Transhumanism and the Great Rebellion
This generation is witness to the emergence of a radical new social movement known as transhumanism. Expressing an unshakable faith in the continued and rapid advance of human technology, transhumanists look to the future with what can only be described as a religious fervor. Many of this movement’s adherents point to the singularity (an exponential increase in technological advancement so rapid the unaided human mind is unable to grasp its implications) as the climax of human civilization. Believing this event will usher in a new era for the human race in which limited mortals transcend their biological bodies and set out to conquer the universe, transhumanist anticipation of the singularity is comparable to Christian anticipation of the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Ironically, the bible points out that in the time just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ the world will be characterized by unparalleled human arrogance. Led by the Antichrist, the human race will not only launch a spiritual rebellion against God, but an actual physical confrontation between themselves and the King of kings, Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul foresaw this conflict almost 2,000 years ago:
“For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed – the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy every god there is and tear down every object of adoration and worship. He will position himself in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 (NLT)
The Tower of Babel
To properly understand the origins of this rebellion, we must first examine the development of human civilization in the aftermath of the flood. It is a time marked by another rebellion first chronicled in Genesis Chapter 11. It’s the story of the Tower of Babel:
“At one time the whole world spoke a single language and used the same words. As the people migrated eastward, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there. They began to talk about construction projects. ‘Come,’ they said, ‘let’s make great piles of burnt brick and collect natural asphalt to use as mortar. Let’s build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies – a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world.’
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. ‘Look!’ he said. ‘If they can accomplish this when they have just begun to take advantage of their common language and political unity, just think of what they will do later. Nothing will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and give them different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.’
In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the earth; and that ended the building of the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because it was there that the Lord confused the people by giving them many languages, thus scattering them across the earth.” Genesis 11:1-9 (NLT)
In this story, God scatters the human race and confuses them with different languages. His reason for doing so is to avoid the inevitable disaster wrought by global government and a common language. Why are these things a concern? Because if they continue unabated, in due time, “nothing will be impossible” for the human race. This is more than a flippant comment by God. It’s a prophecy of things to come.
It’s a prophecy of something so bad, God put a stop to it the moment He first saw it. God knew that, left to pursue its technological development, the human race would one day challenge Him. After all, what was the motive for building the Tower of Babel in the first place?
“Let’s build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies – a monument to our greatness!” Genesis 11:4 (NLT)
The human race set out to build a monument to its own greatness, exalting mankind above God and extending its tower far into heaven with the sole intent of usurping God’s glory and authority. This innate human desire did not end with the Tower of Babel. It continues to this day, and soon it will result in one final attempt to usurp the authority of God.
The Great Lie
The motive for this great rebellion will be predicated on lies. The bible predicts that deception will be rampant in the end times. And just as God hardened the heart of Pharaoh for putting faith in his own power, He will do the same to the inhabitants of the earth who will become drunk with their own power:
“So God will send great deception upon them, and they will believe all these lies.” 2 Thessalonians 2:11 (NLT)
Paul makes it clear that these people will be deluded into believing “the lies.” But what exactly are the “lies” to which he refers? A cursory examination of the first book of the Bible reveals a quote from the originator of lies. In fact, it’s the very first lie referenced in the bible:
“‘You won’t die!’ the serpent hissed. ‘God knows that your eyes will be opened when you eat it. You will become just like God, knowing everything, both good and evil.’” Genesis 3:4-5 (NLT)
These lies from the Garden of Eden are the same lies to which Paul refers. The same lies which brought sin into the world will be the same lies which spark the ultimate rebellion against God Almighty. Humanity will come full circle. In the last days, the same construction projects envisioned by the Tower of Babel architects will result in mankind achieving a level of technological sophistication so advanced that “nothing will be impossible for them.” The human race will come to believe the great lies of the serpent.
In his arrogance, man will believe he is:
3) Just like God
Mankind will mimic the earth-shattering arrogance of Lucifer by freely joining in his rebellious attempt to usurp the throne of God. Because without Jesus Christ, fallen mankind’s ambition is the same as Lucifer’s. Centuries ago, Isaiah described this fallen being and his sinister motives:
“How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, ‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.’” Isaiah 14:12-14 (NLT)
In the last days, this passage will not only be an accurate depiction of Satan, but of all mankind.
The Transhumanist Movement
The latest incarnation of man’s rebellion against God is the transhumanist movement. Many within the movement believe the singularity will lead to the emergence of “post-biological humans” who are able to shed their biological bodies and “upgrade their hardware.” Others believe that by downloading themselves into a network, they will effectively become “immortal.” True believers have modified their diets, exercise regimens, and entire lifestyle in an effort to increase the likelihood of living to witness human reversal of the aging process and eventual human “immortality.”
Ray Kurzweil – inventor, author, and transhumanist – is considered one of the best in the world at accurately forecasting short-term and intermediate technological trends. In Chapter 7 of his bestselling book “The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology,” he describes his view of the ultimate outcome of our technological advance:
“The matter and energy in our vicinity will become infused with the intelligence, knowledge, creativity, beauty, and emotional intelligence (the ability to love, for example) of our human-machine civilization. Our civilization will then expand outward, turning all the dumb matter and energy we encounter into sublimely intelligent – transcendent – matter and energy. So in a sense, we can say the Singularity will ultimately infuse the universe with spirit.”
According to Kurzweil, the universe will be infused with “spirit” as a result of the natural advance of our human-machine civilization. This infers that the universe is not already infused with “spirit,” and that if God exists, His designs are inferior to those that will be created by the predicted human-machine civilization.
