Skip to main content

Mere Orthodoxy exists to create media for Christian renewal. Support this mission today.

the devil in the details

August 28th, 2018 | 1 min read

By Matthew Loftus

Jeffrey Bilbro has an excellent essay ruminating on the question of GMOs in the New Jerusalem, inspired by Abigail Murrish’s thoughts at Christianity Today on the same. Here’s Murrish:

if the New Jerusalem will have as-yet-unseen cultural diversity—the best of what humanity has to offer, as some scholars imagine it—then we can enter into conversations about agriculture recognizing that diverse thinking is a gift and grows from good theology, instead of falling prey to either nostalgic or divisive language. If agricultural technologies like genetic modification are to be a historic tool for both human flourishing and stewarding creation, it will require that consumers, scientists, and farmers collaborate.

And Bilbro responds:

What troubles me about this essay, however, is the way it parses—or more precisely fails to parse—what kinds of techniques and technologies participate in redemption and what kinds are, well, demonic. The distinction between redemptive and demonic technologies is fraught and can be difficult to discern, but that only makes it all the more vital that we cultivate the ability to do so.

Unfortunately, neither of them really make the argument for or against GMOs! For that, you’ll have to turn to Abby Hummel’s God and GMOs series from a few years ago. Hummel makes a much longer argument over a series of posts and sidesteps the questions about creational limits to the use of technology. But I think all three writers ought to be read together.

Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at