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Vol.  10  No. 2 February 2008  Page 17
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Robert Johnson

The Sanctity of Life

By Robert Johnson

    According to a recent AP report, scientists in California say they have produced embryos that are clones of two men. The embryos were made with ordinary skin cells. This is similar to scientists in Britain in 2005 using embryonic stem cells to produce a cloned embryo. It matured enough to produce stem cells, but none were extracted.

    What is all the interest in human cloning? Right now, the focus is to be able to collect stem cells for research, and eventually, for creating various human tissues and organs needed to treat a wide variety of diseases. Doug Melton, from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, said, “The next big advance will be to create a human embryonic stem cell line” from cloned embryos. George Daley of the Harvard Institute said, “It’s only a matter of time before some group succeeds.”

    Much of the excitement about cures for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson’s is still theoretical when it comes to embryonic stem cells. While progress has been made in adult stem cell research, which doesn’t endanger the adult from which they are removed, embryonic stem cells have proven to be somewhat unstable and carry a risk of cancer for the recipients of tissue from these cells. Beyond the health issues, embryonic stem cell research “involves creating human lives in the laboratory solely to destroy them for alleged benefit to others” (Richard Doerflinger). Harvesting (as it is called) embryonic stem cells is typically done when the embryo is about five days old. To harvest them, the development of the embryo is “ended.”

    Certainly, advancing technology in this area has challenged everyone’s thinking about the very nature of life. What must be understood is that just because life is generated in a test tube instead of the typical joining of a husband and wife, it is still life. Existing life is being used to create life. No scientist has been able to move into nothingness and speak anything into existence, as God did in the beginning (Genesis 1). Where life is brought into existence doesn’t detract from the sanctity of life.

    Loosing a respect for life has frightening consequences for the living. Who will decide what constitutes that nebulous concept “quality of life” on which continued existence now seems to be based? Will it be established on the will of God, or perhaps the desires of the individual? More likely, will it be based on whatever norms are operative in society at any given point in time, or the economics it takes to sustain life? When we remove God as the Creator and Sustainer of life (Colossians 1:17), there are no boundaries as to what atrocities in the name of scientific advancement can be committed against humanity.

    Recently, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade was remembered, the Supreme Court decision that has allowed over 48 million innocent lives to be destroyed. This decision has helped lead us down the dismal path we now walk in other areas of life. What else awaits us? It’s time to reaffirm the existence of God and His will for our lives, because only in Him do we find life, genuine respect for life, life that is eternal. “The fear of the Lord leads to life” (Proverbs 19:23).

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