“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?”
ONE OF THE MOST DISCUSSED topics in today’s world of technology is Artificial Intelligence, often referred to simply by its initials “AI.” Briefly stated, Artificial Intelligence is defined as the ability of machines to perform tasks that are typically associated with human thinking and intellect. Whether we realize it or not, most of us are users of AI in some limited way. When we search the Internet, watch a YouTube video, shop on Amazon, use voice recognition tools such as Siri and Alexa, or operate a self-driving car, we are often influenced, unknowingly perhaps, by Artificial Intelligence.
Such uses, as well as others, can prove to be of assistance to people in today’s technology-driven world. However, there are limitations to the value and validity of Artificial Intelligence applications. These limitations stem primarily from the fact that, ultimately, humans are responsible for the decisions made by AI systems. Are these decisions fair, ethical, transparent, and accountable? Humans must take responsibility for any “unintended consequences” from AI systems’ failures. In many cases, such shortcomings of an AI application may require only minor adjustments. However, in a worst-case scenario, an AI failure could potentially be catastrophic for an individual or for the masses.
At a more detailed level, the limitations of Artificial Intelligence can best be identified in three ways. First, an AI system, developed and “trained” by humans, is only as good as the initial data it is given to act as its training. AI decisions and actions can be biased or flawed if the data they are provided by their human trainers is likewise biased or flawed. Second, AI lacks emotional intelligence since it cannot factor human emotions, sentiments and mindsets into its decision-making. Third, although organizations are increasingly aware of the need of adopting AI innovation in order to stay up to date with technology, they often fail to approach it from a strategic, business-model, point of view.
The bottom line regarding Artificial Intelligence is that, given the limited and often faulty nature of human reasoning in this present sinful world, faith in the benefits of AI comes with a host of restrictions and cautions. On the other hand, faith in the Almighty God of the Bible, the Creator of the universe, should be unwavering and limitless. God’s supreme intelligence, as well as his perfect character in the use of that intelligence, are not only far above that of any AI application, but also far superior to any human mind which has designed these systems.
THERE IS A GOD
Many people believe that there is a God, although the vast majority of these entertain no definite ideas concerning him and what his designs for his human creation might be. No matter what form it might take, however, in man’s heart and mind there usually lingers the desire to worship a higher power.
An intelligent first cause, as opposed to mere chance, is the only reasonable basis behind all creation. The fact of the existence of a God with supreme intelligence is seen in the infinite design of this great universe, including our solar system and man’s home, planet Earth. It is seen also in organic and inorganic matter, and in the relationship of the two. It is seen in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and in the food we eat. Man was not created for the air, nor for the food. These, rather, were designed and prepared for man long before he was created. What a loving and intelligent design this was on the part of an all-wise God and Creator!
The God whom we worship, the God of the Bible, is presented to us everywhere, and on every page of his Word, as a personal God. He has a personality. The Bible reveals that our Heavenly Father thinks, feels, and wills. The fact that he thinks shows that he has an intellect. The fact that he feels proves that he has sensibilities; and the fact that he wills means that he has character and acts consistently therewith.
Concerning God’s intellect, the Scriptures declare, “The Lord God of gods, he knoweth.” (Josh. 22:22; Ps. 44:21; Acts 15:18) God, whom we worship, also has sensibilities. He has pity. He loves. (Ps. 103:13) In addition, he exercises his will. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.”—Luke 11:2
God works, but always according to “the counsel of his own will.” (Eph. 1:11) He has never found it necessary to consult any of his creatures as to what he should do, or how. This is a fact we might well consider, for we are sometimes prone, in our prayers, to advise God what he ought to do. It is fortunate for all his creatures that he does not take their counsel into consideration.
The Scriptures reveal that originally God alone possessed immortality, which is one of the qualities of a divine being, and when Jesus was raised from the dead the divine nature was bestowed upon him. (I Tim. 1:17; 6:16; Phil. 2:9-11) A good definition of immortality is the one given by Jesus when he said, “As the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.”—John 5:26
Eternity has to do with existence. God is said to be the first: “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isa. 44:6) The psalmist testified, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Ps. 90:2) The Creator will continue to remain the Supreme Being in all his great universe. He has said, “My glory will I not give to another.”—Isa. 42:8
THE SELF-SUFFICIENT ONE
Artificial Intelligence is not self-sufficient. It needs thousands, perhaps millions, of pieces of information and algorithms fed into it by its human creators before it can perform any task worthy of mention. The God revealed to us in the Bible, in his very nature is self-sufficient and fully intuitive. He needs no outside assistance or guidance to add to his own personal intelligence. (Acts 17:24,25) He not only does not need any outside help, but he continually bestows his gifts upon his creation. He is the giver of every good and perfect gift.—James 1:17
God is omnipotent. This means he has all power, authority and control. Nevertheless he reveals to us that he has placed certain limits upon his omnipotence. We are told in Hebrews 6:18 that God cannot lie, and in II Timothy 2:13 that he cannot deny himself. In James 1:13 we are informed that God is not tempted by evil. He is a holy and righteous God, and he will not use his power in any way which will violate his other attributes of justice, wisdom and love.
The God of the Bible is the great and supreme architect of all that exists now or that ever will exist in the future, “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done.” (Isa. 46:10) He planned it all according to “the counsel of his own will.” (Eph. 1:11) In all that eternity of the past, when he was alone, he might well have been formulating plans and purposes which will require the eternity of the future to accomplish. Our finite minds stagger as we try, even in a small way, to comprehend the God of eternity and his eternal works. We and all the hosts of heaven are but as little children playing with minute grains of sand on the shores of the ocean of eternity, where before our startled imagination spread the boundless purposes of our God, which are fathomless and immeasurable.
