"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" Consequences Of Trusting In The Law (5:2-4) by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

              Consequences Of Trusting In The Law (5:2-4)


1. The churches of Galatia were troubled by those who taught...
   a. Christians needed to keep the Law of Moses
   b. Men needed to be circumcised as commanded by the Law
   -- A problem that plagued many churches in the beginning 
      - cf. Ac 15:1-5

2. Paul presented powerful arguments in defense of the gospel of
   a. Personal argument - the Galatians' own experience - Ga 3:1-5
   b. Scriptural argument - the testimony of the Old Testament - Ga 3:
   c. Practical argument - how one becomes a son and heir of God 
       - Ga 3:26-4:7
   d. Sentimental argument - appealing to their relationship with Paul
      - Ga 4:8-20
   e. Allegorical argument - using Hagar and Sarah as an illustration
      - Ga 4:21-31
   -- Thus Paul sought to reason with his brethren in the churches of

[Then, with apostolic authority (cf. Ga 5:2-4), Paul testifies to the
"Consequences Of Trusting In The Law".  The consequences are grave, and
should be considered seriously by every Christian...]


      1. This should be understood in its context
      2. Paul did not condemn circumcision in every case - cf. Ac 16:3
      3. He opposed it when done with the idea it was necessary for
         justification - cf. Ga 2:3-5
      -- Paul is dealing with those teaching that circumcision was
         necessary for salvation

      1. What a terrifying thought!
      2. The blessings that Christ provides will not be theirs; for
         a. The forgiveness of sins through His blood - cf. Ep 1:7
         b. The gift of the Spirit as a guarantee of their inheritance
            - cf. Ep 1:13-14
         c. The greatness of God's power toward those who believe - cf.
            Ep 1:19
         d. The privilege of being fellow-citizens and members of God's
            family - cf. Ep 2:19-22
      -- Indeed, all the blessings that Jesus offers will not benefit

[Not only will Christ not profit any who are circumcised in order to be


      1. Again, this should be understood in its context
      2. Paul makes it clear that the consequences affect everyone
         a. Not just to "you" (if you become circumcised)
         b. But to "every man" (to every man who becomes circumcised)
      3. Paul makes it clear that he writes with great solemnity
         a. He already wrote "Indeed I, Paul..." - Ga 5:2
         b. Now he adds "And I testify again..." - Ga 5:3
      -- Paul's statements are to be taken seriously, for they are in
         the form of an oath

      1. "He binds himself to obey all the Law of Moses" - Barnes
      2. Which placed one under an insupportable yoke - cf. Ac 15:10
         a. The Law put those who did not obey it under a curse 
            - cf. Ga 3:10
         b. Those who stumbled in just one point were guilty of all
            - cf. Jm 2:10-11
         c. And the blood of bulls and goats was inadequate - cf. He 10:
      -- Such a person has truly become entangled with a yoke of bondage
         (Ga 5:1)

[The apostle continues to describe the consequences of trusting in the
Law for their salvation...]


      1. Those seeking salvation on the basis of keeping the Law of
      2. An effort on the part of many in Israel
         a. Not just those who were Jewish Christians - cf. Ac 15:1,5
         b. But also Israelites who did not believe in Christ 
            - cf. Ro 9:31-32; 10:1-4
      -- This would apply to anyone who seeks to be saved through the
         Law of Moses

      1. As expressed by various translations:
         a. "severed from Christ" (ESV, NASB)
         b. "alienated from Christ" (NIV)
         c. "have cut yourselves off from Christ" (NRSV)
         d. "Christ is become of no effect" (KJV)
      2. Similar to warnings given by Jesus Himself to His disciples
         a. To those who do not bear fruit - Jn 15:1-6
         b. To those had lost their first love - Re 2:4-5
         c. To those who were lukewarm - Re 3:15-16
      -- Note carefully:  both Jesus and Paul were addressing Christians!

[The consequences for Christians who trust in the Law of Moses for
salvation is then stated most ominously...]


      1. Again, Paul is addressing Christians who felt that circumcision
         and the Law were necessary
      2. But by the Law no one can actually be justified - cf. Ro 3:20
      -- Thus their efforts are destined for failure

      1. This is one of the clearest statement of the possibility of
         a. Paul is warning Christians
         b. One cannot fall from something if they were never there
         c. Those in a state of grace were in danger of falling from it
         d. If there is no danger of apostasy, Paul's statement is
      2. This is just one of many passages that warn of the danger of
         a. Jesus warned His disciples of being cut off - Jn 15:1-6
         b. Paul warned the Gentile Christians in Rome - Ro 11:19-22
         c. The epistle to the Hebrews is filled with many warnings 
            - He 2:1; 3:12-15; 4:1,11; 6:4-6; 10:26-31; 12:15
         d. Peter also left many warnings - 2Pe 2:1-3,20-22; 3:17
      -- The security of the believer (Jn 10:28-29) is for those who
         remain faithful to Christ; otherwise, they will not receive
         their inheritance - cf. Re 2:10c


1. How terrible are the consequences of trusting in the Law of Moses for
   a. Christ will be of no profit
   b. Indebted to a Law that cannot save
   c. Severed from Christ
   d. Fallen from grace

2. Christians may not be tempted to trust in the Law of Moses today; but
   we still must take care...
   a. Not to trust in ourselves, nor in any law or religion of man
   b. Otherwise the consequences will be the same!

