Thomas Merton, a Catholic contemplative said:
“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him. It “consents,” so to speak, to His creative love. It is expressing an idea which is in God and which is not distinct from the essence of God, and therefore imitates God by being a tree. The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him. If it tries to be like something else which it was never intended to be, it would be less like God and therefore it would give Him less glory.” Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation (1961), ch.5.
In our new age of science and genetic re-engineering of GMO foods, chimera and cyborg technologies, there is always the possibility that these bio-technologies can go sideways. If human beings try to re-create something into what it was never intended to be, I wonder if it would then be glorifying to God?
It used to be that chimeras (part human–part animal) and cyborgs (part human–part machine) were a thing only from science fiction movies, comic books, and fantasy animations, but these are now a reality today. Many of the products we eat today have been genetically modified. They’re able to implant animal DNA into the foods we eat in order to allow it to grow faster and be less prone to disease. If you knew what science and technology can do, you may never look at your food the same way again. Science today can manipulate genes in plants, animals and human beings that might shock people to their core.
This week, our family was eating seedless watermelon and grapes; and homemade popcorn, possibly from GMO kernals. Many people buy foods from the grocery stores, eat it, and never consider how it’s already been genetically modified. Many might even be dangerous to human health. Did God ever create edible fruits without seeds? No, I doubt it was ever God’s intention. According to the book of Genesis, you would think that God intended for all living things to reproduce itself and multiply. Is this type of human re-creation (or manipulation) glorifying to God or distorting God’s creation?
• Thousands of sheep, buffalo, and goats in India died after grazing on Bt cotton plants
• Mice eating GM corn for the long term had fewer, and smaller, babies
• More than half the babies of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks, and were smaller
• Testicle cells of mice and rats on a GM soy change significantly
• By the third generation, most GM soy-fed hamsters lost the ability to have babies
• Rodents fed GM corn and soy showed immune system responses and signs of toxicity
• Cooked GM soy contains as much as 7-times the amount of a known soy allergen
• Soy allergies skyrocketed by 50% in the UK, soon after GM soy was introduced
• The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may lead to cancer.
• Studies showed organ lesions, altered liver and pancreas cells, changed enzyme levels, etc. (Source: website here; see here)
We like to play God, and as a result, we do things that God likely never intended. Some things may bring better health and advancement to society, but some things can just be plain frightening. No wonder why cancer and autism rates have skyrocketed and infertility has increased. What’s been killing the bee and butterfly populations around the world? The end of the birds and the bees may spell an end to the human race as we know it. We might never fully know the harms done to us as human beings until 50 years down the road when it’s all too late…and it’s irreversibly damaged our health and human genetics.
If we move into an age of Iron Man and Planet of the Apes, we will need strong morals and ethics to keep us from re-creating some really weird things before they’re introduced into our world.