In 2005, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil wrote a book called “The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology.” In this work, and many times since, Kurzweil has given voice to an evolving, and increasingly accepted idea, that humanity is on the verge of a tipping point that we can never come back from.
With exponential growth in the technologies of computers, genetics, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, we, some believe, are on the verge of a moment in time when machine intelligence will outpace human intelligence and a moment where the two will merge.
Imagine a day where you can learn a foreign language in an instant – by simply having a chip inserted in your brain for Chinese, or French, or Swahili.
Imagine a day when your brain has exponentially more computational power because it is melded with artificial intelligence. In actuality, this day is ALREADY upon us because, we have already begun to use our smart phones as brain extenders.
As the world celebrates Christmas, we remember a different kind of singularity. Instead of a melding of brain and tech, Christmas points to the melding of the human and the divine that happened when Jesus, the Son of God, was born in a Bethlehem manger.
And from this tipping point, there has been no coming back. The singular nature of this Galilean’s life is embedded in history as the literal turning point – B.C. and A.D.
Christmas celebrates the singularity of incarnation – of God wrapping himself in human flesh.
Christmas celebrates the singularity that God, transcendent and eternal, cares so much about people like us that he, the Creator, humbled himself and was born into his creation so that we might find meaning and salvation.
Christmas celebrates the singularity that God understands us . . . REALLY understands us. He was born into our world, suffered with us, experienced all sorts of temptations and trials. The ramifications of this are breathtaking. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 5.15-16 NIV).”
This singularity is what the New Testament refers to as “The Gospel” (Good News). The story of Jesus from birth to death points to the truth that we matter to God. It demonstrates his love and concern for us.
As we unwrap gifts over the next week or so – may we not lose sight of this one. The singularity of Christmas. God became one of us so that he could set us free from sin and death. Because of Christmas, we have hope.