Is the Singularity the Rapture?
In the near future, the advance of human technology will become so rapid the unaided human mind will be unable to comprehend its implications.
The point in time at which this occurs is generally known as "the singularity," and many believe it will usher in a new and exciting era for the human race.
Throughout the world, many intellectuals and futurists have noted their belief in the nearness of the singularity, with quite a few predicting it will occur within our generation.
Some proponents of the singularity have promised immortality and post-biological bodies for the human race, prompting many adherents to draw parallels between these events and the prophesied rapture of the bible.
Lacking a clear understanding of bible prophecy, some of these people have come to believe that the singularity and the rapture are one and the same. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
So let's examine the facts about the singularity and the rapture.
What is the Singularity?
As previously stated, the singularity is a future point in time when societal, economic, and technological change increases at such a rapid pace that the unaided human mind cannot begin to comprehend its implications.
The concept of the singularity is built on the premise that human technological advancement is not linear, but rather exponential.
In other words, conventional wisdom (the linear view) holds that the next 100 years will bring the same amount of progress as the previous 100 years.
However, those who predict the singularity (the exponential view) believe the next 100 years might well bring the equivalent of twenty or more 20th Centuries of progress.
Mere observation tends to support the exponential view.
For instance, the 20th Century brought more technological progress than the 19th Century. And the 1990's brought more technological progress than the 1980's. As a result, it's logical to conclude that the human race is rapidly approaching the singularity.
What is Transhumanism?
In preparation for the singularity, a new worldwide social/religious movement has emerged: the Transhumanist Movement.
Identifying themselves "singularitarians" and "transhumanists," these people look forward to the singularity with a fervor usually reserved for religious zealots.
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 routines, and entire lifestyle in an effort to increase the likelihood of living to witness human reversal of the aging process and eventual human "immortality."
In light of the emergence of this new movement and its clearly stated goals, these words of warning from our Lord take on new meaning:
"In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, the entire human race will be destroyed. But it will be shortened for the sake of God's chosen ones." Matthew 24:22 (NLT)
Through the centuries, this verse has been interpreted to mean that the Glorious Appearing of Christ will arrive just before the human race managed to destroy itself in war. However, it could mean that "no flesh will be saved" because the human race will attempt to transform itself into a race of "post-biological humans."
Why Do Some People Believe This is the Rapture?
So why are some people arriving at the conclusion that the singularity and the transhumanist desire for post-biological bodies portend the rapture? What is the basis for this reasoning? Believe it or not, the root of this idea comes from scripture. However, as will soon be illustrated, the scriptures cited have been taken out of context.
Ray Kurzweil - inventor, author, and futurist - is widely regarded as a prominent expert in the transhumanist movement. In Chapter 7 of his bestselling book "The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology," he describes his view of humanity's post-biological future:
"What we are doing is transcending biology. The transformation underlying the Singularity is not just another in a long line of steps in biological evolution. We are upending biological evolution altogether." (Kurzweil, page 372)
Human transcendence of biology is a process which has already begun.
People who have pacemakers or artificial limbs are in a sense, merging with non-biological human technology.
As this technology advances, the human race will engage in much more sophisticated enhancement of the human body, including enhancement of brain power and the connecting of human brains to local or global networks. In addition, a person's exterior body could be modified to become stronger than steel, making them less susceptible to life-threatening trauma.
Some who foresee this future believe it will be a fulfillment of bible prophecy:
"And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die. For our perishable earthly bodies must be transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die." 1 Corinthians 15:52-53 (NLT)
In addition, they believe these post-biological bodies will enable them to inherit the Kingdom of God:
"Every human being has an earthly body just like Adam's, but our heavenly bodies will be just like Christ's. Just as we are now like Adam, the man of the earth, so we will someday be like Christ, the man from heaven. What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These perishable bodies of ours are not able to live forever." 1 Corinthians 15:48-50 (NLT)
Proponents of this idea believe that when humans shed their biological bodies (i.e. flesh and blood), the door will be opened to a new earthly paradise.
In addition, transhumanists believe the information in our brains (i.e. memories, knowledge, and the varying patterns that make a person unique) can be translated into code and uploaded into new hardware.
