Would God accept A.I. beings as his own?

Let’s pretend that technology (mostly Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology and Nanotechnology) has advanced to the point where humans can develop artificially intelligent, living beings. These beings look, act and especially think just like their human counterparts; with the exception of a natural “soul” (whatever that is), they are entirely human-like, right down to their artificial DNA.

Assume that these beings can think just like humans and have the same morality and mortality issues (ie, “They reproduce, grow old and die.”, as well as “It’s immoral to murder them.”).

Since God would be omniscient, he would know that these beings have been developed, and would know that they are completely human-like, other than the fact that He didn’t create them.

Would God accept these beings as his own children? If these beings die, would they be welcomed into Heaven, even though they weren’t created in the “natural” way, and don’t have a “soul”?

Taking it one step further… pretend there were a realistic simulation, such as those portrayed in “The Thirteenth Floor” or “The Matrix”… and the beings in those simulations were also as human-like as could be (at least within the bounds of their simulation)… if that simulation was turned off, and all the AI beings that were present in the simulation suddenly disappeared, would God allow those beings into Heaven as well?

Obviously he would accept the beings CREATOR as his own, but would he accept the actual beings as his own?

For us to want to create life would be the worst sin we could commit. Lucifer didn’t get away with trying to be equal to God. Why should we?

This is just guess work isn’t it?

How are we to know the designs of some omniscient god? Who are we to even attempt to understand?

Some say we are made in god’s image. Well, we’ve been changing for millenia, and will continue to change as evolution plays jenga with our genes through the passage of time. Who’s to say that our eventual evolution, our final contribution to this universe won’t be artifical beings created by us? Perhaps they will be our descendants. And just maybe god wasn’t talking about us when he said that he created us in his own image, maybe he was talking about our eventual creations. Maybe god is a machine?

Ultimately this is just an exercise in fanciful speculation. specially for an atheist like me :wink:

I forget to mention… pretend that WE are a simulation… and then we get turned off… assuming there is a god, and that God created our creator… would he accept US as his own?

This could be viewed on an infinite scale, really… pretend there was one initial God… and he created something, that created something that created something that… (and so on) …and that something created us… Would that initial God still accept us as his own?

I knew those dog breeders were going to hell. Now I know why.

These beings look, act and especially think just like their human counterparts; with the exception of a natural “soul” (whatever that is), they are entirely human-like, right down to their artificial DNA.

Well, there are a lot of assumptions there; the artificial DNA for a start; do you mean a living being with designed DNA?

In my opinion such a being would simply be another biological entity;
Assuming (for the sake of argument) that souls exist, there would be no reason that an artificially designed biological human would not have a soul.

More interesting is the idea of an AI in a computer; such an entity would be very different to a human, but if souls exist, I see no reason why this entity should have a soul.

I consider these (so-far hypothetical) entities as humanity’s mind children;
our natural born children are considered to have souls (by those who believe that souls are real);
God herself must allow these souls to enter into our children at some point.
why should our manufactured children not have souls?

What reason would God have to withold souls from our own mind children?

Edit; the idea of an AI in a computer; such an entity would be very different to a human, but if souls exist, I see no reason why this entity should not have a soul.

Eeeh! not having an edit fuction is ubderstandable, but it can cause problems.
Perhaps I should avoid double negatives;

clearly stated-
of course AI’s would have souls, if souls exist.

Why would they not?

Do you mean “should not”?

I think the Catholic Church has some principle on this.

God would be ideally placed to solve the problem of whether the machine intelligence really was ‘alive’ inside, or whether it was just a convincing fake.

If a machine really was ‘alive’ on the inside, then I’d say that it would have a natural soul (if humans do have one, that is), having acquired/grown one by the same means that humans do (being ‘alive’).

I think that wanting to create new life is a natural result of us being created in God’s image in the first place. God is a Creator; thus it is in us to be creative also. In fact it’s one of our strongest drives, to create things. I don’t buy that wanting to create life is an affront to God – that’s pretty much what we do when whe have babies, isn’t it? I think wanting to create life is perfectly natural, because it’s a desire that we were created with.

