Daily Devotional for Tuesday January 7, 2003

The Real Bottom Line in the Cloning and Stem Cell Research Debate

(Genesis 2:7, Romans 5:12)

The real bottom line in the cloning and stem cell research debate. We are living in a unique time of human history, where medical science has evolved greatly. Once a subject of fiction novels, human cloning appears to be more possible than ever. Science has taken great strides to help man live longer, and have a better quality of life. I am a big advocate of using all the tools we have to improve our life here on earth. After all, never forget that it is God who gives even unbelieving scientists the gifts they have. This whole battle was on center stage in August 2001 as President Bush announced his decision on government funding of stem cell research. Powerful arguments were made by those who supported this funding, based on the potential cures this research may yield for many diseases. Those on the other side of this issue were opposed since it involved the killing of life to make the research possible. Without getting caught up in the politics of the issue, let me focus strictly on the theological elements, and tell you what the Bible, our final authority in all matters, says. .

The first fact that can not be ignored is that life is from God. ***No man, no science, can produce life, only God can. ***Cloning is NOT creating new life, only an attempt to duplicate existing life. It is a clear Biblical truth that life comes from God, and only God has the right to end it. The second important fact is that death is part of the human condition. God originally made man to live forever. However, one of the consequences of man's sin in the Garden was physical death. Death is inevitable and something each one of us will face one day. Taking these two Biblical truths, life is from God and only God can say when it is over, and death is something we will all one day face, we can now look at this issue much more clearly. This means that nobody, no matter how noble the purpose, has the right to end a life God has created. Destroying a living cell to extract its stem cell is not an option. Period.

The natural question then becomes, "what about finding cures for these terrible diseases?" Don't forget, one of our Biblical truths is that death is an inevitable experience. No matter how advanced science becomes, there will never be a cure for death. Even if they figure out ways for us to live to 300 years old, death will still be an event we each will face. Even Lazarus, who died, was raised from the dead by Jesus, eventually died again. Would it be nice to find cures for diseases that affect the quality of life of so many? Of course!!!! But to destroy life in order to try and find those cures is NOT an option. The fact is, even if we find cures to this disease or that disease, SOMETHING will lead to the death of each one of us. THAT IS A FACT! If they found a cure for cancer tomorrow, you will simply die some other way. One day we will all die from something.

That brings us to the bottom line. Our purpose in this life is to serve and glorify Him with our lives. God is the one who gave us life, and it will be God who decides when our life is over. In the middle, our goal should be to use each moment of each day of this precious gift to serve and glorify Him. I tell you often to make the most of each day. The Bible clearly tells us tomorrow is promised to no one. We never know when we will wake up one day and find we have cancer, heart problems, or any number of health issues. WE SIMPLY CAN'T TAKE OUR LIVES FOR GRANTED. We need to wake up each day, thank God for that day, and set out to do all we can to serve and glorify our Creator. If that is our focus, then everything else in life falls into place. Including the fact that one day this life will be over, and those who know Christ as their personal Savior will spend eternity with Him.

I love you and care about you so much. Some will say this was very cold-hearted of me to say what I have today. That if there is any hope of curing some of these horrible diseases we should do it. We all have friends and loved ones afflicted by some terrible disease. But you CAN NOT compromise the Word of God. Taking life is something only God, the author of life, can do. There are NO exceptions. So the entire premise of stem cell research is impossible from a Biblical standpoint. But the real focus in all honesty should not be trying to figure out to live longer, but live better...for Him. If we understand and accept that death is an event we will all face, than the goal should be clear. How can we succeed in fulfilling our purpose of serving and glorifying Him with the time God gives us during this brief journey here on earth.

You see, God has a plan for each one of our lives. Surrendering to His will, His way, to allow His plan unfold should be our number one concern and focus. I pray daily for the sick. I often have special prayer vigils for the sick. I believe God is still in the healing business. But don't get confused. God heals for His reasons, usually which we never know or understand. But one reason is that He still has work for the person He heals to do. Until God says our work is over, we aren't going anywhere. But when HE says it is finished, there is nothing left in this life for us, and we can go on to spend eternity with the ONE who gave us this life.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller