There are interesting parallels between God’s interceding in man’s desires at the Tower of Babel that can possibly predict His actions as we look to the not-so-distant future.
Tower of Babel
In Genesis 11 God is frustrated, again, with mankind. Why? Because we were ignoring His mandates, trying to be gods ourselves… sound familiar? Man sets about building a tower to reach the heavens to be like God, rather than dispersing across the planet as He had commanded.
Genesis 9:1, 11:4-9 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth… Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” … And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them…” Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth. And from there the LORD dispersed them over the face of all the earth.
God actively intercedes so as not to let man have his way. By establishing different languages, groups dispersed across the globe. What is important to bring out in this passage is that God chose not to allow man to do what was “impossible for them”, to pretend we are gods who have the ability to reach the “top in the heavens”.
From Babel to Today
Today we are no longer seeking towers as a way to reach Heaven. However, more and more of us are rejecting God, replacing Him with our own rules and conditional morality. Of course, this has been true throughout the ages. The Bible refers to man’s arrogance and rebelliousness as our sin nature. Though some might say it is on the rise, others would point to historical milestones of hate and destruction that would counter that argument.
The point of this article is to suggest there is a new and significant variable in the equation of End-Times prophesy.
What Differentiates Man from God?
Jesus was the figure that best answers that question. Jesus Christ was born both fully God and fully man. He lived a sinless life on earth and died on the cross paying the price for man’s sins. There are many attributes that can be attributed to Christ (and God the Father) that cannot be duplicated by man. They include a sinless earthly life, being all-knowing, all-powerful, present everywhere, and the Creator and Sustainer of all life. Of course, man can never see himself as being perfect (sinless) or all-powerful, having knowledge of past, present, and future. However, many do believe we are rapidly moving toward all-knowing with Artificial Intelligence leading the way. That is a false expectation as AI will never be allowed to develop even close to that point (another post to come). There is one thing that is obtainable, that secular man desires… spending vast amounts of energy and resources to achieve… eternal life. Of course, from a Biblical Christian worldview, the irony is that we are all immortal creatures already. There is an eternal existence beyond the grave for all of us, based on the supernatural teachings found in the Bible (and many other sacred texts). For secular man, however, the desire to live on earth in our present bodies is the objective. To never die, to be able to repair ourselves such that life goes on into a distant future, has been the goal of man since medicine began. However, God refers to our current earthly bodies as temporary or perishable…
1 Corinthians 15:53 – For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
We have to pass through death to receive our permanent, spiritual bodies.
1 Corinthians 15:44 – It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.
As man extends our life expectancy through medical intervention, there still remains a point where death becomes inevitable. As historical man could not reach a godlike state by building a tower to the heavens, we today cannot remove from God’s hand the power to control the endpoint of our mortal bodies.
Wikipedia defines transhumanism as, “a philosophical and intellectual movement which advocates the enhancement of the human condition by developing and making widely available sophisticated technologies that can greatly enhance longevity and cognition”.
Put simply, it involves a merger of humanity and technology in such a way that man’s physical and mental capabilities are enhanced and lifetimes are extended. Of course, this process holds promise in many areas of life. It adds to our intellectual capacity by connecting human consciousness to an external source of information (ex. Neuralink by Elon Musk). It provides a source of direct sensory input for the deaf and the blind. It provides a ready source of artificial, rather than biological body parts for those that are damaged or have worn out. It offers enhanced physical abilities that have promise in areas such as future cyber warriors.
If one continues down this path it would be logical to assume that more and more human replacement parts (liver, kidney, heart, lungs, etc.) will become available. Further out into the future one could expect the development of such a sophisticated brain-computer interface (BCI) where the history of our life’s experiences could be downloaded and held.
When mankind has the ability to replace ourselves using parts that can be swapped out as needed and the ability to hold the data contained in our minds within an external (or perhaps even internal inorganic source), we become immortal on earth.
Transhumanism and a Biblical Christian Worldview
The ability of man to fully replace himself by artificial means is not science fiction more than it is the future of science. The ability of AI to accelerate the progress needed to make this transition is indisputable. If one can accept this progression, a question for the Biblical Christian is, will God allow man to take on his own version of immortality? My view is no.
Transhumanism is a form of Utopianism or the belief that “human beings can change themselves and create a heaven on earth”. There is nothing wrong with the goal of improving the human condition. However, God has established limits and only God Himself can, and has, created Heaven and the basis for eternal life.
As in the case of the Tower of Babel, man has limits imposed by God. The Lord has placed a timetable on man’s tenure on earth that cannot be overridden. The Bible is full of references to the reality of Heaven and Hell and man’s physical return to the dust of the earth, while our Spirit ultimately receives a new body on the other side of the grave. Much of what happens during our relatively short time on earth influences our life beyond the grave. The greatest impact of salvation is lost if death is no longer a reality. True and complete fellowship with God is not possible in our state of sin. For those who accept Him as both our Savior and Lord, we will have direct and perfect fellowship with our brothers and sisters, angels, and God Himself, something not possible in our mortal, sinful bodies of today.
2 Cor. 5:1-5 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
If mankind ever reaches a point where it becomes possible to extend our lives indefinitely, I believe God will stop us as He did in the flood and again in Babel. This time He will bring in the New Heaven and the New Earth, establishing His kingdom for eternity (2 Pet. 3:13).