On God’s Priceless Algorithms

Phyllis Beveridge Nissila

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm…is a sequence of instructions, typically to solve a class of problems or perform a computation. (source)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”   (Jeremiah 1:4)


Robonaut 2. Photographer: Robert Markowitz.

I was listening to an algorithm expert the other night who said that when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI) the algorithms are still quite primitive. Humans needn’t worry so much about the all-powerful “singularity,” he said (i.e., the “hypothetical point in the future when technological growth becomes uncontrollable and irreversible, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization” source)

Apparently, the quantum leap in the evolution of Robby the Robot to Robert the Metal Mensa, able to leap tall intellects in a single spark of programmable  power (as long as he is plugged in) is not likely to occur anytime soon.

(Although, personally, one has to admit that the mechanical muts they piece together at Boston Dynamics, home of the BigDog, are some pretty impressive bits and bytes.)

Outside the computer lab, the algorithm expert enjoys keeping up on all the latest science fiction movies and novels, however, because that’s where the real AI whiz-bang is, he says, thanks to the power of human imagination (no electricity needed).

This got me to thinking about God’s algorithms, if you will, His instructions for His own creations, these being you and me and everyone else past, present, and future, each of us emerging not in some brick and mortar (and very expensive) walled-off industry compound, but at the spark of conception.

Actually, though, even long before that.

Before creation had yet pulsed to life at His command, our Creator “engraved us on the palms of (His) hands.” But that’s not all, even now our “walls are…before (Him)” (Isaiah 49:16).

The Psalmist put it like this concerning the “Divine white paper,” you might say, on each of us, where:

Your [God’s] eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Isaiah 49:16)

In the algorithm for each of us, cyphered before time, Our Creator (Who also cyphered time itself) knew us–not as “primitive” creations lacking any micro or macro component of our sum and total in need of continuous upgrades but complete as drawn-up, to emerge in the flesh in the fullness of our time, indeed, for such a time as this. (If Darwin only knew, right?)

Compute that!

And consider the price God paid for each of His algorithms.

Not a tax on man, like we pay for many of the extraordinary creations we build, but the price His own Son, Jesus, paid in full, on the cross, for every one.

As St. John put it in his Gospel account:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (3:16)

God invested the priceless for His priceless investments.

And, back in the earthly compound, no telling what we will come up with next (as long as we remember to pay the light bill).


Image of Robonaut from Wikimedia Commons


This entry was posted in Commentaries, Devotionals, devotionals and commentaries featuring technology, most recent posts and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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