Has man truly created “synthetic life”?

DNA Section
Is it live, or is it Memorex?

If I weren’t so dedicated to actually going to sleep in a few minutes, I would absolutely love to talk more about the topic I am about to mention.  And hopefully I will take the time in a few days — until then, feel free and add your own comments with your thoughts.  For me, I will simply make one observation here about the coverage of the news.

Did you hear about Dr. Craig Venter’s “creation” of “artificial life”?  It was apparently all the rage today, and I have only caught it now just as my yawning and eye-drooping was kicking into gear and my pillow began to look so, so head-friendly, but it’s a topic rife with opportunities for thought and discussion.

But how do you get your information about what to say?  How do you get your facts?  I’ve looked at three different articles (actually four, but the fourth had such horrendous banner ads I refuse to link to it here), and depending on which one you read, you might draw different conclusions.

Read them for yourself:

To me, these three articles presented the topic not just from different perspectives, but in such ways that the reality of the result would be interpreted completely differently depending on which article you read.

I will let you guess which article I prefer of the three (that is, which gets it most right, though they all contain worthwhile elements as well as “off base” elements).  You might be surprised — then again, maybe you won’t be.  I’ll say which coverage I preferred next week when I can post about the topic in more detail.

Is there much to talk about in such developments?  Yes, I do think so!  When is someone “playing God”?  When is he simply “exploring creation” or crating new tools to benefit humanity?  Is this a truly significant achievement or not?  What is the real potential of it, for good or for evil?  Should research along these lines be pursued?  What is God’s judgment on such activity?  Is anyone in the scientific community asking that last question?  (I know, I know — the last question is almost a joke.  And how sad that this is the case.)  What relevant scriptures come to mind?  Anything prophetic?

For this post, I’ll let you say what you think, so comment away!  I will try to add my thoughts early next week.  But for now, I’m going to sleep — where hopefully I will not dream of Dr. Frankenstein’s Bacteria…

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6 thoughts on “Has man truly created “synthetic life”?

  1. Kris Harrison

    I had read about this while waiting for breakfast this morning, and am thankful that you posted more links to this story.

    What came to mind when reading about this was the fact that mankind always seems to think that we can improve on God’s creation. We have messed with our food, geneticaly altaring it to have certain traits, and to give them longer shelf life. Is this done for the benifit of mankind, or is this done out of coveteousness, and selfish greed? The evidence would suggest the latter. They apparantly do not believe God’s own word where in Genesis 1:31 God says: Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. What did Jesus Christ say about man? “…no one is good but One, that is God…” – Matt 19:17 Craig Venter the creator of this bio-organism himself stated: “We know [*nothing] about biology.”
    This makes me think of the warning given to us twice in Proverbs: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. – Prov 14:12, Prov 16:25
    When God created life He understood His creation, He knew how it would interact and react in His creation, and everything He had made was good. He did not somehow miss something that would be benificial for us here on this earth.

    For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. – Romans 1:20-22

    God’s kingdom come!

  2. This whole bit of genetic engineering is like someone like me who only knows enough code to be dangerous, hacking into a huge program that I only partially understand, hoping that doing so doesn’t cause the program (if not the system) to crash or to destroy other systems with which it interacts.

    Outside of doing the limited thingies I do with HTML and my own Web sites, I don’t do that. The one limited attempt I recall to go beyond my knowledge in that area still haunts my memory. Frankensite. Brr.

  3. Dave

    A lot of the articles on the subject lean towards making it out that man can create life. But they do leave some importanr facts out. For example the BBC’s article: “‘Artificial life’ breakthrough announced by scientists” does state that only its genome is truly synthetic. But they don’t answer these simple questions:
    1. Did they design and constuct the host cell from nothing? No they used an existing one.
    2. Did they design and create or copy the genetic code? Copy
    3. Did they create the computers or the materials used to put this thing together? No
    4. Why did the host cell begin multiplying after the new code was placed in it? Because that’s what God (the Master Programmer)created it to do!
    Once again scientists refuse to go back to the trunk of the tree and leave important facts out.
    It’s almost like me taking the spec sheet of a certain kind of engine, putting that engine together and then placing it into a different car than what it was designed for. Yeah it’ll run, but that doesn’t mean I “created” anything. I just used materials that were already there.
    Now there may be some benefit to what they made (possibly fighting cancer and helping burn victims grow skin come to mind) but I don’t agree that they “created”. I think they just “copied” using existing materials. Vroom vroom!

  4. Really now — deep-down, doesn’t everyone have an “artificial life” outside of Jesus Christ?

    “Our baptism in his death made us share his burial, so that, as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live and move in the new sphere of Life.” — Romans 6:4, Moffatt translation

  5. Just for the record, the Bible says we have a natural life outside of Christ, and that’s the problem. Nature isn’t enough to save or fulfill our supernatural needs, which is why man apart from God keeps on trying to “improve on nature” (even where it concerns himself). What else can he do? Not that he’s right in trying to do so, but it’s a box that he has built around himself by listening to Satan…

  6. Steve

    I saw an interview with the lead scientist. He said that they did not create life. They just “reprogammed” it.

    Well, this is right out of “Frankenstein,” “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” and so on. Scientists advancing material knowledge beyond the human ability to understand. Witness the atom bomb.

    It’s scary stuff.

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