Our brave new world is here, thanks to a new gene editing technology called CRISPR. (And it’s cheap! Maybe you qualify for a free CRISPR kit? Google it.) The potential applications of the technology are myriad.
The body as we know it exists in a remarkable tension. On the one hand, Christians confess that the body is unquestionably good; the incarnation of Christ tolerates no lesser opinion, signaling God’s intent to redeem these very bodies. Nevertheless, the Apostle Paul also indicated that these same bodies possess an acutely felt awareness that such goodness is not an obvious feature of our ordinary lives. We still await “the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23), that ultimate transformation when the “Lord Jesus Christ…will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body” (Phil. 3:21). This, then, is the tension: we possess bodies that are good and divinely-affirmed, and yet these are also bodies that groan, feel burdensome, and are not quite the way they were meant to be.
The questions regarding the sanctity of human life are complex with developments like this. No longer direct questions of who lives and who dies, but questions like “What does it mean to be human?” Where are the boundaries between the human and the non-human? Where is the line between correcting things that are broken and enhancing abilities and even creating new capabilities?
What is the purpose of a pastor? Is it to stand in front of a congregation, eloquently preaching from translated and exegeted original language notes? Should his or her leadership model the values of the world, where his congregants follow his lead because he sways them by the intellectual prowess and physical abilities that society so values?
The 21st-century world of medicine and biotechnology is simultaneously characterized by hopeful promise and the challenging threats. The issues swirling in our culture at this time represent larger worldview issues.
We live at an exciting time in human history, when our medical interventions and technological innovations can do amazing, even seemingly miraculous, things. Yet, amidst all of this there is also a growing discontent with these marvels of our medically and technologically sophisticated age (or what we’ve shorthanded as the MedTech age).