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2 Things A Movie About AI Taught Me About God

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Have you ever seen a movie in IMAX?


It varies depending on where you go, but generally, an IMAX theater has a ridiculously large screen and booming sound, and promises a superior experience compared to your run-of-the-mill movie theater.


Earlier this week, I saw "The Creator", the new sci-fi epic directed by Gareth Edwards, in IMAX and, as promised, it was a spectacle. It looked as if it belonged in the 1990's in the best of ways, with broad-sweeping and beautiful camera shots that looked both realistic and perfectly classic at the same time. Because of those technical choices, I was perfectly drawn into the world where they told the story.


Inside that world, Joshua (John David Washington) is an ex-soldier living in a reality where artificial intelligence is at war with humanity. He's recruited based on his specific military experience to track down a super-weapon the artificial intelligence is creating which, it turns out, is a robot in the form of a young girl (Madeleine Luna Voyles).


Here are two things "The Creator" taught me about God:


  • God created us, but we aren't artificial.

In the movie, artificial intelligence is so advanced that humans and robots are, in many ways, indistinguishable in action and living. However, for the humans in the movie, there is an obvious reason why it's amoral to kill a robot. "It's just code..." a human soldier says at one point. "It's just code."


In the soldier's mind, the human-like aspects of the robots are just smoke-and-mirrors; what's actually going on inside of them is just advanced computing and machinery. Just numbers - no pain, no injustice, no soul. The robots are distinctly artificial compared to humans.


God did not create mere machinery when he made humanity, however. "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27, NIV throughout) The fundamental truth behind our creation is that we were made to look and be like God.


What does that mean? There's no simple answer. However, we know that we are not just machinery to do work. We were made with a conscience, a sense of morality, rationality, originality, creativity, and inherent beauty. We were made to be with God and enjoy God, something that is completely natural and good based on God's perfect design. (Genesis 1)


In contrast, the robots in "The Creator" were made to work for humanity, to help them be more productive and more advanced. They were created in the likeness of code and numbers, looking like humans on the outside but not on the inside. As humans, we don't have the ability to create anything natural, just artificial.


  • God created us for his own enjoyment, but he also created us for our own good.

The robots in the movie predictably have bad things to say about their militant human counterparts, saying at one point, "they created us to be slaves, but after this war, we will be free." Even though they worship their individual human creator (mysteriously named Nirmata), they lament the state of relations between humanity and themselves.


However, this conflict is in no way the robots' fault. At one point in the film, it's revealed in passing that a major offense by the robots didn't happen because of the robots rebelling, but rather because of a "coding error" by their programmers. The humans fighting against the robots are actually the bad guys, and the robots are the ones truly fighting for peace, as if they are a more evolved, better formed version of humanity itself.


The great truth about our God is that he is a perfect creator who makes no mistakes. While the robots in "The Creator" have the benefit of being able to cast blame on imperfect designers, our God is perfect from the beginning.


When we think we have a better idea of life than God's, we become self-righteous very quickly, and are able to justify our actions and our motives in a second, pinning our shortfalls and mistakes on our creator. In reality, this is not because of his mistake, but because of our rebellion. This is not how it is supposed to be.


God created us with a full intention of loving us perfectly and giving to us abundantly. "God is love..." (1 John 4:16), so, inherent to his character is a giving, loving spirit that is supernatural in nature. He created us for his own pleasure (Colossians 1:16), but his pleasure is in perfect love and communion with us, not in using us and throwing us away after he's done with us.


He not only intended to love us, but he also followed through with it. In our state of rebellion, Christ willingly died on a cross in love, taking on the full wrath of God and punishment for our sins, so that we may be returned to that perfect state of communion with Him. (John 3:16)


We think we can find a better way apart from God because of sin in our hearts. However, because God is God, we can be perfectly content and satisfied in the state of how we were created.


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While the visuals of "The Creator" were stunning and immersive, I personally found the storytelling to be a mess. The plot had more holes than Swiss cheese, the characters were inconsistent, and the messaging was all over the place. I didn't feel anything at the emotional climaxes of the movie and was left tired after it was all done.


I think that disorganization, however, proved in in its own way our shortcomings as humans when we go off on our own away from God. We may have the money, vision, and ingredients to tell a great story with our life, but we will never be able to succeed.


Why?


Because we were created for a different, better purpose than living for ourselves. We are not a more actualized or evolved version of God. We were not created for ourselves. We have the capacity to be most satisfied, fulfilled, and successful when we spend time with our Creator and Savior.


Thanks be to God who created us, saved us from our sin through Christ on the cross, brings us to himself, and loves us even in our rebellion.

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