Original Research - Special Collection: Virtual Ecclesiology

The theological ethics of human enhancement: Genetic engineering, robotics and nanotechnology

Manitza Kotze
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 52, No 3 | a2323 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v52i3.2323 | © 2018 Manitza Kotze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 October 2017 | Published: 05 July 2018

About the author(s)

Manitza Kotze, Department of Dogmatology, Faculty of Theology, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa


The recent advances made by biotechnology have been swift and sundry. Technological developments seem to happen sooner than they can be ethically reflected upon. One such trend is the endeavours launched to try and enhance human beings and what it means to be human with movements such as transhumanism, advocating strongly that we should overcome our natural limitations by any means available. With both critics and advocates utilising the expression ‘playing God’, the question of human enhancement is one in which the interplay between church and society comes compellingly to the fore. In this contribution, I wish to examine the bioethical challenges that technologies such as genetic engineering, robotics and nanotechnology raise, specifically from a theological perspective on human enhancement and indicating some paths that future research might take. Christian anthropological views on what it means to be human, especially to be created imago Dei [to the image of God] will provide the doctrinal and theological support to this contemplation.


Christian anthropology; Genetic engineering; Human enhancement; Imago Dei; Nanotechnology; Transhumanism


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