Love Yourself

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”-Ps. 100:3

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”-Ps.139:13

Yesterday, Valentine’s Day 2017, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine released a highly anticipated report.  This report provides guidelines to which scientists would be allowed to make genetic modifications in human DNA that could be passed down for subsequent generations.

NPR had a special regarding the report. Find the summary here:  http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/14/514580162/scientific-panel-says-editing-heritable-human-genes-could-be-ok-in-the-future  (By the way, who made this committee an authority on morality anyways?  Just curious.)

The publication can be purchased here:  https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24623/human-genome-editing-science-ethics-and-governance

I thought it ironic that these academies would release a report regarding the ethics guidelines for such a controversial issue on a day for love.  Technological advances are important.  Science innovations play a key role in enhancing quality of life.  However, we must tread carefully.  How much is too much?

Scientific advancements have allowed us to make it possible for infertile individuals to conceive children they want so badly.  Some people, frequently those in the conservative Christian spheres state that we play God in such cases.  My argument there is that if God really doesn’t want children in a couple’s life plan, he will even prevent IVF from working.  Now, I might have a bias considering my husband and I were weighing this option during our 4-year infertility ordeal but negated it since we didn’t have the funds to move forward with this choice.  The fact still remains though that God is more powerful than our choices and he can stop us if he so chooses.  I do believe in free will however.  God allows us to make mistakes or successes and it all works out in the end.  Paths work for the glory of his kingdom, not our own.

However, we are now entering the realm of genetic modification.  We are opening avenues to gene selection.  The committees put forth restrictions that would inhibit modifications for non-medical purposes.  The reason gene modification is even a consideration is that scientists hope to eradicate certain diseases.  Scientists hope to remove genes that could cause cancer, Tay Sachs, etc.  While these discoveries are beneficial in principle, they might be more harmful than we know.

If we eradicate one disease, could we be introducing another, more fatal, disease?  While there are boundaries in place at what point in the future will people decide these boundaries are unnecessary?  If, in the future, these boundaries are removed, will new racial or social divides be introduced and increase the incidence of hate crimes?

Have we not realized that we have played around with genetic selection in the past already?  The field of eugenics selects particular individuals as superiors and eliminates the offspring of individuals deemed inferior.  [See post: March for Life]  What message are we sending to the “disabled” communities?  Are they any less worthy?  Are they less capable of influence or life quality because of their disease?  Sometimes a disease can make them stronger and better able to minister or encourage others, no?  We enter dangerous waters; waters that poison us with the image of superiority and make us thirsty to assert dominance and in turn, our pride and insecurities.

Now is a time that I recommend leaving my blog to go watch Gattaca.  This movie’s very premise is on genetic modifications and the ramifications that could happen in society.

Why are we so insecure with how God made us, always striving to disguise ourselves or rid ourselves from particular attributes rather than concentrating efforts on repenting and forsaking sin?  For instance, the sin of vanity.  Why am I concerned with appearance too?  Why do I complain about my curly hair, height, or shoe size?  Why can’t we be satisfied with traits God gave us, the very traits that might help us be better for serving him and bringing forth his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

I guess we want to play God because we are insecure.  We can’t see beauty in flaws.  Flaws are relative though.  What one culture deems important or necessary won’t be in another.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Start loving how you look and what afflictions you might have, especially if they aren’t traits that draw you away from God.  God might be using those afflictions or traits to make you stronger, more apt to do the tasks he has called you to.  Recognize your worth and value through the genetic chance that has transpired.  Sometimes the things we think unnecessary are the very things that spur us towards greatness or better character.

[I’m not saying it is inherently wrong to eradicate diseases like Tay Sachs (which I believe, if my memory serves me correctly, my genetic mapping, which I had performed during infertility testing, revealed I carried a recessive trait for).  I’m grateful that vaccines have helped remove small pox (oh vaccines, another loaded and controversial issue).

Yet, I do wonder how God’s leniency with scientific discovery has lent itself to an increase in deviation from God himself. Rather, is scientific innovation man’s attempt to reclaim paradise after the fall?  These are deep theological and philosophical matters that I’m sure have been discussed and argued by scholars far more educated in such fields than myself.

Regardless, I think we must carefully consider what permitting such research might actually entail.  It is important to ask ourselves these ethical questions.  What we think we want might be something we gravely regret.  Also, let us agree, at least every Christian brother and sister, that every man and woman is valuable; it is an essential detail to our Christian story.

Christ died, resurrected, ascended, and intercedes for ANYONE who chooses to call upon his name.  We are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory.  We are all in need of a savior for redemption.  Choose to love yourself, others, and most importantly God, the one who made you in his image.

{If it isn’t broken, why fix it?  Are trait characteristics culturally significant rather than advancing quality of life for all people?  I think so and if we start to go down this avenue, even in the name of a beneficial cause, when will we stop?  How am I contributing to vanity?  How are you?  What is morally required of us in the field of scientific pursuits?  These are crucial considerations.}

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