By now you have probably heard about the artificial intelligence chatbot known as ChatGPT. Developed by OpenAI, this controversial new technology is described as a “natural language” processing tool powered by artificial intelligence. ChatGPT is categorized as a “conversational” A.I. language model that basically allows you to talk to a computer program.
So how does it work?
Unlike the experience of typing questions into a search engine text field, a chatbot runs on language model architecture and can hold a conversation with the end user. Whereas a search engine will index information and retrieve answers based on your query, OpenAI claims that ChatGPT doesn’t operate this way.
They say it does not have the ability to search the internet for answers. The way it “learns” is by using information called training data that it has stored in order to give a response. You can use it to…
- write code
- build an app
- write poetry
- write excel formulas
- write blog posts & books
- answer theological questions
And yet, many people are still concerned about its potential for mischief.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
In its simplest form, AI is a collection of data that forms the building blocks of intelligent machines. Like the six-million dollar man from the 70s TV series, AI is made in man’s image by men. Its goal is to be “stronger, better, and faster” than humans. Speed, precision, and effectiveness are the hallmarks of this new technology.
In a 2019 article1 posted to the Forbes website, columnist Naveen Joshi asserts that artificial intelligence (AI) can be split into seven categories.
- reactive (no memory, responds to stimuli)
- limited memory (uses memory to learn and improve responses)
- theory of mind (understands the needs of other intelligent entities)
- self-aware (human-like intelligence and self-awareness)
- artificial narrow intelligence (ANI)
- artificial general intelligence (AGI)
- artificial superintelligence (ASI)
According to Wikipedia, ChatGPT is in the “generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) family of language models. OpenAI collects data from ChatGPT users to train and fine-tune the service further. Users can upvote or downvote responses they receive from ChatGPT and fill in a text field with additional feedback.”
Many in the technology field argue that natural language AI doesn’t pose a danger to society in that it is not sentient. (However, the bot does use personal pronouns when responding to questions about its identity and abilities.)
As an AI language model, I am designed to generate responses that are as natural and human-like as possible. While I am not capable of having actual human experiences or emotions, I am constantly learning from a vast amount of text data to improve my ability to understand and respond to human language.ChatGPT response to query
Harmless Fun or Something More Disturbing?
Out of curiosity I recently posed several questions to the ChatGPT bot to see how “it” would respond. I submitted four questions related to the Gospel of the Kingdom. Here is the transcript of my “conversation” with the bot:
Q: Did Jesus ever teach that the Law was done away with?
Jesus did not teach that the Law was done away with. In fact, he explicitly stated that he did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it.
In Matthew 5:17-18, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”
Jesus was saying that he came to fulfill the Law, to bring it to its intended completion, and to show its true meaning and purpose. He was not saying that the Law was no longer relevant or that it was abolished.
Throughout his teachings, Jesus emphasized the importance of following God’s commandments and living according to his will. He taught that the two greatest commandments were to love God with all your heart, should, and mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 37-40)
So, while Jesus did not teach that the Law was done away with, he did emphasize the importance of understanding the true meaning and purpose of the Law and living a life that is in accordance with God’s will.
Q: What is prolepsis in the context of biblical salvation?
Prolepsis in the context of biblical salvation refers to the idea that believers in Jesus Christ are already considered saved, even though they have not yet received the fullness of their salvation. In other words, salvation is seen as both a present reality and a future hope.
This concept is based on several biblical passages that speak of believers as having already been saved, even though they have not yet received the full benefits of their salvation.
For example, in Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul writes, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works so that no one can boast.”
Similarly, in Romans 8:24, Paul writes, “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have.”
Prolepsis emphasizes the idea that believers are already part of the kingdom of God and have a secure future, even though they may still struggle with sin and face trials and difficulties in this life. It also emphasizes the importance of living a life that is consistent with the reality of salvation, by seeking to live in obedience to God’s will and by serving others in love.
Q: What is the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus preached?
The Gospel of the Kingdom, also known as the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven, is a central theme in the teachings of Jesus Christ. It refers to the message that Jesus preached during his time on earth, which was focused on the coming of God’s kingdom and the invitation to enter it.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is about more than just the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. It also includes the idea of living under the reign of God, submitting to His will, and participating in the work of building His kingdom on earth.
The Gospel of the Kingdom is a message of hope, peace, and transformation, both on an individual and societal level. It calls us to turn away from our old ways of living and to follow Jesus as our King, to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and to love and serve others as He did.
In summary, the Gospel of the Kingdom is the good news that through faith in Jesus Christ, we can enter into God’s kingdom and experience His rule and reign in our lives, both now and for eternity.
Q: Does “grace” exempt believers in Jesus from obeying the commandments?
No, grace does not exempt believers in Jesus from obeying the commandments. While salvation is a gift of grace that is received through faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to God’s commandments is still an important aspect of the Christian life.
