What Wisdom Does The Bible Give Us On Human Cloning?
Contributed by Jim Butcher on Aug 26, 2001 (message contributor)
Summary: An examination of 5 key Biblical principles to consider on the issues of human cloning and genetic engineering.
The Bible obviously doesn’t use the words “human cloning,” but that should not lead us to
believe that our Father has left us in the dark on this issue. This morning I want to talk about 5
important Biblical principles that we as Christians need to keep in mind as this debate on human
What wisdom does the Bible give us in dealing with human cloning (and genetic engineering
1. We are created in the image of God.
Scripture teaches us that we are intrinsically valuable. We are not merely cogs in some social
engineering idea. We are not created to be manipulated and used as pawns in someone’s design
of a higher social goal. (One well-known example of the consequences to our ethical thinking
and our morality when we lose sight of the reality that all people are created in God’s image:
Hitler’s pursuit of a “master race,” which obviously deemed some people to be more valuable
than others. Brutality and evil naturally followed.)
One of the recurring themes in the writings of those who want to pursue human cloning is that
“people may be used as a means to an end.” As some put forward the horrific ideas of creating
people specifically to harvest their organs or of creating sub-humans of low intelligence to do
menial labor, we as Christians must forcefully proclaim that every person has intrinsic worth, not
because of their genetic make-up or societal usefulness, but because they are created in the image
2. The problem is on the inside.
Some are arguing that as we develop our ability to manipulate genes, that we will be able to
evolve to a higher level as humans and be able to solve many of our present societal problems.
Biblically, however, we know that the problem with humanity is not our genes, it’s our hearts.
The problem of evil in the world is not a DNA issue, it’s a sin issue.
If we develop genetic engineering capabilities to the point where we are able to bring about
people who are smarter, taller, and better-looking, what will be the result? Simply that we will
have smarter sinners, taller sinners, and better-looking sinners.
3. Not all change is progress.
Our passage for this morning in Genesis 11 speaks of a desire among those people to lift
themselves up and exalt themselves. The technology we are dealing with today may new, but the
desire from which it springs is as ancient as Genesis.
The early part of the twentieth century brought glowing predictions of the advance of humanity.
Two world wars and the rise of communism did a thorough job of wiping out that misplaced
optimism. Ironically, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, we again have people who are
painting glorious pictures of the future of humanity (this time thanks to genetic technology). We
must remember that not all change is progress. Indeed, some change carries with it such grave
dangers as to threaten our very future.
Just because we can do something does not mean that we should do something. Not all
technological advances lead to societal advances.
4. Moral outrage is a useful tool.
For most people, this issue is so complex that they presume that it is beyond their power to do
anything. Further, because it seems certain that someone will attempt human cloning very soon,
most people presume that there is nothing we can do to halt the advance of this technology.
That simply is not true. While it is inevitable that somewhere someone will attempt human
cloning, it makes a huge difference whether the news of that is met with moral outrage and
public rebuke or a yawning indifference. Our moral outrage can make the difference in whether
human cloning becomes an occasional event with some maverick scientists or whether it
becomes commonplace and mainstream among “respectable institutions.”
When news of human cloning comes, we must react with the moral outrage that is due some a
5. Cloning does not create eternal life.
Brigitte Boisselier testified before a congressional hearing recently with the words of bereaved
father. This father had lost his 11-month-old son after heart surgery and wrote: “I decided then
and there that I would never give up on my child. I would never stop until I could give his DNA
- his genetic make-up - a chance.” That father was later revealed to be WV attorney Mark Hunt.
In the Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail, he said, “We decided, for the first time in human history,
since Jesus raised Lazarus, to transcend the great gulf of death and bring our baby home - to
create an identical twin of Andrew.”
I have never lost a child and cannot imagine the pain and anguish of the experience. But I must