3. How much better, to remain faithful to Jesus Christ, and enjoy...
   a. The blessings of salvation and sanctification that Jesus offers
      - cf. Ep 1:3
   b. A law whose commandments are not burdensome 
      - cf. 1Co 9:21; 1Jn 5:3
   c. Union with Christ, with the life and strength such communion
      offers - cf. Jn 15:4-5
   d. Standing in the grace of God - cf. Ro 5:1-2

Are you placing your trust in Jesus Christ by heeding His gospel and the
words of His apostles...?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Critics and the Cosmos by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Critics and the Cosmos

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Some believe the Bible contains notions about the Cosmos that create a natural world which is completely foreign to reality. Because the inspired writers spoke of the heaven’s being “rent asunder” after Jesus was baptized (Mark 1:10, ASV) and the “windows of heaven” opening to allow rain to fall upon the Earth (Genesis 7:11), Bible critics have suggested that the writers believed the sky to be the same old blue, solid wall that uninspired men from so many other cultures professed.
Modern-day liberalism frequently has employed this type of argument to indicate the Bible writers’ alleged “unscientific view” of the Universe. Does the Bible imbibe ancient mythological misrepresentations? Is its information on the Cosmos “unscientific”? What is the truth of the matter?
The fact is, the Bible no more teaches that the heavens were a “solid wall” than modern day weathermen believe the Sun literally “rises” in the morning and “sets” in the evening. The Bible no more indicates that there are literal windows in heaven than doctors believe that a woman’s water can literally break. Technically, it is not correct to refer to a woman’s amniotic fluid as water; nor is it correct to refer to the water as “breaking.” Yet doctors frequently employ this kind of language. It is not scientifically correct to speak of the Sun “rising” and “setting,” but everyone understands weathermen to mean that the Earth is turning on its axis. Surely, if modern man, with all his advanced technology, can use such phenomenal language as “sunrise and sunset” in reference to the dawn and dusk of his day, the Bible writers can be afforded the same luxury.
Why do skeptics not allow the biblical writers as much literary license as they themselves employ? No doubt it is because they take extreme measures—by ignoring the type of language used in different parts of Scripture (i.e., literal or figurative)—in an attempt to find some kind of error in the Bible. Such arguments are destined to fail because common sense has been omitted from the interpreting “equation.”

From Nonlife to Nonlife by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


From Nonlife to Nonlife

by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Organic evolution is based on the concept of something inorganic and nonliving becoming organic and living. Do the actual scientific data support such a concept?


How did life arise from nonliving chemicals? This is the most fundamental, yet sketchiest chapter of evolutionary theory.
One proposal is to start with seemingly lifelike chemicals. This is the approach taken by Julius Rebek and his coworkers (Hong, et al., 1992; Feng, et al., 1992). Like DNA, Rebek’s chemicals can make copies of themselves (i.e., replicate). Further, Rebek can make more efficient replicators by subjecting them to ultraviolet radiation. These new varieties outproduce other forms, eventually dominating their test-tube world. Supposedly, these chemicals could provide the missing link between nonlife and life.
Yet, the gap remains because Rebek’s system contains little information (see Hurst and Dawkins, 1992, 357:199). Life is defined by a set of elegant instructions recorded on the DNA molecule, and there is more to life than replication.
Another proposal tries to circumvent the famous chicken-and-egg problem of chemical evolution by starting with RNA. If we think of DNA as the “brain,” then RNA is the “nervous system” carrying the message of protein formation to the rest of the cell. However, the whole process involves crucial enzymes (specialized proteins). So which came first, the protein or the DNA?
The answer, many evolutionists believe, lies in the discovery that a special part of RNA can act like an enzyme. This means it can carry information and do various jobs within the cell. If this is the case, then perhaps evolution worked both ways, turning RNA into DNA for better information storage, and into specialized enzymes for more efficient copying. Last year, the proponents of this RNA world received a boost from the work of Beaudry and Joyce (1992) who used selection and mutations to make a more efficient RNA enzyme.
Some journalists and scientists have made extraordinary claims about this new research. First, they described the techniques and chemical processes in evolutionary terms such as “selection” and “mutation.” One newspaper article hailed Beaudry and Joyce’s work as the “first complete laboratory demonstration of evolution” (Graham, 1992). Second, they believe the experiments show that “darwinian selection is universal for all lifes” (Hurst and Dawkins, 1992, 357:198), not just for “life as we know it.” And third, because this research has a practical application in biotechnology, they wish to promote evolution as a fundamental tool of science, and not a mere theory.
However, using terms such as selection, mutation, and evolution does not explain the origin of life. These experiments entail a great deal of design and technical innovation. The human experimenters are forcing or directing “evolution” to achieve goals they have set (Culotta, 1992). As Leslie Orgel noted, to really show how life could have evolved, we need to start with something that does not require the “intervention of organic chemists” (1992, 358:207).
Further, this research may come closer to Darwin’s arguments than they would really like. By showing that man can use artificial selection to change species dramatically, even within recorded history, Darwin hoped to establish his case for long-term, large-scale evolution by natural selection (1859, pp. 133,153). But this analogy breaks down because artificial selection, by definition, involves human intelligence. The same is true for this recent research. We are seeing nothing more than high-tech horse breeding. Actually, we may be seeing less, because the experiments do not deal with life at all. If anything, they resemble Edison’s efforts to find a better filament for his electric light bulb.
What we must emphasize is that an evolutionist can invent any theory about the origin of life, no matter how implausible it may sound. He might succeed in modeling that theory in the laboratory. However, a model is not necessarily the same as reality; he has not proved that life evolved in that way. Ultimately, all he would have displayed is his God-given intellectual and physical abilities.