In the next paragraph, he describes the advancement of the human-machine civilization as approaching the very conception of God. Ironically, he admits that the accelerating growth of evolution can never achieve the infinite character traits exclusive to God:
“Evolution moves toward greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love. In every monotheistic tradition God is likewise described as all of these qualities, only without any limitation: infinite knowledge, infinite intelligence, infinite beauty, infinite creativity, infinite love, and so on. Of course, even the accelerating growth of evolution never achieves an infinite level, but as it explodes exponentially it certainly moves rapidly in that direction. So evolution moves inexorably toward this conception of God, although never quite reaching this ideal. We can regard, therefore, the freeing of our thinking from the severe limitations of its biological form to be an essentially spiritual undertaking.”
The concluding sentence of this paragraph should send up red flags for every student of bible prophecy. According to Kurzweil, as the human race moves forward, it will seek to free its thinking “from the severe limitations of its biological form”. The bible reveals that one day mankind will gather its armies in an attempt to “break the chains of God and set themselves free from His bondage.” Psalm 2 describes this confrontation:
“Why do the nations rage? Why do the people waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against His Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry. ‘And free ourselves from this slavery.’ But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them.” Psalm 2:1-4 (NLT)
Could this passage describe an attempt by post-biological humans to overthrow the rule of God? Could the chains which hold them in bondage be the “severe limitations of their biological form”? Remember, when this event occurs, Satan and his fallen angels are also inhabitants of the earth:
“Rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea. For the Devil has come down to you in great anger, and he knows that he has little time.” Revelation 12:12 (NLT)
In his arrogance and desperation, Satan will advance the dark powers of the spiritual realm, aided by a fallen mankind with powers beyond our current limitations, in a last ditch effort to defeat God. The technological advancements of the near future will provide mankind with unprecedented power, and the ambitious goals of the transhumanist movement are already in direct conflict with God Himself.
The following verse provides additional support for believing transhumanism will play a pivotal role in this final rebellion. In the New Testament, when Jesus describes the signs of His Coming to the disciples, He makes an interesting statement in light of our times:
“And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24:22 (KJV)
Throughout the centuries, this verse has been interpreted as meaning the Second Coming of Christ will arrive just in time to save the human race from itself, meaning human wars would threaten to cause the extinction of the human race. However, it might mean that “no flesh will be saved” because a nakedly ambitious human race will transform itself into a race of “post-biological humans” intent on reshaping the universe according to an alternative agenda.
Given the history of human rebellion against God, it would be unwise to discount this possibility.
The Great Rebellion
Just as Paul prophesied, human ambition will ultimately lead to a great rebellion against God. This rebellion will reach its zenith at Armageddon, an actual geographical location in modern day Israel. The gathering of the world’s armies at Armageddon will not be (as some believe) a war of humans versus humans, but rather a literal physical confrontation between rebellious mankind and the King of kings, Jesus Christ. In addition to Psalm 2, this battle is referenced multiple times in scripture, and it’s clearly referenced twice in the Book of Revelation:
“These miracle-working demons caused all the rulers of the world to gather for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16:14 (NLT)
“Then I saw the beast gathering the kings of the earth and their armies in order to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army.” Revelation 19:19 (NLT)
The “one sitting on the horse” is identified as Jesus Christ. Literally interpreted, both these passages state that the world will gather for battle against Jesus Christ. The bible is clear about this, yet for countless generations, these passages have been interpreted as a mere spiritual battle and not as a literal physical conflict. It’s not difficult to image why. The idea of mankind physically engaging God in battle seems so preposterous that these passages have given way to numerous symbolic interpretations over the years. Yet scripture is clear. Remember what God Himself said about the human race that will ultimately fulfill His Tower of Babel prophecy – “nothing will be impossible for them!”
In fact, the Book of Daniel reveals that the Antichrist will manage to attack “the heavenly armies, throwing some of the heavenly beings and stars to the ground and trampling them”:
“From one of the prominent horns came a small horn whose power grew very great. It extended toward the south and east and toward the glorious land of Israel. His power reached to the heavens where it attacked the heavenly armies, throwing some of the heavenly beings and stars to the ground and trampling them. He even challenged the Commander of heaven’s armies by canceling the daily sacrifices offered to him and by destroying his Temple.” Daniel 8:9-11 (NLT)
The power of the Antichrist and the human beings of his era will far exceed what our generation can currently imagine. As proof, Daniel describes a time when the Antichrist will engage Jesus Christ Himself in battle:
“He will even take on the Prince of princes in battle, but he will be broken, though not by human power.” Daniel 8:25 (NLT)
The human race, led by the Antichrist, will take on the Lord Himself in battle. Like the Tower of Babel generation, the arrogance of this final generation will extend all the way into the heavens, where the human race will attempt to usurp the glory and authority of God Himself. But just like the Tower of Babel generation, their efforts will end in utter failure.
The transhumanist agenda serves as a reminder of what the human race is without the blood of Jesus Christ – an enemy of God. A movement which views its ultimate purpose as bringing enlightenment to the universe sets itself up in direct opposition to God’s own purpose. This is the very definition of rebellion, and it’s the inevitable result of fallen mankind’s sinful nature.
Yet despite our sinful nature, God provided us with the free gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ. All we have to do is accept this gift. Those who accept it will experience peace and everlasting life, but those who reject it will become slaves to sin, and their ambition – like Satan’s – will one day lead to an outright physical confrontation with God Himself. It’s a battle that God will win.
Britt Gillette is founder of BrittGillette.Com, a website examining the relationship between bible prophecy and emerging trends in technology. For more information or to sign up for his email alerts, please visit http://www.brittgillette.com