Page 9 - August 2018 - Truth & Tidings

 

 

 

 

 

Page 9 - August 2018 - Truth & Tidings
P. 9

genes and insert them into the working   create human-animal hybrids. They have
        DNA of living cells. For example, they can   also fused human and animal cells in very
        build genes containing the proper code   early stages of embryonic development to
        for CFTR, the membrane protein which is   create chimeras, organisms that are part
        defective in cystic fibrosis, and can splice   animal and part human.
        these corrected genes into the native   The world has yawned at this, and the
        DNA of patients with this disorder. Once   people so furious about GMO “Franken-
        perfected and widely available, this gene   foods” are apparently not worried about
        therapy promises cystic fibrosis sufferers   genetically modified humans. However,
        normal health and a full lifespan.   this critical confusion of species violates
          Scientists can also produce genetically   God’s order and raises serious ethical con-
        modified organisms (GMOs) by cutting   cerns about the human future. Some inter-
        out a strand of DNA bearing a gene with   preters believe a similar genetic corruption
        desired properties from one species and   occurred in the antediluvian world, when
        inserting it into the DNA of a different   embodied angels began to interbreed with
        species. Genetically modified bacteria   the daughters of men (Gen 6:1-4; 2Peter
        and yeast are now making useful prod-  2:4; Jude 6). If we similarly form human
        ucts such as insulin, growth hormone,   organisms that have a nonhuman parent
        vaccines, blood components, antivenins,   or are capable of generating nonhuman
        and biodiesel fuel. GMO crops resist pests   offspring, we desecrate the image of God
        or tolerate herbicides better than native   in man.
        plants, and may grow faster and last longer   By contrast, some combination of cellu-
        in storage. Genetically modified cabbages,   lar or genetic material across species lines
        for instance, have been engineered to se-  to restore human health may be ethical, if
        crete scorpion poison, much to the chagrin   the technique does not fundamentally alter
        of cabbage worms.                    the identity of the human or the animal.
          Even if we brush aside the anti-GMO   Since we are spirit-and-soul beings with
        rhetoric of wide-eyed conspiracy theorists,   detachable bodies, our humanity cannot
        there are still valid reasons to be uneasy   be fully defined by genes or reduced to
        about this brash technology. It is true   organs (2Cor 5:6-8; 1Thes 5:23). At the
        that plant and animal breeders have ma-  level  of  bare  biology,  however,  we  are
        nipulated genes for millennia, but not so   mere mammals, and thus can borrow from
        invasively. Blending genes across species   other mammals. Pigs already provide over
        usurps the Creator’s authority, because it
        blurs the very identity of organisms He   40 products for human medicine, such as
        created “after their kind” (Gen 1:21). The   heart valves, skin, and thyroid hormone.
        most important boundary is the blazing   Gene editing will soon allow us to grow
        red line God drew between humans and   fully human and genetically matched
        animals. He made Adam and Eve alone in   organs in pigs to transplant into patients
        His image, gave humans alone a spiritual   with organ failure. When these pig-grown
        nature, and walked in fellowship alone   organs are widely available, the agony of
        with the man and the woman (Gen 2:7; 3:8).   long transplant waiting lists and the need
        Indifferent to this, some scientists have   for dangerous immune-suppressing drugs
        breached this boundary by splicing human   will disappear.
        genes into animal cells and vice versa to                  - To be continued

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