GOD IS OMNISCIENT
Omniscience is defined as the knowledge of all things, and God possesses such knowledge. He perceives all things; he remembers all things. We are glad, however, that associated with the memory of all things he has given us the assurance that there are some things he elects to forget. This, too, is a quality of omniscience. For example, concerning Israel under the New Covenant which he has promised to make with them, God’s promise is that their “sin” and “iniquity” he will remember “no more,” because Christ’s blood has become the basis for the forgiveness of sins.—Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:12; 9:12-28
We are told that all things are naked and revealed before God. (Heb. 4:13) In his perceptive and intuitive powers he has an aptitude for calculation, order, color, weight, size, form, detail, time, place, harmony, construction, beauty, and sublimity. All that he has ever contemplated and thought upon, and all that he will yet envision in the ages of the future, God has the ability to remember to all eternity!
Think of the infinite mind that was able to design everything which exists in his great universe—in the spirit world and in the material world. All are the products of his wisdom and his power, and all are designed in keeping with his justice and his love. God asked his servant Job, “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof?”—Job 38:4-6
God also has the quality of omnipresence. It is not necessary for him to literally travel, even if instantly, from one part of the universe to another in order to witness what is happening. Rather, he is able to “see” and “hear” everything, everywhere in his vast domain at all times. (Jer. 23:23,24; Ps. 139:2-12) From this standpoint we are always in the presence of God. How faith-strengthening that should be!
The Ferrar Fenton Bible translates Isaiah 43:13, “I existed before time itself.” There was no need for the measurement of time, at least from our limited human conception, when God was alone. However, with the beginning of creation, a unit of value with respect to duration became essential, and God is an exact timekeeper. He is carrying out his plans according to a definite schedule. We are not fully able to understand every aspect of that schedule, for he has not revealed it to us in every detail. When God’s time clock strikes, however, he moves, regardless of who may stand still, or who work in opposition.
In Proverbs 8:22, the New Living Translation quotes God’s only begotten Son—Jesus in his pre-human existence—speak of the time when he and the Creator were alone together, saying, “The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.” How wonderful to think that when the great Architect and his Son began to execute the work of creation, they first pushed back the walls of nothingness and created space! Then, out of God’s infinite wisdom and great power, he and his faithful Son began to fill the void of space with the constellations of the heavens—galaxies, stars, planets—throughout the entire universe.
GOD’S PLAN REVEALS HIS GLORY
The psalmist wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.” (Ps. 19:1,2) Then in the seventh verse David added, “The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Thus, while we are able to comprehend something of the glory of the Creator by noting the grandeur of his creative works, it is when we go to his Word and consider the “testimony” of his bountiful designs toward his human creation that we acquire our most intimate knowledge of his glorious character.
God created man in his own image, perfect, and fully able to measure up to the just requirements of his law. (Gen. 1:26) It was eminently proper that the Creator should exact absolute obedience on the part of his intelligent creatures. Since they disobeyed their Creator’s law, it was proper and equitable that they be condemned to death, seeing as he had clearly forewarned Adam concerning the penalty for disobedience.—Gen. 2:16,17
The Creator does not cease here, however, with the revelation of his glorious character. Through his divine purpose for human recovery from sin and death his love is displayed: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus came to redeem man from death, and offered himself as a “ransom [Greek: corresponding price] for all.” (I Tim. 2:5,6) To do this, Jesus poured out his own soul unto death, giving his perfect human life for the forfeited perfect life of Adam, who had disobeyed. (Isa. 53:12; Mark 10:45) “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,” that is, all will be given the opportunity to gain everlasting life in Christ’s kingdom.—I Cor. 15:21,22
Beyond this, the full blaze of God’s glory is finally demonstrated through utilizing his power in the resurrection of the dead. The outstanding demonstration of this has already been given, although as yet recognized and fully believed only by a few. This was the resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ, from the dead. The true followers of Jesus, those who have absolute confidence in the Word of the Lord and its testimony concerning the resurrection, have seen this marvelous manifestation of God’s glory.—I Cor. 15:3,4,20-22; Acts 2:32; 17:31
The Apostle Paul wrote that “Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father,” meaning that this unprecedented use of divine power displayed the glory of God, even as all the works of creation “declare” his glory. (Rom. 6:4) The glory of God is likewise displayed in the “first resurrection” of the church of Christ. (Rev. 20:6) Ultimately, all mankind will recognize this evidence of the Creator’s glory.—John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15
Coming even closer to the hearts of the human race, as evidence of the glory of God, will be the resurrection of all mankind from the sleep of death. Jesus stated to Martha while preparing to awaken her brother Lazarus from death, “Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”—John 11:40
Habakkuk 2:14, a wonderful prophecy depicting the results of the reign of Christ in the earth, reads, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” The Scriptures clearly reveal that one of the principal objectives of Christ’s reign is the restoration of the dead to life, and it may well be that the accomplishment of this by divine power will be one of the mighty works of that kingdom which will contribute to filling the earth with God’s glory.
In summary, God’s mind and intelligence are infinitely superior to that of any human being, to say nothing of any human created form of Artificial Intelligence. Thus, we do well to look to him for guidance and direction in all of life’s affairs. We note this powerful Scripture: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”—Isa. 55:8,9
Thanks be to God that there neither has been, nor ever will be, any “unintended consequences” from the results of divine intelligence. It is based upon the Creator’s four supreme and unwavering character attributes: his foundation of justice, his infinite wisdom, his boundless love, and his almighty power. Indeed, “Faith can firmly trust him, come what may!”