Beaudry, Amber A. and Gerald F. Joyce (1992), “Directed Evolution of an RNA Enzyme,” Science, 257:635-641, July 31.
Culotta, Elizabeth (1992), “Forcing the Evolution of an RNA Enzyme in the Test Tube,” Science, 257:613, July 31.
Darwin, Charles (1859), The Origin of Species (New York: Avenel Books, 1979 reprint of the 1968 Penguin edition).
Feng, Qing, Tae Kyo Park and Julius Rebek, Jr. (1992), “Crossover Reactions Between Synthetic Replicators Yield Active and Inactive Recombinants,” Science, 256:1179-1180, May 22.
Graham, David (1992), “Evolution in the Lab at Scripps,” San Diego-Union Tribune, July 31, pp. A1-A2, July 31.
Hong, Jong-In, Qing Feng, Vincent Rotello and Julius Rebek, Jr. (1992), “Competition, Cooperation, and Mutation: Improving a Synthetic Replicator by Light Irradiation,” Science, 255:848-850, February 14.
Hurst, Lawrence D. and Richard Dawkins (1992), “Life in a Test Tube,” Nature, 357:198-199, May 21.

Was Mary Sinless? by Moisés Pinedo


Was Mary Sinless?

by Moisés Pinedo

No woman in all of history stands out more than Mary. Her fame is due to the fact that God chose her to bring into the world the long-awaited Savior and Messiah, Jesus Christ. Since Jesus Christ was the greatest Person ever to set foot on the Earth—the Teacher of teachers, the Man Who has changed more lives than any other throughout the centuries, and the One Who gives mankind the opportunity to be free from the bonds of sin—everything associated with His life, His character, and His teachings has been a source of great interest to many. The desire to know more about the Lord has led many to place excessive emphasis on those who were close to Him and uninspired traditions about them.
Questions arise: Who would have been the closest to God Incarnate? Who could tell us, in profound detail, about His nights of infancy, His adolescent anxieties, and the afflictions of His ministry? Obviously, the woman who held the Savior of the world in her arms from the time of His birth, calmed His crying with her lullabies, healed His childhood wounds, and watched Him grow and become a man, would have been closer to Him than any other human being. So, by virtue of her relationship to Jesus, some argue that Mary is deserving of greater honor than anyone else who ever has obeyed God.
Catholics have elevated Mary to a higher level than God ever intended. The supporters of human traditions have united their forces to make Mary not just a “maidservant of the Lord” (Luke 1:38), but rather the “Mother of God.” We will open the Bible to examine the things related to this special woman who “found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).
Many assertions have been made about Mary, and many religious traditions surround her. One prominent Catholic declaration about Mary states that she was sinless (see Catechism..., 1994, 491). In reality, this statement implies two things that even some Catholics do not know or understand: (1) Mary was the only person (apart from Jesus Christ) who came into the world without the contamination of “original sin,” and (2) Mary was the only person (apart from Jesus Christ) who never committed sin. We will consider these two assertions briefly.
We agree (in part) with the first assertion. Mary was born free of the contamination of Adam’s sin, but she was not the only one. In fact, everyone arrives in this world without the contamination of original sin. The Catholic doctrine, which teaches that all people inherit Adam’s sin (which led to the requirement of infant baptism), originated from a misinterpretation of some biblical passages. It is an example of great familiarity with tradition and very little understanding of the Scriptures. The doctrine of “original sin” has caused many problems for Catholicism. It undermined the high level to which Catholics had elevated Mary, as well as the image of her they created. They had to find a way to preserve the sinless image of Mary that they had created. So, in 1854, policymakers within the Catholic Church “liberated” Mary, stating that she was born without original sin (see Herbermann, 1913, 7:674-675). This allowed her to wear the title “Most Holy.”
Romans 5:12 has been used extensively to support the Catholic doctrine of “original sin.” In this passage, Paul wrote: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” At first glance, this text may seem to support the idea of original sin; however, a proper study of this verse will show that this is not the case.
First, Paul said that “through one man sin entered the world.” Paul did not say that sin entered into every person at birth. Rather, sin became a part of the world in general. Second, Paul said that death entered through sin. This refers exclusively to the death that Adam and Eve experienced in the beginning. Third, Paul noted that “death spread to all men, because all sinned.” The text does not say that death spread to all men because Adam sinned but because all sinned. It is clear that humanity is the recipient of the consequence of Adam’s sin (i.e., death), but is not the recipient of the guilt of Adam’s sin. Each accountable person dies for his or her own sin (Romans 3:23).
Ezekiel 18:20 declares: “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (cf. Deuteronomy 24:16; Jeremiah 31:30). Since the Bible emphatically affirms that the son does not bear the guilt (or iniquity) of the father, this means that Cain, Abel, and Seth did not carry the sin of their father, Adam. How, then, can we possibly carry Adam’s sin? The truth is that children are born without sin. This is why Jesus said that in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven, one should become like a child (Matthew 18:3). But if children come into this world “dragging” the sin of the first man and, therefore, are contaminated, what sense would it make for Jesus to encourage us to be like them?
A just and righteous God would not (and will not) condemn all humanity for the sin of one man. No man on Earth bears the sin that Adam committed. Mary, just like everyone else in this world,was born without the contamination of any original sin.
But what about the assertion that Mary was the only person (apart from Jesus Christ) who never committed sin? No Bible verse explicitly declares that Mary committed any sin (just as there is no verse which declares that Seth, Enoch, Stephen, Philemon, etc., committed sin), but many Bible verses explicitly state that everyone sins. Therefore, Mary sinned. We should not belittle the impressive biblical record of Mary. But she, like any other human being, needed a Savior to take away her sins.
Paul was very emphatic about this subject: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, emp. added). Paul allowed no exceptions. He wrote that all have sinned. There is no doubt that the word “all” includes Mary. Paul agreed with the psalmist’s inspired assessment of humanity: “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10; cf. Psalms 14:3; 53:1-3). But if Mary never committed sin, the text should read: “There is none righteous, except Mary.”
It is important to note that the Bible places emphasis on what all, except Jesus, have done (i.e., sinned). One of the major differences between the sons of men and the Son of Man is that we succumb to sin, but Jesus never did. Hebrews 4:15 notes: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (emp. added; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21). What praise or honor should be given to Jesus Christ (our High Priest) if He achieved that which a mere human had already achieved? If Mary never sinned, why did God give the high priesthood of the church to Jesus instead of her? In fact, the declaration of the Hebrews writer would lose its power if someone else had already achieved sinless perfection.
Mary herself acknowledged this great doctrinal truth, i.e., that all have sinned and are in need of a Savior. She declared: “And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:47, emp. added). This fits with what the angel told Joseph about Mary: “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, emp. added). Jesus came to save mankind from the bondage of sin. When Mary recognized God as her Savior, she also recognized that, just as any other human being, she needed salvation. If Mary lived and left this life without committing sin, it follows that she would not have needed a Savior. Why, then, did she refer to God as her “Savior”? If she was sinless, from what was she saved?
Finally, God’s grace for Mary was not earned—but given. Advocates of the doctrine of the Most Holy Immaculate Conception argue that when the angel called Mary the “highly favored one” (Luke 1:28), he implied that she was pure in the highest sense of the word and, ultimately, without any vestige of sin. Nevertheless, the expression “highly favored one” is not intended to emphasize some sort of unique nature of Mary, but rather the nature of God’s immeasurable favor. Verse 30 states: “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.’” The great peculiarity of Mary’s life is not some sort of unique moral nature that she achieved, but rather the greatness of divine favor and grace that she received from God. Mary understood this point very well and declared: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, emp. added).
If Mary was not exempt from sin, how was Jesus born without sin? As we already indicated, no child bears the iniquity of his or her parents (Ezekiel 18:20). If it were necessary for Mary to have been sinless, in the absolute sense of the word, in order to have a sinless child, then sinlessness also would be required of Mary’s parents, in order to conceive a “sinless” Mary. In turn, all Mary’s ancestors logically would have had to meet the same requirement.


