Published March 14, 1997, God’s World Today
Edinburgh, Scotland—Dolly is doing just fine. But lots of people are worried, just the same.
They aren’t worried about Dolly. They are worried about the future.
Dolly is a sheep born last July near Edinburgh. Now we know she was not born in the “ewe”sual way.
She was cloned by scientists in a laboratory at the Roslin Institute. She is an exact copy of another ewe.
A clone is not the same as a twin. Even identical twins have differences. A clone is more like one animal made a second time. It’s the same—right down to the last cell.
The idea of cloning used to be only in jokes. It’s no joke anymore. And that makes many people nervous. They fear the thought of cloning people.
Here’s how Dolly was cloned:
The scientists took a tissue cell from a ewe. Then they took a sheep egg cell and removed its nucleus (the “control center,” where the genes are).
They replaced it with the nucleus from the ewe’s tissue cell. The rebuilt egg began to grow. It was placed in the womb of a sheep to develop and be born.
Dolly is exactly like the ewe whose tissue cell was used.
Editorial on the news by Norm Bomer
Did you clearly understand that last part about replacing the nucleus and all that? I didn’t.
Do you think the scientists who cloned Dolly understand what happened? I don’t.
You see, they’re just being scientific.
Faith and Other Fs
Maybe you’d like to be scientific too for a few minutes. Good idea.
Let me warn you about something first.
Science can be fine, fun, and fruitful. But it’s fallible.
In other words, science is not fully reliable. You can’t put your faith in it.
We can study God’s world long and hard. We can measure and figure and mix and poke and draw conclusions.
Those conclusions keep changing. That’s because science is just our little brains waddling around sniffing God’s big world.
Some people actually think that’s all they need. Instead of looking up for truth, they look down all the time.
In the world today, “science” is now the god of “truth.” In most American places of learning, seeking the living God, the God of truth, is even outlawed.
Most students are taught that “scientific” means true. Sorry. It doesn’t.
There is one source of absolute truth. It’s the word of God.
Lots of folks say they don’t believe that. It’s not “scientific,” they say.
So what does all this talk about science and truth have to do with ewe and you?
Well, cloning is an example of “genetic engineering.” It’s fiddling around with genes and rearranging them.
When it comes to cloning, many people (including many of us Christians) don’t trust science. They worry about science-fiction horror movies coming true.
Imagine some mad scientist scuttling around his underground lab cloning humans. He grows 10,000 Arnold Schwarzeneggers and genetically programs them.
Then he sends them out to close down the M&Ms factory.
Actually, the fear of genetic engineering is more serious than that. Are scientists using it to “play God”? Are they messing around with stuff they have no business messing with?
In a way, that fear is good. Humans do have limits.
But Dolly isn’t really a threat to God or to us either. Remember, science may be the world’s god. But it is NOT GOD.
No scientist will ever create life. No scientist will sneak up on God.
Genetic engineering can, in fact, lead to good things. Maybe the ability to clone animals will too.
For example, maybe a champion bull could be cloned and used to raise more great beef herds. Maybe the best dairy cow could be cloned a few times to produce lots of good milk.
It wouldn’t work, however, to clone a whole herd’s worth of that cow. If one animal got a disease, the whole herd would probably get it. End of herd.
You see, there are built-in limits to cloning.
There are built-in limits to everything. That’s because God created everything and he rules everything.
Do you really think science could slip out of his control?
The world wants you to think that’s already happened. Forget it.