Monday, 08 May 2017 15:28

Experiencing God's Reality

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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While we can attempt, in our humanity, to choose our own reality, the only reality that actually counts is the one determined for us by God. Unfortunately, we can be prone to construct “fake news,” you might say.  God wants us to experience the reality He has in store for us, applying His principles to our human condition.

Historian Yuval Harari wrote a book several years ago called, Sapiens, and his latest is entitled, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, which is, according to the founder of the Vox website, Ezra Klein, “about what comes next for humanity — and the threat our own intelligence and creative capacity poses to our future.”


Klein interviewed Harari recently, and the piece begins with a happy thought:


In 300 years, Homo sapiens will not be the dominate [sic] life form on Earth, if we exist at all.


Given the current pace of technological development, it is possible we destroy ourselves in some ecological or nuclear calamity. The more likely possibility is that we will use bioengineering and machine learning and artificial intelligence either to upgrade ourselves into a totally different kind of being or to create a totally different kind of being that will take over.


T. Becket Adams at the Washington Examiner reviewed the article, and said, “They talked about the sort of stuff thinkfluencers like to talk about, including robots, ‘the most cerebral humans,’ falling in love with robots, Artificial Intelligence and robot emotions.”  As Adams writes, “Then came the part where Harari attempted to describe Christian theology. It was not enlightening…”  He quoted from Harari:


…We have been finding meaning in virtual reality games for thousands of years. We’ve just called it religion until now.


You can think about religion simply as a virtual reality game. You invent rules that don’t really exist, but you believe these rules, and for your entire life you try to follow the rules. If you’re Christian, then if you do this, you get points. If you sin, you lose points. If by the time you finish the game when you’re dead, you gained enough points, you get up to the next level. You go to heaven.


Adams goes on:


You know, for a historian and academic, one would think Harari would have cracked at least one book explaining the basic theology of a 2017-year-old religion practiced by an estimated 2.2 billion people.


There are literally thousands of easy-to-read explainers, many of which date back to the earliest days of Christianity. The source material, which says nothing of a supposed points system, is also readily available in libraries, online and in multiple languages.


Commentator Erick Erickson was rightly critical, writing in an Instagram post, “At Vox, Yuval Harari ‘explains’ Christianity and gets every detail wrong. That’s not how Christianity works at all.”  He attached an excerpt, including the part about the “points system.”  


Let’s consider some takeaways centered around this interview story and the responses I mentioned.  First, we have to be grounded in reality, that is, Biblical truth. The Bible is, as this Washington Examiner writer says, the “source material.”  If we want to truly experience the reality of a relationship with Christ, the Word teaches us the principles. Certainly, the Scriptures do not teach that there is a “point system” - earn enough points, go to the next level in heaven.  That’s works-based salvation, and it doesn’t square with Biblical teaching.


We can also think about our own human capability.  Harari indicates that ultimately humans could destroy themselves, but will be replaced by something having to do with artificial intelligence.  AI – developed and programmed by humans!  Humans are the pinnacle of God’s creation - we were deemed “very good” on the sixth day of creation; we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as we read in the Psalms.  We do have incredible capability in our humanity, and with God’s supernatural ability flowing through us, we can experience His doing beyond all we ask or think, as Ephesians says.


But, humanity has a problem – each of us was born in sin into a fallen world.  In our humanity, we can become conditioned to try to determine our own reality.  Satan did this when he deceived himself into thinking he could be like God.  He now tries to mislead us by planting lies into our minds and causing us to buy in to incorrect thinking.  If we are not careful, we can make decisions based on his falsehoods, rather than the truth of the Scriptures.  That is why we are instructed to take every thought captive - those strongholds present a danger to us; we can be caught up in the destructive patterns in which Satan would want to entrap us.  God enables us to break free from desperate non-reality into the glorious reality of His presence.



Last modified on Monday, 08 May 2017 15:31
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