The Rev. Dr. Ronald Cole-Turner is the H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics, a position relating theology and ethics to developments in science and technology. He is an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion (currently serving as vice president), and has served on the advisory board of the John Templeton Foundation and the Metanexus Institute. His most recent book is a study of human evolution and its theological significance, entitled The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins (2016). Cole-Turner is also the author of Prayer in the Trinity (e-book),Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Advancement, The New Genesis: Theology and the Genetic Revolution, the co-author (with Brent Waters) of Pastoral Genetics: Theology and Care at the Beginning of Life, the editor of Human Cloning: Religious Responses and of Beyond Cloning: Religion and the Remaking of Humanity, the co-editor of God and the Embryo: Religious Voices on Stem Cells and Cloning, and editor of Design and Destiny: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification andTechnology and Transcendence (forthcoming). He is also the author of the popular baptism hymn, “Child of Blessing, Child of Promise.” His wife, Rebecca, is a spiritual director and retreat leader. They have two daughters, Sarah and Rachel.
For some 20 years, the Rev. Dr. Ron Cole-Turner has been helping Pittsburgh Theological Seminary students navigate the theological implications of modern advancements in science and technology. Also a leader in conferences and professional societies in his field, he participates in international theological colloquia on the theme of eschatology as well.
“In the world of science,” notes Ron, “there have been a number of recent developments in the study of human origins. At the same time, new technologies are emerging that have the potential to modify human beings at the genetic level,” he continues. So Ron presented an exploration of the theological implications of these developments. He asked questions such as, How should we think about humanity, both past and future? How should we think about the transformation of creation and its consummation, particularly with reference to humanity? How should we think about God’s plan for the gathering up of all things in Christ, again with particular reference to humanity? “Christian eschatology isn’t just about how the world ends,” Ron notes. He concludes that ultimately, through the Incarnation, humanity is made one not only with Christ but also with itself.
Ron’s recent visit to Geneva, the home city of John Calvin, provided an interesting atmosphere for him to consider this topic. He attended a Sunday morning Church of Scotland service at Calvin’s Oratory (where John Knox preached and Calvin taught) and celebrated the Eucharist at Calvin’s church, St. Pierre, flagship of the Swiss Reformation. “The interior of the church remains similar to what it looked like in Calvin’s day,” notes Ron, “so I felt like I was part of that history, while at the same time I was participating in very future-oriented discussions.” A highlight of his participation in the colloquium he attended in Geneva was the opportunity to hear a “superb talk” on eschatological ontology by Jean Zizioulas, Metropolitan of Pergamum.
An ordained minister of the United Church of Christ, Ron is also a founding member and current vice president of the International Society for Science and Religion. He has served on the advisory board of the John Templeton Foundation and the Metanexus Institute.
The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins (TheologyPlus, 2016)
Prayer in the Trinity (e-book, available through Amazon, Smashwords, and similar retailers)
Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Advancement (Georgetown University Press, 2011)
Design and Destiny: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification, Editor (MIT Press, 2008)
God and the Embryo: Religious Perspectives on Stem Cells and Cloning (co-edited with Brent Waters; Georgetown University Press, 2003)
Beyond Cloning: Religion and the Remaking of Humanity (editor; Trinity Press International, 2001)