We conclude from the Bible: (1) Like every other person ever born, Mary was born without any kind of original sin; (2) like every other person ever born (apart from Jesus Christ), Mary was not exempt from sin and its consequences; and (3) like every other person ever born (apart from Jesus Christ), Mary was in need of a Savior. These biblical facts do not minimize the importance of Mary’s role in fulfilling God’s divine plan to save man. Because of her godly life, God chose this particular young Jewish virgin to bring forth the Messiah. However, she was not sinless. Throughout history, God has used ordinary, imperfect men and women to accomplish extraordinary things, bringing them closer to “perfection” through His Son, Jesus Christ.


Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994), (Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press).
Herbermann, Charles G., et al., eds. (1913), The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: The Encyclopedia Press).

The Unbelievers’ Examination of Jesus’ Miracle in John 9 by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


The Unbelievers’ Examination of Jesus’ Miracle in John 9

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Christians believe that Jesus worked miracles for two primary reasons: (1) a supernatural Creator exists (see Lyons and Butt, 2014), Who is capable of working supernatural miracles in accordance with His will, and (2) the Bible is the inspired Word of God (see Butt and Lyons, 2015), which testifies to the miracles of Christ. Of significance is the fact that the Bible does not record the miracles of Christ in a flippant, feel-good, hocus-pocus type of manner. On the contrary, the accounts of Jesus’ miracles are consistently characterized with reason and restraint. At times, there was great investigation that took place—even by Jesus’ enemies—in hopes of discrediting Him.
Consider, for example, the occasion on which Jesus gave sight to a man born blind (John 9:7). After receiving his sight, neighbors and others examined him, inquiring how he was now able to see. Later he was brought to the Pharisees, and they scrutinized him. They questioned him about the One who caused him to see, and then argued among themselves about the character of Jesus. They called for the parents of the man who was blind, and questioned them about their son’s blindness. Then they called upon the man born blind again, and a second time questioned him about how Jesus opened his eyes. Finally, when they realized the man would not cave in to their intimidating interrogation and say some negative thing about Jesus, “they cast him out” (9:34). They rejected him, and the One Who made him well. Yet, they were unable to deny the miracle that Jesus performed. It was known by countless witnesses that this man was born blind, but, after coming in contact with Jesus, his eyes were opened.
The entire case of Jesus healing the blind man in John 9 was scrutinized thoroughly by Jesus’ enemies, yet even they had to admit that Jesus caused the man to see (John 9:16,17,24,26). It was a fact, accepted, not by credulous youths, but by hardened, veteran enemies of Christ. Considering that positive testimony from hostile witnesses is the weightiest kind of testimony in a court of law, such reactions from Jesus’ enemies are extremely noteworthy in any discussion on the miracles of Christ.


Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2015), “3 Good Reasons to Believe the Bible is from God,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1180.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2014), “7 Reasons to Believe in God,” Apologetics Press, http://apologeticspress.org/apPubPage.aspx?pub=1&issue=1175&article=2452

Atheism and Liberal, Missouri by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Atheism and Liberal, Missouri

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

In the summer of 1880, George H. Walser founded the town of Liberal in southwest Missouri. Named after the Liberal League in Lamar, Missouri (to which the town’s organizer belonged), Walser’s objective was “to found a town without a church, [w]here unbelievers could bring up their children without religious training,” and where Christians were not allowed (Thompson, 1895; Becker, 1895). “His idea was to build up a town that should exclusively be the home of Infidels...a town that should have neither God, Hell, Church, nor Saloon” (Brand, 1895). Some of the early inhabitants of Liberal even encouraged other infidels to move to their town by publishing an advertisement which boasted that Liberal “is the only town of its size in the United States without a priest, preacher, church, saloon, God, Jesus, hell or devil” (Keller, 1885, p. 5). Walser and his “freethinking” associates were openly optimistic about their new town. Excitement was in the air, and atheism was at its core. They believed that their godless town of “sober, trustworthy and industrious” individuals would thrive for years on end. But, as one young resident of that town, Bessie Thompson, wrote about Liberal in 1895, “...like all other unworthy causes, it had its day and passed away.” Bessie did not mean that the actual town of Liberal ceased to exist, but that the idea of having a “good, godless” city is a contradiction in terms. A town built upon “trustworthy” atheistic ideals eventually will reek of the rotten, immoral fruits of infidelity. Such fruits were witnessed and reported firsthand by Clark Braden in 1885.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Saturday, May 2, 1885
Braden was an experienced preacher, debater, and author. In his lifetime, he presented more than 3,000 lectures, and held more than 130 regular debates—eighteen of which were with the Mormons (Carpenter, 1909, pp. 324-325). In 1872, Braden even challenged the renowned agnostic Robert Ingersoll to debate, to which Ingersoll reportedly responded, “I am not such a fool as to debate. He would wear me out” (Haynes, 1915, pp. 481-482). Although Braden was despised by some, his skills in writing and public speaking were widely known and acknowledged. In February 1885, Clark Braden introduced himself to the townspeople of Liberal (Keller, 1885, p. 5; Moore, 1963, p. 38), and soon thereafter he wrote about what he had seen.
In an article that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, titled “An Infidel Experiment,” Braden reported the following.
The boast about the sobriety of the town is false. But few of the infidels are total abstainers. Liquor can be obtained at three different places in this town of 300 inhabitants. More drunken infidels can be seen in a year in Liberal than drunken Christians among one hundred times as many church members during the same time. Swearing is the common form of speech in Liberal, and nearly every inhabitant, old and young, swears habitually. Girls and boys swear on the streets, playground, and at home. Fully half of the females will swear, and a large number swear habitually.... Lack of reverence for parents and of obedience to them is the rule. There are more grass widows, grass widowers and people living together, who have former companions living, than in any other town of ten times the population.... A good portion of the few books that are read are of the class that decency keeps under lock and key....
These infidels...can spend for dances and shows ten times as much as they spend on their liberalism. These dances are corrupting the youth of the surrounding country with infidelity and immorality. There is no lack of loose women at these dances.
Since Liberal was started there has not been an average of one birth per year of infidel parents. Feticide is universal. The physicians of the place say that a large portion of their practice has been trying to save females from consequences of feticide. In no town is slander more prevalent, or the charges more vile. If one were to accept what the inhabitants say of each other, he would conclude that there is a hell, including all Liberal, and that its inhabitants are the devils (as quoted in Keller, 1885, p. 5).
According to Braden, “[s]uch are the facts concerning this infidel paradise.... Every one who has visited Liberal, and knows the facts, knows that such is the case” (p. 5).
As one can imagine, Braden’s comments did not sit well with some of the townspeople of Liberal. In fact, a few days after Braden’s observations appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, he was arrested for criminal libel and tried on May 18, 1885. According to Braden, “After the prosecution had presented their evidence, the case was submitted to the jury without any rebutting evidence by the defence (sic), and the jury speedily brought in a verdict of ‘No cause for action’ ” (as quoted in Mouton, n.d., pp. 36-37). Unfortunately for Braden, however, the controversy was not over. On the following day (May 19, 1885), a civil suit was filed by one of the townsmen—S.C. Thayer, a hotel operator in Liberal. The petition for damages of $25,000 alleged that Clark Braden and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an article in which they had made false, malicious, and libelous statements against the National Hotel in Liberal, managed by Mr. Thayer. He claimed that Braden’s remarks, published in the St. Louise Post-Dispatch on May 2, 1885, “greatly and irreparably injured and ruined” his business (Thayer v. Braden). However, when the prosecution learned that the defense was thoroughly prepared to prove that Liberal was a den of infamy, and that its hotels were little more than houses of prostitution, the suit was dismissed on September 17, 1886 by the plaintiff at his own cost (Thayer v. Braden). Braden was exonerated in everything he had written. Indeed, the details Braden originally reported about Liberal, Missouri, on May 2, 1885 were found to be completely factual.
It took only a few short years for Liberal’s unattractiveness and inconsistency to be exposed. People cannot exclude God from the equation, and expect to remain a “sober, trustworthy” town. Godlessness equals unruliness, which in turn makes a repugnant, immoral people. The town of Liberal was a failure. Only five years after its establishment, Braden indicated that “[n]ine-tenths of those now in town would leave if they could sell their property. More property has been lost by locating in the town than has been made in it.... Hundreds have been deceived and injured and ruined financially” (Keller, p. 5). Apparently, “doing business with the devil” did not pay the kind of dividends George Walser (the town’s founder) and the early inhabitants of Liberal desired. It appears that even committed atheists found living in Liberal in the early days intolerable. Truly, as has been observed in the past, “An infidel surrounded by Christians may spout his infidelity and be able to endure it, but a whole town of atheists is too horrible to contemplate.” It is one thing to espouse a desire to live in a place where there is no God, but it is an entirely different thing for such a place actually to exist. For it to become a reality is more than the atheist can handle. Adolf Hitler took atheism to its logical conclusion in Nazi Germany, and created a world that even most atheists detested. Although atheists want no part of living according to the standards set out by Jesus and His apostles in the New Testament, the real fruits of evolutionary atheism also are too horrible for them to contemplate.
Although the town of Liberal still exists today (with a population of about 800 people), and although vestiges of its atheistic heritage are readily apparent, it is not the same town it was in 1895. At present, at least seven religious groups associated with Christianity exist within this city that once banned Christianity and all that it represents. Numerous other churches meet in the surrounding areas. According to one of the religious leaders in the town, “a survey of Liberal recently indicated that 50% of the people are actively involved with some church” (Abbott, 2003)—a far cry from where Liberal began.
There is no doubt that the moral, legal, and educational systems of Liberal, Missouri, in the twenty-first century are the fruits of biblical teaching, not atheism. When Christianity and all of the ideals that the New Testament teaches are effectively put into action, people will value human life, honor their parents, respect their neighbors, and live within the moral guidelines given by God in the Bible. A city comprised of faithful Christians would be mostly void of such horrors as sexually transmitted diseases, murder, drunken fathers who beat their wives and children, drunk drivers who turn automobiles into lethal weapons, and heartache caused by such things as divorce, adultery, and covetousness. (Only those who broke God’s commandments intended for man’s benefit would cause undesirable fruit to be reaped.)
On the other hand, when atheism and all of its tenets are taken to their logical conclusion, people will reap some of the same miserable fruit once harvested by the early citizens of Liberal, Missouri (and sadly, some of the same fruit being reaped by many cities in the world today). Men and women will attempt to cover up sexual sins by aborting babies, children will disrespect their parents, students will “run wild” at home and in school because of the lack of discipline, and “sexual freedom” (which leads to sexually transmitted diseases) will be valued, whereas human life will be devalued. Such are the fruits of atheism: a society in which everyone does that which is right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6)—a society in which no sensible person wants to live.


