The chief religious denomination mentioned in the novel is the Baptists. Lara’s benevolent and Santa Claus-like lawyer is a deacon in his Baptist church, and a crucial plot point is highlighted with a reference to the nineteenth century split between the Lying Baptists and the Truthful Baptists, a congregation that split over the question of lying to save lives. Connor O’Hara’s father is a minister, and while his denomination is not given, he is said to be still preaching in Lynchburg, Virginia, home to Jerry Falwell and Liberty University.
Almost all the good characters pray, and even Helmut Braun prays for Lara at one point. Sloane himself seems to be religious in that he wants the mother of the Iceman’s child to be a “spiritual person,” but his use of the word “spiritual” rather than “religious” betrays him. Sloane does not believe that the Iceman was closer to the Christian God, but to all the gods of earlier humankind. His beliefs are rootless and ungrounded, and thus he becomes a kind of anti-father figure in the novel, wishing to control Lara’s child totally. Sloane stops at nothing in his pursuit of the tree of knowledge.
The good characters, and Lara in particular, struggle to learn God’s will and to accept it. She has to learn this in her strategy to oppose Sloane and in her marriage with Connor. Most of the religious judgments about reproductive therapy are based on a primary belief in the sanctity of human life. Lara will allow only one of her eggs to be fertilized at a time, and her boss Olivia’s clinic is known for its respect for the right to life. All of Lara’s further decisions about reproductive therapy are based on whether it seems as if God has permitted humans to develop the procedure. The entire question of gene therapy and...
(The entire section is 736 words.)