Biotheology: Theology, Ethics and the New Biotechnologies

Biotheology: Theology, Ethics and the New Biotechnologies
Brian Edgar, July 2009.




Brian Edgar, Professor of Theological Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, Fellow of ISCAST.


This paper brings bioethics into line with biotechnology (which means extending the traditionally narrow definition of bioethics) and proposes a new field of biotheology as a theology of life which belongs alongside the more traditional sub-disciplines of systematic theology such as theological anthropology (doctrine of humanity), Christology, pneumatology and ecclesiology. An intentional focus on biotheology will enhance the understanding of the human person as a part of the full spectrum of life created by God and it will provide greater form and depth to reflections on the diverse and difficult issues which biotechnology generates and with which bioethics needs to deal. The author proposes six biotheological principles which are designed to give ethical cohesion and theological structure to this new field. 

Key words

Biotheology, biotechnology, bioethics, creation, Trinity, imago dei, Christology, theological anthropology, ecology, DNA, gene technology, molecular biology, species, precautionary principle.

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I am rapt to see this lecture in print.  Brian's scholarship and careful thought is a real contribution to this area.  My only concern is that labelling it "bio-theology", Brian might be limiting the readership and therefore the potential for his principles to be considered and included in bio-technological decision making.

I hope that Brian can produce a "secular" version of the paper and that we can circulate that to the places where these decisions are made--places where there is currently no framework or where the framework that does exist it is the limited standard bioethical one that Brian shows is now inadequate.



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