Abbott, Phil (2003), Christian Church, Liberal, Missouri, telephone conversation, April 7.
Barnes, Pamela (2003), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, telephone conversation, March 12.
Becker, Hathe (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.
Brand, Ida (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.
Carpenter, L.L. (1909), “The President’s Address,” in Centennial Convention Report, ed. W.R. Warren, (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), pp. 317-332. [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/wwarren/ccr/CCR15B.HTM.
Haynes, Nathaniel S. (1915), History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois 1819-1914 (Cincinnati, OH: Standard Publishing Company), [On-line], URL: http://www.mun.ca/rels/restmov/texts/nhaynes/hdcib/braden01.htm, 1996.
Keller, Samuel (1885), “An Infidel Experiment,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Special Correspondence with Clark Braden, May 2, p. 5.
Moore, J.P. (1963), This Strange Town—Liberal, Missouri (Liberal, MO: The Liberal News).
Mouton, Boyce (no date), George H. Walser and Liberal, Missouri: An Historical Overview.
Thayer, S.C. v. Clark Braden, et. al. Filed on May 19, 1885 in Barton County Missouri. Dismissed September 10, 1886.
Thompson, Bessie (1895), “Liberal,” Liberal Enterprise, December 5,12, [On-line], URL: http://lyndonirwin.com/libhist1.htm.

Cloning--Scientific and Biblical Ramifications [Part II] by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Cloning--Scientific and Biblical Ramifications [Part II]
by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Part I of this two-part series appeared in the May issue. Part II follows below and continues, without introductory comments, where the first article ended.]
As a result of the success of recent experiments in genetic engineering, the cloning of humans is on the minds of many, both among the general populace and with in the scientific community. In the past, the cloning of humans was a subject best discussed within the genre of science fiction novels, not scientific journals. When scientists, or science writers, did discuss the possibility of human cloning, their comments usually went something like this:
This is far beyond the reach of today’s science. There is a vast difference between cloning an embryo that is made up of immature, undifferentiated cells and cloning adults cells that have already committed themselves to becoming skin or bone or blood. All cells contain within their DNA the information required to reproduce the entire organism, but in adult cells access to parts of that information has somehow been switched off. Scientists do not yet know how to switch it back on (Elmer-Dewitt, 1993, p. 66).
In this statement, Philip Elmer-Dewitt, a writer for Time magazine, echoed what seemed to be a commonly-shared view among the researchers involved in genetic engineering. No one had been able to clone mammals using adult somatic cells, because for some unknown reason a great portion of the DNA in those cells had been “switched off.” But, as the old saying goes, “That was then; this is now.”


