Life Group Notes – Week 4

What is Genetic Engineering

http://www.globalchange.com/geneticengin.htm

Genetic engineering is the alteration of genetic code by artificial means, and is therefore different from traditional selective breeding.

Genetic engineering examples include taking the gene that programs poison in the tail of a scorpion, and combining it with a cabbage.  These genetically modified cabbages kill caterpillers because they have learned to grow scorpion poison (insecticide) in their sap.

Genetic engineering also includes insertion of human genes into sheep so that they secrete alpha-1 antitrypsin in their milk – a useful substance in treating some cases of lung disease.

Genetic engineering has created a chicken with four legs and no wings.

Genetic engineering has created a goat with spider genes that creates “silk” in its milk.

Genetic engineering works because there is one language of life:  human genes work in bacteria, monkey genes work in mice and earthworms.  Tree genes work in bananas and frog genes work in rice.  There is no limit in theory to the potential of genetic engineering.

Genetic engineering has given us the power to alter the very basis of life on earth.

Genetic engineering has been said to be no different than ancient breeding methods but this is untrue.  For a start, breeding or cross-breeding, or in-breeding (for example to make pedigree dogs) all work by using the same species. In contrast genetic engineering allows us to combine fish, mouse, human and insect genes in the same person or animal.

Genetic engineering therefore has few limits – except our imagination, and our moral or ethical code.

Genetic engineering makes the whole digital revolution look nothing.  Digital technology changes what we do.  Genetic engineering has the power to change who we are.

Human cloning is a type of genetic engineering, but is not the same as true genetic manipulation.  Inhuman cloning, the aim is to duplicate the genes of an existing person so that an identical set is inside a human egg.  The result is intended to be a cloned twin, perhaps of a dead child.  Genetic engineering in its fullest form would result in the child produced having unique genes – as a result of laboratory interference, and therefore the child will not be an identikit twin.

Genetic engineering could create crops that grow in desert heat, or without fertiliser.  Genetic engineering could make bananas or other fruit which contain vaccines or other medical products.

Genetic engineering will alter the basis of life on earth – permanently – unless controlled.  This could happen if – say – mutant viruses, or bacteria, or fish or reptiles are released into the generalenvironment.

 

Why do some christians agree with genetic engineering and some do not?

 

The following are some thoughts found on various Blogs and Forums on the Internet

 

I think some look at it like – ” Hey God gave us the technology, lets use it”

The other side of the coin is that Only God has the right to create life.

 

I’m all for genetic engineering, to an extent. I’m NOT in support of cloning, or genetically engineering a fetus in order to have a blue-eyed, blonde-haired child. If it will assist in eradicating all disease (mental and physical), then I’m in support of it.

Others do not support it because to them it seems like humans are playing “god”…I disagree. God gave us the brainpower to learn this.

 

Because there are nearly as many varieties of christianity as there are christians.

 

Well, the more work we do on genetic engineering, the less of a need we have for “God” (whatever that is).

 

it is a bad idea because we do things like this without considering the long-term impact. it sounds like a good idea at the time, then we discover later that there is a price to pay…….there’s also the aspect that we want this technology for profit not from any desire to better the human condition…out of such reprehensible motives come horrific repercussions…

 

Well I think for example for God using Adam’s rib to create his female wife Eve.      In a way they were similar and yet not so similar as to generate mutations that were abnormal or harmful as incestuous ones are. Instead God altered them in some way so that the aggressive and regressive tendencies in Adam would be differentiated in Eve. That’s just my educated guess for what’s it worth in these circles.   But an operation such that God did to Adam to create Eve and using his genes as a means to create new life (for that is what biological impregnation is) was not contrary to God’s will or purpose for man and especially his creation for man.      Again this is my opinion. You may google all you wish to on this fascinating subject. I do believe that God is against honest scientific inquiry as long as it used for good and not for evil purposes.     Look at the motivation and reason for God doing what he did for Adam in creating Eve his wife.      Gensis 2:18-23

 

I don’t think most would believe that human genetic engineering is as good thing
But it was a christian who first studied genetic engineering, (Gregor Mendel) although knowledge of things like that had been used in breeding of various species for centuries

 

If it can help end human suffering I am all for it. If it is to make an army of blue eyed blonds I am opposed

 

 

Do Christians agree with genetic engineering?

There is no single opinion among Christians on this subject. Some Christians are strongly opposed to all forms of genetic engineering, but the National Council of Churches adopted a resolution that the effort to use genetics to improve on nature is not inherently wrong.
Naturally, there are different ethical considerations that apply to genetic engineering in agriculture versus humans.

This is a complex subject which encompasses many ethical questions and there is a wide range of opinion among Christian denominations. There is no “yes or no” answer.
What is the Christian opinion on genetic engineering?

God gave us dominion over a diverse and beautiful world for our benefit and enjoyment. The stated aim of those who conduct genetic engineering is to produce more and more and more and more and more by merging one species with another. Why do we think we can do better than God and is diversity not essential?
genetic Engineering is about man looking after himself and being self-sufficient, not relying on God.

Scripture says “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. (Matthew Ch 6)

 

 

DOES GENETIC ENGINEERING HAVE GOD’S ENDORSEMENT? 

