Why the Imago Dei (Image of God) closes the door to transhumanism

Transhumanist ideology is on the rise among scholars who profess Christianity. The question must therefore be asked: is the dream of a post-human existence (Human+) compatible with the Christian faith? More precisely, is transhumanism (H+) compatible with the doctrine of Adam and Eve as the first humans created in “the image of God” (imago Dei)?

The answer is no. The biblical doctrine that the image of God exists in every human person – and also in humanity as a whole – closes the door to transhumanism. We can see this if we look at what the Bible teaches about anthropology, ethics, and salvation in Christ alone.

Anthropology: Who Does the Bible Say We Are?

First, the transhumanist story of human origins and human destiny+ denies that God created human persons with a fixed and definitive nature that glorifies our Creator. In practical terms, H+ is a Gnostic enterprise that celebrates the immaterial embodiment – ​​and disparages the material – of our souls. In contrast, the Bible teaches that although the image of God was distorted by the Fall (Genesis 3), the impact of sin did not destroy the sacred nature of the human person. Nor did it undermine the intrinsic value of our “soul” bodies.

The paradox of man’s sacredness and sinfulness is resolved in the apostle Paul’s affirmation of our identity in Christ (Galatians 2:19-20). For Paul, the incarnation of Christ, his subsequent death and resurrection, affirm the dignity of our body, and yet promise to transform every believer into a glorified state. In 1 Corinthians 15:49, he assures believers that “as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.” The transformation offered by the cross of Jesus Christ does not imply that humans evolve into anything beyond the human. Even in the final eschaton, when our salvation is made complete, Scripture does not teach that we somehow transcend humanity. The image of the heavens of which Paul speaks is a glorification of our humanity, body and soul, and not the elimination of it. Therefore, the beauty of our humanity as it exists today – seen through the prism of Christ’s redemption – closes the door to transhumanism which treats the human species as a short stop in an infinite spectrum of evolved forms. .

Ethics: What kind of ethics underlies transhumanism?

Second, H+ is the programmatic dehumanization of humanity. Just as Darwinists search for the missing link to our past, transhumanists seek to make every human a new link to our unknown future. For transhumanists, the value of an individual person is tied to their perceived usefulness as an agent of technological change. Rights and dignity are linked first to the survival of the collective and only secondarily to the individual. Humans are no longer a uniform gender but an ever-changing hierarchy of lesser beings against higher beings.

Therefore, the Christian duty to care for the sick and the poor is transformed into a duty to advance the species by giving economic privilege to the stronger. Ultimately, this Nietzschean view of evolution Übermensch does not eliminate suffering but justifies the use of techniques that cause individuals to suffer for the greater good of the species. And while the pursuit of technology to eradicate suffering, biological defects and infirmities is consistent with biblical Christianity, the sacrifice of the imago dei on the altar of the collective good closes the door to transhumanism.

Salvation is in Christ alone, not in Christ plus technology

Finally, Christian transhumanists use ambiguous terminology to inappropriately link technological transformation to the Bible. To achieve technological salvation, the human body is diminished and debased as an obstacle to Human+. Given transhumanist anthropology, it is not surprising that their theology emphasizes technology as a pathway to post-human salvation. To assert their point of view, transhumanists dither on the term “change” in the Darwinian sense of random mutation and equate it with “change” in the biblical sense of salvation by the cross of Christ. Despite this assertion, there is no etymological, scientific, or hermeneutical connection between biological/technological change and biblical change, except in the imagination of transhumanist theologians.

Finally, it is a category error to equate the universal salvation of the human species through technological progress with the particular salvation of the individual person through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Moreover, what H+ soteriology proposes is not the salvation of humanity. in itself but the elimination of humanity in favor of a transcendent human+ race. The mission of self-evolution beyond humanity asks the question, how is humanity “saved” by technological advancement designed to eliminate humanity? In the light of Scripture, transhumanist soteriology appears only to be a rereading of the work of Isaac Asimov. I robot, where the AI ​​determines that the only way to save humanity is to exterminate humanity. In the final analysis, it seems obvious that the biblical doctrine of imago dei closes the door to transhumanism.


Here are the five short essays in JR Miller’s series:

With transhumanism, what happens to human rights? The transhumanist accepts suffering for the individual if the suffering can advance the evolution of the species towards immortality and singularity. If humans can redefine what it means to be human, what’s stopping us from weeding out anyone who opposes this grand vision? (January 1, 2022)

Eugenics, transhumanism and artificial intelligence If we managed to create an ethical decision-making AI, what ethics would it obey? The utilitarian goal of a “sustainable future” must be guided by higher ethics in order to avoid the grave mistakes of the past. (January 13, 2022)

Human+’s Deadly Dream Look at the price to pay… Some are willing to sacrifice real humans now for the hope of future immortality. Without a fixed and definitive definition of the human person, there is no basis for a fixed and definitive ethics of “human” rights. (January 20, 2022)

Can Christian ethics save transhumanism? JR Miller examines the idea that the mission of self-evolution through technology is “the definitive Christian commitment”. According to Miller, Christian transhumanists do not provide a stable and persistent definition of the human person and therefore cannot ground human rights. (February 27, 2022)

and

Why the imago Dei (Image of God) closes the door to transhumanism. As the belief that technology promises us a glorious post-human future grows among scholars who profess Christianity, we must ask ourselves some tough questions. The mission of self-evolution beyond humanity asks the question, how is humanity “saved” by technological advancement designed to eliminate humanity? (March 20, 2022)