Is cloning humans right?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The ethical debate surrounding human cloning has ignited profound discussions within both scientific and religious communities. As advancements in biotechnology continue to push the boundaries of scientific achievement, questions arise about the moral implications of manipulating human life. This exploration delves into the complex ethical terrain of human cloning from a biblical perspective, examining key themes, principles, and passages from the Bible.

Understanding Human Cloning

A. Definition and Techniques:

  1. Human cloning involves the replication of an individual’s genetic material to create a genetically identical copy, known as a clone.
  2. Techniques such as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) and embryo splitting have been proposed for human cloning, raising ethical concerns about the manipulation of human embryos and the creation of life in laboratory settings.

B. Ethical Controversies:

  1. Reproductive cloning: The creation of cloned embryos for the purpose of implantation and gestation, raising questions about the sanctity of human life, parental rights, and the identity of cloned individuals.
  2. Therapeutic cloning: The use of cloned embryos for research purposes, including the development of stem cell therapies and regenerative medicine, prompting debates about the moral status of human embryos and the pursuit of scientific progress at the expense of ethical considerations.

Biblical Perspectives on Human Cloning

A. Sanctity of Human Life:

  1. Genesis 1:26-27 – “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.'”
  2. Psalm 139:13-16 – “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb… Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

The Bible affirms the inherent dignity and worth of every human being as created in the image of God. Human life is sacred and deserving of respect from conception to natural death, reflecting the divine imprint and purpose imbued by the Creator.

B. God’s Creative Authority:

  1. Isaiah 64:8 – “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand.”
  2. Romans 9:20-21 – “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Does not the potter have power over the clay…?”

The Bible emphasizes God’s sovereignty as the ultimate Creator and sustainer of life. Human beings are likened to clay in the hands of the potter, subject to God’s divine will and purpose. The act of creating and shaping life belongs to God alone, and any attempt to usurp His authority through human cloning is a violation of His divine prerogative.

C. Respect for Natural Order:

  1. Genesis 1:11-12 – “Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth’; and it was so… According to its kind; and God saw that it was good.”
  2. Leviticus 19:19 – “You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.”

The Bible upholds the principle of the natural order, whereby living organisms reproduce “according to their kind” as ordained by God. Human cloning disrupts this natural order by artificially replicating genetic material outside of the context of natural procreation, violating the integrity and sanctity of God’s created order.

D. Ethical Considerations:

  1. Exodus 20:13 – “You shall not murder.”
  2. Exodus 20:15 – “You shall not steal.”

How do we view cloning humans according to the Bible? In answering, we will first give some biological background. The cloning process requires both DNA and embryo cells. The DNA is removed from the nucleus of a human cell. This coded genetic information, is then placed in the nucleus of an embryonic cell that had its own DNA removed in order to accept the new DNA. Each fertilized egg, including those from cloning, becomes a new human individual.

During this process, it is possible that the embryo may not survive having the original genetic material removed from its own nucleus. Also, if the embryo cell rejects the new DNA, it dies. Further, to perfect the cloning technique requires many experiments. So, many humans would be enabled to commence life, only to be deliberately destroyed.

Therefore, human cloning, with its destruction of human embryos, would be not right. And it is not consistent with the Bible’s teaching of the sacredness of human life that starts at conception (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 49:1-5; Luke 1:15). Furthermore, the creation of cloned individuals without their consent infringes upon their autonomy and identity, akin to a form of theft of personal identity.

Moral Imperatives and Ethical Alternatives

A. Promoting Human Dignity:

  1. Matthew 22:39 – “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  2. Galatians 6:10 – “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Christians are called to uphold the dignity and worth of every human being, demonstrating love, compassion, and respect for the vulnerable and marginalized. Instead of pursuing human cloning, believers are encouraged to advocate for ethical alternatives that prioritize human dignity and promote the well-being of individuals and communities.

B. Ethical Use of Biotechnology:

  1. Proverbs 3:27 – “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.”
  2. James 4:17 – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

While human cloning presents moral and ethical dilemmas, advancements in biotechnology offer opportunities for innovation and progress in the fields of medicine, agriculture, and environmental conservation. Christians are called to exercise wisdom and discernment in the ethical use of biotechnology, seeking to alleviate suffering, promote health, and preserve the integrity of creation.

C. Ethical Research and Policy:

  1. Proverbs 11:14 – “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
  2. Romans 13:1 – “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”

Christians have a responsibility to engage in ethical dialogue, research, and policymaking on issues related to the preservation of life. By seeking counsel from diverse perspectives, advocating for ethical guidelines, and supporting legislation that protects human dignity and safeguards life, believers can contribute to the promotion of responsible science and technology.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the question of whether human cloning is right according to the Bible necessitates careful consideration of biblical principles, moral imperatives, and ethical alternatives. The Bible affirms the sanctity of human life, God’s creative authority, and the natural order.

Human cloning raises significant ethical concerns related to the sanctity of life, the protection of human dignity, and the manipulation of genetic material. Cloning procedures involve the destruction of embryos, which constitutes a violation of the biblical commandment against murder.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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