With issues like In Vitro Fertilization, vital organ transplantation, and genetic manipulation, it is tempting to focus on the outcome, of a beautiful healthy baby, of a child revived to life or of avoiding having a child with life long illness. In spite of questions about the technology, the Lord has certainly answered much prayer. The Lord, the author of life, is one who gives life to a beautiful baby. The Lord, in whom we live and have our being, certainly, is the one who sustains the life of our child. The Lord can overcome trials such as the struggle with genetic illness. These things are true, but does this mean that we can ignore the potentially difficult questions that arise in connection with the technological paths that resulted in these great outcomes the Lord has allowed?
Consider the healthy child, in our midst, who was conceived out of wedlock. In spite of the fact that they were conceived out of wedlock, we rejoice in these children. We rejoice in the child and see the life of the child as a good thing, a gift from our Lord, but we do not say that the sex out of wedlock was a good things. We rejoice all the more when the parents acknowledge and confess their sin. If the parents have not yet seen their sin, we work at educating them and helping them to come to the point of seeing it. We believe that through their confession, they will grow in freedom and relationship with the Lord. Given the direction that our world is going, where living common law is the norm, it is not inconceivable that some Christians might naively believe that sex and conception out of wedlock are not really a concern. Our church has not, yet, gone this far down the path of following the ways of the world. Most of us would agree that we ought to search out what the Lord has to say about marriage and the having of children, that we ought to teach these things in our midst, and if some find, even naively, that they have not walked according to the right way of the Lord, we ought to encourage them in the way of repentance. Like wise, we should consider the paths that these technologies ask us to follow.
So, faced with problems that these medical technologies promise to solve, what questions should we ask? Where should we look for the answers? First, do we need to ask questions and do we dare ask? What if we discover that we, or those we care about, have traveled down a path that should not have been traveled? What if the beautiful child that the Lord has given us finds out that they were conceived through a sinful act? Facing such questions may come with new pain. Are such questions best left unanswered or, at least, best left for the involved families to answer and better kept out of the public square?
There are significant concerns about the use of these technologies. Their use often involves sin. Should we not bring these concerns to light? Especially, if there is a tendency for Christians to accept their use, assuming that there is not a problem. Acting in ignorance does not make it right. Leviticus chapter 4 describes offerings prescribed for unintentional sins. These offerings point to the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ. This means that Jesus died for unintentional sins committed in ignorance. We should battle these sins. By considering the possibility of sinning through the use of medical technologies, we may keep others from, naively, entering into sin. Some Christians may realize that there are significant concerns, but are so desperate to achieve what the technology promises that they set aside their concerns for fear that the hope of achieving a pregnancy or avoiding death might be taken away. It is possible that some suffer guilt silently over what they have done, unable to openly repent and confess. Looking into the questions about these things ought to lead to freedom from such guilt. If we learn that we have sinned and we confess our sin, our Lord is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1John 1:9) On the other hand, if we find out that the technology can be used in a way that grows out of God’s created good, rather than a result of brokenness and sin, then we can rejoice all the more and possibly should promote such use of these technologies.
So far, I hope that you have been encouraged to show compassion for those who live with the pain of infertility, or those facing the agonizing decision about what to do when faced with things like organ transplantation. I hope that we can compassionately and gently help them to explore the difficult questions that arise, trusting that the Lord holds even these answers in His good plan for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28)..