Eternity in Hell — or eternity in Second Life?


Apple transistors

Which of those sounds better to you? To me, both might as well be one and the same. But the director of engineering at Google believes that transferring our minds into digital cyberspace will let us live forever — what he calls “digital immortality.”

He thinks that this is the future of computing — and humanity. He has written a book called The Singularity Is Near. The “singularity” is the point in history in which people become so united with computers and technology that they become “superintelligent,” beyond which the advances of technology become so rapid that we are incapable of even conceiving of such a future.

It can be thought of as the point in which finite time and history becomes united with the infinite.

As noted in this article, “This singularity is also referred to as digital immortality because brains and a person’s intelligence will be digitally stored forever, even after they die.”

The foundation for such imaginative wonders is solid; computing power has been doubling every 18 months — what is called “Moore’s Law.” A real-world example of this phenomenon can be observed in the graphics power of the iPhone 5s released in 2013, which has one billion transistors. It has double the number of transistors in the iPhone 5, which was released in 2012.

Certainly technology will continue to make our lives better. It will get cheaper. Information will continue to get cheaper. We’re just getting started. That’s why Google has launched a healthcare company to expand its research and investment into the area of medical technology. But can it really conquer death?

The question of translating our brains into the digital domain raises ethical questions for Christians. First, is it even possible? What about the soul? Men may deny the virtue of the flesh, but Christ upholds it: we are all going to be given resurrection bodies after the Final Judgment. They will be real, physical bodies just as Christ has presently [1 Cor. 15:49, Luke 24:39]. The dualist (and Christian pietist) imagines two realities: spirit and matter. The “spirit” is superior to the “matter.” But orthodox Christian theology denies this dualism. God created matter as well as the spiritual. We are supposed to prayerfully take dominion over the earth.

Our non-corporeal heavenly states after death, but before the Resurrection, are temporary. [2 Peter 1:13-14] The physical, resurrection body is forever. [1 Cor. 15:54]

ESCAPE FROM REALITY, ESCAPE FROM RESPONSIBILITY

And this is the crucial point: covenant-breakers hate God and do not want to live their lives according to his rules, but they also want to avoid the Final Judgment. Siphoning your brain off into some solid-state circuitry might seem to them to be a good way of escaping the final judgment. They desire immortality, but they desire it on their terms, not God’s. We have the heavenly explanation of immortality:

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. [1 Cor. 15:51-53]

The humanist doctrine of the singularity tries to replace that moment of change sounded at the last trumpet.

Numerous scenarios of lawlessness could become reality. Digital worlds would now look and feel just like the real world. We couldn’t tell the two apart — almost like the matrix. One need not think very hard at the depraved desires which could be pursued without recourse until the heat death of the universe snuffs everyone out (according to humanist scientists).

HIS WORLDVIEW EXPOSED

The Google scientist admits that we’d get bored living forever: “So we’ll be routinely able to change our bodies very quickly as well as our environments. If we had radical life extension only we would get profoundly bored and we would run out of thing to do and new ideas.”

He then contradicts himself in his next breath by admitting that we’ll be able to “expand our brains” from the tiny 300 million patterns they can handle now to “300 billion or 300 trillion.” Who would run out of new ideas then?

But his worldview creeps in, and thus his presuppositions with it: “The last time we expanded [our brain] with the frontal cortex we created language and art and science.”

He’s talking about evolution, of course. He presupposes that our brain used to be very small. Today, they are bigger, expanded to now utilize the frontal cortex after millions of years of evolutionary development. Thus, he imagines this process will continue: “Just think of the qualitative leaps we can’t even imagine today when we expand our near cortex again.”

From cosmic slime to cosmic king. That’s the religion of evolution. From the very definition of worthlessness to the all-powerful cosmic lords.

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