As has been well said, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." The stark reality of this sentiment was borne out in 1973 when Christians quietly passed by a major battle in the war against abortion. Two and a half decades later the far-reaching impact of that loss is being felt in a raging debate over human cloning. While Pandora's box is already open, Christians must do all that is permissible to speak out and prevent a human clone from emerging.
Richard Seed, who holds farcical metaphysical views along with a Ph.D. in physics, has refueled the debate on human cloning. His preposterous plan to produce 200,000 human clones per year has caught the attention of politicians and pastors, as well as the president of the United States. According to Seed, "Cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step in becoming one with God."1 Following Seed's outrageous remarks, President Clinton immediately pushed Congress for a five-year moratorium on human cloning.2
Clinton's actions, however, may have come too late. Laws granting constitutional protection regarding reproductive choices,3 as well as laws giving women carte blanche over abortion decisions,4 may well limit the right of the government to interfere with human cloning experimentation. "It is hard to imagine a judicial decision consistent with current Supreme Court interpretations of abortion law," syndicated columnist Linda Chavez points out, "that would uphold the right of the government to outlaw cloning."5 In other words, the prevailing logic that permits a woman to terminate the life of a child in the womb may well apply equally to cloning.
The cloning issue took on greater urgency in 1997 when a team of Scottish embryologists produced the first successful clone of an adult mammal - a sheep named Dolly. In the process of experimentation, 276 out of 277 cloning attempts failed.6 This is an important consideration in light of Seed's proposals for cloning human beings. In theory, human cloning is similar to animal cloning.7 Thus for Richard Seed to succeed in his biological schemes, he would first have to harvest female eggs, fuse them with the nuclei of human cells, and then implant the reworked eggs into the wombs of surrogate mothers, dooming almost all of the embryos to failure and death. While Seed sees this as an intoxicating proposition, the leaders of 19 European nations signed a treaty declaring that cloning is "contrary to human dignity and constitutes a misuse of biology and medicine."8 Christian leaders must speak out clearly and concisely against human cloning as well.
First, it is important to point out that producing a human clone would of necessity require experimentation on hundreds if not thousands of live human embryos. In reality (since embryos are fully human), the entire bloody process would be the moral equivalent of the human experiments carried out by Nazi scientists under Adolph Hitler. Furthermore, it should be noted that the issues concerning cloning and abortion are inextricably woven together. For example, if defects were detected in developing clones, abortion would no doubt be the solution of choice. And make no mistake — the notion that an embryo has full personhood from the moment of conception is no longer a theological proposition, it is plain scientific fact. French geneticist Jerome LeJeune explains, "To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence."9
Finally, it should be emphasized that cloning has serious implications regarding what constitutes a family. While children are the result of spousal reproduction, clones are essentially the result of scientific replication.10 To wit the question, who owns the clone? It is terrifying to consider that the first human clone might well be "owned and operated" by none other than Richard Seed.
1The Associated Press, USA Today, 7 January 1998, Nation (www.USA.com).
2Linda Chavez, "Cloning and Abortion: Two Sides of a Coin," The Orange County Register, 15 January 1998, Metro section.
3Ibid., which references Supreme Court decision, Griswold vs. Connecticut, 1964.
4Ibid., which references Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade, 1973.
6Ray Bohlin, "Can Humans Be Cloned Like Sheep?" (Richardson, TX: Probe Ministries, 1997), 2 (www.probe.org). Bohlin notes that out of 277 initial cell fusions, 29 began growing as embryos in vitro; all 29 embryos were implanted into 13 receptive ewes; yet only one lamb was born.
7It is important to note that while it is theoretically possible to clone a human body, the human spirit can never be cloned. As with twins, the clone may share a genetic blueprint with the body from which it is derived but its soul or spirit would nevertheless remain distinct.
8Joseph Schuman, "European Nations Sign Ban on Human Cloning," The Orange County Register, 13 January 1998, front page.
9Quoted in Francis J. Beckwith, Politically Correct Death: Answering the Arguments for Abortion Rights (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 42. Many other leading medical experts echo LeJeune's words. These experts include Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth, a principal research associate in the department of Medicine at Harvard (Beckwith, 43) and Dr. Hymie Gordon, professor of medical genetics and a physician at the Mayo clinic (ibid, 42). While pro-abortionists try to separate "human life" from "personhood," this distinction is merely a semantic deception. Personhood is an essential attribute of human nature; if one is a human life, he or she is naturally also a human person.
10In essence, cloning is a form of asexual reproduction.
You know that the stands we take on the Bible Answer Man broadcast, in the Christian Research Journal, and through the ministry of CRI are not motivated by popularity or political correctness but by the certain knowledge that ideas have consequences. This, of course, is precisely why we continue to emphasize those three poignant words …because Truth matters.
In 1831 a 19th century dogma with profound consequences was being birthed in the British Isles. That year John Nelson Darby left the Church of England and joined a separatist millenarian group. Darby contended that God had two distinct people with two distinct plans and two distinct destinies. Only one of those peoples — Jews — would suffer tribulation. The other — the church — would be removed from the world prior to the second coming of Christ. Darby’s speculative spin on Scripture leads inexorably toward a nightmarish ending. And most frightening of all, very few realize that the modern version of this belief reaches its logical conclusion in a nightmare that would dwarf the Holocaust.
Truths like this must be shared — but we can’t do it without your help. Every month we rely on God’s provision through friends like you to produce more broadcasts, books, and other resources that fearlessly confront ideas that have led millions astray.
And when you partner with us again today with a gift of $25, $50, $100 or any amount God calls you to give, we want to thank you with a copy of Hank Hanegraaff’s fast-paced novel Fuse of Armageddon. Give $100 or more, and he’ll personalize your copy!
In Darby’s day, his followers were content to wait for their version of the end times to become reality. Today, some modern proponents are taking the next logical step — advocating active participation to ensure the horrors of Armageddon become a self-fulfilling reality. In Fuse of Armageddon (co-authored with Sigmund Brouwer) Hank uses the power of story to communicate how this is destined to play out in the days and years ahead. Hank has “put flesh on the bones” of the logical truth propositions put forth in his non-fiction work The Apocalypse Code.
Our prayer in offering the book as our “thank you” for your support today is that it will help you, or someone you love, to biblically re-evaluate this popular end-times idea. It will give you an insight into what is happening today in the Middle East, and help you ask yourself if what we’ve been told is the only godly response may not be in God’s will at all.
No matter how popular an idea is in the churches around us, it must still be measured against God’s infallible repository of redemptive revelation, the Bible. Your continuing ministry partnership is not only deeply appreciated, but vital to equip more Christians with the tools of discernment, and to speak the Truth in love to the non-believing world.
Together, we are making a difference! So please, send your gift of ministry support today, and when you do, don’t forget to request your copy of Fuse of Armageddon. Remember, for your gift of $100 or more Hank will personalize your copy. Thank you for helping to produce more life-changing broadcasts, books, and other resources!