“I am creating artificial life….”

The headline definitely caught my attention…and I guess it did yours also since you are reading this. This is the second headline along these lines in the last month or so. Click here to read the other one.

“I am creating artificial life…” That is the claim of Craig Venter, who is a DNA researcher. Click here to read about how he says he has done it. The article says that he is “poised to announce the creation of the first new artificial life form on Earth” and the announce should be made in the next several weeks. However, when you read the article you will see that he is not actually creating life at all. He may be altering it but NOT creating it. So what have they done?

Using lab-made chemicals, they have painstakingly stitched together a chromosome that is 381 genes long and contains 580,000 base pairs of genetic code. The DNA sequence is based on the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium which the team pared down to the bare essentials needed to support life, removing a fifth of its genetic make-up.

Okay, it seems they have created an artificial chromosome. This may be a historic breakthrough but it is not creating artificial life. But this is not the end of the process. It continues

It is then transplanted into a living bacterial cell and in the final stage of the process it is expected to take control of the cell and in effect become a new life form. The team of scientists has already successfully transplanted the genome of one type of bacterium into the cell of another, effectively changing the cell’s species. Mr Venter said he was “100% confident” the same technique would work for the artificially created chromosome.

The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that a living cell is needed for the process to work. Venter does not create life from non-life. He transplants the artificial chromosome into the existing living cell. How is this creating artificial life? He says that this creates a new species…okay but again, how is this artificial life? The second thing I noticed is that he apparently has not yet done this transplant with his artificial chromosome. He says he is 100% sure it will work. Maybe…maybe not. We won’t know until he tries it. Why would he announce this before trying it?

Mr Venter said he had carried out an ethical review before completing the experiment.

I am curious what exactly makes up an ethical reveiw. I think this is something that we need to know. Did he do it himself or have an independent third party conduct the review? What questions were asked? What procedures were done? Are the results available for public examination?

In the last paragraph of the article we find what may be Venter’s true motive.

“We are not afraid to take on things that are important just because they stimulate thinking,” he said. “We are dealing in big ideas. We are trying to create a new value system for life. When dealing at this scale, you can’t expect everybody to be happy.” [emphasis was added by me]

Ah-hah! Did you see that? The purpose behind his research is to create a new value system for life. Whose value system? His, of course. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with someone trying to share their values with others. As a Christian I am compelled to do that all the time. The difference is that I am not sharing my values…I am sharing God’s.

I think one of the main motivations behind all these scientists (the article says there were 20 working on this project) trying to create life in a lab is to prove that life can be created without God. If life can be created by man then we don’t need God. It can also be used as an argument the God does not exist. It would be a step closer to proving evolution is possible. In order to destroy God and Christianity you must first destroy the foundation they are built on. That foundation is found in Genesis 1:1. It says “In the beginning God created..”.

Always remember that only God can create life from non-life. No matter how people who want to prove otherwise redefine the terms they will never be able to breathe life into something that does not already have it. God is the Creator, not man! God is the giver of life, not man! God is the final authority, not man! Lets keep God in His proper place and let Him take care of the details.

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