Transhumanism: The End of Evolution, Apotheosis of Carnal Man, and Preparation and Path to Antichrist
Protopresbyter Peter Heers, D.Th,
Lecturer in Ecclesiology, Holy Trinity Seminary, Jordanville, NY
Theological Conference, Trans-Humanism: Threat to Man
War Museum, Athens, Greece. Sunday, January 22, 2023
"Center of Patristic Studies - Estia Paterikon Meleton"
He who cannot believe in Christ must, and will, believe in Antichrist.
— Fr. Seraphim Rose[i]
Transhumanism: The Serpentine Inversion
Transhumanism is the latest, and perhaps last, expression of the primordial temptation and lie of satan to man: to become God without God. “In the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5). In its rejection of the Theanthropos Christ in favor of the creation of the inverse, the anthropos-Theos,[ii] it is plain to see that Transhumanism is utterly satanic in inspiration. The serpentine inversion of God’s will and plan for man to become “gods by Grace” by lying that he will become God by altering man’s human nature is apparent to the naked eye. Moreover, it is confessed by transhumanist prophets.
Yuval Noah Harari fantasizes that transhumanists and their co-belligerents will take men beyond evolution and turn them into gods:
“Having raised humanity above the beastly level of survival struggles, we will now aim to upgrade humans into gods, and turn Homo sapiens into Homo deus.”[iii]
To be sure, Harari has in mind an “upgrade” (wrongly so-called) to the passionate and pagan gods of Mt. Olympus and not union with the extremely humble, crucified and Risen God-man, Jesus Christ. What the neo-pagans are after is, unsurprisingly, power. There is nothing new under the sun. The claims are quite literally fantastic:
“Modern science and technology have made powers once attributed to these gods, such as the ability to create and design life, read minds, communicate at great distances, control the environment, travel at high speeds, and live forever, within the collective grasp of human beings. Thus, Harari predicts that, sometime in the future, “you might buy for yourself the strength of Hercules, the sensuality of Aphrodite, the wisdom of Athena or the madness of Dionysius if that is what you are into.”[iv]
Harari’s parody of deification is consistent with his fellow trans-humanists’ unsympathetic view, to the point of disdain, of human beings and creation itself. “As humanism freed us from the chains of superstition,” says transhumanist Simon Young, “let transhumanism free us from our biological chains.”[v] Hence, they exalt not man but their idea of what they want man to become; just as they move away from humanism and from a homo-centric to a data-centric view they simultaneously demote God to a superhuman state of God-like powers. This is unavoidable, for man is made in the image of God, such that distortion or rejection of man brings the same to God, and vice-versa.
Nick Bostrom, a transhumanist pioneer, says, reminiscent of Nietzsche, that transhumanists dream of the day that feeble humanity will be transcended, overcome and become post-human:
“Transhumanists view human nature as a work-in-progress, a half-baked beginning that we can learn to remold in desirable ways. Current humanity need not be the endpoint of evolution. Transhumanists hope that by responsible use of science, technology, and other rational means we shall eventually manage to become post-human, beings with vastly greater capacities than present human beings have.”[vi]
Through gross and unethical manipulation of nature, genetic engineering, pharmaceutical drugs, and cybernetic enhancements to our physical, emotional, and cognitive makeup, transhumanist scientists seek to reengineer the human race and transform us into an entirely new species, to create the “new man.” Their godless aim is nothing less than living forever fallen sinful lives, whether through enhancements of organic bodies, replacements of bodies with artificial ones, or by uploading people’s minds to a virtual medium (a “nous-sphere”).
“The transhumanist is the dreamer with technological power to design and enact his own evolutionary future. The transhumanist is a demi-urge that brings together a series of interconnected forces that will bring forth the hoped-for future of the post-human—a god-like being.”[vii]
The prospect of eternal life in a fallen, corrupt world, a truly hellish existence sought by Transhumanists, was providentially averted first by man’s exile from paradise and then his eventual death.[viii] Death, in turn, must be overcome by the Resurrection of our humanity in Christ and its session at the right hand of God. No invention of sinful, fallen man, no matter how far-reaching or revolutionary, can ever overcome death for the simple reason that death is first a spiritual event and only secondarily biological.
