Institute of Theology

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(Summary of Lecture given by Archimandrite Nicholaos Hatzinicolaou
at St. John of Damascus Faculty of Theology)

Health has always been in the front line of human interest. The inability of man to drastically intervene in the anatomy, physiology and even more so in the biology of his body had never created so far the fear that, in this way, he risks to desecrate the functioning of his soul. Therefore, research on life and health does not only preoccupy medicine and biology, but also provokes a new dynamic speculation in the field of human and theological sciences as well.

The coupling of biomedical research and development, which has caused a sequence of new and unprecedented problems, on one hand, and the need to survive as societies and humans on the other, gave birth to bioethics.

If the focal point of scientific bioethics is the quality of achievement, the chief element, which determines societal bioethical perception, is our survival as human species and society. Society responds to the glamour of scientific discoveries with committees, interests of companies, resolutions and conventions. But it is not possible for committees to control the discoveries and for resolutions to replace the financial interests and economic exploitation. This is why very few committees have proven effective so far. The only hope for illumination and clarity can be found in principles and values.

The backbone of spiritual bioethics is the life of true interpersonal communion and the preservation of the human person as a spiritual entity with godly and eternal dimensions. Protection of the human person, basically means that the need for God, the perspective of eternity, free will and the balance between soul and body should remain lively and active within man. Anything that damages the above is considered non-ethical.

Spiritual bioethics does not struggle for superficial concrete solutions, but for a specific ethos; nor for the freedom of choices, but for the preservation of free will.

Genetic engineering is already using metaphysical terms. It speaks about cloning offspring or the enzyme of imperishability, thus promising man biological immortality and earthly eternity. However, the closer we come to the mystery of life, the more we lose the elixir of souls immortality.

Life should not only be prolonged biologically; it should be eternalized spiritually. The more the soul functions within the perspective of eternity, the more the body endures its biological identity.

The man made person may replace the godlike one, the person created by God bearing His own godly features. Human intelligence is likely to devour every vigor and fragment of divine breath in man. Even the priceless gift of free will, which constitutes a divine endowment without boundaries and limits, may be sold and bought by companies controlling our life and soul, under specified conditions. The final totalitarianism will be imposed.

It seems that we will probably reach the abortion of free will and the cloning of thought. The abortion of our free will from the uterus of our society will transform our world to a single-person family and our thought and personality to a cloned derivative.

We all, both as individuals and as a society, need a transplantation of mentality and a mutation of ethos and spirit. We need to recombine the genes of our souls and spirit so we can pass from the ambition of the technology of life to the self-awareness of the technology of the soul. Immortality is not achieved with the engineering of our genes, which are mortal, but through the metamorphosis of our soul, which is immortal. The transgenic works of biotechnology create chimeras, while the transformational union of man with God gives birth to persons.

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