Thursday, September 12, 2013

What Is the Image of the Beast?

From the very first chapter of the bible, we are told that God created man and woman "in his image." Although this may refer to a number of attributes, it is clear that man's intelligence is the most striking example of our unique identity in Creation.

We also find that this biblical concept of "image" does not merely imply the reflection of an object or person but also becomes an inanimate object or statue when humans create idols, referred to as "images", and worship them instead of their own Creator. Something for which God is very displeased and strongly warns against.

To add even more context to this concept and symbol of "image" throughout the bible, eventually used in reference to the beast, we see it gain its fullest meaning when applied to Jesus, who is said to be the "image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15). In this case now, we see "image" may be fully understood as a personification, embodiment, or, in the case of Jesus, incarnation of deity.

In ancient times, these images were often great statues having human or animal-like features that people carved out of stone or wood. As human skill and technology increased, these worshiped images reflected us more and more in astonishing detail until, when we consider the height of Greek and Roman sculpting, they were nearly lifelike--a mirror of the human soul.

Today, the images we are creating have evolved beyond the point of physical likeness, and now approach the apex of human creativity and power to reflect the human mind. The question we must ask: Will we one day breathe life into our own creation such that it speaks like us?

In Revelation 13:15, we are told this is so for it says, "It was allowed to put breath into the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak; and it was allowed to cause anyone who would not worship the image of the beast to be put to death."

One day, human science and technology will evolve to such a miraculous and divine state that we will give the breath of life to our own creation. And, yet, God warns that this final image, which fully reflects the heart and soul of man, will be a terrifying beast enslaving us to worship it.

In Daniel 7 we are told this last beast will be unlike anything that has risen on the earth before it. Will it be artificial intelligence? In describing the previous "beasts" or kingdoms ruling up until that point, they are all given either human or animal characteristics. What is the last beast made out of? Metal.

"Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others and most terrifying, with its iron teeth and bronze claws—the beast that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left." Daniel 7:19