Playing God or Participating in God? What Considerations Might the New Testament Bring to the Ethics of the Biotechnological Future?

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The Bible is normative for all Christian theology and ethics, including responsible theological reflection on the biotechnological future. This article considers the representation of creaturehood and what might be labeled ‘deification’ within the biblical material, framing these concepts in terms of participation in providence and redemption. This participatory emphasis allows us to move past the simplistic dismissal of biotechnological progress as ‘playing God’, by highlighting ways in which the development of technology and caregiving are proper creaturely activities, but ones that must be morally aligned to the goodness of God. Framing our approximation of divine character in terms of ‘deification’ highlights its relational and soteriologically defined shape, preventing us from conceiving its attainment in any way that is loosed from the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The discussion allows us to affirm the pursuit of biotechnological research, but to recognize that it is unable by itself to accomplish certain ends, and that it must be pursued in alignment with the standards of goodness by which God loves his world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Christian Ethics
Issue number2
Early online date14 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019



  • biotechnology
  • creaturehood
  • deification
  • New Testament
  • Wisdom
  • participation

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