 

http://www.newswithviews.com/Ciola/greg4.htm

 

By Greg Ciola

March 28, 2007

NewsWithViews.com

Stories about genetic engineering have been making headline news recently. For instance, rice grown with human genes has been given the green light for commercial production by the USDA. Meat from cloned animals is now okay for human consumption thanks to the FDA. The University of Nevada-Reno has created sheep that are 15 percent human at the cellular level in hopes of using these animals as human organ producing factories in the future. In scientific terms it’s referred to as xenotransplantation. On farms across North America farmers intend to plant record acreage of GM crops in 2007.

Since genetic engineering and biotechnology are now impacting our lives in so many ways, isn’t it time that it were examined from a biblical perspective? There is ample evidence from both the Bible and extra-biblical books that shows strong disapproval of genetic engineering.

The author of all life is God and according to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, He created every species to reproduce after its own kind. Thus, there is no room in God’s creation for man to step in and start modifying DNA by cross transplanting the genes from one organism or species into the DNA of another. In essence, man is now creating species variants that God never intended to exist. Such alteration of species specificity is a serious violation of God’s natural order, and I believe it to be a corruption of life and an abomination unto the LORD.

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:11-12)

Unfortunately, the biotech industry has upstaged God’s role in creation by attempting to modify every aspect of life through their dark science. The genetic codes of each species’ DNA are God’s doing. They were not put there by some random act of evolution, as most scientists would like us to believe. In effect, what they are doing is mocking God by declaring that nearly everything He made is defective and can be improved upon.

In the Old Testament books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy there are clear instructions on how the Israelites were to farm their land and grow their food.

“Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee.” (Leviticus 19:19)

“Thou shall not sow thy vineyard with diverse seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou has sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard be defiled. Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. Thou shalt not wear a garment of diverse sorts, as of woollen and linen together.” (Deuteronomy 22:9-11)

Notice that if a field was plowed with an ox and an ass it was a violation of God’s law. If a field was planted with various mixed seeds, it too was a defilement and violation of God’s law. Therefore, since God is adamant about not mixing – whether it be in plowing, planting or in the clothes we wear – what do you think His thoughts would be on gene mixing? Let me assure you that when DNA genes are taken from one organism and inserted into another, it too is a defilement of the land and a violation of God’s law!

Anyone who can see this biotech time bomb with spiritual eyes will understand that genetically modified foods and genetic engineering are not about improving crops and providing better alternatives to the world. They’re about playing God and polluting His whole creation. God’s law doesn’t sanction genetic engineering and it never will, despite the best efforts of the biotech industry to try and present these altered organisms as something beneficial to the human race. It may very well be genetically modified foods and genetic engineering that finally bring the wrath of God down upon us. I personally believe that this gene altering technology is one of the most critical issues the world is now facing.

The world was already destroyed once at the time of Noah because of what the ancient Book of Jasher seems to clearly indicate was a form of genetic engineering. If scientists insist on playing God, it may not be long before such a divine destruction happens again.

While the Book of Jasher is not actually in Holy Scripture, it is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. The fact that the Bible cites it twice validates that there was such a book by this name in the early history of the nation of Israel. The book of Jasher is basically a parallel narrative of the first five books of Moses with the exception that it goes into much more detail. With regards to the story of Noah and the flood, Jasher sheds new light on some of the key events that were taking place before God destroyed the world. In light of our current discussion, one of these passages is very pertinent.

“And the sons of men in those days took from the cattle of the earth, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and taught the mixture of animals of one species with the other, in order therewith to provoke the Lord; and God saw the whole earth and it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon earth, all men and all animals.” (Jasher 4:18)

It’s also rather interesting to note that when Jesus’ apostles asked Him what it would be like before His return He said it would be like the time of Noah. Might He have been referring to events similar to those cited in the Book of Jasher? Is modern genetic research simply a replay of ancient history? The evidence is certainly enough to make one stop and think.

Notice how God describes the destruction He was about to bring to the world during Noah’s time in the book of Genesis.

“And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.”(Genesis 6:7)

No doubt there were many reasons why it repented the LORD that He made man, but one of the most significant ones appears to deal with genetic modification. It is obvious from both Genesis and Jasher that the whole world had become altered because of the genetic technology that was taking place.

“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon earth.” (Genesis 6:11-12)

After much deliberation and research, it is my belief that genetically modified foods and genetic engineering as a whole may be leading up to a final battle between good and evil. The biotech companies have drawn a line in the sand and are determined to fight with all of their resources to implement this technology on a global scale. Despite past protests against GM foods in Europe and a growing juggernaut here in America, genetic engineering plods relentlessly forward – apparently unstoppable! Yet if God’s word can be trusted – and it can – then it’s just a matter of time before He steps in to put a halt to this outrage. These huge multinational biotech companies may in fact be getting into a battle that’s more than they bargained for.

If you don’t think food is a critical issue in the eyes of God, let me remind you that it was the consumption of a forbidden food in the Garden of Eden that led to the fall of man. Adam and Eve broke God’s very first commandment and ate the food from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Do you really think Satan would forego a strategy that worked so well for him back in the beginning? Might he now also have the whole world breaking God’s food laws and eating the wrong food in the form of GMOs? And just remember one very important thing, Satan doesn’t care whether you know it or not. As long as he can stand before our Heavenly Father and accuse us to Him, that’s all that matters. (See Revelation 12:10)

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