August 8, 2005

Genesis 3:1-5; 11:1-9; Proverbs 14:12, 27 

While mankind has benefited from the blessings of biotechnology, especially in medicine and home life, the corrupted human nature strives to redefine the meaning of humanity through the premise that “the end justifies the means.” As long as the end is for the greatest number and their pleasure and happiness, then the Biblical teaching that God is the Author and Creator of every good and perfect gift is set aside and trampled on by those who would abuse scientific progress for personal gain and self-fulfillment. In C.S. Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man he addressed this tyranny of corrupted man saying, “man controlling man using nature.” The beginning of mankind’s tyranny and exploitation by mankind is set in the Garden of Eden and Satan’s temptation of Eve and Adam.

Playing God
“God knows that when you eat it [fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil] your eyes will be opened. You’ll be like God [gods], knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). The desire to play God or to be like God has expressed its way in elective abortion and a host of biotechnologies. With today’s biotechnologies we face everything from genetic enhancement to gender selection to the possibility of cloning a dead child. As the author of Proverbs writes, “There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death” (Proverbs 14:12).

God Determines Good and Evil
Much of biotechnology in the area of medicine is very helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Yet, any biotechnology that is driven by “the ends justify the means” or a biotechnology which seeks “the greatest good for the greatest number” leads to the death of “the meaning of human life in Christ.” Rightness is governed by God’s Word and not man’s or woman’s human nature. This nature is corrupted by sin. Because of this corrupted body and soul, the Word of God reminds us that a human being’s life begins at conception and that it is valued and sacred because it is created in the image of God and is redeemed by the blood of Christ. Hence, this life is not to be sacrificed at the expense of biotechnological developments that would cause the death of any human being, regardless of its developmental stage. Biotechnology that deprives any human being-unborn, newborn, adolescent, teenager, or older adult-of their future is not right. Self-fulfillment and ambition are unacceptable in accepting biotechnology that would view killing as caring.

Going too Far
When mankind seeks to justify itself through the abusive use of technology, then we have taken the use of biotechnology too far. We enter the same arena as those men and women who built the city and tower of Babel to control their own destiny and to make a name for themselves (Genesis 11). Yes, that was good technology, but it was used for self-fulfillment and personal gain. The sin of self-idolatry is the greatest god-builder we seek. To the contrary we look to Noah who used technology within God’s direction and Word. Noah’s technology brought God glory (Genesis 9). In both cases, the technology was good for its time; however, the motives were different. In the former, the city and tower of Babel was for self-glorification and fulfillment, while the latter, the ark built by Noah and his family, were to God’s glory.

Trusting God’s Word of Life
The Bible is the norm for helping to structure a person’s thinking as he or she struggles with beginning and end of life and the attendant biotechnologcial issues. As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors who are called to be his witnesses. The Law of God written in our hearts and printed in the Bible (Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5) and the revealed Gospel of Jesus Christ (what God in Christ has done and continues to do for us as justified believers) is the mainstay for approaching the appropriate, God-pleasing use of the blessings of biotechnology.

As Christians who are living the life of Christ in the world, we continue to read, discuss, and enter into the public debate on biotechnology. We have God’s Word that speaks clearly and assists us in developing questions and approaches to the unbelieving world. For example, when someone says that the embryo is a “mere blob of cells” and, therefore, can’t be a human being, you can respond: “All human beings, regardless of their stage of development are a blob of cells stuck together.” 

We need to become familiar with terminology and then teach or educate others in simple and accurate ways. Write your congressman or woman. Keep them informed.

Adhere to the Biblical narrative. God has much to say about relationships-family, single, adoptive, and divorced. He talks about living and dying; blessings and curses; procreation and barrenness. The Lord even puts the proper Biblical perspective on the word “choice” as a covenant term, not a picking and choosing for self-needs and desires (Deuteronomy 30). But, the greatest means that Christians have been given is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to plant the “seed of the Gospel” and to water it. This gospel begins with forgiveness and continues into eternity with the Lord in heaven. The Gospel is what changes people, not biotechnology.

We stand with the Word of God against this “brave new world” that would seek to build its towers of Babel and dehumanize human beings to mere parts of living tissues to create and destroy based on “the end justifying the means.” Our comfort comes from the word of God: “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, and my ways are not your ways,’ declares the LORD. ’Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts are higher than your thoughts. Rain and snow come down from the sky. They do not go back again until they water the earth. They make it sprout and grow so that it produces seed for the farmers and food for people to eat. My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow. It will not come back to me without results, but it will accomplish whatever I want and achieve whatever I send it to do’” (Isaiah 55:8-11).