and plants, through breeding first, and lately through genetic technology. The later allowed us to engineer our own life forms, bacteria that own a full, synthetically designed DNA and are capable to reproduce. Granted, we need amino acids, yeast, and bacteria cells without kernel in the process—we depend on God’s creation and building plans. But it truly is an artificially designed and engineered biological life form, extending the known animal kingdom.
The sixth Day
God’s masterpiece is a creation after his own image. A being he can have relationship with sort of eye to eye. In my last instalment, I referred back to the story in the garden. The devil lured Eve into eating from the fruit by telling her that they would be like God. I said that being like God is not what we should aim for, as it means to be separate from God, a rip-off, a bad copy.
But still, a maybe literal six thousand years later, we desire the same thing. We want to be like God.
And again, six thousand years is a wonderful story, whether it is literal or not does not matter. God tells David that a day with God is like a thousand years with man. The biblical story tells us that within a comparable time frame man will come to the same point as God: to create life after ones own image.
It took God six days, it took us the thousand fold. One day is as a thousand years.
We are at the brink of creating after our own kind. We call it artificial life and artificial intelligence.
Robotic and Virtual Life Forms
Did you ever ask yourself why robots often look like us? It is our deepest desire to be like God, and how could we express this better than by making life in our image literally.
Not that this is a necessary feature. God gave us many godly traits, and yes, he modelled our body after the body of his son. His son was crucified before the foundation of the earth in an earthly human body. To understand this, you need to understand the concept of God being outside of time. Jesus modelled humanity before its existence.
But our earthly body is not our real existence. We will be transformed.
Thus, artificial life forms can be modelled after our own body, but it is not necessary. They can look like insects, machines, and even be without body all together. Virtual life forms, bits and bytes. Information technology. Digital assistants.
Is it worth it?
I think that artificial life and artificial intelligence are interesting adventures. More than that, they are a great display of our God given creativity. And I am not even sure whether it is wrong to strive for it.
All I know is that our premisses are off:
It is not our destination to be like God. We are to be one with God and therefore, in a very real sense, be God. We call it God’s sons. The bride of the Son. One being, he the head and we the body. In him just as he is in the father. One.
From this perspective, we are to be creative. It is our duty, part of our make-up. Just not without him. We do not have to prove that we are capable, we just are because we are his sons. Do sons have to prove themselves to their parents? Not in a healthy family.
In His Image
All this shows me to what degree we are fashioned after his image. It tells me how deeply engrained our destiny, our character, our heritage is into our being. We are pursuing our goal even without God. Like little children we cry: I can do it. I want to do it myself.
How much more will we be able to achieve with him?
Accepting that he created us for relationship with him, we grow above our limitations. Accepting that we are not sinners saved by grace, worms worth nothing without him, but a beautiful creation, capable and brilliant, we allow ourselves to reach into the plan of God. Accepting both, we are on the way to the destiny the greatness God has designed for us. And he so wishes for us to achieve it.
Thus we pursue relationship with him and creative expression. We grow into what he told us we are: both sons and coworkers with God. As a son, I am working together with and not for God.
Let’s use all of our creativity and capabilities to design all the tools necessary to solve our big problems so we fulfil the first assignment to mankind: be stewards of this world.
At the same time, let us use all of our creativity and capabilities to pursue the father. We are built for relationship.