With movies and TV shows featuring human-animal hybrids making a splash, it’s no wonder that curiosity around the topic is on the rise. Just look at how popular Netflix’s original series Sweet Tooth was! But is chimera research ethical from a Christian worldview? What does the Bible have to say about trying to create an animal-human hybrid?
The U.S. Senate seems to think the benefits of chimera research outweigh its problematic ethics. In June, legislators passed a comprehensive bill promoting funding for technological research to help the U.S. keep up with China’s own scientific advancements.
So what’s the problem? Well, according to Fox News, “some of that Chinese experimentation has included a successful endeavor in April to create human-monkey embryos that lasted 20 days in a laboratory.” The goal of China’s chimera experimentation was to grow organs that could be transplanted into humans.
Three senators proposed an amendment to the bill that would have outlawed chimera research. They stated that such studies are unethical because human life is sacred and distinct from animals. But the Senate blocked the amendment, allowing funding to potentially go to chimera research in the U.S.
One senator who opposed the amendment, Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, argued that a ban on chimera research would undermine studies that could help develop lifesaving treatments and organ transplants.
So who’s right? Is chimera research unethical? Or is it the doorway to much-needed medical innovation?
Chimeras From an Evolutionary Worldview
There’s certainly some merit to Sen. Murray’s arguments. Scientific research that could lead to life-saving technology is valuable. God commanded human beings to subdue the earth (see Genesis 1:28), and that includes scientific research and technological innovation.
But Sen. Murray’s thoughts on the matter are flawed, even from an evolutionary worldview, says Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis and Answers TV.
“If we’re the product of evolution, there’s no moral reason to help and heal others,” Ham writes. “Nature operates by ‘survival of the fittest’ and natural selection, so if the weak and sick don’t make it, tough luck—that’s how evolution works.”
That said, evolution’s shaky moral foundation removes any solid argument against chimera research, although several secular scientists have spoken out against it. After all, any morals humans hold to are simply arbitrary opinions because they aren’t rooted in an ultimate moral authority … at least according to secular evolutionists.
Is Chimera Research Ethical From a Biblical Worldview?
Biblical ethics doesn’t operate like evolutionary ethics. According to God’s Word, human beings have special value because we’re created in the image of God Himself, and He is our ultimate moral authority. That’s our reason for technological and medical research—we strive to protect the sacred human life God created.
Because of this, the Christian worldview presents some problems for chimera research. After all, if human life is sacred, then we can’t subject humans (including human embryos) to the same kind of research we would subject animals to.
Why? Because human beings aren’t animals, Ham says.
“We have a body like a mammal, but we are not of the animal kingdom (regardless of how scientists today classify us),” he writes. “No animal was created in God’s image.”
Humans aren’t just biology. Each person has an eternal soul. We must take that into account when we experiment on and research human beings. And unfortunately, many of the human cells used in chimera research are from embryos specifically made by scientists to be destroyed for research purposes.
“Murder in a clean, clinical setting with ‘good intentions’ to help others is still murder and abhorrent to God,” Ham says.
It’s true that research isn’t automatically evil just because it involves humans and animals. After all, growing a human heart in a pig for the purposes of organ transplantation isn’t quite the same thing as artificially growing a human-monkey embryo. But we must proceed with caution, thinking carefully about the implications of the choices we make and the experiments we conduct.
Biblical Truth About Animal-Human Research
Learn more about biblical ethics and evolution’s shaky moral ground in these videos on Answers TV:
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This compelling series exposes modern society’s low regard for life. Explore the science and the biblical view on the critical topics of abortion, euthanasia, stem cell harvesting, human cloning, mercy killing, and more.