Posted on November 27, 2019 at 6:26 AM
The “bio” in bioethics means life. Although it includes
other types of life the focus of bioethics is on human life. The announcement a
year ago of human infants born in China after their genes had been edited has
caused us to think this year about how human life should come into being.
The story in Genesis of the creation of humans tells us some
things about who we are. We learn that we are created beings made from the
material substance of creation with the breath of life breathed into us by God.
We are made to be male and female and complement each other. When we come
together in marriage, we have been given the ability to bring new human beings
into the world as a result of our union as one flesh. Each new child is given
to us as a gift from God. We also learn that God made us in his image so that
we are intended to reflect his glory in the world we have been given to
steward. That sets us apart from other created life and puts great value on
every human being.
How does all this impact how we think about how we bring new
human lives into the world? It means we should remember that each new child is
a gift from God who should be accepted unconditionally. Children are not intended
to be something we make to fulfill our own desires. Each new human being from
the very beginning of his or her life has great value. It means we should
hesitate to modify the genetics of a new human being to give that child the
genes that we think are best. It also means that we should show great respect
to any human being who is a subject of research. Human subject research can be
very important, but the subjects should enter in voluntarily giving of themselves
as a gift to others. When we do research on human beings who are not able to
volunteer, the research should cause no more than minimal harm. We should not
see human embryos as a disposable resource for research.
As our family travels to our home to celebrate Thanksgiving
together this year, I am thankful for each of their lives. I am thankful for my
parents who brought me into this world and nurtured me both physically and spiritually.
I am thankful for my wife whom God has given to me as a faithful partner and
the children God gave to us. I am thankful for the spouses God gave to them and
the children they have been given. Above all I am thankful to the God who gives