Making a baby from Brad Pitt's skin cells?

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Making a baby from Brad Pitt’s skin cells?

May 17, 2017 -

Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP

Someone could retrieve Brad Pitt’s skin cells from a hotel bed and use them to make a baby. Two men could make a baby that is biologically related to both. A man could clone himself.

These are some of the possibilities with in vitro gametogenesis (IVG). Today’s New York Times tells the story: scientists take adult skin cells and reprogram them to become embryonic stem cells. Then they guide the cells to become eggs or sperm.

Researchers in Japan have already used the technique to produce healthy baby mice. Within a decade or two, the technique may be refined for use with humans.

In other news, technology experts say North Korean hackers could be behind the massive malware assaults that continue to impact the world. A teenager was killed Friday night when a woman repeatedly rammed her into a tree with her Jeep Liberty; a friend of the victim said the altercation escalated from a Facebook argument.

In the April issue of National Geographic, D. T. Max describes ways “humans are shaping our own evolution.” His article begins with Neil Harbisson, a color-blind “cyborg” with a color-sensing antenna implanted in his skull. The antenna’s fiber-optic sensor picks up colors that a microchip implanted in his skull converts into vibrations he senses as colors.

According to Max, around 20,000 people have implants in their bodies that can unlock doors. Last year, the CEO of a company called BioViva claimed that she successfully reversed some of the effects of aging in her body by using injections from a gene therapy her company created. A subject at the University of Pennsylvania was able to transmit electrical impulses from his brain through a computer to control a robotic arm and sense what its fingers were touching.

Do you worry that technology is advancing faster than morality? So do I.

When the Lord created man, he “put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). “Work” translates obda, which means to cultivate or improve. Since God designed us for what he wants us to do, we can know that our innate ambition to improve ourselves and our world comes from the One who made us.

However, we are also intended to “keep” God’s creation. This term translates somra, which means to guard or preserve. Taken together, obda and somra call for progress within moral boundaries.

How do we balance the two?

In his commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, John Stott notes: “Ambitions for self may be quite modest. . . . Ambitions for God, however, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honor in the world? No. Once we are clear that God is King, then we long to see him crowned with glory and honor, and accorded his true place, which is the supreme place. We become ambitious for the spread of his kingdom and righteousness everywhere.”

Will you be ambitious for God today?

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