Chimeras: An ethical crisis crying out for comment
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is proposing lifting a ban on use of tax funds for research that merges human stem cells with animal embryos, which could potentially create creatures that are part human/part animal – often referred to as “chimeras.”
The Christian Medical Association argues that while some research involving human and animal cells may be beneficial and/or ethical, it can go too far in merging the two species together (see CMDA statement). Dr. Dennis Sullivan, a spokesman for the Association who also directs the Center for Bioethics at Cedarville University, spoke with OneNewsNow.
“[Taking into account] the whole idea of the image of God instilled in man at creation, the idea of crossing the species barrier [denies] a unique human nature,” he states. “Christians believe that human beings are uniquely gifted by God. We’re the only ones created by God with his image.”
According to Genesis 2, God created animals separate from humans – and Sullivan argues God just might intend for that separation to remain in place.
“Literally, the devil is in the details here,” the bioethicist continues. “The more and more that goes, the more and more that is an open door, we could possibly see the introduction of human genes into animal embryos and grow some kind of hybrid being. I would completely object to that.”
The federal agency is accepting public input on the proposal through Tuesday (September 6), so Sullivan says it’s important for Christians to speak out so the research doesn’t go over the line.