Does God want us to use CRISPR technology?

Monday Musings for December 06, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

Is there anything on your body that you would change if you had the power to do so? Hmm. I’m tall enough — but I would definitely grow my hair back if a sure and easy solution came my way. 20-20 vision would be nice too... as would relief from arthritis symptoms.

I suspect we all have such a list. But I suspect this list assumes that we could just take a few pills to get the desired results. I see that as a “magic wand” solution… like the one Grace Slick  (Jefferson Airplane) contemplated when she sang, “One pill makes you larger / and one pill makes you small.” (Lyrics from White Rabbit referencing Alice in Wonderland.)

Now, swallowing a pill is relatively easy. But would you have your genome altered to get the desired result? That’s quite another question…  and that’s today’s question. If our DNA is who we are biologically, isn’t this who God made us to be? Or is it? Didn’t he make us so we could use our big brains to find ways to help humankind improve its lot and prosper? And if so, who are we to draw the line? Such line drawing would be arbitrary.

I am alive and (arguably) vital today because of advances in modern medicine — many of which I take for granted because of when and where I was born. My life would seem implausibly futuristic to my great-grandparents if they had a preview... so here’s what I think.

If I could magically bring them forward into my time, I don’t think they would agree to get a hip replacement or fly to Europe in a jet — even though these activities are not at all controversial. In fact, these are routine activities today. Yet I doubt that would persuade them.

I feel that many of my contemporaries have that same mindset. They have become their own great-grandparents... if you will… afraid to grasp the future that God has made available to them. What else can I think when people refuse modern therapies despite their official approvals and statistical successes. In America, this is our right. But we will never move forward as a species if we rely on historical therapies only.

Now, it’s good for people to take a stand. We need to challenge big government and big Pharma — and I get it: some people are not helped by modern therapies — and yes, some people are hurt by them. But that’s one of our social contracts; that’s the price of making reasonable progress in medicine… and it is a lie to present the minority (failures) as the norm.

The issue of Christians using medicine and/or technology is rarely a yes/no question. It’s more often a “Where do we draw the line?” question. But a more basic question is implied: how do we know this is the future God wants for us? How do we know we are not jumping into a wood chipper? If history tells us anything, it tells us that God lets people do stupid things and suffer the consequences.

That, my friends, is the price of free will. It’s on us to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. God gave us intelligence, agency... and a lot of general instructions. Let’s choose wisely.

 

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