Recently, Chinese scientists allegedly claim to be the first to edit the genes of a baby.
The main problem that it seems most Christians have with the field of DNA editing is that it allows people to design a perfect baby, instead of allowing God to design that baby.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7
The Lord does not care what we look like. Like everything of this world, the physical aspect of “us” is just a tool for the spirit to do the real work. The spirit is what really matters, not the body.
So what does it matter if we change the body? The body does not matter.
If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.Matthew 5:29
I know that Jesus is talking about the repercussions of sin, but the point can also be made about What does it matter if you lose an eye? What does it matter if you can guarantee that your kid’s eyesight will be perfect?
Whether your kid is 5 feet tall or 7 feet tall does not affect their relationship with God, and their hair or eye color will not affect how much God loves them.
Genetic editing will help to irradicate an incredible amount of diseases from the face of the earth. As Christians, it should be our mission to help people to not suffer from things that they do not deserve.
We fight constantly to end the oppression that terrible governments impose on their people. We fight to end tyranny and we fight to undo the work of the devil. Genetic diseases are the work of the devil, and we need to fight against them.
People can edit the genes of people, but what they cannot touch, and will not ever touch is the soul. The soul is what makes us unique from the rest of creation.
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In my opinion, when the text says ‘evening and morning’ it seems to me that ‘yom’ is used as a 24 hour day cycle. what is interesting, as my Hebrew professor states, is that the hebrew in the first verses seems to suggest God was giving function to the earth. I’ll have to ask again but essentially her position was that God took time to create everything, and in Genesis 1 was 6 literal days, but the Hebrew indicates God had created the earth (which was a watery mass – being void, i.e. unfinished) and then, after some time, came back to earth and began to give it life/function. I’ll comment again after I’ve asked my professor what her position was again. Good article though.
Thanks for your reply!
I agree that Christians should be at the forefront of gene editing, and they are. Last summer at the annual meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation, Francis Collins, director of the NIH and an evangelical Christian gave a brilliant lecture on the ethics of gene editing. The fact is that at this moment, its still not clear if editing the human germ line is an ethical thing to do. While its true that many diseases can be cured by gene editing, at present, gene editing by CRISPR CAS9 requires the collection of human embryos, which are then tested for the presence of disease causing alleles. As Dr, Collins pointed out, the solution is simply to not implant those embryos. There is no point in editing the genes in them, when healthy embryos are available. Once it becomes possible to edit genes in somatic or germ line cells, then it will be a useful and life saving technique. But there is quite a ways to go before that happens. The problem with the work in China is that proper precautions were not taken, and there is no evidence that the correct gene was targeted. We still dont know the extent of possible non targeted mutations, which could cause harm.
These issues are all related to current use. There’s no question that in the future the technique had great potential and I agree that Christians should not fear the use of the technique for medical applications. But proposals to go further than medical benefit must be carefully evaluated, and again Christians should play an important role in determining the ethics of human genetic modification. There are both biological and theological reasons in my view (as a geneticist) to be very cautious about irreversible genetic changes to the human genome.
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