Imagine for a moment that a human body is like a computer, and the personal information you have on your computer comprises all the memories and knowledge of a lifetime. When your old computer becomes broken or obsolete, you simply get a new one. And when you do, you transfer all the important files and information from the old one (or a backup) onto the new one. This is a fairly accurate description of the transhumanist vision for humans.
Human bodies become obsolete. They decay and eventually stop functioning, and when they do, a person has no backup.
All their memories and knowledge are lost forever. Transhumanists believe they can halt this process by uploading a person's unique thoughts and brain patterns into a "more reliable vessel," one better equipped for long-term functionality than a mere biological entity. By creating backups of their brain patterns, decentralizing themselves over a network such as the Internet, and continually upgrading their hardware, transhumanists believe they can effectively live forever.
And some transhumanists believe a scriptural basis exists for this human immortality:
"When this happens - when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die - then at last the Scripture will come true: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?'" 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 (NLT)
Taken out of context, it's not difficult to see how someone could be deceived into believing the singularity and transhumanism will help them to cheat death. However, neither one addresses the root problem of death - sin.
And the only way to blot out sin is through the blood of Jesus Christ.
The Coming Deception
Already many have been deceived into believing the singularity and transhumanism are the means by which God will rapture His children. This is a gross misinterpretation of bible prophecy, and foreshadows the end of this age.
For as Paul wrote in his letter to Timothy:
"For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (NLT)
People will chase after these lies and myths because they will want to believe them.
Ultimately, the entire world will be hoodwinked by a master of deception who will feed their itching ears with exactly what they want to hear. In the years just prior to Christ's Glorious Appearing, this will set the stage for the world to be misled by the greatest false prophet in human history, the Antichrist.
Like every false messiah before him, the Antichrist will convince his followers he is the answer to the world's problems.
Paul tells us that those who become caught in this man's web of deceit will be guilty because they freely choose to enjoy evil while denying the truth:
"He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth." 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 (NLT)
If the Antichrist's appearance coincides with worldwide anticipation of the singularity, it's quite possible he could use the bold promises of the transhumanist movement to convince the world that he is the long-awaited Messiah.
Taking these bible prophecies out of context, the number of people who are now deceived by this falsehood will multiply rapidly.
After all, what greater lie can be told than that mankind can enjoy heavenly bodies and immortality without first shedding their sinful nature?
Why the Singularity and Transhumanism Are Not the Rapture
As previously stated, the singularity and transhumanism are not the methods deployed by God for the rapture.
Although some people have made this connection, bible prophecy must be taken out of context to draw such a conclusion. Below is a list (perhaps not comprehensive) of why the singularity and the rapture are not one and the same:
Post-Biological Humans Will Not Appear in the Twinkling of an Eye
The singularity and human transformation into a post-biological state will both occur rapidly, but not in a literal instant. In Chapter Six of "The Singularity Is Near," author Ray Kurzweil underscores this point:
"But this is not the primary way that I envision the transition to non-biological experience taking place. It will happen, rather, in the same way that all other paradigm shifts happen: gradually (but at an accelerating pace)." (Kurzweil, page 324)
Yet, the bible is clear that the rapture of the church will take place in "the twinkling of an eye":
"But let me tell you a wonderful secret God has revealed to us. Not all of us will die, but we will all be transformed. It will happen in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NLT)
The singularity is not the rapture, because the rapture occurs instantaneously.
The Rapture is Exclusive to Believers in Christ
The rapture is for Christians. When Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians, it was addressed to the church, the body of believers who place their faith in Jesus Christ:
"For when the trumpet sounds, the Christians who have died will be raised with transformed bodies. And then we who are living will be transformed so that we will never die." 1 Corinthians 15:52 (NLT)
Every human present on the earth during the time of its appearance will experience the singularity, but the rapture will be experienced exclusively by believers in Jesus Christ. Therefore, the singularity is not the rapture.