In their quest for self-deification and the forging of the “new man,” the transhumanists are returning to idolatry, playing God and imitating Lucifer who gazed upon the light of his own intellect and worshipped it — the creation — as the Creator, giving not glory to God but exalting themselves to equality with God. They are, therefore, very clearly forerunners of Antichrist “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped” (2 Thess. 2:4). They are the contemporary successors of previous apostles of Antichrist: Nietzsche, Marx, and other Utopianists, yet now freed from the need to destroy the old order and singularly focused on the forging of “singularity”[ix] (technological super-intelligence), a chiliastic post-human paradise-nightmare.[x]
Transhumanism: The End of Evolution
The Transhumanist disdain of humanity, the corollary of its rejection of God, is nothing new but has its roots deep within European humanism and the Enlightenment project:
“At the heart of the Enlightenment project [was] the sense that, through human ingenuity, human reason can discover the secrets at the heart of reality, harnessing the powers of nature for the betterment of mankind. The driving force is the Baconian purpose to relieve the human estate of its frailties, but also relieving it of its very humanity. Put differently, transhumanism is of a cloth with the Baconian project, begun in the 17th century, finding its culmination in the posthuman vision of the future.”[xi]
In an exact inversion of the Christian understanding of history as man progressively falling away from God and returning to idolatry before the return of Christ, Transhumanists, as faithful evolutionists, believe humanity is on the verge of achieving God-likeness. Even as they disdain and move away from man’s “biological roots” Transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil are filled with an unbounded hubris and optimism in the promises of evolution to bring ever “greater complexity, greater elegance, greater knowledge, greater intelligence, greater beauty, greater creativity, and greater levels of subtle attributes such as love.”[xii] Though they move away from God and overcome man’s “biological limitations” they are nonetheless convinced that they are engaged in a spiritual undertaking. They are correct, actually, in a gnostic sort of way. The spirits that are animating their “ascent,” however, are fallen and leading them to sub-humanity, not super-humanity.
As J. P. Bishop has observed concerning the transhumanist’s faith in man’s rational powers to transcend man:
“At the late stage of its existence, the human stands on the brink of a choice; adapt or go out of existence, never mind that in sewing its own evolutionary existence, it creates the conditions of its own demise. Their belief is that, by its rational powers and its ability to design its own evolutionary future, the human animal can outwit its collapse into the abyss.”[xiii]
In this “designer evolution” particularly powerful people endeavor to steer the evolutionary movement along the path of complete mastery and control of all that was, is and is to come, giving “greater power to, and greater aggrandizement of, a particular form of human being.”[xiv] Here the only hand guiding evolution is the transhumanist’s — or perhaps a certain elite among them.
Transhumanism’s post-humanity thus ironically brings the inevitable end to evolution. Selection is no longer natural. Transhumanists are in the driver’s seat, tweaking and directing evolution into a consciously willed program of manipulating and transcending nature. Transhumanism is thus at once the latest “mutation” of the evolutionary outlook and its effective end - at least as an agent-less development.
Born after Nihilism (after the “death of God”) and raised in Chiliasm (a utopian belief in fallen man’s perfectibility), Transhumanism now flourishes in the “completely new conditions of existence”[xv] of the post-revolutionary “new age” “ruled by ‘Anarchy’ and populated by ‘Supermen.’”[xvi] As Father Seraphim Rose wrote more than 60 years ago:
[T]his is the Revolutionary dream that has stirred men into performing the incredible drama of modern history. It is an ‘apocalyptic’ dream, and they are quite correct who see in it a strange inversion of the Christian hope in the Kingdom of Heaven.”[xvii]
Transhuman Religiosity and the Apotheosis of the Carnal Man
Although dominated overwhelmingly by secular-humanists,[xviii] Transhumanism takes on a religious character, possessing both philosophical and mythical dimensions. “It has an ontology and a theology, and taken together they establish a mythos.”[xix] Godless moderns, desperate and disillusioned, are finding hope in the transhumanist gospel of imminent deliverance from sickness and death.