However, our creative abilities pale in comparison with the One who created the universe. I’m skeptical that we would ever really have the ability to develop an AI like the one described in the OP. I think the question would have to be – does this new being have the capacity to respond to God? Can it experience grace? Can it recognize the existance of God and feel the need to relate to Him? If (a big IF) we can create a being that can do all these things, then I would expect that creature to be accepted by and pleasing to God.

But I don’t think we can do it.

Would the Replicants in Blade Runner be accepted by God? (The ones that weren’t murdering people, that is.) Would Commander Data be accepted by God?

Come to think of it (and this is more of a Cafe Society question), has there been a sci-fi story/novel about a robot that became religious?

I wasn’t aware that dog breeders were creating life from scratch.

A “soul” is the eternal essence of a being that persists after death. If souls are created and distributed by God, then a soul is God’s seal of approval. Any being endowed with a soul would have the opportunity to enter heaven. If a being is not given an eternal soul, than it will simply cease to exist at some point.

If something there is something inherent to humanity that causes one to have a soul, if we recreate that quality closely enough then our artificial creations will also have souls. Because a soul is eternal, these souls must go somewhere after death, but they wouldn’t necessarily be judged in the same manner as normal humans. You’ll need to consult your God’s instruction book for further details.


Some thoughts about God and Robots … from a “Small Wonder” fan site!

See also:


Juan2003, you’re assuming a lot about something that we don’t even know exists. You can’t assign “factual” characteristics to something (the soul) that could just be a mythical construct.

Let’s not confuse soul with personality. If say Data of Star Trek is destroyed beyond repair then the personality known as Data is irretrievably gone.
No soul to continue on, no matter how lifelike he seemed.

This is probably what happens when humans die.
The personality ceases but we really have no concrete reason to believe in an eternal soul.

I’m expecting to be pityed for having such a dim outlook of life and so on.
Thus is the root of spirituality.
We spend our lives loving and growing close to those around us.
It’s just not fair for everything to stop at death.

jimpatro, if you’re going to post, you should agree to play along with the OP.

I don’t pity you for having such a dim outlook on life (also an atheist/agnostic here, with great doubts about the existence/nature of the soul)–but you should be able to set aside your atheistic convictions in order to participate in this debate. Or else don’t participate.

I usually apologize for endless rants but overlooked it this time.
Point taken.

I don’t normally get involved in GD, but since I saw a link…

Interestingly, Tolkien addressed a very similar question in his works. The Dwarves were originally created by a lesser being than God (although still what we might call an archangel), because he was tired of waiting for the real people that God had ordained to exist. But when Aule (the being who created the dwarves) repented his pride, God gave the Dwarves souls, and “adopted” them.

Personally, I’m also in the camp that doesn’t see why “artificial” beings wouldn’t have souls. I already have the ability to create thinking beings (well, with help from a willing partner), and nobody disputes that those beings have souls (at least, nobody who accepts the existance of souls in the first place). I have no idea how it comes to be that a baby has a soul… Does God put the soul in Himself, as a special act? Is it formed somehow from the soul of the parents? Does it develop naturally in the organism, just as nervous activity and the like develops? I don’t know. But in any case, why couldn’t the same process apply to an AI?

If they had no souls, then they would simply end when they died. Nothing would exist to go on. Now, this is not to say that God might not extend mercy and give these creatures souls. Would He? It is not my place to judge.

Read a short story like 15-20 years ago about a priest who was on a secret mission to find the tomb of a great catholic theologan (Catholicism had wither been banned in the country or worldwide) whom had supposedly not decayed (a miracle that has supposedly happened to many people who were eventually canonized, or made saints). He found the corpse, which was miraculously perfect, but his robotic donkey saw it for what it was and kicked it, revealing the theologan was a robot. The miracle at this point was that a machine built to perform perfect logical thought processes found, through these thought processes, God. (essentially, the robot became religious, it wasn’t in said robots programming)…

Don’t remember the name of the story, it was in a S/F collection, probebly aimed at adolescents.