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BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE MODERN WORLD
A Sermon by Dr. C. L. Cagan,
Deacon at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
"Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5).
When Satan spoke through the serpent to Adam and Eve, our first parents, thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden, he told them that if they disobeyed God, they would be more than just a man and a woman - they would be "as gods" - they would be like God Himself. Adam and Eve disobeyed God - but instead of moving to something higher and better, they brought sin and death to themselves and to the entire human race after them.
Today Satan is using the same lie and deceiving the world into thinking the same thing. He is using biotechnology, using science to change human bodies and make them "better" - make them no longer human, but "as gods" - to pull people away from God and away from God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Biotechnology is even now moving forward at an incredible pace. Things which sounded like science-fiction a few years ago are happening right now. A recent story in the Washington Post (April 26, 2002, page C-01) said this:
Today, we are entering a world in which such abilities are either yesterday's news or tomorrow's headlines. Nobody even blinks when Olympic committees worry about "gene doping" in the 2008 China games - a biotechnology that today, in mice, produces creatures that are astonishing to look at. Some genetically engineered mice have had their muscle mass increased by as much as 300 percent. What's more, the ability to create this magic is accelerating.
What will this mean? Will human nature itself change? No one knows, but many are trying to imagine such a world. They describe our children and grandchildren as no longer really being like us. They call them trans-human, or post-human…work is underway to "'improve' the human species…These will be very controversial developments - among the most controversial in the entire history of mankind," a National Intelligence Council report says.
Antidotes to aging are becoming big business. George Roth, chief of molecular physiology and genetics at the National Institute on Aging, counts some 40 recent scientist-run start-ups seeking to reverse aging. Not stop aging, but reverse it. Most of these companies are looking for life-extending genes.
The National Intelligence Council report notes: "The low cost and wide availability of basic genomic equipment and know-how will likely allow practically any country, small business, or even individual to participate in genetic engineering."
The question is whether we are creating alterations to ourselves that will fundamentally change human nature…"The most significant threat posed by contemporary biotechnology is the possibility that it will alter human nature and thereby move us into a 'posthuman' stage of history. This is important…because human nature exists, is a meaningful concept, and has provided a stable continuity to our experience as a species. It is, conjointly with religion, what defines our most basic values. Human nature shapes and constrains the possible kinds of political regimes, so a technology powerful enough to reshape what we are will have possibly malign consequences for liberal democracy and the nature of politics itself"…we might be heading toward irrevocable changing of our species.
What will parents do when offered something that will increase their child's SAT scores by 200 points? What will athletes do when they are encouraged by extreme big-buck leagues to have medical pit crews? What will fat people do when offered an implant that will monitor and alter their metabolism? What will the military do when it can overcome the need to sleep? What will the aging do when offered memory enhancers? What will baby boomers do when it becomes obvious that Botox and Viagra are just the tip of the iceberg for the pharmagenetic sex-appeal industry?
Suppose technology allows us to transcend seemingly impossible barriers, not only for ourselves but exponentially for our children? What price does trans-human wisdom and power demand? There doesn't seem to be much standing in the way of this transcendence of human nature occurring in your lifetime - 20 to 50 years from now.
As for me, I'd rather be a human being, serving the God who made me. I'd rather not have someone experimenting with my genes and my body to make me into a trans-human - "as God." It's enough for me to be a human being who God loved enough that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for me on the Cross.
Now listen to this story from the current issue of U.S. News & World Report (May 13, 2002):
Enter the Cyborgs
Promise and peril in a marriage of brains and silicon
Except for those odd little backpacks, the rats seem no creepier than usual. They climb trees, run through pipes, and scamper across tables. But they aren't following the usual rodent urges. These rats are moving under remote control, reacting to commands radioed to three thin electrodes in their brains. The signals tell them which way to turn - and encourage them by delivering electrical jolts to their pleasure centers.
Yet it isn't just the paranoid who worry that such technologies could be used for brain enhancement rather than therapy, or that the mating of mind and machine could turn people into something akin to roborats.
Suspicious minds may be unnerved to learn that DARPA, the research arm of the Defense Department, funded [the] work. The agency has been eagerly supporting research into brain-interface technology, thinking it might someday prove useful for warfare. Remote-control animals could go on reconnaissance missions, for example, or search for injured people in destroyed buildings. Their backpacks could carry computer programs and global positioning system hookups that would guide them to targets. Jihad rats.