Growing up in the nihilist wasteland of the post-Christian West, oblivious to Christ and His Church, yesterday’s literature majors are becoming tomorrow’s Transhumanist propagandists. They see post-humanity as “inevitable,” with only “ape-brained meat sacks”[xx] (normal humans) dumb enough to not embrace it.
Elise Bohan, the young Australian author of Future Superhuman: Our Transhuman Lives in a Make-or-Break Century is an apostle of the post-human gospel. She concedes that transhumanism is playing the role of religion, unlocking mysteries and playing God. She relates:
“When Bohan was a PhD student, she gave her first big paper at a conference. Afterwards, a biologist came up to her and congratulated her on her work. “Then he looked me in the eye and whispered to me: ‘We’re building God, you know,’” she chuckles. “I looked back at him and I said: ‘Yeah, I know.’” They knew they didn’t mean it as religion, she says. “But a lot of what has been talked about in religion – omniscience, omnipotence, hopefully omni-benevolence – we are at least getting closer to that all seeing, all knowing, all exploring [force].”[xxi]
The fears and expectations of our time have generated a religious fervor and zeal among adherents, with a corresponding religious-social profile:
“This transhumanist social imaginary is deeply embedded within social institutions, especially the modern STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) culture. It has its holy places, like Silicon Valley or the Google laboratory. It has its holy men and women, like Aubrey DeGrey or Ray Kurzweil, who work diligently for the sake of the post-human. It has its visionary prophets, like Natasha Vita-More and Max More. It has its high priests like Elon Musk. It has institutions of higher learning, the STEM university allied private enterprise. It has a supporting philosophy, specifically Anglo-American philosophy, which draws its political relevance from its positions as the keeper of the proper dogmas. The philosophical stance at the heart of modern STEM universities is that of the naturalism that animates modern scientific enterprises.”[xxii]
One could add to these religious characteristics of transhumanist faith, their sacraments are genetic therapeutics and MRNA vaccines, their holy relics the early human fossils found in Africa, and their holy icons the futuristic cyborgs and robots.
A messianic expectation is being cultivated in the masses by the prophets and wise-men of science and science fiction that soon they will be delivered from their post-modern misery through a benevolent impersonal super-intelligence which will rapidly advance biotechnical enhancement even unto so-called “immortality.” This super-intelligence is envisioned by futurist Ray Kurzweil, author of The Age of Spiritual Machines and The Singularity Is Near, as a technological fusion of human consciousness and artificial intelligence.
Following Kurzweil, Yuval Noah Harari explains the mindset created by the emerging significance of big data:
Like capitalism, Dataism too began as a neutral scientific theory, but is now mutating into a religion that claims to determine right and wrong. The supreme value of this new religion is "information flow". If life is the movement of information, and if we think that life is good, it follows that we should extend, deepen and spread the flow of information in the universe. According to Dataism, human experiences are not sacred and Homo sapiens isn't the apex of creation or a precursor of some future Homo deus. Humans are merely tools for creating the Internet-of-All-Things, which may eventually spread out from planet Earth to cover the whole galaxy and even the whole universe. This cosmic data-processing system would be like God. It will be everywhere and will control everything, and humans are destined to merge into it.[xxiii]
These vacuous promises and false hopes of the new techno-religion, which some call “dataism,” has chilling apocalyptic implications. Dataism, as Harari explains, combines the scientific claim that reality consists of data with the ethical claim that the value of anything depends on “its contribution to data processing.” If techno-humanism promises the deification of humanity, dataism guarantees its obsolescence.[xxiv]
Transhumanism: The Path to Antichrist
Today’s transhumanists are, in one sense, nothing new. They merely seek to build a new Tower of Babel, “to reach unto heaven” and thus to “make a name” for themselves (Genesis 11:4). The Babylonians used the technology of their day, brick and mortar, whereas the new Babylonians use AI, genetic engineering and other modern technology. And just like the blind Babylonians of old, with desperate actions of self-preservation they seek life and unity outside themselves but not in God. They imagine god-like greatness in their demonically inspired arrogance (Genesis 11:6), much of which will not happen and for which they will also be scattered and then shattered “like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:9).