What a difference four years makes in science! In the Table of Contents of the February 27, 1997 issue of Nature (the official organ of the British Association for the Advancement of Science), there appeared what seemed at first glance to be an innocuous article titled “Viable Offspring Derived from Fetal and Adult Mammalian Cells” (Wilmut, et al., 1997). That article, however, announced the results of scientific research so significant that it not only would make history, but change forever the way scientists viewed cloning in both animals and humans.
Researchers from the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh, Scotland had accomplished what almost everyone in the scientific community thought to be impossible. Headed by embryologist Ian Wilmut, Scottish scientists produced a lamb using genetic material from the mammary cell of an adult ewe. The young lamb, named Dolly, did not owe her existence to a procreative act occurring between a ram and a ewe. Instead, Dolly was the result of a laboratory exercise in cloning. When her existence was announced, the entire world gasped—first in disbelief, then in amazement! As Time put it, the Scottish researchers had succeeded in
...scoring an advance in reproductive technology as unsettling as it was startling. Unlike offspring produced in the usual fashion, Dolly does not merely take after her biological mother. She is a carbon copy, a laboratory counterfeit so exact that she is in essence her mother’s identical twin (Nash, 1997, p. 62).
Technique used by Wilmut, et al. to clone a sheep. Their breakthrough involved starving body cells of nutrients, thus interrupting the normal cycle of growth and division. In this quiescent stage, the cell can be “reprogrammed” to function as a newly fertilized egg (after Travis, 1997, 151:215).
Here is what Dr. Wilmut did to make Dolly a reality. As noted earlier, embryonic cells are easier to use in cloning experiments than adult somatic cells because they are, for the most part, undifferentiated. In other words, they have not matured to the point where they have been able to carry out the instructions contained in the DNA within their nucleus that direct them to become skin cells, brain cells, eye cells, etc. In its young, embryonic state, an undifferentiated cell can become any other cell in the body, because it has the capacity to activate any given gene on any given chromosome. Non-embryonic somatic cells, however, already have carried out their DNA instructions, and as a result are differentiated (i.e., in their mature state, they have become hair cells, muscles cells, nerve cells, etc.). As a result, huge portions of the DNAinstructions have been “deactivated,” so that mature cells can carry out their particular function(s). Thus, much of the information coded within the DNA of adult cells no longer is accessible, having been “turned off ” at maturity because it no longer is needed by the cell.
In the past, most scientists involved in the broad area of genetic engineering thought that the differentiation process was irreversible. However, Dr. Wilmut and his coworkers disproved that idea by devising a way to “reactivate” the portions of the DNA molecule that previously had been deactivated, thus making adult somatic cells candidates for cloning.
First, the team of Scottish scientists searched for a mechanism that would allow them to arrest the normal cell cycle (i.e., the process through which all cells go as they mature and prepare to reproduce themselves). They surmised that this might be accomplished by starving cells of the nutrients they normally would need to grow. Some of the cells chosen for the experiment were from the udder of a Finn Dorset ewe. Once deprived of these critical nutrients, the mammary gland cells fell into a sort of “suspended animation” (what, in live animals, would resemble hibernation), a state in which they remained for one week.
Second, using the procedure (discussed previously in this series of articles) known as “nuclear transfer,” Dr. Wilmut took an unfertilized oocyte (i.e., an egg cell) from a Scottish Blackface ewe and carefully removed its nucleus, leaving the remainder of the cell (cytoplasm, cell membrane, etc.) completely intact (see Stewart, 1997). Then, he took the quiescent mammary gland cell, placed it next to the oocyte, and gently applied short bursts of electrical current, which prompted the egg cell to bond with the somatic cell and absorb its nucleus (containing a full complement of chromosomes) as its own. As a result, the egg cell possessed the number of chromosomes it would contain if it had been fertilized by the male’s sperm. The biochemical activity usually associated with a zygote (the cell that results when sperm and egg combine) then began to occur.
Third, after one week of carefully-monitored growth, the laboratory-engineered embryo then was inserted into the uterus of a surrogate ewe, to see if it would implant successfully and grow to term.
All of this may sound quite simple, but it is not. Dr. Wilmut’s success came only after a long string of failures. In fact, he reported in his article in Nature that out of 277 eggs fused with udder cells, he and his team were able to produce only 29 embryos that survived more than six days. Of those 29, all died before birth except Dolly.


To the uninitiated, all of this may seem at best much ado about nothing, or at worst a complete waste of time, effort, and money. Why go to all the trouble and expense to clone an animal, when normal reproductive processes can produce an animal without all the fuss? “Just let nature take its course,” some might say.
There is much more to it than that, however. Cloning has the potential to make animal husbandry more effective and efficient. Imagine (to use just one example) the plight of the dairy farmer searching for a way to breed cattle that produce better milk in greater quantities. If he could isolate one or more cattle that consistently produced more, and better, milk than all the others, he could have them cloned, thus guaranteeing whole herds of the highest quality milk-producing animals.
In addition, cloning has the potential both to reduce human suffering, and to extend human life. Suppose (again, to choose just one hypothetical example) that scientists were able to discover a mechanism by which they could genetically alter chimpanzees so that portions of their immune systems, or products manufactured by those immune systems, were indistinguishable from those found in humans whose own immune systems were diseased or damaged, and thus incapable of fighting off disease to sustain life. These chimpanzees then could be cloned so that as many copies as needed could be produced, thereby ensuring life-saving animal products in an endless supply for use in humans.
Further, cloning has the potential to enlarge our knowledge about how cells differentiate and reproduce. Using the information gleaned from the study of the cell during cloning, scientists believe they could learn more about why cancer cells grow out of control, or why birth defects occur. In short, cloning does hold forth immense potential in many different areas and, used properly, could offer tremendous benefits to mankind (see Scientific American, 1997).
The operative phrase, here, however, is “used properly.” With cloning, as with many of the technologies offered by modern science, there can be serious scientific and biblical ethical implications. Rarely is the technology, in and of itself, morally objectionable; instead, it is the useof the technology that makes it so. Part of the problem is the fact that science itself is not equipped to deal with moral issues. There is nothing within the scientific method, for example, that can dictate whether nuclear energy should be used to destroy cancer cells, or entire cities. That is a judgment far beyond the scope of science to make.
Unfortunately, once the technology is made available, there are those who are prepared to employ it, regardless of any ethical problems that might be associated with it. Since many within the scientific community either do not believe in God, or do so only accommodatively, they neither are interested in, nor restricted by, the guidelines and principles set forth in His Word. As a result, in their eyes the simple fact that the technology is available is reason enough to use it. Within the scientific community, this is referred to as the “technological imperative”—whatever can be done should be done!


