Tag Archives: Son of God

What Question Would You Ask God?

What Question Would You Ask God?

Anne Foerst writes in “God in the Machine: What Robots Teach Us About Humanity and God“:

“What does it mean to be human? How can humanness be defined? Can we ever come up with criteria that distinguish us from animals – or, for that matter, from robots? And what exactly is our place and our purpose on this planet, in our sun system, in the universe? Are humans special, or are they just another random species on an insignificant planet?”

As computer scientists make great advances in the field of Artificial Intelligence the day looms when such questions may become crucial. No one knows when our technology will reach the point of either reproducing real intelligence, or mimicking it so accurately that even experts may have difficulty discerning the difference.

As early as 1950 Alan Turing proposed the possibility of creating a test to distinguish between human and machine intelligence. Today this is known as a Turing Test and various forms have been devised for commercial use on the Internet to try to weed out “bots,” or computer programs that attempt to imitate humans in leaving comments with thinly disguised spam to sell everything from smut to stocks.

One has to wonder if there might be a possibility of a kind of Turing Test for God. After all, if you were hiking in the Rocky Mountains and a bush started to glow and voice came out of the bush, would you have a good trick question or two to ask in order to make sure that the voice was the genuine article?

In Exodus 3 Moses has a pretty good question. He asks God what his name is. Apparently names had very significant meanings in ancient times so his question may be far more penetrating than we would at first suspect. The traditional translation of the original Hebrew is that God replied that, “I AM THAT I AM.” Exodus 3:14

Some hold that “I AM” signifies God’s unchanging, and perhaps unfathomable nature. In the footnotes of the NIV translation they give an alternate answer which is, ” I will be what I will be.” This reflects the fact that the verb is in the future tense.

Author Joseph J. Dewey writes that he believes that Moses understood the answer to be something like, “I am becoming that which I decide to become.”

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Son of God?

Do you believe that Jesus was the one and only Son of God and that he made that claim? You may have read the following at some time:

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?

The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

John 10:31-36 King James translation

In the original Koine (“common“) Greek of the New Testament the word “the” in the above translation of “I am the Son of God” simply does not exist. I am not an expert on the language of the New Testament, but I have consulted with some who are. They tell me that generally if a definite article (“the” in grammar) is intended it will be written, but if an indefinite article (like “a“) is intended, it would often be omitted.

Probably a more accurate translation would have been “I am a son of God.”

That this is not nitpicking on my part can be seen in how some other modern translations handle this, e.g.:

‘I am God’s Son’?   New International Version
 Son of God I am?  Young’s Literal Translation
‘Son of God am I’?  Concordant Literal New Testament

All avoid using “the” because it isn’t in the original, and all avoid using the indefinite article “a,” no doubt because it would be theologically significant. It would allow the possibility that Jesus is saying that he is a son of God in a way that doesn’t make a claim of being the one and only – the – Son of God.

Is there any other proof in the quote from John that Jesus really did mean to say that he was a son of God without claiming to be the one and only one? In fact there is. It is in the argument he is making.

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Originally posted on theNewAgeSite.com