And then there's the opposite scenario, equally controversial: that implants could ultimately extend the physical or mental abilities of healthy recipients, leading to a superior caste of cyborgs. "What would happen if we could have someone control a third arm as naturally as you could control your other two arms?" wonders [a scientist]. "That's the scary part," agrees [another scientist]. "I have no ethical qualms with what I'm doing right now to patients," he says. "The ethical problem I have is using this to enhance normal consciousness."
These are baby steps, [another scientist] says, toward the day when implants will give him new powers, like perfect memory or the ability to radio his thoughts to other cyborgs. "Do we want to allow humans the possibility to upgrade?" he asks. "From my point of view, why not?"
Imagine what Osama bin Laden - or Saddam Hussein - could do with an army of computer-controlled rats, perhaps carrying the smallpox virus. Imagine what those men could do with an army of computer-controlled people! I'd be afraid if I were you!
The Reuters news agency (May 8, 2002) said this:
Italy Cloning Guru Says Babies on Their Way
The Italian fertility expert whose avowed aim is to create the first human clone, said on Wednesday three women were pregnant with clones, but complained that the babies would be viewed as freaks by a hostile society. Severino Antinori called himself the "cultural and scientific coordinator" of the top secret cloning projects, and said one of the pregnancies was in the 10th week, one in the seventh and one in the sixth.
When will they start having human clones? According to Dr. Antinori, this year! Imagine what people could do with human clones. Will people make dozens of slave-clones of themselves so they can take out the heart and lungs, and transplant these organs into themselves when they get old? Will people make millions of clone soldiers, controlled by a computer chip, into the ultimate army of evil? These things can happen in our lifetime!
You may have heard about plans to put a computer chip under people's skin with identification and other information. Last Thursday, the Los Angeles Times said this:
First Humans to Receive ID Chips
Eight people will be injected with silicon chips Friday, making them scannable just like a jar of peanut butter in the supermarket checkout line…
Applied Digital Solutions, Inc., the maker of what it calls the VeriChip, says that it will soon have a prototype of a much more complex device, one that is able to receive GPS satellite signals and transmit a person's location.
It's a prospect deeply unsettling to privacy advocates, no matter how voluntary the process may initially appear.
"Who gets to decide who gets chipped?" asked Mark Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. "Parents will decide that their kids should be implanted, or maybe their own aging parents. It's an easier way to manage someone, like putting a leash on a pet."
(Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2002, pp. A-1, A-26).
These eight people had Alzheimer's disease. The chips were put under the skin in their back so that if they wandered away and got lost, people could tell who they were. But in one day the chips moved from Alzheimer's patients to ordinary people, and from the back to the arm! Listen to what USA Today said last Friday:
Family implanted with computer chips
Boca Raton, Florida. A Florida family on Friday became the first to be implanted with computer chips…Jeff and Leslie Jacobs, along with their 14-year-old son, Derek, had the tiny chips implanted in their arms (www.usatoday.com, May 10, 2002).
This fast-rushing biotechnology makes me think that the coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds to catch away the true Christians in the rapture is very near. Would you be ready if Jesus came today - or would you be left behind to face the terrible suffering of the Tribulation period? The Bible warns that in the last few years before Jesus returns, in the coming seven years of terrible Tribulation, the Antichrist, the final world dictator, will force people to have a mark in their bodies (cf. Revelation 13:16-18).
I don't want any computer chip in my body so a satellite can find out where I am? I don't want a computer chip to manage me like putting a leash on a pet! I am not saying that this chip is the final "mark of the beast" - but I am saying that I don't want it in my body! As people say today, "No way! No way! No way!"
When are these biotechnological horrors going to happen? Not one hundred years from now - but now, and in the coming years - in your lifetime! The cloned humans are probably coming before the end of this year! And the computer chip under the skin has already started being implanted into people, last Friday! The chips are already in! They're already here! My friend, you need to take your stand with Jesus Christ and His people - and don't wait any longer!
We are moving into a "brave new world" today, where people seek to live forever with super-powers - without God, as sinners. People in this brave new world of biotechnology are not only living without God - they are losing touch with what it means to be human, and opening themselves for horrible evil. Anything that people can physically or technically do, they will do, no matter how evil. We live in a world where terrorists kill thousands of people in the World Trade Center - and will probably kill millions within a few years when they have atomic bombs. Imagine what people will do with biotechnology! Monsters! Armies of clones! Armies of rats! Armies of robot cyborgs - people with computer chips and machinery in their bodies! Horrible diseases! And it's all going to happen in the next 20 or 30 years - well within your lifetime and mine!
