Christian ethics and cloning - Are they compatible?
Christian ethics and cloning is fast becoming a topic that is difficult to ignore. Each day it seems there is more news from the scientific world of another milestone reached in cloning technology. Dolly the sheep, the first cloned mammal, was born in 1996. The first human embryo was cloned in 2001. In spite of laws being passed worldwide to ban reproductive cloning, in some scientific circles, the race is on to be the first to produce a viable human clone. How do Christian ethics and cloning fit together? Are they compatible? Although there is no direct reference in the Bible to cloning, we can look to the Bible for the foundations of our faith when presented with such a modern moral choice.
Genesis 1:27 states, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Man was created by God in God's own image. All humans were planned and made by God, to be like God. Through cloning, man is seeking to create a human in his own image, to be like him. Romans 1:18, 22-23 tells us, "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man. . ." God is angered by those who refuse to acknowledge and honor Him and instead create idols of other humans.
We were created by God for His purpose. Colossians 1:16 says, ". . .all things were created by him and for him." And Proverbs 16:4 says, "The Lord hath made all things for Himself. . ." Those who seek to clone a human, desire to create for their own purposes. There are many reasons given for wishing to clone a human, including to harvest stem cells for research and gene therapy, for "spare parts" to transplant into an ill or dying person or even to replicate a particularly desirable set of physical or mental traits.
Micah 4:12 tells us: "But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD; they do not understand his plan. . ." With cloning, man seeks to usurp God's place as Creator, which directly disputes Psalms 100:3: "Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture."
In Genesis, we see God's divine plan for the family.
Genesis 1:27-28 states, "male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number. . ." Genesis 2:24 says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." God's first family consisted of one man, one woman, and the children born to their union. Each child was and is one of a kind, a unique combination of the genes of his father and mother. A cloned child would only have the genetic material from one person, a purposely-manufactured child with truly only a single parent. This represents a complete destruction of God's divine family plan.
When applying Christian ethics to cloning, we can see that God created each human to be a special, unique individual representing Him and His divine purposes on earth. Cloning seeks to manufacture an exact copy of another human, a commodity, for worldly purposes. This "playing God" is a form of idolatry, making for ourselves an image that is not God's image. We are told in Leviticus 19:4,"Do not turn to idols. . .I am the Lord your God."
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