This Transformative Power Comes From God, Not Men
Transhumanists look forward to the day when immortal humans will be able to create and re-create different bodies at will. However, this is in direct conflict with how Paul describes the rapture:
"Then God gives it a new body - just the kind he wants it to have." 1 Corinthians 15:38 (NLT)
"For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. How we thank God, who gives us victory over sin and death through Jesus Christ our Lord!" 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 (NLT)
On its own, the human race will never achieve final authority over death. Death is the penalty for sin, and freedom from death can only be achieved through the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who washes away the sins of the world:
"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same mighty power that he will use to conquer everything, everywhere." Philippians 3:20-21 (NLT)
The singularity will be fueled and powered by the rapid advance of human technological development, but the rapture will be brought about through the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Therefore, the singularity is not the rapture.
The Transformative Power of the Rapture is Everlasting, Not Temporary
The singularity and human transformation into a post-biological state will provide the illusion of immortality, but not literal immortality. In Chapter Six of "The Singularity Is Near," author Ray Kurzweil underscores this point:
"By the middle of the twenty-first century humans will be able to expand their thinking without limit. This is a form of immortality, although it is important to point out that data and information do not necessarily last forever." (Kurzweil, page 325)
The transhumanist claim of immortality falls short of its stated goal, unlike the promise of the rapture which will result in spiritual bodies which will never perish:
"Our earthly bodies, which die and decay, will be different when they are resurrected, for they will never die. Our bodies now disappoint us, but when they are raised, they will be full of glory. They are weak now, but when they are raised, they will be full of power. They are natural human bodies now, but when they are raised, they will be spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, so also there are spiritual bodies." 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 (NLT)
One day, humanity might well achieve a post-biological state of being, but it will simply be trading in one fragile vessel for another. Those who participate in the rapture, however, will remain with Christ forever:
"Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words." 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 (NLT)
The singularity will herald a time of unprecedented human power, but this power will pale in comparison to the awesome power of God, meaning it cannot be eternal in nature. On the other hand, the rapture will bring with it the everlasting authority of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the singularity is not the rapture.
The Raptured Will No Longer Dwell on Earth, But in Heaven
While the transhumanist movement promises immortality on earth and in the unexplored depths of space, the rapture promises that believers will be caught up into the clouds to meet the Lord and that they will remain with Him forever:
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NLT)
The singularity is an event which will be powered by events on earth, but the rapture is an event which will take place in the clouds and effect certain individuals who live on the earth. Therefore, the singularity is not the rapture.
The bible is clear concerning the characteristics of the rapture.
It is an event that will be precipitated by the appearance of Jesus Christ in the clouds. It will happen in "the twinkling of an eye," and it will not be an event in which the whole world will participate.
The rapture will transform human bodies into spiritual bodies, while even the boldest of transhumanists claims merely assert that the singularity will transform fragile human bodies into relatively less fragile human bodies.
The singularity is simply not the rapture.
Despite the claims, which will no doubt increase in number as we approach the end of this age, no scriptural basis exists for believing otherwise.
As such, be careful that you aren't deceived by false prophets and messiahs who claim the singularity and the transhumanist movement will usher in an earthly paradise. One such person might be the Antichrist who Paul describes as one who will "use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction" 2 Thessalonians 2:10 (NLT).
Those who place their faith in the singularity and the transhumanist agenda will be greatly disappointed. The redemption of mankind does not come as a result of the rapid and powerful advance of human technology. Redemption only comes through the blood of Jesus Christ:
"For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus." Romans 3:23-26 (NLT)
Nevertheless, human beings are still inclined to believe they can conquer the power of death.
The prophet Isaiah foresaw these days, as well as the futility of those who would place their faith in that which is merely human:
"Don't put your trust in mere humans. They are as frail as breath. What good are they?" Isaiah 2:22 (NLT)
This is a brilliant observation, instructive to any generation. Instead of placing faith in fallen mankind and the material things of this world, people should put their faith in Jesus Christ. If they do, God promises they will never be disappointed:
"And anyone who believes in Him will never be disappointed." 1 Peter 2:6 (NLT)
Britt Gillette is the founder of End Times Bible Prophecy and the author of Coming To Jesus and Signs Of The Second Coming. Receive his book 7 Signs of the End Times for FREE when you sign up for his monthly newsletter.
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