David and I were watching a news show a while back, on which they featured a woman from the University of California Berkeley, a biologist, who is developing a new genome editing tool called CRISPR (“clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats”)…a tool that could transform the field of biology.
(I started this blog June of 2017, so I’m sure there’s been even
more development and research of this “tool”.)
The short version is this: CRISPR allows scientists to edit genomes with unprecedented precision. In laymen’s terms, it can go in and find any DNA “mistakes or abnormalities or deformities” and, like a tiny pair of scissors, go into the DNA strand and “cut” that bad part out.
It would be miraculous in some ways…curing childhood diseases like muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, down syndrome, autism, etc. The thought of being able to keep any parent from losing a child to some horrid disease or disorder is a glorious thought.
But let me just say this…besides it being way too close to playing God and makes me very uncomfortable…the things that we experience in our life, good or bad, shape and build us into the people God wants us to be.
For instance, the cancer that I experienced in 2010 and beyond was crap! But I wouldn’t go back and change it for anything. Was it fun to go through? Was it fun to know that I was facing something that could take my life? No. But, looking back, those things I faced, including about 2 months of pure hell when I nearly died of an unrelated lung disease, have made me the person/woman I am today.
We can’t get rid of all the bad things in life that can happen to us. Even if we could completely get rid of bodily disease, abnormalities, deformities, there’s still accidents, disappointment, deaths, bad decisions, failed businesses, broken relationships, SIN to deal with…and those have absolutely nothing to do with our DNA.
This is earth…not heaven. Heaven is a place where, if our DNA matters at all, it has no “mistakes” in it…it’s perfect. But this ain’t heaven. And until then, God allows the crap we experience to build our character, our faith, to increase our trust, and our love, to give us a story that just might change someone else’s life for eternity.
“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33, message)
Think of all of the “overcomer” stories you and I would never have heard of or read about…people that had “mistakes” in their DNA…or their child had “mistakes” in their DNA. The victory and overcomer stories they are able to share, and we are able to hear and learn from, would be nonexistent.
Consider and look up the stories of these famous overcomers:
And those are just the ones in the public eye. Think of all of the hundreds of stories we’ve heard of families and communities, cities and states, that have been positively affected by just one little boy, one teenage girl, one young man, or one woman who didn’t let their “mistake” define them or make them victims, but used whatever it was to make the world a better, stronger, happier place.
Just last night on The Titan Games, we saw a young man, Chris Ruden, who was born with one arm shorter than the other, with only two fingers that looked similar to a lobster claw. He rocked it! He hid it from people until he was 17 years old, until one day, he decided “NO MORE.” And because of that, we watched him compete in one of the hardest, physical competitions there is today (at least on tv). He inspired me!
Chris said “Limitations are self-imposed.” I couldn’t agree more.
The CRISPR developers and researchers have admitted that there are definitely limits…”moral” limits…that they need to consider when exploring the uses of this new technology (which is years down the road before they are able to make it available to the public). I concur.
[On January 24 of this year, medical leaders have said that they
aim to tighten genome editing guidelines. This pushes public
availability even farther down the road.]
So if they can make this happen without crossing any moral lines, I’m all in. I have family members who have conditions from birth that make it very hard to make it through some days. I know the pain it causes them and the whole family. But getting rid of all those DNA problems won’t solve the problem of fixing humans altogether.
Until then, let’s all use whatever God has given us from birth…the good, the bad, the ugly…use it to make the world a better place. Our weaknesses are nothing in God’s hands!
“But he answered me, ‘My grace is always more than enough for you, and my power finds its full expression through your weakness.’ So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.” (The Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9, The Passion Translation)