Humankind has been trying to appeal its death sentence ever since the serpent in the Garden of Eden whispered those enticing words that persuaded Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit: “Ye shall not surely die” and “Ye shall be as gods.”
Today, it’s not just secular scientists trying to achieve longer, of even eternal, life through better chemistry and technology. Meet the Christian Transhumanist Association, whose members say they are “called by Christ to participate in that mission.”
“We believe that God’s mission involves the transformation and renewal of creation including humanity. …” the group states in its first of five affirmations.
While the biblical prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel both affirm a future Kingdom of God on earth in which people live a natural life of up to a thousand years again, the question for Christians is whether man’s chemistry and technology is the answer or whether it’s Jesus’ prescription of a spiritual rebirth.
In any case, the CTA is plunging headlong into a marriage with science that has many believers appalled.
Emboldened by a national conference sponsored by National Geographic last month in Lipscomb University in Tennessee, the CTA is aggressively stepping up its program of combining what it sees as biblical Christian values with science’s promise of longer life that “will empower us to become more human across the scope of what it means to be creatures in the image of God.”
“We understand that Christians of all traditions embrace a biblical story which suggests that human life should extend to 120 years or longer,” wrote keynote speaker Aubrey de Grey in a draft of a proposed statement by the group. “We understand the stories of Genesis, which describe humans living nearly a millennium, to affirm the value of physical life. We understand passages such as Isaiah 65:20, which look forward to multi-centenarian lifespans, to affirm the value of physical life.”
Isaiah 65:20 states: “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.”
However, the preceding three verses of Isaiah 65 make clear that this achievement is God’s work alone: “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying.”
Isaiah 51:3 promises a restoration of the earth that is likened to the Garden of Eden: “For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Likewise, Ezekiel 36:35 offers a similar promise: “And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.” Again, however, that promise comes following God’s work:
- “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
- “I will also save you from all your uncleannesses:”
- “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.”
- “Thus saith the Lord God; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities.”
“Two things that seems to be entirely lacking in all the literature of the Christian Transhumanist Association are repentance of sin and an acknowledgement and awareness of God’s sovereignty,” says Joseph Farah, author of the new book, “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament.” “Man’s efforts at reaching up to God have always failed, as in the Tower of Babel. Jesus calls on man always to humble himself, obey God and repent of the sin for which He atoned on the cross and through His resurrection. He offers us eternal life through our own resurrection if we follow Him. He doesn’t call on us to meet Him halfway through our own works.”
Other Christians are also skeptical of the path of the CTA. Writing in the Washington Times, Cheryl Chumley had this to say: “It’s one thing to be both Christian and scientist, and to make technological gains that better all of humanity. It’s another thing entirely to elevate science to such a level as to supersede and supplant biblical teachings and godly guidance – to such a point that the Bible becomes a secondary tool or worse, a subordinate consideration to the minds and musings of man.”
“The first shows an exploration of God’s domain, while still recognizing His omniscience and omnipresence,” she writes. “The second? The second leads to cult-like worship of human-made technology. And Christians need to beware the difference. Transhumanism, in its runaway form, is simply a modern version of the false Golden Calf god of biblical days.”
Andy Crouch, author of “The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place,” points out other dangers involved in man trying to perfect his world through his own devices.
“The next ‘easy everywhere’ in the 21st century is about permanently modifying the conditions of human embodiment,” he told Christianity Today. “And this will lead to the exploitation of vulnerable human beings, especially unborn human beings. It’s already the case that in Denmark, because of state-mandate prenatal testing, effectively all children diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted. The Danish papers have run this story positively, as if to say, ‘We’ve reached a real milestone in Denmark. We’re in a post–Down Syndrome world.’ In that kind of environment, the only families that will have children with Down Syndrome will be Christian families. In the future, Christians are going to be the community that takes the outcasts from the technologically modified race of human beings and cares for them. Most profound will be our willingness to welcome people with a range of abilities, including disabilities.”
John Ellis, writing in PJ Media had this to say about Christian Transhumanism: “Both progressive ‘Christianity’ and adherents of the so-called Prosperity ‘Gospel’ flatten Jesus’ teaching out and operate under the belief that this life is all-important. On the other hand, while recognizing that the gospel of Jesus Christ does have ethical implications for this life, true Christianity understands and teaches that our true hope and longing is for the new heavens and new earth. Our primary focus regarding others is to make disciples – to call people to repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus.”
On the CTA Facebook page where Ellis’ commentary was linked, it was dismissed with this post: “More simplistic criticism based on lazy misunderstanding …”