A shocking statement released recently from Britain’s Newcastle University indicates that a team of scientists from the university have been granted a license by the country’s fertility regulator to create babies using DNA from three people! This startling news marks the first time that Britain’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), has issued such a license for the procedure. This first-ever authorization was granted under the guise of furthering what is known as mitochondrial replacement therapy. This technique is most often used to increase the chances of a healthy baby being born to a mother who carries genes for mitochondrial diseases such as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, heart problems and mental retardation; all birth defects that are believed to be caused by mitochondrial issues. Mary Herbert, professor of reproductive biology at the Newcastle University clinic, told The Guardian newspaper, “It’s great news. We hope to offer treatment to the first patients from the summer.” Part of the significance of this is that it represents a major change to Britain’s law. Previously, British law forbade the alteration of a human egg or embryo. In this startling departure, Britain’s House of Commons has given preliminary approval to essentially reverse the law, but the bill still needs to be granted approval by the House of Lords — and a further Commons vote on any amendments — before becoming law. If this ultimately passes, it would make Britain the first nation to allow embryos to be genetically modified!
The critics are concerned
Rightly so, not everyone is thrilled about the prospects of this decision. Critics believe the decision will put people at unnecessary risk of an untested procedure and said women with faulty mitochondria should simply opt to use donor eggs. David King, director of the Human Genetics Alert group recently told FOX News, “This decision opens the door to the world of (genetically modified) designer babies,” adding “Allowing mitochondrial replacement means that there is no logical basis for resisting genetically modified babies.” Similarly, Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the California-based Center for Genetics and Society, stated “We believe the House of Commons has made a serious mistake, which we hope does not have dire consequences. We sincerely hope that scientists, policymakers and others will join us in working to strengthen the widespread commitment to forgo efforts to modify the traits of future children and future generations.” Likewise, accusing the British government of “playing God,” Bishop John Sherrington said in a statement issued on behalf of the church in England and Wales, “The human embryo is a new human life with potential; it should be respected and protected from the moment of conception and not used as disposable material.” One of the potential dangers that could result from this British law is that of further development of the techniques needed for human cloning!
What does the Bible say?
While the Bible does not specifically address the topic of genetic manipulation it does make very clear that all life is created by God’s direct intention according to His infinite knowledge. Genesis 1:26-28; 2:7 teaches that God created the very first human life and Psalm 139:13-16 indicates that God Himself forms every subsequent human life in the womb! Furthermore, Jeremiah 1:5 reveals that God knows every individual before He forms them in the womb. Therefore, the intention of this new British law – to allow manipulation of human characteristics prior to the embryo growing in the womb – clearly attempts to supersede the role of God! Frighteningly, the Bible tells us to expect such efforts as the last day draws near. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 teaches us that in the last days much of humanity will be lovers of themselves while denying the power of God. Similarly, many Bible teachers believe that such medical technology equates to the “knowledge [that] shall be increased” in “the end of time” as taught in Daniel 12:4. Some even point to the army of 200 million in Revelation 9:13-19 and speculate that such genetic manipulation / human cloning may be used to create such a massive army. Regardless, the Bible is clear that every human life is precious to God and directly created in His image. Humans should be very cautious as we encroach on this divine directive. Given the serious implications of this new British law, we should be in prayer over this situation.
PRAY: Pray for the leaders of England to revoke the recent action of the House of Commons and protect the divine sanctity of life. Pray for the Christians of England to see this as a call to strengthen their relationship with their heavenly Father and spread the message of His love to their unbelieving countrymen.