Author: Pastor Robin D. Fish.
Remember the early science-fiction movies? They always had a moral to the story. Usually one of the main characters would recite it in the closing in moments of the film. The moral always went something like, “There are certain areas where man is not meant to meddle.”
Then science began a great period of growth and discovery, and man began to laugh at that quaint old notion. Man seems to be able to delve in anywhere, and accomplish a great deal. Then the ecological difficulties became apparent, and man discovered that he can, quite unwittingly, destroy the “delicate balance” of nature. In this study, we face the potentials (both good and bad) of genetic engineering, and we want to consider the possibility that the old science-fiction stories were right in saying that there can be an area where man is not wise to meddle. Is there a master plan? Has God built a world so intricate and interdependent that man dare not tinker with it lest he destroy that balance and twist the plan out of shape?
No one will be shocked to find out that the Bible does not address genetic engineering as directly as some would hope. But we can ask if God had a plan, and we can seek evidences of God’s planning in Scripture. Then, using our reason in light of, and obedient to, the Scriptures we can come to some conclusions about the questions before us.
First, we need to ask, “Did God create?” Take a look at Genesis 1:1 and Psalms 104. The answer is obvious; the Bible reports that God did.
Second, is there some divine plan behind the creation? Check the following passages for reference to a plan: Romans 8:28, Romans 9:11, Ephesians 3:11, and Revelation 1:1. Does there seem to be a plan? What is the nature of that plan?
There is a tendency to understand all of the talk in the Bible about God’s plan and purpose in a spiritual sense. That is the more important, in terms of salvation and eternal life – but is it the only sense in which God has planned? Look at Isaiah 14:24-26, 23:9, 46:8-13. What has God planned here? If God’s plan for salvation includes the spread of the Gospel, history, the family tree of Jesus, and the course of the end times (remember Revelation), what else could it include? Read Psalm 104. It speaks about God’s purpose in the creation. What are His purposes, according to the text?
God also talks about His creative work with a man. That man was Job. Job had questioned the plan of God, challenged the wisdom of it. God loved Job and did not condemn him, but He sought to teach Job the foolishness of judging what man does not understand. Turn to Job 38-39. God talks about His work, His secrets, and the “little things” that God had taken the care to plan. Many of these things we take for granted as “accidents” or “just the way things work.” Read through these two chapters and compile a list of God’s deeds and the deliberate, planned elements of our world. Be alert, to the fact that many of the items we are looking for we tend to view mechanistically. For example, Job 38:29-30 speaks of the origin of frost and ice.
We tend to think of that as a result of temperature. Ask yourself, why is it a result of temperature, and why 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or 0 degrees Celsius? Is that a sign of deliberate planning? Is God claiming credit for that in the text? How many items of God’s planning and design do you find? We find at least 25.
Genesis recounts God’s plan for reproduction, each according to its own “kind.” How beneficial, and in what ways is it beneficial, that God has planned for that? Genetic engineering suggests the possibility of altering the plans God made. Is that a necessarily good idea? Is it necessarily bad?
The knowledge that God has planned, and the evidence that nothing has been excluded from His careful planning, is a source of comfort for us. Reread Romans 8:28 and discuss how God’s planning makes that promise a comfort in any type of situation. What comfort does the knowledge of God’s planning give? Read Psalm 46. Focus on the first three verses and discuss why, in light of this study, the things mentioned do not cause fear. Try to sum up the message of the whole Psalm in one sentence.
Now turn to Isaiah 14:27. Does this passage offer comfort? Does it suggest that man cannot hurt himself with genetic engineering? Formulate a statement to answer our original question. How should we consider genetic engineering – as an evil, a good, or as awesome, to be pursued in the light of the fear of the Lord? How does Psalm 51:la apply to our considerations?
God’s plan is not just one big, impersonal plan. It includes each of us as individuals. The plan is unfolded in its most important facet in Ephesians 1:4 and following. That plan includes you personally, individually. If you have any doubt that God has considered you individually, read Psalm 139. What comfort is there? Now tie that comfort in with the phrase in Ephesians “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” Close with the common doxology (“Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”) and a prayer.
© 1987 Bible Science Newsletter, Pastor Robin D. Fish.
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