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Ruth L. Okediji, Christianity and the Law of Biotechnology, in The Oxford Handbook of Christianity and Law (John Witte, Jr. & Rafael Domingo eds., 2023).

Abstract: The relationship between Christianity and biotechnology is mediated by the moral clarity with which Christianity views the sacredness of life, especially the distinctiveness of humans in God’s creation. The significant role of humans in the orthodox doctrine of creation might suggest that Christianity views technologies that enhance the physical quality of human life favorably while disfavoring those that impinge on the sanctity of life. There is no such dichotomy, however; the emerging biotechnology landscape is increasingly morally and doctrinally complex. The benefits of biotechnology for enhancing the body and overcoming disease have obscured questions about God’s created order, whether it should be altered, the conditions under which such alterations could be an expression of biblical stewardship or, conversely, a form of idolatry, and whether laws such as intellectual property that incentivize manipulation of biological matter should be of greater concern to Christianity. The frontiers of biotechnology raise challenges for foundational Christian doctrines of creation, stewardship, and redemption directed at the well-being of spirit, soul, and body. Christianity has selectively engaged with biotechnology, with implications for the development of moral intuitions necessary to discern between stewardship and the abuse of creation, and between worship of the Creator and worship of His creation. This chapter offers a framing of Christianity’s role in the significant policy choices that face societies as advances in biology increasingly blur, on one hand, the boundaries between humans and the rest of God’s creation and, on the other hand, the boundaries between humans and what humans create.