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Birth of the biotech religion

"Birth of the biotech religion" Continued...

Issue: "Summer Books 2005," July 2, 2005

Much money will be spent by people who don't believe in life after death and are desperate to live longer. Christians and others who see this life as a vestibule to the next, or a school from which we will graduate to eternity, will regard 80 years or so as long enough to serve the purpose of such an entryway. Those without faith, though, see prolongation as an alternative to despair. It's unlikely that life will be lengthened much-at a certain point if one disease doesn't get you another will, and there are so many diseases-but this also is not dangerous to mankind's future, although it may rock societies where the goal is early retirement.

Much money will be spent by people looking to give their kids an edge. The offer will come: "We can genetically engineer your offspring so they will not only be smarter, stronger, and faster, but also less likely to be anxious and restless." Will parents resist? Will Christian parents who should understand that the sense of displacement we sometimes feel is not a symptom of disease but a pointer toward the cure?

After all, the restlessness within riches that is typical of our society shows the truth of the Christian understanding that we all have ineradicable spiritual longings. Some will want to attempt to eradicate them through genetic engineering. They won't succeed, but if power falls into the hands of individuals who aspire to be utopian redesigners of the human race, a lot of misery will result. We may witness a drive through germline genetic engineering to change not just the next generation but all generations to come. Yet we can be confident that God is not helpless before such an assault.

In his 2003 book Our Final Hour, British astronomer Martin Rees gives mankind a 50-50 chance of surviving the coming natural and man-made disasters of the 21st century-but the same could have been said of other centuries. It's astounding, for example, that the Cold War at some point didn't become nuclear hot (it came close several times). But the 50-50 prospect often seems to be where God places us individually and collectively. That's where we are now as the genetic bomb is almost ready to explode.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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