A Movement Few Are Discussing
Most individuals I run across are familiar with the term “transgenderism” as referencing the belief that one can change their gender. Clearly, as an individual who affirms Scripture, I would repudiate that idea. Another devastating movement arising that fewer are aware of is that of transhumanism. This word is hefty, but the goal is simple, it “is a way of thinking about the future that is based on the premise that the human species in its current form does not represent the end of our development but rather a comparatively early phase.”1 Putting it simply, transhumanism is concerned with the idea of being something beyond human at some point in the future.
The amount of individuals I hear discussing this movement on the conservative and evangelical side of the aisle is still relatively few. Certainly, there are plenty of issues to be diving into right now, indeed, as a blogger finding subjects to write about is not difficult. It is not a matter of whether or not you can see a target on your horizon, but instead focusing on which issue you want to hit out of the abundance laid before you. Nonetheless, we as Christians need to be ahead of the game on this issue and so I want to do my little part in helping to raise awareness about it by giving a foundational examination of this movement.
Two Different Foundations
Transhumanism is inseparable from the ideas of evolution. Note this quote by Max Moore:
“Transhumanism is a class of philosophies of life that seek the continuation and acceleration of the evolution of intelligent life beyond its currently human form and human limitations by means of science and technology, guided by life-promoting principles and values.”2
Note the reference to evolution and its central place here. Transhumanism is built upon the idea that human beings evolved from some other life form into their current state and will continue that process of evolving into something different in the future. In other words, the atheistic worldview of evolution is the foundation of the transhumanist belief that we can become something other than human by the means of technological and scientific innovation. If we are going to properly respond to the transhumanist’s ideas, we must start here at the root.
Reading through the Scripture, one readily sees that evolution and Christianity are incompatible with one another. Genesis 1:1 says “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Now, hold on one second because that massive sound you hear in the background is that of evolution imploding upon itself. The entirety of this world, the universe, and all of creation did not stem from random chance. It was created by God and therefore is defined by Him. Transhumanism believes mankind is a product of evolution and should use the means available to himself in order to shape his own destiny determining what he shall be in the future. Christianity says there is a God who creates everything for His own glory and governs all things according to the counsel of His holy will. In one worldview, man is falsely placed in the seat of deity having the ability to determine his future. Yet, in the other, God is given His rightful place and mankind must bow before His will. Transhumanism and Christianity start at two incredibly different points and thus have very distinct goals.
Two Different Views of Humanity
It is right for us to see the different foundations Christianity and transhumanism are standing upon, but we also need to understand they have two very different views of humanity. Nick Bostrom, a faculty member at Oxford, clearly articulates the transhumanist viewpoint:
“Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways.”3
Again, we see the belief in the divinity of man having his ability to remold himself as he desires. This statement reminds me of the last verse in the book of Judges, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25).” Christianity differs from this lie promoted by transhumanism. The eugenicists thought they could remake the future for man as well, their efforts produced many of the greatest atrocities known in history. Biblical Christianity says that humanity is made in God’s image. Yes, we have fallen into sin, but we are wonderfully and splendidly created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 states:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” -Genesis 1:27
What does it mean for human beings to be made in God’s image? Dr. Owen Strachan explains this concept with great precision:
“The image, then, is not fundamentally a trait or attribute. Rather, humanity is made in the image of God. To see humanity is to see the likeness of God. The human race is a living testimony to its Creator. The lordly nature of the human race in all the creation owes to the race’s God-revealing status: man’s splendour is his likeness to God.”4
Christians understand the truth that we have been made by God as human beings and as His creatures, we must submit to that reality. Can we use technological advancements like hearing aids and other concepts of that sort? Absolutely! But, using a hearing aid is much different from trying to become something other than human. The atrocious reality is that a false view of humanity always has consequences. Those who believe they can follow the transgender movement and become something other than the gender God made them are reaping devastation. When many had a false view of humanity believing those with darker colored skin were something less than human, the results were absolute tragedy. The belief that children in the womb are less than human has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent babies. Incorrect beliefs will produce rotten fruit.
The Christian Stand
To talk about transhumanism may seem philosophical or as though we are taking the time to discuss something that only a few fringe individuals believe. However, many would have said the same thing about the transgender movement only a few short years ago. We as believers need to stand on this issue without compromise. First, our love for God should cause us to seek for His creation to function in the way He created it. Human beings are called to live as humans for His glory. As simple as that truth may seem, it is vital that we hold it dear for the transhumanists will attack it relentlessly.
Secondly, we must hold firm on this issue because we love others. As I stated, false views of humanity have horrible consequences and so we absolutely must hold firm out of love for others. We must not just show the pitfalls of transhumanism, but also the beauty of the biblical understanding of humanity. Our task is to point out how we are wonderfully made in God’s image as stewards of this earth. However, we must also assert man is fallen, but the God-man Christ Jesus has come to save all who will place faith in Him and repent. We look forward to a day where we as God’s creatures shall reign with Him for all eternity. The future is not to be determined by man, but by God who governs all things well!
4 Owen Strachan, Reenchanting Humanity, p. 30.