In late November 2018, a Chinese researcher claimed that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls born in November 2018 whose DNA, he said, he altered with a powerful new tool called CRISPR-cas9, capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life.
Most of the scientific community, who do what he does, denounced his actions as, at best, dangerous and at worse, morally unethical.
The public outcry—secular and religious—has also been negative in general. It’s not a bad thing to push the very limits of science and technology—for without that spirit new inventions and all of the things we take for granted would never have been invented. However, to take on the issue of creating and changing very life itself sets a very dangerous precedent. The burning question that must be asked—and answered—is not how we as humanity did this, but why?
It’s All About Me—And I Love It!
Since I learned of this story, I’ve been thinking a lot about it and the bigger questions and issues that it evidences. Issues like using our knowledge and gifts for good and not for evil. I think that generally, humanity as a whole—not just scientists who specialize in genetics—are so busy trying to see if they can push the limits of human ingenuity and knowledge, they don’t stop long enough to see if they should do it.
Then I realized, as Solomon wrote so long ago:
All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1: 8, 9, NIV).
From the very inception of sin at the beginning of this world’s history, as a race, we have always endeavored to be our own god—not just to be like God, but to surpass Him. The Apostle Paul diagnoses humanity’s plight in these poignant words:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-22; 28-32, NIV).
Don’t miss it: Paul diagnoses humanity’s problem with one word: narcissism! Instead of recognizing and praising God for who He is, we try—constantly—to worship ourselves and become our own Gods. The only problem is that as awesome as we think we are, we will never be as awesome as God—we’ll never even get close! In fact, the self-deception of the promise of attainment of this very lie was what caused Lucifer to sin and then he just “paid it forward” so-to-speak, and presented the very same lie to humanity, which we are now suffering the results of that lie.
Interestingly enough, both Christians—but most surprisingly, secular people—call this type of scientific tampering as “playing God.”
So why do we as a race continue to do this and what is the solution? These are issues we’ll explore in an effort to find the very answers that will ground us and put us in our rightful place.
At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.
They began saying to each other, ‘Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.’ (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) Then they said, ‘Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.’
But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. ‘Look!’ he said. ‘The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.’
In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world. (Genesis 11:1-9, NLT).
The Prophet, Author, and Bible Expositor, Ellen G. White, in her enlightening book, Patriarchs & Prophets, gives us deep insight into why humanity—back then—and today, would choose to undertake such a project of biblical proportions:
The magnificent tower, reaching to the heavens, was intended to stand as a monument of the power and wisdom of its builders, perpetuating their fame to the latest generations.
The men of Babel had determined to establish a government that should be independent of God. . . .Their confederacy was founded in rebellion; a kingdom established for self-exaltation, but in which God was to have no rule or honor. . . . For the divine statutes, which are ‘holy and just and good’ (Romans 7:12), men were endeavoring to substitute laws to suit the purpose of their own selfish and cruel hearts.
The schemes of the Babel builders ended in shame and defeat. The monument to their pride became the memorial of their folly. Yet men are continually pursuing the same course—depending upon self, and rejecting God’s law. It is the principle that Satan tried to carry out in heaven; the same that governed Cain in presenting his offering.
There are tower builders in our time. Infidels construct their theories from the supposed deductions of sciences, and reject the revealed word of God. They presume to pass sentence upon God’s moral government; they despise His law and boast of the sufficiency of human reason. . . In the professedly Christian world many turn away from the plain teachings of the Bible and build up a creed from human speculations and pleasing fables, and they point to their tower as a way to climb up to heaven. Men hang with admiration upon the lips of eloquence while it teaches that the transgressor shall not die, that salvation may be secured without obedience to the law of God. If the professed followers of Christ would accept God’s standard, it would bring them into unity; but so long as human wisdom is exalted above His Holy Word, there will be divisions and dissension. The existing confusion of conflicting creeds and sects is fitly represented by the term ‘Babylon,’ which prophecy (Revelation 14:8; 18:2) applies to the world-loving churches of the last days.
You may ask yourself:
Why is genetic manipulation such a big deal? Does God take it as seriously as we do? Is there a certain cosmic ‘line in the sand’ that God has drawn that He will not allow humanity to cross without eternal consequences?
The answer is yes! God loves all humanity with an everlasting love and He is patient—oh, so patient—but even God sets certain limits that cannot be crossed without horrible and painful consequences. Now I’m not trying to be a pessimist and I’m certainly not a theologian or a doomsday prognosticator, but you read Paul’s perspective about what happens to people when they decide to remove God from the picture of their existence—it’s always bad, very bad!
Now that this line has been crossed, is there hope for humanity? Have we just signed our own death-sentence? Yes and no.
Let me explain. Rather, I’ll let Ellen G. White explain:
But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere.
Every species of animal which God had created were preserved in the ark. The confused species which God did not create, which were the result of amalgamation, were destroyed by the flood. Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men.
In the antediluvian world there were many wonderful works of art and science. Fresh from the hand of the Creator, these descendants of Adam possessed capabilities that we do not now see.
Notwithstanding the wickedness of the antediluvian world, that age was not, as has often been supposed, an era of ignorance and barbarism. . . . They possessed great physical and mental strength, and their advantages for acquiring both religious and scientific knowledge were unrivaled. . . . their mental powers were early developed . . . . Could illustrious scholars of our time be placed in contrast with men of the same age who lived before the Flood, they would appear as greatly inferior in mental as in physical strength. As the years of man have decreased, and his physical strength has diminished, so his mental capacities have lessened. There are men who now apply themselves to study during a period of from twenty to fifty years, and the world is filled with admiration of their attainments. But how limited are these acquirements in comparison with those of men whose mental and physical powers were developing for centuries!
So now that we’ve learned what went wrong, how it went wrong, what God thinks about it, and what ultimately caused God to “reset” the human race through the Biblical planet-wide flood, how do we stop making the same mistake that we as a race have made multiple times in the past? Simple, but not easy.
Painful But Healing!
If we’re really interested in learning the secret to stopping the same sin that brought down Lucifer, Adam & Eve, humanity before the flood, and the wisest man ever—Solomon—maybe we should listen to Solomon himself, by reading his last entry in his personal journal—I’m sure he wouldn’t mind—after all, it was included in the Bible:
‘Everything is meaningless,’ says the Teacher, ‘completely meaningless.’ Keep this in mind: The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew. He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them. The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly. The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep. But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.
That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. (Ecclesiastes 12: 8-14, NLT).
When all is said, and done, submission to God and the recognition of the truth of 1) His place in the cosmos, 2) in our earthly creation, 3) and in our own lives, is the only way to ensure that we don’t go the way of those who were destroyed by the Flood—and those who will be destroyed by His Second Coming.
Christians should not be anti-science or technology, but we should live with the recognition that Jesus—not us, or our science, or technological advances—is the only “way, the truth, and the life.”
Once we get that Truth square in our minds and our lives begin to reflect that reality, everything else will fall into its rightful place.
 Marilynn Marchione, “Chinese scientist says he made gene-edited twins using CRISPR technology,” Health News, November 26, 2018; accessed on December 2, 2018.
 See Isaiah 14:12-15.
 See Genesis 3:5.
 Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 1890), p. 119, 123-124.
 Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3 (Nampa, ID: Pacific Press, 1864), p. 64.
 Ibid., p. 75.
 Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, February 1, 1899.
 Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (1890), pp. 82-83.
 James 4:6-10.
 John 14: 6, NLT.