Original Research - Special Collection: Theology and Nature

Respect for every living being – Theological perspectives on the bioethical imperative

Traugott Jähnichen
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 3 | a6775 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i3.6775 | © 2021 Traugott Jähnichen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 April 2021 | Published: 18 August 2021

About the author(s)

Traugott Jähnichen, Department of Social Ethics, Faculty of Protestant Theology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany; Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Without ethical embedding, scientific and technological progress is unleashing more and more destructive consequences. In contrast to the ‘forgetfulness of nature’ of the rationalist worldview, a fundamental reorientation of thinking and the understanding of science are also required to safeguard the integrity of creation, especially the dignity of the human person. Modern ‘risk societies’ are challenged to self-reflexively adjust to the ambivalent consequences of scientific-technical civilisation. One impulse of theology lies in pointing out the perspective of a renewed bioethical imperative from the perspective of Christian ethics of Creation, based on the biblical understanding of creation, which embeds human beings in the whole of creation and at the same time singles them out in a special way as the image of God and calls them to responsibility. The theological traditions that have been partially suppressed in modernity can make an important contribution to the development of a vision of fundamental ethical values for ecological responsibility.

Contribution: The following contribution addresses basic questions of understanding nature to expand the one-sided world view of classical rationalism. In doing so, the recognition of biblical traditions plays a central role for reorientation. Only in the horizon of a changed world view, can ethical impulses unfold their effectiveness.


ethics of responsibility; integrity of creation; vision of basic values; bioethical imperative; biblical traditions


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Crossref Citations

1. We are stardust: Dignity and right of non-human life on and beyond our planet
Traugott Jähnichen, Andreas Losch
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 79  issue: 2  year: 2023  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v79i2.8957