The Authorship Of Life

The desire to be like God, while present since the fall, is becoming a technological possibility. The publisher of U.S. News and World Report introduced a recent cover article on biotechnology by writing:

No longer do [scientists] have to wait for nature to provide the combination of genetic traits they want in microbes, plants, animals - even human beings. They can simply splice new genes into cells to create the organisms they want.

While the church's stand against humanity's nuclear ability to destroy created life becomes more steadfast each day, its response to the technological ability to create new life has been weak, ambiguous, and muted. Yet equally profound dangers are present. Further, central theological judgments about the integrity of life are being made by researchers in universities and corporations, largely unnoticed by the church.

An unprecedented ability to create and manufacture new forms of life has emerged in scientific laboratories. In 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that new forms of genetically engineered life could be granted patents. Within two years, more than 150 genetic engineering firms were established, many with the enthusiastic backing and capital of Wall Street.

The inexorable evolution of genetic engineering is moving from micro-organisms with industrial uses up toward the potential of genetically engineering a human being to desired specifications. New life forms are being introduced into the environment, and species lines are suddenly being blurred. Noah cared for the species two by two, to ensure life's continuity. Today humanity can create new species to satisfy its whims and generate a return on an investment.

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