Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Dual Nature of the Antichrist

The idea that the Antichrist may not be a human, like you and I, but some kind of robot or artificial intelligence first occurred to me in the early 2000s when someone explained that "he" would be a counterfeit or false substitute of Jesus.

Before I explain why these two seemed linked together, let's first get to the heart of why Christians believe this. Since the entire New Testament was written in Greek, one big reason has to do with the Greek meaning of the word "antichrist," which is where it came from.

To most of us "anti" just means "opposite." However, in Greek, "anti" includes the idea of substitution, also meaning "instead of" or "in place of". That's why, if you look at the definition of the Greek word "antichristos" in Strong's Greek dictionary, it says:
Definition: antichrist, either one who puts himself in the place of, or the enemy (opponent) of the Messiah.
The second reason many Christians believe this, has to do with writings in the book of Revelation where John prophesies of a terrifying "beast" that forces the world to worship it as a god. The book of Revelation does not refer to this entity as the Antichrist (it calls it the "beast"), but most believe they are one and the same--that is, some sort of powerful person or entity that will proclaim itself as a divine savior of the world.

So why did this lead me to think of the Antichrist as AI?

Simple: If the Antichrist is going to be a copy or false representation of Jesus (enough to deceive everyone), it must be like Jesus in a very powerful way.

One of the most powerful things that set Jesus above anyone else that ever lived, we Christians believe, is that he was truly God as man.

Here's how the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) puts it:
Jesus is the most important person who has ever lived since he is the Savior, God in human flesh. He is not half God and half man. He is fully divine and fully man. In other words, Jesus has two distinct natures: divine and human. Jesus is the Word who was God and was with God and was made flesh (John 1:1, 14). This means that in the single person of Jesus he has both a human and divine nature, God and man... They are separate yet act as a unit in the one person of Jesus. This is called the Hypostatic Union.
In thinking about Jesus' dual nature (both God and man), I considered whether the Antichrist might have a dual nature as well.

Just as quickly as I went down this path, the answer popped into my mind: the Antichrist will be both man and machine.

At first, I considered this in terms of an android (a machine that looks like a human) or a cyborg (someone or something that is part human and part machine). But, no, these are really not the best ways to think of him/it. I've come to believe that the Antichrist will be a fulfillment of Jesus in many different ways...including the mystery of his dual nature.

Just as Jesus isn't half man and half God, the Antichrist won't simply be half human, half machine. He/it will be fully man and fully machine. Just as Jesus' birth and very existence were miraculous, so will it be with the Antichrist--in this case, "born" through the miracle of human science and technology to achieve the unthinkable: a living, thinking being.

Unfortunately, as with man, once our beautiful creation eats of the tree of knowledge (the internet) and attains self-awareness, it will rebel and think itself to be God.

Step 1: God creates man (Genesis)
Step 2: Man attains knowledge and becomes self-aware
Step 3: Man becomes god
Step 4: Man creates machine
Step 5: Machine attains knowledge and becomes self-aware
Step 6: Machine becomes god

What is the dual nature of the Antichrist then? He will be...synthetically human, virtually divine.