Is it a sin to use embryonic stem cells to help fight disease?

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download (2)Some medical researchers advocate using embryonic stem cells for the potential of curing diseases. There is a difference between using adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells, which can be used to replace damaged or aging cells, are found in the body and can be harvested without danger to the donor, whereas embryonic stem cells are harvested from embryos four to five days after fertilization and requires the death of the embryo. Using embryonic stem cells causes the death of many human beings. This is clearly forbidden in the Bible.

Scientifically speaking, human life begins at conception when an egg and a sperm unite to form a being that possesses a new string of DNA (coded information, the blueprint for a human). At this point, the genetic makeup of the individual is determined. This new person has the capacity of development and growth. No genetic difference exists between a pre-birth baby and a post-birth baby. Both are at different stages of human growth.

The scriptures teach that life begins at conception in the womb and that God takes an active role in creating it. “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. . . . You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.” (Psalm 139:13, 15, NLT).  The Lord knows who every person is even before they are born (Jeremiah 1:5). He sets some apart for His service before they are born (Galatians1:15). This shows that God has a plan for those who are not yet born. To end the life of an unborn is to tamper with God’s will for them.

The Bible teaches that we need to defend and stand up for those who do not have a voice for themselves (Proverbs 31:8, 9; Psalms 82:3; Isaiah 1:17). The Bible also teaches that the wicked will receive the due punishment for their deeds (Romans 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:13-14). Punishing the wicked deters evil and fulfills justice.

Because the fertilized egg is a living human, people have no right to tamper with it. The Lord does not give us the authority to destroy innocent human life. Destroying the life of the unborn person is considered murder and the Lord commands, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) for life is sacred (Gen. 9:5, 6). In fact, the Lord in Exodus 21:22-25 gives the death penalty for a person who causes the death of an unborn as for an adult who commits murder. “If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.” (Exodus 21:22-25, NIV).

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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