Is it O.K. to create immortality?

One of our high school students asked me a series of simple questions for a biology assignment. What do you think?

1. Will genetic engineering have positive/negative effects on society in general?

A qualified “positive.” The field is so large and the potential for good or evil so varied, that more questions need to be asked. Like splitting the atom, creating gunpowder or sharpening stone, wood or metal, this tool will have positive effects on society so long as it is used within strict moral boundaries.

2. In what ways does/ will genetic engineering impact the medical field?

Gene splicing carries potential for combating existing diseases and malformations. When used surgically or therapeutically its potential for good is immense. If allowed to cross strict ethical boundaries, however, it turns the gift of life into a commodity to be patented and marketed.

3. What moral and ethical implications are involved with genetic engineering?

On one hand, Christians would point to the cultural mandate (“filling” and "subduing” the earth) in Genesis 1:28 as the basis for pursuing good science in unlocking the mysteries of creation. Chemistry and physics and biology are noble professions. Moral lines are crossed when, in the pursuit of financial gain or power, human life (imago dei) is harmed or cheapened. Examples: creating human life and destroying it (abortion/embryonic stem cell factories), seeking to step outside created kinds to achieve immortality rather than using the technology to relieve the suffering that was not present at creation.

4. Do you view genetic engineering as right or wrong? Does there need to be a line drawn to limit it?

See above. Utopian visions like socialism and genetically engineered immortality look good only if you remove the concept of human sin or depravity from the picture. Even if one does not acknowledge the moral fallenness of our race, the generally accepted potential for human error is too large to assume that all the benefits of this vast field will outweigh its risks. What marketers dream up on the drawing board disappears when a nightmare crawls out of the laboratory.

See also Kerby Anderson's short article on the subject


  1. Hey just have to say, Love your creamer!! If you have some free time you might like to watch the video on this site this is well worth taking the time to see.
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  2. Very good point about the potential for human error. People will not readily believe that man is totally depraved, but it is quite evident that man is imperfect. There isn't a whole lot of talk that I have heard about what could possibly go "wrong" with genetic engineering. Sounds like people want it so bad that they are playing the "three wise monkies" game.

  3. Even the infidel Bertrand Russell believed in the "basic cussedness" of all mankind. Some of us just believe what God said and extend the effects of the fall to the whole person including the mind.


What do you think?