Rapid advances in medical understanding and possible treatments present many challenges to society in general and challenge the Christian to think carefully about a biblical response. David Cook considers the issues within an apologetic framework.

Challenges from bioethics

  1. Genetic knowledge
  2. Human genome
  3. Genes and disease
  4. Somatic cell and germ line
  5. Cloning technologies
  6. Stem cell research
  7. Gene manipulation
  8. Gene replacement
  9. Xenotransplantation

Underlying challenges

  1. What is human?
  2. View of disease
  3. View of life and death
  4. Reductionism
  5. Determinism
  6. Research funding
  7. Public perception of genetics
  8. Playing god

Social challenges

  1. Confidentiality
  2. Using genetic information – abortion
  3. Gene selection – discrimination
  4. Abnormality
  5. Social / religious responses – Tay-Sachs (Jews), thalassemia (Cypriots)

Ethical and theological responses

  1. Freedom not determinism
  2. Holism not reductionism
  3. Limits of science
  4. Protecting humanity / the vulnerable
  5. Genetic variety
  6. Truth telling
  7. God the creator
  8. Fall and created order
  9. Law – public health
  10. Law and prophets – care for vulnerable
  11. Example of Jesus – incarnation
  12. Example of Jesus – cure / care for vulnerable / diseased
  13. Fulfilment – eschaton


How can we understand genetic advances?

How can we see what is being presupposed?

How can we bring values to bear?

How can we build common ground?

How can we restrain evil?

How can we show the values of Christ?