What is transhumanism?
Question: "What is transhumanism?"
Answer: Transhumanism is a philosophical and cultural position that encourages human advancement through technology. More specifically, transhumanism encourages the use of artificial enhancements to push mankind towards something “more than” human. Fundamentally, it is a form of Utopianism, the belief that human beings can change themselves and create a heaven on earth. The basic idea of improving the human condition is perfectly compatible with the Bible. In fact, it’s one of the purposes of a Christian lifestyle (John 10:10). But transhumanism contradicts the Bible when it assumes that humanity is completely sovereign and capable of self-directed change without the need for God (Jeremiah 17:9).
Like any other cultural movement, there are subsets and sub-genres of thought under the transhumanist tent. There are some admirable motivations behind transhumanism. For some, the intent is to reduce suffering or improve quality of life (Luke 12:33). Taken to an extreme, though, it can become a pursuit of immortality, an escape from moral boundaries, or a form of religion in and of itself. The ultimate redemption of mankind is something that will be accomplished by God alone (Revelation 21:1), not by technology.
Since God gave mankind dominion over the earth, there are spiritually acceptable means of improving the human condition through technology. That doesn’t mean that humans are fully capable, or even fully free, to change ourselves in any way we choose. Ultimately, God is sovereign over us; we are not sovereign over ourselves. Once a person takes the view that they can re-create themselves, they place themselves in an unrealistic spiritual position and usurp the prerogatives of God. Our knowledge, power and ability simply cannot compare to that of the Creator (Job 38:2-5).
Modern man has technology unimaginable to generations of a thousand years ago, but we’re still human, still flawed, and still in need of a Savior (1 John 1:8). Experience has taught us that human beings tend to be just as immoral with technology as without it. Aldous Huxley noted that “what science has actually done is to introduce us to improved means in order to obtain hitherto unimproved or rather deteriorated ends.” In other words, science doesn’t make humanity less sinful, or more moral; it just makes our sin more sophisticated. Human experience demonstrates that the utopian side of transhumanism is just as fictional as its spiritual side.
Recommended Resource: Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview by William Lane Craig & J.P. Moreland
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