Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Ecotheology 11.2 June 2006

In Whose Image? Representations of Technology and the 'Ends' of Humanity

Elaine Graham
Issued Date: 24 Feb 2007


This article is an attempt to introduce a theological voice into the
discussion about the ethical and existential implications of the so-called
‘posthuman’, and in particular whether the digital, cybernetic or genetic
age represents an endangerment to the survival of the human subject or
the means towards the evolution of a successor species. This is of particular
interest to theology when even the most secular of technoscientific
discourses make use of religious language to describe their aspirations. I
will argue that representations of technologies as either endangerment or
promise are underpinned by implicit value-judgements as to the relationship
between our technological capabilities and the ends (teloi) of human
nature. I begin to examine some of the ways in which theologically-derived
understandings of persons as made in the image of God (imago Dei) may be
of relevance in talk of the transition of homo sapiens to techno sapiens, and
whether that is broadly affirming of, or suspicious towards, technological
endeavour. Two themes emerge as requiring further integration into a
fully-worked theological anthropology, however. The first is the notion of
humanity ‘co-evolving’ with its tools and technologies as agent and object
of transformation; and the second is that of human hybridity, our fundamental
complicity and interdependence with the rest of the material world.

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DOI: 10.1558/ecot.2006.11.2.159


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