In previous posts I have documented some scholarly work on the transhumanist imagination. Specifically, I focused on recent lectures at Arizona State University in which speakers charted the genealogies of transhumanist discourse on the future. These speakers emphasized the family resemblance linking today’s “exponential thinking” (with its expectations of eradicating poverty and disease while enhancing human performance) with yesterday’s apocalyptic imagination. For example, one scholar charted a genealogy connecting 9th century St. Athanasius (“God became man so that man could become God”) and 13th century Joachim di Fiore to today’s leading exponents of technological apotheosis (he focused on Ray Kurzweil and Ted Chu). 

This line of thought got me thinking about ways that transhumanist imagination might innovate new forms of scriptural exegesis. To use an admittedly tenuous example, I am amazed that no one has yet offered a novel interpretation of the David and Goliath typology applied to Christian readings of the end times. In the Old Testament, David incapacitates the giant Goliath with a slingshot technology, but then uses Goliath’s own sword to behead the giant. When I see the Singularity University’s platform (individual entrepreneurs developing tech-based strategies that will transform life for a billion people in ten years’ time) I notice a potential family resemblance: David shocking Goliath with a slingshot invention and then using Goliath’s own sword (socio-technical systems, actor-networks, etc) to liberate mankind from a legacy of technocratic giant-ism.

Ok, it’s an admittedly awkward story to tell. Nevertheless, if we want to deal constructively with the religious aspects of transhumanism, we might ask, for example, how a religious transhumanist might answer some unasked questions raised by the long-standing Protestant tradition of viewing the life of David as a typology for the life of Christ. Would a Second Coming scenario perhaps involve a redeemer figure utilizing contemporary global, ‘satanic’ socio-technical systems as instruments of redemption? It’s a fascinating question to me, anticipating novel exegetical techniques that would  pre-suppose a transhumanist technological imaginary.