Altering human genes to create a “super” human seems like the plot of a science fiction movie. But scientists have taken a step closer to being able to do just that as Britain approves experiments to edit the genes in human embryos.
While supporters of this research say that it could lead to cures for diseases such as HIV and inherited disorders “critics warn that tweaking the genetic code this way could be a slippery slope that eventually leads to designer babies” as quoted in the Gisborne Herald 2 February.
It is easy to see how this technology, developed with good intentions, could be abused. In Nazi Germany scientists experimented on babies in the womb as part of the plan to create the Aryan super race. What could radical groups today do with such technology?
The research itself also results in a tragic loss of life. Embryos in this particular experiment will be allowed to develop to around 250 cells before they are destroyed. Each of those embryos could have been a baby and God tells us that all life is precious. God said to Jeremiah (1v5) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” and the message is the same to us. God assures us that he knows and loves us throughout the bible. While I am sure he is intrigued with our continued unravelling of the scientific wonders that He created, I am also sure that He did not intend for them to be used in this way, killing unborn children, and opening up a door to experimentation and abuse.
We need to treat scientific knowledge with care, and thank God for the gift of life for as the Psalmist says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Larisa Hockey – Mangapapa Church
Larisa has been a Christian since Youth Group days in Kaukapakapa North Auckland. She believes in finding the truth in God's word for all situations.
Published in the Gisborne Herald 20 February 2016.