Christian Speculative Fiction discussion

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Fun SF Question

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message 1: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 507 comments Mod
Since we have so many Science Fiction fans, I thought I would throw out a question I once debated with my father: Do you believe AIs (Artificial Intelligence Robots) will one day be able to get saved? I suppose that also assumes that they would one day become sentient, so that is also up for debate if you think God would allow that to happen.


message 2: by Stan (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
A robot would have to become more than sentient in order to attain spiritual salvation. Whether one considers the human being to be made up of body and soul/spirit or body and soul and spirit there is more to the human being than mere body with intelligence. A robotic AI would have to somehow develop a soul/spirit or soul and spirit to even be capable of attaining salvation. In the event of such a development, the question would then be whether the AI actually developed a sin nature or somehow inherited original sin. I find all these issues to be highly unlikely, though I do think some of the authors in this group could have a lot of fun with this idea. And, I look forward to other people's thoughts on this topic.


message 3: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 507 comments Mod
Stan wrote: "A robot would have to become more than sentient in order to attain spiritual salvation. Whether one considers the human being to be made up of body and soul/spirit or body and soul and spirit there..."

I wonder if sentience can happen without a spirit or soul? I have heard some say that animals don't have a spirit or soul, but I am not sure the Bible explicitly states that. There is something different about humans in that we are created in the likeness of God and that He breathed into us, but I always assumed that was for the higher purpose of ruling and reigning with Christ and caring for the world as God's ambassadors. So does an animal have the possibility of salvation? The other difference with an AI is that it would be man-made vs God made. If God doesn't allow us to create life (which is His right!), then I wonder if sentience is even possible.


message 4: by Stoney (new)

Stoney deGeyter | 134 comments I don't think sentience is what does or does not separate us from the opportunity of receiving salvation. I honestly don't think AI would amount to much more than animals. AI may be smart, but ultimately they are just following some form of programming, whether it's man's or their own.

But what if the robots realize they have no soul, therefore know they can't go to heaven. That might be the very thing that causes them to rebel: Jealously that we are God's chosen and they are not. That's a pattern we've seen before in the spiritual realm.


message 5: by Stan (last edited Jun 07, 2018 06:07AM) (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
Lara wrote: "So does an animal have the possibility of salvation?"

This is, I think, the wrong question.

I remember listening to a Larry Norman song from way back in which he states that if there is life on other planets he was sure that God would send Jesus for them too. And, while I am enjoying The Mindruler I still have the same question that I had when I first heard that Larry Norman song. Is it arrogant for us to assume that just because we fell into sin that creatures on other planets (if they exist, which I doubt) would also have fallen into sin? That's not to bash good fiction, because we're all about "speculative" here.

Anyway, back to my original thought (well, there aren't any original thoughts these days, but my first thought in this thread).

I don't think the question is whether animals have the possibility of salvation, but rather whether animals need the possibility of salvation. This goes beyond whether they have a soul/spirit, to whether original sin or any sin necessitates salvation for animals. Can an animal sin? If an animal can't sin and has no original sin, does an animal have any need for salvation? The same question could apply to robots with AIs. Of course, programming by fallen humans might change the answer to that question where robots are concerned.


message 6: by Stoney (new)

Stoney deGeyter | 134 comments My view of aliens falls in the CS Lewis Space Trilogy camp. If there is sentient beings on other planets they are likely not created in God's image and more like angelic beings (or animals) in terms of sin/free will/salvation. So, yes, I'm actually a believer that there is life on other planets but I also don't think they visit us. We'll likely never, ever see them.

In that light, I think we could assume AI would fall into the same camp. AI ultimately wouldn't have free will because they are solely reliant on their programming. Anything they "learn" is behavior learned by processing algorithms. They aren't really making decisions they are more likely just following instinct. Some of those instincts may be good, like a family pet, and some may be "bad" like predators. But neither the family pet nor the predator sins by following their instincts.


message 7: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 507 comments Mod
So, perhaps salvation from sin is not a necessary component for robots, animals, or aliens, but I do think a relationship with God still would be. Even the heavenly hosts has a choice of whether to serve God or not, and they did not participate in the human original sin. All of nature obeys God without choice, but some created beings (angels, demons, people) have a choice. I am not sure if animals have that choice or not, but C.S. Lewis does describe aliens as having that choice to honor God in his Space Trilogy. If an AI gains enough intelligence, I wonder if they would come to the need to recognize God as the creator of all by following the logical order built into nature. I kind of see a short story being born in this...


message 8: by Stan (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
Lara wrote: "If an AI gains enough intelligence, I wonder if they would come to the need to recognize God as the creator of all by following the logical order built into nature. I kind of see a short story being born in this... "

Den Warren has a book that follows that line of thought. The Lucid Series: Android Uprising.


message 9: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 507 comments Mod
Sounds like a great book!


message 10: by Stan (last edited Jun 08, 2018 09:03AM) (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
Lara wrote: "Sounds like a great book!"

It is a very interesting book. I found it to be too preachy because the AI's accept truth and then defend it against all danger. They restate the truth several times and it seemed to me that it was talking down to those who don't accept the truth as though they were mental midgets. For that reason, I did not write a review of the book. The degree to which I found it preachy, it is a "preaching to the choir" book. I doubt a non-Christian would make it 1/3rd of the way through the book before giving it up. I have spoken to the author about this. If time permits and a project develops, he has asked me to consider collaborating with him in the future. He was very open to hear my thoughts, even criticism that I hoped would be constructive. I write this to make sure everyone knows I'm not bashing him or his book.

It is a good story and well written. The author classifies it as Cyberpunk. That'a a genre I thoroughly enjoy! I felt it was more Sci-Fi than specifically Cyberpunk though.

That said, give it a read. It flows well and is well written. Enjoyable Sci-Fi, even if a bit linear.


message 11: by Lara (new)

Lara Lee | 507 comments Mod
Stan wrote: "Lara wrote: "Sounds like a great book!"

It is a very interesting book. I found it to be too preachy because the AI's accept truth and then defend it against all danger. They restate the truth..."


I'll give the book a chance when I get the time to read it. Many Christian fiction books, even from major publishers, tend to strike me as too preachy. I prefer the characters to show their faith in their actions and choices instead, but I am used to that narrative style.

The summary on the book's site did seem more Sci-fi than Cyberpunk, but again, I'm not too picky if it is a good story. I feel like a good story covers a multitude of weaknesses.


message 12: by J.L. (new)

J.L. Pattison | 65 comments Are robots made by God and are they made in His image? Do they have a soul?

I believe that all of these answers are "no," thus, they are not able to be saved, because they aren't even lost.


message 13: by Stan (new)

Stan | 288 comments Mod
J.L. wrote: "Are robots made by God and are they made in His image? Do they have a soul?

I believe that all of these answers are "no," thus, they are not able to be saved, because they aren't even lost."


Wow! Thought just hit me - they suffer from the depravity of man (due to their programming), but cannot be saved because they are not lost. Interesting!


message 14: by Stoney (new)

Stoney deGeyter | 134 comments Ella Rose wrote: "If anything, I can see AI robots becoming like modern day "idols" and "false gods," reminiscent of the ones from the olden days. Who knows?"

Do you mean like the Nephelim from the days of Noah? Interesting.


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