I wrote Faith in the Age of AI to spark a conversation about how robots, information science, and genetic engineering may affect how we live out and express our faith.

These technologies though are related to scientific discoveries and social forces that together pose enormous questions about how we understand reality.

Technology doesn’t work unless it is rooted in how the universe actually works. We can use the technology without worrying about what its existence implies about reality, but as Christians, this is not a healthy way forward.

As we saw in my last post, conversation about where we are in history can provoke considerable controversy. The way we have been taught to read and interpret eschatology (end time events) has much to do with this, which is why this too should be a topic of conversation.

Many of our ideas about eschatology comes from the Bible’s apocalyptic literature. It was a literary genre to which ancient people seem to have found easier to relate than we do. Modern Westerners have begun prone to either dismiss apocalyptic literature as inscrutable or to interpret it through some sort of rationalistic system that ignores the peculiarities of the genre.

I would call the Lord of the Rings apocalyptic, for example. That book REVEALS – and that is what the word ‘apocalypses’ means – the importance of camaraderie, justice, loyalty, courage, and the like. However, were we to ask what contemporary city the book’s city of Mordor represents, the answer might be either ‘several’ or ‘none.’

Gandolf too is both like and unlike Christ. Hobbits m are both like an unlike working class, salt-of-the-Earth people. The situations, characters, and relationships in Lord of the Rings are instructive for our everyday lives, but do not mirror exactly any specific person or event.

One reads apocalyptic literature then not to uncover and sort of one-to-one correspondences with our everyday world, but to reveal the underlying patterns of human community given certain conditions.

I have been reading Alan Moore’s book Jerusalem. In this book, Moore describes communities of ghosts, spirit storms, time, travel, and spiritual characters who mature on those who do not. He sometime pushes the genre to the edge of absurdity, but offers us an excellent story nonetheless.

C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce and Screwtape Letters are other examples.

The biblical books of Ezekiel, parts of Daniel, and Revelation are all examples of apocalyptic literature. They are of course, part of the Christian Canon. The book of Enoch, except for Coptic believers, is not but was an apocalyptic piece of writing that influenced New Testament writers.

When reading apocalyptic literature, one dives into the images and emotions of the text, seeking to absorb the piece as a whole. Using the principle that one interprets the poetic and metaphorical passages of scripture in light of its clear, core teachings, the reader experiences the emotional depth, rather than the rational exposition that this genre provokes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>