If, then, their Luciferic plans of god-like re-creation and autonomy are doomed, what is the meaning of Transhumanism and what will it accomplish?
Transhumanism, like Communism before it, “is actually a very powerful heresy whose central thesis, is…chiliasm: history is to reach its culmination in an indefinite state of earthly blessedness, a perfected mankind living in perfect peace and harmony…. [A]gain one finds the same theme of the coming of the ‘Kingdom of God on earth.’”[xxv]
Transhumanism is the latest form of the “mystery of iniquity” and thus a preparation for, and a path to, Antichrist. It is the ultimate transition from atheistic humanism to satanic super-humanism. Its purpose is to shape the Übermensch of Nietzsche but with his Lucerific lightning[xxvi] striking the earth through the super-intelligence of AI.
If Humanism was the greatest sin of all, in that it is man-centered, placing all trust in whatsoever the human mind produces, Transhumanism, then, with its Luciferic promise of an autonomous humanity, which will have the keys to life and death, is demon-centered, abandoning humanity to the super-intellect which will animate the expected AI Superman-Antichrist.
Transhumanism is the path to Antichrist for the another reason, as well. Whereas humanism took man from its God-centered unity in the only One Who united all things, in Himself, as Theanthropos, Transhumanism transcends human limitations[xxvii] by placing unity beyond man, in the Superman. Transhumanism is thus leading mankind directly into unity with the demonic, for the Übermensch, this Superman, is the devil’s “man of iniquity” and those united in him form his mystical body.
The rejection of the God-man on a global scale and his replacement by a man-god is the last temptation of history. It has been prophesied by Christ Himself in the Book of Revelation. He says, “thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10). As the great Elder Athanasius Mitilianaios tells us, “because this temptation will affect the entire world it will be the great adulteration of faith in the Theanthropic Person of Christ.”
We must not be naive: the idolatrous transhumanist utopian fantasy is alluring to modern “chestless” men[xxviii] and will ensnare many secularized “Christians” into denying the Theanthropic nature of Christ and His Body.
Sixty years ago Fr. Seraphim Rose wrote of the “great adulteration of faith” with such insight that it is still tremendously illuminating today in the face of the further development of the chiliastic outlook which so animates these last times.
The Kingdom is not of this world;…Christianity can be “successful” on one condition: that of renouncing…the true Kingdom and seeking to build up a Kingdom in the world. The “Earthly Kingdom” is precisely the goal of the modern mentality; the building of it is the meaning of the modern age. It is not Christian; as Christians, we know whose Kingdom it is.
“The modern idealism that hopes for ‘heaven on earth’ hopes likewise for the vague ‘transformation’ of man—the ideal of the ‘superman’ (in diverse forms, conscious or not), which, however absurd, has a great appeal to a mentality that has been trained to believe in ‘evolution’ and ‘progress.’”
The spirit behind Transhumanism is the self-same spirit which, seeking an earthly paradise, prepares the way for Antichrist. For it, “Christianity [is] a ‘crusade,’ Christ…an ‘idea,’ both in the service of a world ‘transformed’ by scientific and social techniques and a man virtually ‘deified’ by the awakening of a ‘new consciousness’: this lies before us.”[xxix]
Brothers and sisters, we must not be surprised or shaken before the satanic dream of Transhumanism. The Lord promised that He will be with us unto the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), and even before the face of Antichrist He commands us to not be afraid (John 6:20, Luke 12:32), for we not only know the A and Ω of history; we are members of His Body, one with Him, and therefore we “have an unction from the Holy One, and…know all things” (1 John 2:20).
“Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 13) and “he that is unjust” the Logos says to us “let him be unjust still, and “he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Rev. 22: 10-11). For, “behold,” the Lord says, “I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12). Our reward is Christ Himself and He will in no wise lose us but will raise us up on the last day (John 6:39).