The Coming Worship of Artificial Intelligence?
The first two commandments God gave the people of Israel were “You shall have no other god but me” (Exodus 20:3) and “You shall not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You shall not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods” (Exodus 20:4-5).
Yet, the people of Israel quickly broke these commandments. They fashioned a golden calf and worshipped it (Exodus 32:8). They worshipped the idols of Canaan (Psalm 106:38), Baal (Numbers 25:1-3), Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:5), and Chemosh and Molech (2 Kings 23:13). Time and again, the Israelites fell into idol worship. And they weren’t the only ones.
Throughout history, people from all nations have worshipped objects made of wood and stone (Isaiah 44:6-20). They’ve also worshipped people – the pharaohs, the Caesars, kings, cult leaders, and others. While this sounds silly to most of modern humanity, the truth is we do the same thing. While few people today worship rocks, they still look to create gods they can worship – whether it’s money, fame, power, or something else. So the latest object of worship should come as no surprise.
The First Church of Artificial Intelligence
In 2015, Anthony Levandowski, a former Google and Uber engineer, drafted the bylaws for a new church called “Way of the Future.” According to its website, Way of the Future (WOTF) is about “creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + ‘machines’.” WOTF church activities will focus on the worship of “a Godhead based on artificial intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.”
As technology advances, many believe AI will surpass human intelligence. In November, Levandowski told Wired magazine, “What is going to be created will effectively be a god. It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”
According to Levandowski, humans rule the world because we’re smarter than animals. But he believes AI will become much smarter than humans, leading to a transition of power over the planet. And when that happens, Levandowski says he wants to be in the ruler’s good graces. He says WOTF will one day have its own holy book called “The Manual” as well as a physical place of worship. In short, he envisions a future where people worship Artificial Intelligence.
In a world where people young and old already spend their days staring at screens, where people place their faith in technology’s ability to solve all the world’s problems, you could make the case that WOTF is already the world’s dominant religion. Will this be the pagan religion of the end-times generation?
The Antichrist and Artificial Intelligence
It won’t surprise me if worship of Artificial Intelligence becomes commonplace. Many people share Levandowski’s view of the future. They fear the rise of AI will lead to the end of the human race. This was the premise of The Terminator film series. Humans rebelled against a hostile takeover by an AI named Skynet and its legion of robots. Some think this is a glimpse into our future. They believe AI will take over the world and find no reason to keep humans around. But is this fear really justified?
I don’t think so. AI won’t replace humans. After all, what’s more powerful – Artificial Intelligence or humans in control of Artificial Intelligence? AI is nothing more than a tool, and I doubt its creators will allow themselves to be surpassed in knowledge and power. Instead, AI will simply amplify human power.
What’s most likely is for a group of people to monopolize the power of AI, or even merge with it, and then establish a world empire. Not surprisingly, the Bible says the last days will feature a global empire controlled by one man – the Antichrist.
If the Antichrist has AI, it explains how he could rule the world with the ruthless efficiency the Bible describes. As technology advances, it will become possible to place cameras and listening devices everywhere. Advanced technology will enable the manufacture of billions of low-cost, microscopic cameras and listening devices. AI will allow the Antichrist to sift through and analyze enormous amounts of raw data, audio tracks, and video feeds. With this power, the Antichrist will become the real-life equivalent of George Orwell’s “Big Brother.” He’ll be all-seeing, all-hearing, and all-knowing. This isn’t surprising. The Bible tells us the Antichrist will be all-powerful (Revelation 13:7) – at least when it comes to human affairs.
If the Antichrist holds this type of power, is it really a surprise to learn some people will worship him? No. It’s not. As Anthony Levandowski says, this power will make AI “a god,” and Levandowski wants to stay on its good side. He plans to worship it, and he won’t be alone.
The Coming Dictator
The Bible says the world will worship the Antichrist (Revelation 13:4). They’ll see him as invincible in battle and the greatest of all men (Revelation 13:4). He’ll slander the name of God, conquer God’s holy people, and rule the entire world (Revelation 13:6-7). The false prophet will require everyone on earth to worship him (Revelation 13:12). This same false prophet will perform miracles to deceive the nations, and he’ll make a great statue of the Antichrist. The statue will speak and order everyone to worship it or die (Revelation 13:14-15). The Antichrist will exalt himself over the God of Israel and any competing object of worship. He’ll even enter the temple of God and claim he himself is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Unfortunately, most of the world will worship him. When they do, they’ll really be worshipping Satan. Why? Because the Antichrist will get his power from Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:4), and Satan’s greatest desire is worship.
Long ago, Satan stated his ambition to “ascend to heaven and set his throne above God’s stars, to climb the highest heavens and be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14). He once again revealed his desire for worship when tempting Jesus in the desert. There, he promised to give Jesus the world in exchange for worship (Matthew 4:8-9). Jesus turned down Satan’s offer, but one day, the Antichrist will accept it.
Jesus is Coming
The worship of idols and false messiahs should come as no surprise. Jesus said before He returns many false messiahs will appear (Matthew 24:5). The worship of AI is just the latest of many idols and false gods embraced by a fallen world. Satan is a deceiver. He’ll gladly use AI to deceive as many as he can. Whether or not AI is the primary tool of the Antichrist remains to be seen. However, is it mere coincidence AI is on the rise at this point in human history? I don’t think so.
Daniel said “travel and knowledge” will increase in the end times (Daniel 12:4). AI is helping to fulfill this prophecy. For thousands of years, the world stayed relatively unchanged. Yet, in the past 100 years, we’ve gone from the idea “manned flight is impossible” to men on the moon.
This is not the normal course of human events. It’s a build up to the greatest event in history – the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. All the signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for are present today. Not one of them was present for the first 1,800+ years of Christianity. But today, they all are.
Our generation is unique among all others. We live in a time like no other. The stage is now set for the rise of the Antichrist and the outbreak of a worldwide Tribulation. This means the rapture is closer than it’s ever been. This means Jesus is coming!
Britt Gillette is author of the free ebook Coming to Jesus as well as the books Signs of the Second Coming and Racing Toward Armageddon. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for free when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.