Are you a car or a computer? “That’s silly,” you say. “I’m neither. I’m a human being.”
True enough, but let’s pursue the question anyway. Cars and computers have one thing in common with us humans: we all need intelligence in order to function properly. However, cars don’t have an intelligence of their own. A car needs an intelligent operator to get inside, start the engine, and drive off. When the intelligent operator arrives at his destination, he turns off the ignition, and the car “dies.” The intelligent operator then gets out of the “dead” car and takes care of his business.
A computer is different. Its intelligence is built in. However, that intelligence lies dormant until the computer is connected to an electrical power source. When electricity enters the computer, it comes “alive” and can carry out its intelligent tasks. When the power is disconnected, the computer’s intelligence “dies.” THE COMPUTER STILL NEEDS A HUMAN TO PLUG IT INTO ELECTRICITY.
Some people believe that, like a car, our intelligence arises from a soul that resides in our bodies. This soul is immortal and can never die, so when the body dies, the soul leaves the body and continues its intelligent activity elsewhere.
Other people believe that our intelligence, like that of a computer, is built in. It arises exclusively from the interaction of the nerve cells in our physical brains. However, like the computer, the brain needs a source of power outside itself to turn it on so its intelligence can function. The Bible’s creation story helps us understand which way we humans are made—whether like a car or a computer. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (italics added). Notice two things. First, like the computer, Adam’s body and ours, including our brains, are made out of physical material. However, it was only after God breathed the breath of life into Adam that his brain turned on and he became an intelligent living being. That’s the computer model, not the car model.