All this is happening because people reject God and the way God wants us to be and to live. This rejection of God is really nothing new - it is the same rejection of God that Satan and his human followers have been doing for thousands of years.
I. First, the ancient world rejected the authority of God.
The Devil told our first parents, "Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5). He told Adam and Eve that they would be like God - if they disobeyed God. If they lived the way God had said, they would be only human beings, said the Devil. But if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, doing what God had told them not to do, they would rise up beyond humanity to be like God Himself.
Before he tempted our first parents in the Garden of Eden, the Devil himself had had that very same idea. He had said,
"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14).
For this sin, God threw Satan out of Heaven. And when Adam and Eve sinned, God put them out of the Garden of Eden. The Bible says:
"Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden" (Genesis 3:22-23).
Why did God do that? It was indeed a punishment for sin. But it was also an act of love. God did not want Adam and Eve - and all their descendants - to eat of the tree of life and live forever as condemned sinners in rebellion against Him, cut off from Him forever. Instead, God killed an animal as a covering for their sins and showed them that they could be forgiven through blood sacrifice, foreshadowing the Blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Bible says,
"Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Genesis 3:21).
But Adam's descendants went on standing up against God, trying to build a life without Him. God told them to spread out and fill the earth. But they stood up against God and built a big tower - the Tower of Babel - to show how powerful and strong they were without God. The Bible says of these people long ago:
"And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name"
God saw what they were trying to do, and what they would do if they could:
"And the Lord said…Now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do" (Genesis 11:6).
That's what people try to do even today. Anything that is scientifically possible, anything that is technologically possible - people will do. It doesn't matter how evil or dangerous it is - anything that can be built, will be built: atomic bombs, biological warfare, computer chips inside people's bodies, rats and people controlled by radio, human clones, and unimaginable horrors yet to come - in your lifetime! This will happen, because people try to live as big a life as they can without God - and break the boundaries and laws and rules that God has made for our good, in rebellion against God - acting as though they were God.
In the days of Babel, God moved from Heaven and confused the people's languages so they couldn't talk to each other and they had to stop building their great tower. But people kept on trying to be like God, to build a life apart from God and against God - and people do that even today.
II. Second, the modern world rejects the authority of God.
Down to the present time, people have been trying to break God's rules and set up a life without God. People have been trying to break God's authority in their lives and act as though they themselves were God. The Bible says,
"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us" (Psalm 2:2-3).
This rebellion will reach its climax in the future under the final world dictator, who the Bible calls the Antichrist. The Bible says:
"And he [the Antichrist] shall speak great words against the most High…and think to change times and laws"
When a wicked government tries to throw God out, they often change the "times and laws" laid down by God. They even change the calendar of days and weeks. Two hundred years ago, the French Revolution got rid of the seven-day week that God had commanded, and put in a system which they called the "decadi" - a system of nine days of work and one day of rest - which was not a day of going to church!
At the end of history as we know it - and that will not be very far away - the final world dictator, the Antichrist, will change the ways people live. The time will come when he will say that he is God (cf. II Thessalonians 2:3-4). The Antichrist will change all the rules that God has laid down. And things are going that same way today.
In the Old Testament, God said, "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Exodus 20:8). Today, in the New Testament church age, the Bible commands us to meet "upon the first day of the week" (I Corinthians 16:2). That is, the Bible commands us to go to church on Sunday. The Bible says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25). God tells us not to miss church on Sunday.
But this Antichrist-like world in which we live has been trying to "change times and laws," as the Bible foretold. Not long ago, there was a time when Sunday was a special day - it was the Lord's Day. Stores and restaurants were closed. People didn't work on Sunday. People didn't travel on Sunday. They just went to church and sometimes had a meal at home before going back to church on Sunday night.
But today the evil world system has set out to "change times and laws." People think it's normal to work on Sunday, to study on Sunday, to go to the beach on Sunday - to do anything but go to church on Sunday. Are you following this evil demonic world system? Do you make time to be in church every Sunday? Or do you use your Sundays for work, school, or pleasure?
Going to church on Sunday - that's weird, abnormal, and fanatical - says the demonic culture of our time. If you are interested in being in church every Sunday, very often your friends or your parents will try to stop you.
You need to take a stand against this world system! Don't work on Sunday! Make time to be in a Bible-believing local church every Sunday morning and every Sunday night. Make Christian friends. Come to Jesus Christ and be part of God's family in the church. Why be lonely? Come home - to church!
