[ Setting: A braided stream at the sand dunes. ]

SIMON:       (Whoa, this is so cool.) Oh, hello. I was just admiring the sand and water. (But, of course you created this setting. Now, what do I say to an angel?) My name is Simon.

ALLEGENTIA:       Nice to meet you, Simon. My names is Allegentia. By the way, you should know I can “hear” what you feel as well as what you project. Simply direct your thoughts toward me as a question or comment. What are you curious about? You can ask me anything.

SIMON:       Okay, I was a robotics engineer and was intrigued with the possibility of a machine eventually becoming sentient. In all the universe there must be intelligent machines, aren’t there?

ALLEGENTIA:       You would think so, and there are some Power Controllers so close to being automatons we refer to them as intelligent machines. However, their life did not spring forth spontaneously or evolve from the simple to the complex; it was bestowed by the Giver of Life. The universe is a strange and wonderful place, and some tasks are so unique they cannot be done by persons. For instance, there are energy beings with great intelligence but without personality who are stationed in the center of evolving galaxies. They are enjoying, in their own way, the long and lonely task of nebula building.
     A human created machine cannot rise above itself. I know humans wrote a good deal of fiction about self-aware robots, but at best a sophisticated machine would only be able to mimic the formulas and patterns of human behavior as programmed. Robots can analyze many existing pre-programmed options and even put some of those options together in new ways, if told to do so, but an original thought is beyond them. And, of course, even what we would call virtue is, at best, an embedded subroutine enacted automatically.

SIMON:       I helped build an autonomous car to make its own decisions, well, sort of anyway. We programmed what it needed to get through traffic without incident.

ALLEGENTIA:       You and your team, all human, gave your vehicle the parameters for its decisions. Human learning goes far beyond what a machine can do.
     A machine cannot control its own destiny because it has no free will. It cannot know the meaning of meanings because it is not conscious. It cannot look behind a meaning to peer ever deeper into the cosmic mind. And it has no insight because it has no soul. A machine cannot fathom the creative spirit; it can imitate but has no imagination. Even though it may be animate, it is not alive.
     All self-aware beings are remarkable in many ways. Perhaps the most significant is that they can become more than they are. They are self-creating works in progress.
     As a scientist your actions were filled with values, especially those of wonder and curiosity. You wanted to discover new information and you were motivated to do some good for your fellows. Your knack to classify, measure, and evaluate – not only your work but your self – proves you were self-conscious. Growth is available only to spirit-led beings.

SIMON:       But there is obviously an interface between matter and life. I still assume there would be someone who would be able to design and manufacture something complex and complete enough to support life.

ALLEGENTIA:       You are correct about the designers of complex body forms; as a matter of fact the next body you will inhabit is made lovingly by hand by very specialized angels. But the life, mind, and spirit are not inherent in the physical structure. They must be encircuited, associated, and activated by the Life Source.
     It is often assumed a robotic brain could do the same thing a human brain does if it were able to compute billions of calculations per second. But it is not sentient and it never will be, no matter how fast it computes. Your computers are getting more sophisticated, and you have already seen they can outperform most human brains in some areas, but consciousness does not emerge from the mechanical or biological brain; it is a mind feature.
     You understand there are several systems which need to interact in concert in order for the whole to function properly. The design criteria on evolving planets is to produce a being capable of original and meaningful communication with higher systems and beings. The fact your soul-mind is capable of conversation with an angel indicates the system has succeeded.

SIMON:       I guess it does. I will be very interested to see what kind of machines you angels have come up with. You do have machines in heaven, I presume.

ALLEGENTIA:       We have long since fused our mechanical needs with artistic endeavors. And advancing humans are always encouraged to participate. As old as our civilization is, we are continually surprised at the imaginative ways people, who have just come up from some isolated world, can see things in new ways. It will indeed intrigue you.

SIMON:       I have also always been intrigued with the source of all things. Our science called it the Big Bang, but I always thought if I got a chance to ask someone (who might really know the answer) I would ask. Can you tell me about the beginning?

ALLEGENTIA:       Your scientists have calculated the current state of the universe and found it is expanding. Their measurements are essentially accurate, but they have concluded (and unfortunately it has become dogma) the expansion will continue forever; calculating backwards posits a beginning in a single point – the Big Bang. In fact the universe breathes in a two-billion-year expansion/contraction cycle. The Big Bang is simply a way of saying there is an uncaused cause, or an origin without an identifiable source. Some scientists would also add, “yet,” but the cause will never be found in the physical universe.
     Even though there are unfathomable mysteries in the infinite, everything is connected – from the first Fact of the Infinite to the consequent facts of the finite. The steps from Absolute Reality to finite matter is a fascinating process involving many intervening personalities. When you get to the other side ask your guardian angels to direct you to the people who can get you started on understanding it.
     When you ask for the source of all matter, the answer is God. When you ask for the source of all spirit, the answer is God. How can this be? Because God is the Uncaused Cause both science and religion have been looking for. Infinity pervades the finite. The finite is a bubble within eternity. The finite does seem overwhelmingly vast from inside, but compared to the real nature of eternity it is small indeed. The beginning of space-time was a big bang of sorts although trillions of years older than current earth science estimates. This existential beginning lost in the depths of eternity we call the Crystallization.

SIMON:       Things are certainly going to be fascinating.