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Keywords:

  • artificial intelligence;
  • Karl Barth;
  • creation;
  • image of God;
  • imago Dei;
  • robots;
  • Gerhard von Rad

There is remarkable convergence between twentieth-century interpretations of the image of God (imago Dei), what it means for human beings to be created in God's image, and approaches toward creating in our own image in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). Both fields have viewed the intersection between God and humanity or humanity and computers in terms of either (1) a property or set of properties such as intelligence, (2) the functions we engage in or are capable of, or (3) the relationships we establish and maintain. Each of these three approaches reflects a different understanding of what stands at the core of our humanity. Functional and relational approaches were common in the late twentieth century, with a functional understanding the one most accepted by society at large. A relational view, however, gives new insights into human dignity in a computer age as well as new approaches to AI research.