Today's Lectionary Text
Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
I read a lovely bedtime story last night. It was about a girl named Luna who went on a journey to the stars and back, before snuggling in her bed and drifting off to sleep.
My computer wrote it in about 30 seconds.
Have you heard of ChatGPT? It’s a chat bot, powered by AI. The developers fed it massive amounts of text and trained it to speak in a remarkably conversational way. In some ways it’s an easy-to-use search engine, but it can do so much more. You can ask it to tell you a story or a joke, but you can also ask it to write a research paper on a specific topic or write code for other computer programs.
I asked it to write a 300-word devotion about AI and it gave me a pretty good one, citing God making humanity in God’s image, and how Artificial Intelligence is just that, artificial and not to be worshiped or idolized. So I suppose that’s comforting. (I’m not posting it here — I don’t need the competition!)
Still, I can’t help but have the willies when technology has advanced to the point that our computers can write as well as humans can! Is the day coming when human creativity is replaced by all-knowing AI that does our thinking for us?
I honestly don’t know what the future holds for this technology, but I am reminded of an ancient song in the Bible, the Song of Moses. Moses taught this song to his followers as they were preparing to enter the Promised Land. It is forecasting the turning away of God’s people, worshiping other gods, listening to other voices. Moses instructed all the Israelites to memorize it so that they would never forget their God.
I guarantee the Song of Moses took more than 30 seconds to write, and its words carry so much more weight than what the Internet can spit out for us. It reminds me that we, today, must be on guard not to hold anything, including our technology, above the One True God.
If you’re curious–yes, ChatGPT can write sermons, too, but not great ones. Technically they can be fairly sound, theologically. But what they lack is soul. My advice is if you’re looking to know more about God, check out your NIV or NRSV or whatever version you use. Thousands and thousands of years of human and divine partnership created this remarkable collection of writings that inform us, teach us, and point us to the incalculable love of our Creator.
The Song of Moses is not a bedtime story. It’s a call to faithfulness and vigilance, and it is meant to be wrestled with and taken to heart, as is all of scripture.
Artifical Intelligence is a remarkable achievement, but it is no substitute … for Real Wisdom.
-- Rev. Mitch Todd, campus pastor
Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, remind us that no matter how advanced technology may become, you are the true source of all wisdom. Amen.
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