Transhumanism: Sin and Hubris

Last night during my interview with Derek Gilbert, he asked me for a theological justification for opposing transhumanism. My first answer was to think of the humility of Christ. He came in the form of a humble servant and laid down his life. This seems antithetical to enhancement and life extension. We have eternal life in Christ, not science. Of course, this is only meaningful if one is a Christian.  Yet I would submit that if one is not yet a Christian they have a bigger problem than whether or not they should enhance themselves. That aside, this is what the Lord led me to in my research and I think provides a very clear explanation:

As far as the question, “Can a Christian be a transhumanist”, that one need ask reveals a wayward heart condition. Transhumanism is less a sin as it is hubris. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology makes the distinction that:

Whereas hubris signifies the attempt to transcend the limitations appointed by fate, sin refers to an unwillingness to break out of our narrow limitations in obedience to the vision of faith. While hubris connotes immoderation, sin consists in misplaced allegiance. Hubris is trying to be superhuman; sin is becoming inhuman. Hubris means rising to the level of the gods; sin means trying to displace God or living as if there were no God. (Bloesch 2001, 1104)

Based on this, transhumanism is hubris of the highest order while becoming post human is a sin. The “obedience to the vision of faith” spoken of above is not Tillich’s or Hefner’s but Paul’s. The Apostle exhorted the Colossians to “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” (Col 3:12). Tillich, Hefner and Ledford all demonstrate a gross misunderstanding of the human condition. Humans are both finite and sinful. We lack the wisdom and moral purity necessary to decide matters of human “perfection.” Therefore, it is immoral and sinful to use such technologies to enhance or evolve humanity. Christians must take an informed stand on transhumanism understanding both the appropriate use of technology and the potential dangers it presents. Thus a theology of healing as opposed to enhancement must be developed in accordance with sound biblical guidelines.

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Cris, I appreciate your hubris connection. This indeed is the heart of the issue; to be as God. Furthermore, this hubris goes beyond the individual desire for aggrandizement: it seeks to play God with the lives of others by radically re-arranging society.

    Good job, Cris.

  2. Cris Putnam says:

    Thanks Carl, I appreciate your work as well and cited the recent “Forcing Change” in my paper.

  3. Bret Major says:

    It seems to me that the genie is out of the bottle on this one. Most people who know anything about this technology would think it’s the holy grail and will help us to live longer and better. Of course, it’s advertised that way. Replacement parts, like knees and hips are a good thing, however, when there is nano-tech that can alter someones soul, then we have forever stepped over a line similar to what we did in Gen 11, where God says, ‘nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them’. Huberis indeed. This is one of those things that makes me think that His return is soon.

  4. Hi Cris. I have responded to your criticism of Christian Transhumanism here:

    http://lincoln.metacannon.net/2011/02/response-to-cris-putnam-on-christian.html

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