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When in 1953 the structure of DNA was eventually mapped and bio-technology started to take over from philosophy in its understanding of what it is to be human, the personal became highly important in seeking a solution to the pressing problems in a modern, dynamic society. Once it was established that the building blocks of all life on this earth were the pairs of chromosomes on the DNA double helix and that the DNA segment of each human being was unique to that individual, then the authentic way forward was to respect and value this uniqueness and to promote and develop it. Human differentiation is as staggering as the trillions of millions of stars in the heavens and a unique inheritance.
Here is to hand a new contemporary language, the language of genetics, to relate science to faith. Here is a human language born out of science to equip faith to communicate with it at a time when the communication lines are down and science and faith with their rival anthropologies cannot speak to one another. Suddenly gospel texts begin to be understood in a new way: "the hairs of your head are all numbered." The underlying themes of the Bible, creation, inheritance, universal relatedness, common humanity, begin to be appreciated in a new, personal and immediate way.
Abraham, the father of faith, was called out of the comfort and security of the known into the unknown, to a land without maps. He never returned to the Oaks of Mambre. So too, genetics tells us that human existence is precarious and uncertain. Humanity took an evolutionary leap forward in discovering its true value and glory as the bringer of order in an otherwise random nature, and so we continue in history to move towardsour eschatological future and the land of promise.
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About the Author

John Foster. Born 27.05.1915. Ordained for the Archdiocese of Westminster 06.06.1939. Worked in various parishes until 1945. National Chaplain, Young Christian Workers Movement 1945-1949. Parish Priest, New Town, Hemel Hempstead, 1949-1957. Resigned from parish to study human relations and worked for Richmond Fellowship, rehabilitation of young alcoholics, drug addicts, schizophrenics, and for counselling at the Westminster Pastoral Foundation. Published various articles in "The Tablet," "Catholic Herald," "New Blackfriars," "The Way," "Clergy Review," "Renew." Published "Requiem for a Parish" in 1965, "Living the Virtues" in 1972, "REV" in 1973, "The Silence of God" in 1985. Diplomas: human relations, counselling. In his later life he was particularly interested in molecular biology. Died 09.09.2003.

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