Original Research - Special Collection: Theology and Nature

The scope of human creative action: Created co-creators, imago Dei and artificial general intelligence

Braden Molhoek
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 2 | a7697 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i2.7697 | © 2022 Braden Molhoek | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2022 | Published: 29 July 2022

About the author(s)

Braden Molhoek, Department of Theology and Ethics, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, United States of America; Department of Systematic Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between artificial general intelligence (AGI) and the image of God. After identifying various models that Christian theologians use to classify or define the imago Dei, particular attention will be given to the ‘created co-creator’ model. Scholars have interpreted this model in different ways, based on the nature of human creative action. This action is seen as either subordinate to divine creation action or the human creative action is truly cooperative with divine creative action. Whether AGI would be made in the image of God in these models is then explored, highlighting the differences between humans as sub-creators versus humans as cooperative co-creators. If human creative action is cooperative, then the question arises as to whether AGI can be made in ‘the image of humanity’. Some elements of this image are explored, and then the discussion turns to whether AGI would be made in ‘the image of humanity’, and if so, could AGI still be made in the image of God?

Contribution: The argument concludes by pointing to future work using the various models of imago Dei to help inform the relationship between humans and AGI by briefly mentioning two examples.


Keywords

science and religion; imago Dei; artificial intelligence; AGI; Phil Hefner; created co-creator; image of humanity

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