Recent discoveries in biochemistry and genetics rouse both abject fear and heady exhileration in reasonable men. Some people fear that we are about to unravel the intricately woven tapestry of an orderly universe. Has our knowledge outpaced the wisdom to use it? Some scientists herald the approach of godlike possibilities for our species and dismiss any self-doubts about man’s ability to manage his own destiny. Christian theology should challenge this latest spasm of narcissistic flirtation.
God is enabling us to unravel the mysteries of birth, genetic inheritance, and personality. We should approach these wonders of divine ingenuity with reverence and awe. But some people are plunging in to usurp God’s role in creation. In an article from Ethical Issues in Human Genetics, (Bruce Hilton, ed. at al Plenum Press, 1973, p. 350), Robert L. Sinsheimer writes, “Who can know what man may become as we choose our way across the endless future? The next step for evolution is ours.” This premise that man is an unfinished and evolving product of improbable probabilities, a chance collection of living matter, is what the Christian rejects.
We do not renounce medical and genetic technology, but gladly avail ourselves of its achievements and earnestly support it—within limits. Eradicating genetic defects or surgically alleviating destructive psychological characteristics are commensurate with Christian concerns for the whole man. These are immediate and commendable goals of the scientific community—motivated and restrained by an ethic presuming the dignity of man and honoring the sanctity of human life. But such sound biblical principles easily degenerate into empty humanistic platitudes and are shoved ...1
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