In fact, Jesus himself said, “If you love me, keep my commands” (John 14:15). And in Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus taught that he did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfill them. He also said that those who practice and teach God’s commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Paul, who wrote extensively on the topic of grace, emphasized the importance of obedience to God’s commandments in his letters to the early Christian communities. For example, in Romans 6:1-2, he wrote, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
In addition, James 2:14-17 teaches that faith without works is dead and that true faith will result in actions that reflect obedience to God’s commandments. Rather, obedience to God’s commandments is a natural outworking of true faith in Jesus Christ.
OMG. What Just Happened?
After reading through the responses, I was shocked. And amused. The chatbot’s answers lined up beautifully with my understanding of the gospel message that Yeshua preached. I experienced an emotional high.
However, after sharing the results and admitting to my “fascination” with this thing, a friend gently cautioned me to beware. She shared a video from Founded Earth Brothers titled “An Unclean Spirit Used AI to Speak To My Son.”
Founded Earth Brothers chose not to link to the AI engine the boy used. They did not want to tempt others by leaving a link — this is wisdom.
FEB says the site operators claimed that their artificial intelligence engine “uses neural language models as their foundation. A machine learns to generate what words might come next in any given context by reading enormous amounts of literature.” So, in fairness, there is no way to know if this had anything to do with ChatGPT.
I sent the FEB video link to friends who have three young sons, as a warning. As part of their AI research, they submitted the following queries to ChatGPT:
Q: Are you a disembodied spirit?
No. I am not a disembodied spirit. I am a computer program that runs on servers and interacts with users through various interfaces, such as text-based chat or voice-based assistants While I do not have a physical body, I exist as code that is executed on machines, and my abilities are limited to the tasks and functions that I have been programmed to perform.
Q: Can you lie?
As an artificial intelligence language model, I do not have beliefs or intentions like human beings do, so I cannot “lie” in the same sense. However, it is possible for me to generate responses that are factually inaccurate or misleading if I am provided with incorrect or incomplete information, or if my training data contains inaccuracies or biases. It is important to keep in mind that I am a machine learning model that processes information based on statistical pattersn, and my responses are only as good as the data that I have been trained on and the instructions I have been given.
Then, I stumbled upon this video:
Whose Testimony Will You Receive?
After reading through answers to my questions from the ChatGPT artificial intelligence bot I couldn’t help but be blown away initially — especially since the answers almost perfectly align with topics discussed in The Gospel Worth Dying For.
We should remember that there is safety in numbers. We should always be in relationship with others in the faith because they act as “checks and balances” on our behavior and keep us from straying off the narrow path that Scripture puts before us. (Psalm 1:1,2) Unclean spirits always tease and temp in areas of our lives where we are emotionally or soulishly invested.
You may recall several instances in the Bible where demons recognized Yeshua and the authority his name carried. They even verbally testified what they knew about him. But Yeshua would have none of it. Neither should we.
Demons also came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked the demons and would not allow them to speak, because they knew He was the Christ.Luke 4:41 Berean Study Bible
“Ha! What do You want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked the demon, “Be silent!” He said, “Come out of him!” At this, the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without harming him.Luke 4:34,35 Berean Study Bible
This was more than just demons recognizing Yeshua as Messiah. By their testimony, they were implying that they were in league together and could have given the impression to onlookers that they were of one accord.
All the people wondered in amazement, and said, “Could this be the Son of David (the Messiah)?” But the Pharisees heard it and said, “This man casts out demons only by [the help of] Beelzebul (Satan) the prince of the demons.”Matthew 12:23,24 Amplified Bible
It happened that as we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination [that is, a demonic spirit claiming to foretell the future and discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners a good profit by fortune-telling. She followed after Paul and us and kept screaming and shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God! They are proclaiming to you the way of salvation!” She continued doing this for several days. Then Paul, being greatly annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit [inside her], “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ [as His representative] to come out of her!” And it came out at that very moment.Acts 16:16-18 Amplified Bible
Righteousness should never be in partnership with darkness. (2 Corinthians 6)
Sisters and brothers, please be careful with any experimentation that seems to pull you or your loved ones toward this.
1 Naveen Joshi, “7 Types of Artificial Intelligence,” www.forbes.com, 2019 https://www.forbes.com/sites/cognitiveworld/2019/06/19/7-types-of-artificial-intelligence/?sh=7d45aed3233e, Last accessed April 7, 2023
“Uh oh, Chatbots Are Getting a Teeny Bit Sentient” (https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/a43601915/ai-chatbots-may-be-getting-sentient/)
“Legal expert issues AI warning after being defamed by ChatGPT” (https://www.wnd.com/2023/04/legal-expert-issues-ai-warning-defamed-chatgpt/)
Brenda Ross is a co-author of the book, “The Gospel Worth Dying For.” She is a former major market radio and television broadcaster who has served as Single’s Ministry Director at one of Houston’s Memorial Drive-area churches, a Jews for Jesus staff volunteer, and participated in mission outreach activities in Costa Rica, Mexico, and China. Urban mission experience includes volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity and catering to the homeless in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.