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Jesus and the singularity

Jesus and the singularity

This sanctuary calls to mind the end of the world.

St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal is a unique cathedral in that it was built in the 20th century. As I walk inside, I’m immediately struck by the style of it. With its massive concrete arches – between which are machine-like ribbing – and the rows of boxed lights, it has, in my eyes, a look of German Expressionism, like the silent film Metropolis (a reference few people know any more).

The point is, it’s a strikingly different look for a cathedral. On side walls are elongated statues, which I photograph looking up to catch the wonderful shadows of the arches above. I’m loving this. It reminds me that Jesus “is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) We can worship him not only in different cultures, but different times.

The glowing ring above the altar catches my eye. It looks like a descending spacecraft, or a circle of computer data – either of which would be a jarring addition to a house of worship. But the ring has prompted me to think of the age to come.

I’ve been watching the rise of AI in the news. Artificial Intelligence has been developing incredibly fast in the past couple of years. It’s already having an impact on jobs. And futurists talk about the possibility of an event called The Singularity: when AI becomes so smart, that we’re no longer in control of it. Essentially, we become subservient to the thing we’ve created.

A thing that will have no understanding of God. It’s a grim thought.

How should we think about the future? How should we evaluate these scenarios of man-made doom? (I’ll throw global warming in, as well.) Scripture seems to say that sin will drive humanity to self-destruct, but that before that happens, Christ will return, visible to all.

In light of that, how should we live? Paul has this to say:

The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. (Romans 13:11-12)

It’s important to frame this up. Right before this verse, Paul teaches of how love is so essential, it sums up all the law. Then right after this, he speaks about living holy lives. All this is wrapped in the metaphors of dark and light – these days are as black as night, but it’s time to wake up! Don’t participate in the dark things but clothe yourselves in Jesus.

Paul encourages me. Things may be dark and getting darker. But every day, we inexorably move closer to the full dawning of the rule of the King. The trouble that precedes that shouldn’t be our focus. We have our eyes on the approaching Day.

Whatever the coming cataclysm, it doesn’t change how we live now. We are to love and live in integrity.

To be singularly his.

Jesus, we wait for you, for you will have the final word on this world. You are the Daybreak we all are waiting for. Help us not to fear the future but look with expectation for our coming salvation.

Reader: What’s your favorite German silent film? Just kidding. I’m used to being the biggest movie nerd in any crowd. But if you have thoughts on today’s post, email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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