The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


A life of inquiry

Theologian Philip Hefner looks at the revelation of science

In the basement of Luther Memorial Church in Chicago, parishioners gather with a curiosity initially focused more on the evening's refreshments than their book-club selection, Technology and the Human Becoming.

Leading the discussion is the book's author, Lutheran theologian Philip Hefner. He came to do what he is often asked to do: explain his ideas and how they apply to science and religion.

He uses science fiction films such as AI and Bladerunner to illustrate his points. "Sin comes in when we think we have it all and we are waiting for the end," he says, as he begins to outline humanity's move away from creating for the sake of creating. While some soak up his thoughts and ask for more, others walk away still confused.

I'm actually the person who invited Hefner to speak to this congregation, not only to let other members hear what he had to say but also so I, too, could get a better feel for a concept that Hefner has dedicated much of his life to--the created co-creator. It describes humanity as God's own creation but also as a creation that can continue to create in partnership with God.

One example of this is the discovery of technologies that help people live a better life, such as organ transplantation, which allows life to be extended in what could be otherwise tragic circumstances.

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