Today, the sinful world tries to change the "times and laws" of the year. Everyone used to celebrate Christmas. Now they say "Happy Holidays." People used to celebrate Thanksgiving - a day of giving thanks to God. Now they say "Turkey Day" and spend it watching a football game and partying. Now people spend a week or more honoring the Devil and his demons - on Halloween! Oh, take your stand against this wicked world, rushing so fast towards its horrible judgment! Come out of the world system. Put your feet firmly in a Bible-believing local church. Come back to this church next Sunday - and every Sunday. And come to Jesus Christ and belong to Him, not to the Devil.
The world and the Devil try to "change times and laws." The Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). But this world says that a woman has a right to kill her baby by abortion. No, she does not! Take your stand against the ways of this world!
The Bible says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). Today people think nothing of having sex before marriage, or living together without getting married. Turn your back on the sexual sin of this world. Let them call you Puritanical, or a fanatic!
The Bible says, "Thou shalt not covet" (Exodus 20:17). Do you covet? Do you put money, career, education, and material things ahead of God - so much that you miss church on Sunday in order to get these things? You're trying to build up a life without God. You're part of the present world system, which tries to live without God. But God will judge the world system and bring it down. Speaking of this world as a "city," God says:
"Alas, alas, that great city…For in one hour so great riches is come to nought [nothing]" (Revelation 18:16-17).
And God will judge you personally for your life without Him. Jesus spoke of a man like you. Jesus spoke of a man who tried to live without God, who thought first of his career and his money:
"But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall these things be, which thou hast provided?" (Luke 12:20).
You have a big and beautiful life planned out for yourself. You plan to avoid Jesus Christ and the local church - or put Christ and the church in second place in your life - in order to do it. You may even be hoping that science will do something so you will live for hundreds of years - or forever. But the Devil does not love you. You won't get a beautiful and happy life. You'll get pain and horror you cannot imagine - and when you die, you will get Hell for eternity.
III. Third, you must reject the authority of the modern world.
You've got to take one side or the other. Will you stay as part of this terrible modern world system? Or will you run from this dying and demonic world and take refuge in the church - and in Jesus Christ Himself, who will forgive your sins by His Blood? The Bible says:
"For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you"
(I Peter 4:3-4).
In the past, you and your friends partied around, what the Bible calls "revellings." You used to spend your time in sexual sins or looking at pornography, what the Bible calls "lasciviousness, lusts." You used to get drunk. You used to do one sin after another. And if you stop doing those things and start going to church every week, they will "think it strange that ye run not with them…speaking evil of you." Your friends and relatives will speak evil of you if you become a real Christian. But you've got to put up with all that - and come over to Jesus Christ.
Come out from this world system! Come out from its sins! Come out from friends who only want to sin and who are against being a real Christian! Make new friends - make better friends - in the church! And come to God through Jesus Christ. The Bible says:
"Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord…and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (II Corinthians
Run from the way of life that you had before. Run from the sins of this city and this world! Yes, we have to live here - but take your stand with Jesus Christ and with His people, in the church! The Bible says, speaking of this world system,
"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).
Leave your sins behind and come into the church. Begin a new life in church - a better life. The Bible says:
"Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying" (Romans 13:13)
And come to Jesus Christ. He died on the Cross to pay for your sins. Jesus shed His Blood on the Cross to wash your sins away. He rose physically from the grave. He ascended up to Heaven. Right now Jesus Christ is alive up in Heaven at the right hand of God the Father, praying for you. Come to Him. The Bible says,
"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Romans 13:14).
That's what you need to do: "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 13:14). What does it mean to "put on" Christ? Those words describe exactly what you need to do with Jesus - "put him on" you. Come to Him. Jesus said, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Transfer your trust from yourself, from your sins, from your plans, to Jesus Christ. Come to Him and trust Him. The Bible says:
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
Come fully to Jesus Christ. Trust Him. Believe on Him. He will forgive your sins by His Blood. May God bless you as you do it!
Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Genesis 3:1-6, 22-24.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Who is on the Lord's Side?" by Frances R. Havergal (1836-1879).
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.rlhymersjr.com. Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."
THE OUTLINE OF
BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE MODERN WORLD
by by Dr. C. L. Cagan
"Ye shall be as gods" (Genesis 3:5).
I. The ancient world rejected the authority of God,
II. The modern world rejects the authority of God,
III. You must reject the authority of the modern world,