Summary: Only a fool is unaffected by what affects God.
Title: Does God Find Us Delightful or Disgusting?
Text: Psalm 14
Thesis: Only a fool is unaffected by what affects God.
I confess, I am still feeling the bleakness of the tragic mass shooting in Aurora last week. This text is a bleak text for those who live and act without regard to God and who demonstrate an absence of moral character in regard to God and others. It is also a ray of hope for those who are metaphorically “bread” for the ungodly.
This text in relation to the current bleakness of our global culture is a solemn reminder of just how desperately humankind needs the saving and transforming work of Jesus Christ. With that preface let’s begin with an introduction to unpacking the text.
We live in an increasingly automated world… particularly so in the industrial world where a robot is defined as an automatically controllable, reprogrammable, multi-purpose manipulator. Industrial robots typically weld, paint, assemble, pick-up and place, inspect and test with high endurance, speed and precision. Robots are machines. And as machines we have no emotional attachment to them.
However, this week I read some comments comparing the way God sees humans to the way humans see robots. The comparison is in that just as God creates us to be in his image, we create robots to be in our image… doing the things we would like for them to do. God’s desire is that we be god-like and the human desire is that our robots be human-like or at least have cute little human features like R2-D2 in Star Wars.
However, we do have a problem when our robots look and act like us and actually become too human for comfort.
On the 18th of this month 18 police officers spent 40 minutes rescuing a woman from drowning in Shandong, Province, China. As 1,000 spectators gathered on the shore of the lake the officers rescued an inflatable doll from drowning. They were obviously embarrassed but who could deny the fact that they rescued a very life-like inflatable woman. Inflatable’s and human-like robots are pretty much bazaar and especially so if they evoke human emotion.
In an old Twilight Zone episode an inmate named Corry was sentenced to a solitary confinement on a distant asteroid for fifty years. Four times a year Captain Allenby arrived in a spacecraft to give him supplies. Allenby feels sorry for Corry so on one of his drops he left a crate containing a female robot that looked and acted completely human. Her name was Alicia. Initially Corry hated Alicia. She was a machine covered with synthetic skin. But then Corry discovered that Alicia could cry and he began to think of her as human. He fell in love with her… she was his constant companion. (Not unlike Tom Hanks’ attachment to his soccer ball “Wilson” in The Castaway.”)
Then one day he is pardoned and Allenby arrived at the asteroid to return Corry to earth but Corry would not leave without Alicia. At some point Corry’s perspective got all messed up and he began to think his rubber doll was a real person. And that’s where it got all creepy and revolting so Allenby destroyed the robot so that Corry could see that she was really just a pile of synthetic skin, tangled wires and broken circuitry. Alicia was ultimately humanly disappointing.