chapter  4
45 Pages

Genetic Research and Health Care

The possibility of cloning human beings challenges Western beliefs about creation and our relationship to God. If we understand God as the Creator and creation as a completed act, cloning will be a transgression. If, however, we understand God as the Power of Creation and creation as a transformative process, we may find a role for human participation, sharing that power as beings created in the image of God. (Cohen 1999,7) Today we are learning the language in which God created life. We are gaining ever more awe for the complexity, the beauty, the wonder of God's most divine and sacred gift. With this profound new knowledge, humankind is on the verge of gaining immense new power to heal. (Clinton 2000) Medical science is on the brink of making death infinitely avoidable-a lifestyle option, no less . This alone makes our era unprecedented. But the changes it will wreak are not just physical, with the prospect of all of us living to be several times great-grandparents. The spiritual consequences of effectively eternal life are immense, too. If death isn't inevitable, might religion, so much of which is rooted in the fear of death, disappear? And with it, could morals become redundant and what seemed to be the most joyous development in history end up leading us instead to a time of spiritual emptiness and misery? (Margolis 2000, 6) God alone is the master of human life and of its integrity. (Pope John Paul II 1983)

The events of 2000 in the biological sciences, built upon more than a hundred years of research, promise to affect human life as profoundly as other scientific developments. As we entered the year 2001 some recalled the Stanley Kubrick movie, 200J A Space Odyssey, which was based on the book by Arthur C. Clarke. It depicted a world in which space travel was as common as going to the nearest shopping mall . But as we actually entered that year, space travel was still a far-off possibility. In 1969, man first walked on the moon; 1972 was the last time we were there.