3 Questions All Christians Should Ask about Artificial Intelligence

Stephen Baker

Contributing Writer
Updated May 02, 2024
3 Questions All Christians Should Ask about Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has been integrated into our culture at an alarming rate, and we are only beginning to come to terms with the reverberating repercussions. Christians have always needed godly wisdom to stay on the right path when confronted with the changes of the world, and this is no exception. 

Artificial intelligence (AI) marked a monumental step in our technological advances at the turn of the twenty-first century. All of a sudden, movies such as The Terminator and The Matrix didn’t seem so far-fetched after all. Artificial Intelligence has been integrated into our culture at an alarming rate, and we are only beginning to come to terms with the reverberating repercussions.

Christians have always needed godly wisdom to stay on the right path when confronted with the changes of the world, and this is no exception. This article will seek to help establish the appropriate boundaries of AI in a Christian’s life, by considering some vital questions.

How Does God’s Work Mandate Relate to AI?

God created human beings in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), and to a lesser extent, people share God’s communicable attributes, such as love, goodness, mercy, etc. In a sense, we are called to make visible His invisible attributes through the way we conduct ourselves. In many ways, people were designed to accomplish this sacred task through their labor. The divine mandate to work stems from God’s act of creation, and has been ingrained into the very fabric of human nature (Exodus 20:8-11). God worked to create the foundations of the universe and continues to sustain it through His power (Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:2-3).

As imitators of God, humans, likewise, have been called to work and steward God’s creation by using the various capacities endowed by their Creator to benefit the world around them. After Adam rebelled against God and brought sin into the world, God confronted Adam and Eve about their sin. He told Adam the ground was cursed because of what Adam did. The ground would yield thorns and thistles and the work process would now be plagued by hardship and toil (Genesis 3:17-19).

All of creation, however, became subject to the curse. Every aspect of God’s good creation now groans under the afflictions of it (Romans 8:18-23), and this includes the nature of our work. In this fallen world, as Christians seek to work as God intended, we must acknowledge there is nothing wrong with trying to work more efficiently. Nor is there anything wrong with removing stumbling blocks that impede the progress of work. In fact, that’s the primary purpose for tools and technology; they help us work more effectively by reducing the amount of menial labor involved in our work. And God commends the wisdom in finding ways to work more effectively (Ecclesiastes 10:10). It’s important to note that even though the process of work now suffers because of the Fall, work itself is still a good thing!

When it comes to the various uses of AI, one can certainly benefit from its assistance. However, Christians must examine their life to see whether or not AI is assisting their work or replacing it altogether. This question is best answered from a big-picture perspective. If a healthy work effort is present in a believer’s life, then it’s safe to say they are not abusing technology — at least not by way of being lazy.

Considering the Afflictions from the Curse

An important aspect of our call to love one another in a fallen world is the noble task of alleviating the effects of the curse in a person’s life. Jesus gave us a prime example of this. Consider His healing of the lame, sick, blind, and deaf. With great compassion, Jesus ministered to the afflicted and hurting by removing the effects of the curse from their life.

Even though we may not be able to heal like Jesus, Christians can still do what they can to bring comfort and healing to people who suffer the effects of the curse. In this context, AI may serve as a useful tool. For example, consider the remarkable computing power of artificial intelligence to cross reference the extensive side effects of medications and how they interact with other drugs. This could help doctors and physicians find the best combination of prescriptions to assist someone with their physical ailments. This serves as just one example of how AI can provide a most useful service in our lives.

As Christians consider the impact of AI in their own life, they would do well to consider if they are using AI as a tool to help alleviate the effects of the Fall, either in their life or in the lives of others. This is a good thing and a blessing from God, who has allowed us to discover ways to utilize His creation to find relief from the curse of sin.

Is a Person’s Capacity for Love and Sacrifice Diminished?

Out of all the questions that should concern a Christian regarding AI,  this one takes the top of the list. The summary of God’s design for the Christians life is love (Matthew 22:35-40). Personal sacrifice lies at the heart of authentic love (Luke 7:36-50) and productivity and efficiency are not automatically virtues in God’s eyes. Why? Because He desires His own image to be reflected out of the love which emanates from a person’s own efforts and toils. What delights Him is the loving sacrifice which flows out of a person’s heart for the sake of others. This sacred call to love can quickly diminish when we resort to the workings of machinery and computers simply because they are more efficient and easier.

Think about it. Which do you think is more pleasing to God? A heart-felt letter sent to a friend that took an hour to write, or an AI-generated letter that took seconds and merely mimics one’s personality at best? Technology may create greater efficiency, but it cannot change the nature of love. Every Christian wrestling with AI should ask themselves if they are working hard and giving of themselves to love others as God desires. If we’re not careful with AI, technological pragmatism could easily replace God’s call for Christians to labor in love for each other.

Touching on the same vein, Christians should also recognize the vital place for personal relationships. Part of being made in God’s image is our design as relational beings. God made us for relationships. Our most important relationship is the one we have with God, but secondly, we are made to have relationships with other people. Love requires relationship. No matter how effective AI may be, whenever Christians allow the workings of AI to diminish their relationships, they diminish God’s intended design for their life.

Artificial Intelligence has become incredibly personable and can mimic human conversation quite well. Christians must remain guarded and ask themselves if they are allowing AI to replace and reduce the relationships in their life.

God desires His image to be reflected in people. Artificial Intelligence has tremendous potential and can be used for good or evil. Christians must remember we are not called to a life of luxury and ease, but rather, God calls us to work hard and labor in love to build His kingdom. There’s nothing wrong with utilizing technology to assist with the tedious difficulties of life, but whenever a believer stops living their life and allows a machine or computer to live life for them, they’ve lost sight of their sacred calling to reflect God’s image in their life. This can only be done by actively using the gifts and abilities that flow out of one’s personhood.

As believers find a place for AI, they must ask, Am I using AI to clear away the clutter, or is it living my life for me?

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Poca Wander Stock

Stephen Baker headshotStephen Baker serves as the Associate Pastor at Faith Fellowship Church in Minerva, OH where he is discipled by pastor Chet Howes. He is currently a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is also the writer of a special Scripture study/reflection addendum to Someplace to Be Somebody, authored by his wife, Lisa Loraine Baker (End Game Press Spring 2022).