26 October 2012

Can We Do Better Than God?

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported on a rather disturbing scientific advancement:
Scientists in Oregon have created embryos with genes from one man and two women, using a provocative technique that could someday be used to prevent babies from inheriting certain rare incurable diseases.
The researchers at Oregon Health & Sciences University said they are not using the embryos to produce children, and it is not clear when or even if this technique will be put to use. But it has already stirred a debate over its risks and ethics in Britain, where scientists did similar work a few years ago.
The genes they want to replace aren't the kind most people think of, which are found in the nucleus of cells and influence traits such as eye color and height. Rather, these genes reside outside the nucleus in energy-producing structures called mitochondria. These genes are passed along only by mothers, not fathers.
About 1 in every 5,000 children inherits a disease caused by defective mitochondrial genes. The defects can cause many rare diseases with a host of symptoms, including strokes, epilepsy, dementia, blindness, deafness, kidney failure and heart disease. The new technique, if approved someday for routine use, would allow a woman to give birth to a baby who inherits her nucleus DNA but not her mitochondrial DNA. Here's how it would work:
Doctors would need unfertilized eggs from the patient and a healthy donor. They would remove the nucleus DNA from the donor eggs and replace it with nucleus DNA from the patient's eggs. So, they would end up with eggs that have the prospective mother's nucleus DNA, but the donor's healthy mitochondrial DNA.
Disease, sickness, these are tragic results of the Fall. We cannot escape them this side of Heaven. Such endeavors as described above are akin to playing God. Of course, no one wishes for an unhealthy child, but that does not nullify the fact that God creates all children, allowing some to be born healthy and allowing others to be born unhealthy. God long ago ordained how it is children would be conceived between one man and one woman. And it is God who intricately designs each and every baby. Every person, known by God before the beginning of time, is created exactly as He determines:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
Because of the Fall, some children are born with illness, just as, because of the Fall, some men and women suffer illness in their later years. Because of the Fall, some children may even be the product of horrific circumstances, but this does not make them any less of a creation of God. This does not make them unworthy of life.

Earlier this week, controversy arose when Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock stated that when a woman becomes pregnant during a rape "that's something God intended." It is impossible to not acknowledge the fact that Mourdock terrifically garbled his words in this instance. As Al Mohler stated, "The cause of defending the unborn is harmed when the argument for that defense is expressed badly and recklessly, and Mourdock’s answer was both reckless and catastrophically incomplete." Nevertheless, even some liberal media realized that, taken in context, Mourdock did not in any way intend to condone rape, but rather was affirming that all life, even when created in tragedy, is intentionally created by God.

Mourdock clarified his intended meaning and later said,
"I think that God can see beauty in every life," Mourdock said. "Certainly, I did not intend to suggest that God wants rape, that God pushes people to rape, that God wants to support or condone evil in any way." (Source)
Of course, what this man intended to say was that, in spite of the atrocious and tragic circumstances by which a child of rape is brought into this world, it nevertheless is still a human child. That child cannot help how it was conceived, and it does not deserve to be punished with death for the sins of its father.

When we read the above verses from Psalm 139, we can almost see in our mind's eye the delicate manner in which our Lord created each precious child. And yet we as a nation do not even flinch at the idea of instantly and violently ripping that life away before it even has a chance to open its eyes in this fallen, yet still beautiful world.

When we read those verses, we cannot help but gasp in utter awe and wonder at the perfect design wrought by God as He brings together the genes of one man and one woman. Yet now we are willing to push God aside, take the reigns ourselves, and attempt to do better.

God, forgive us for our prideful, idolatrous, self-elevating aspirations. We are not You. Forgive us for thinking that we are.

Further Reading
Professing Christian Obstetrician Explains "Why I Perform Abortions"
Doctrine Matters
Repentance and Faith: The Two Cannot Be Separate

1 comment:

  1. As someone who is disabled from birth, I completely agree!


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