What does the Bible say about genetic engineering?

Genetic engineering, a groundbreaking field of science, offers the potential to modify organisms at a genetic level, leading to innovations in medicine, agriculture, and more. But as with many advancements, it raises ethical and moral questions. While the Bible doesn’t directly address genetic engineering—given it was written long before the advent of such technology—it does provide principles that can guide our understanding. Let’s delve into the biblical perspective on topics related to genetic engineering.

1. God as the Creator: Genesis 1:27

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

  • The Bible emphasizes that all life is God’s creation.
  • Any endeavor to modify or alter His creation should be approached with reverence, ensuring it aligns with His intentions and respects the sanctity of life.

2. The Mandate to Steward Creation: Genesis 1:28

“God blessed them. God said to them, ‘Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'”

  • Humans are entrusted with the responsibility of stewarding and overseeing creation.
  • Genetic engineering, when used responsibly, could be seen as an extension of this mandate, but it’s crucial to ensure it benefits creation without causing harm.

3. The Value of Knowledge and Wisdom: Proverbs 4:7

“Wisdom is supreme. Get wisdom. Yes, though it costs all your possessions, get understanding.”

  • The Bible encourages the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.
  • While genetic engineering showcases human ingenuity, it’s essential to couple it with wisdom, ensuring ethical and moral considerations guide its application.

4. The Dangers of Playing God: Isaiah 14:15-16

“But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you will stare at you. They will ponder you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth to tremble, who shook kingdoms…?'”

  • This passage, referring to the pride of the King of Babylon, serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of arrogance.
  • Genetic engineering holds immense power, and there’s a fine line between beneficial innovation and overstepping boundaries, potentially “playing God.”

5. Ethical Considerations and Love for Neighbors: Mark 12:31

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

  • All actions, including scientific endeavors, should be guided by love and consideration for others.
  • Genetic engineering should prioritize the well-being of humanity, ensuring that it doesn’t lead to harm or inequality.

6. The Unpredictability of Outcomes: Proverbs 16:9

“A man’s heart plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.”

  • While humans can plan and innovate, outcomes often remain unpredictable.
  • The long-term effects of genetic engineering are still unknown, emphasizing the need for caution, thorough research, and ethical considerations.

The Bible, while not directly addressing genetic engineering, offers timeless principles on creation, stewardship, knowledge, and ethics. These principles can serve as a moral compass, guiding decisions and applications. It’s crucial to approach such powerful technology with humility, wisdom, and a deep respect for the sanctity of life, ensuring that advancements truly benefit humanity and honor the Creator.

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