Daily Encouragement: Year 2, Day 55

From Handbook to God’s Promises


Silicon Spirituality?
(Psalm 119:73)

The movie mega-hits of the original Star Wars series showcased a modern technological marvel: the potential of robotics. Two of the most beloved actors, R2-D2 and C-3PO, awakened millions to the possibility of using technology to accomplish tasks formerly impossible or handled by humans. Audiences suspended disbelief; they looked beyond the fact that the robots were really actors in suits and let their imaginations run wild.

Like characters in all good science fiction movies, Star Wars droids went beyond reality. The screenwriter made audiences believe that these droids had been given so much data by their creators that they had moved into the realm of artificial intelligence. Of course, all robots—from the computerized chess champ Deep Blue, to the heavy-duty sheet-metal welder in Detroit, to the precision computer-chip inscriber in Silicon Valley, to the iPhone’s Siri—are given all their knowledge. Their silicon synapses fire with uncountable connections at the speed of light, but they do nothing that they have not been programmed to do.

Star Wars blurred the line between human and robot, a line that has become even more blurred in the first two decades of the 21st century. But this distinction will never disappear in real life. Why? Because no android can ever be created in the image of God. The creators of robots can give them data, but only the Creator of human beings can give understanding. The difference can be illustrated by paraphrasing Psalm 119:73. The robot would say to its creator, “Give me data that I may obey your commands.” The human being says to his or her Creator, “Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.” Even God’s own Son had to learn to obey His Father’s will instead of His own (Heb. 5:7–10). Thankfully, God grants wisdom to those who ask (James 1:5–6).

A robot’s obedience springs from computer chips warmed by electrical currents, whereas a human’s obedience springs from a heart warmed by the developing affection found in relationship. When we stand in relationship with God, we must learn to choose His will over our own. The next time you struggle with obedience, pray the prayer only humans can pray: “Lord, give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.”

God’s Promise:
Whenever you ask for understanding, He will give it to you.