In regard to cloning, the most pressing questions on almost everyone’s mind are: (a) why would anyone want to clone a human in the first place; (b) if attempts at cloning humans are successful, would a clone be an exact duplicate of the original; (c) will we eventually be able to clone humans; and (d) most important, would humans produced by cloning possess a soul?
Why would anyone want to clone a human? First, parents might want to clone a child as a “replacement” for one that had died. Second, parents might want to clone a child to provide compatible organ transplants for a diseased relative. [There have been cases of women wanting to become pregnant so they could abort the child to provide fetal brain cells for transplantation into a relative (e.g., a parent suffering from Parkinson’s Disease).] Third, individuals might want to have themselves cloned to guarantee immortality—if not in soul, at least in body. Fourth, some may desire to clone a human simply for the prestige and adulation that inevitably will result from having accomplished what no one else has been able to do. A Nobel Prize can provide a very strong incentive indeed!
If attempts at cloning humans are successful, would a clone be an exact duplicate of the original? A clone would be an exact genetic duplicate of the original—the word “genetic” providing a critical distinction. Merely possessing identical genes does not guarantee identical people. Ask anyone with identical twins. In fact, twins would be more alike than clones for the simple reason that the twins would have shared the same environment, upbringing, etc. People are more than merely a “bag of genes.” Each of us is the end-product of many different external forces that influence us from cradle to grave. Our personalities and attitudes are formed by parents, friends, teachers, daily routines, societal interactions, and many other factors that affect us during our lifetimes.
Will we be able to clone humans eventually? That remains to be seen. No scientist can answer that question, for to do so would be to possess the ability to predict the future—something neither a scientist, nor science, is equipped to do. Furthermore, there are too many unknowns. We do not know if human adult somatic cells will respond the same way adult somatic cells from sheep responded. We do not know if the process used to produce Dolly (nuclear transfer) would work in humans. And so on.
However, if the question were reworded so that it asked, “Will scientists attempt to clone humans?,” I think the answer would be “yes.” An analogy might be helpful. When mountaineers are asked why they ascend a challenging (and often life-threatening) mountain, they routinely respond: “...because it’s there.” Some scientists likely will take the same approach. When asked why current technology should be used to clone humans, they will respond: “...because it’s there.” One writer has suggested:
...it is not a question as to whether we will attempt to clone a human being or not. Many technical hurdles will have to be overcome first before we can attempt to produce cloned humans, so they say. But if the moral and ethical scientists want to wait, or even shrink in fear from such an undertaking, there are many in the world who have the financial means, who do not have any scruples or reservations about cloning humans. What about them? (Sinapiades, 1997, p. 6, emp. in orig.).
I believe it no longer is a matter of if attempts will be made to clone humans using this new technology, but only when. Eventually some scientist, or group of scientists, will yield to the temptation to apply the Scottish scientists’ methodology to the human race.
If (and this is a big “if ”) scientists are successful in cloning humans, the most pressing question then becomes—will the people so produced possess a soul? Much of the debate occurring today (especially in religious circles) centers on this question. For example, three staff writers for U.S. News & World Report posed the question, “Would a cloned person have its own soul?,” and answered it as follows: “Most theologians agree with scientists that a human clone and its DNAdonor would be separate and distinct persons. That means each would have his or her own body, mind, and soul” (Herbert, et al., 1997, p. 63).
In addressing what at the time was the unlikely possibility of the cloning of humans, Gish and Wilson asked: “What do we say, then? Would a clone be truly human? The answer is that, indeed, he would be human, for its life came from human life even though in a manner different than is usually the case” (1981, p. 174). In addition, they noted, the cloned human “is already alive, responsible to God for his actions, needing to preserve his own body against sickness, to see that he is properly fed, and all the rest. Each clone would have its own individual responsibility, its own soul” (p. 172).
I concur with such an assessment. In James 2:26, James made this observation: “The body apart from the spirit is dead.” The point, of course, was that when the spirit departs the body, death results. But there is an obvious, and important, corollary to that statement. If the body is alive, it must be the case that the spirit is present. This is a biblical principle that cannot, and must not, be ignored—especially in light of the present controversy. The simple fact of the matter is that if(again, a very big “if ”) scientists succeed in cloning living humans, those clones would possess a soul.
But only God can instill a soul. It is He Who “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). It is only “in Him” that “we live, and move, and have our being...” (Acts 17:28). The real issue is not whether man is intelligent enough to clone a human, but whether or not—should that eventually happen—God will choose to instill the lifeless creature in the laboratory with a soul. This is a question no one can answer.


Very often it is the case that with increased knowledge also comes increased power. And with increased power comes the potential for misuse or abuse of that power. The question, “will we be able to clone humans?” is not the same question as “should we clone humans?” The first is a question to be answered by an appeal to science; the second is a question to be answered by an appeal to the Word of God.
Oddly, at times those who do not believe in God or His Word as an objective moral standard seem to understand the ethical/moral issues better than some Christians. For example, long before the technology was available that could lead to human cloning, evolutionist Gunther Stent of the University of Southern California stated: “The idea of cloning humans is morally and aesthetically completely unacceptable” (as quoted in Howard and Rifkin, 1977, pp. 125-126). Compare that with the comment of Christian ethicist Randy Harris of David Lipscomb University: “Although there has been a good deal of rhetoric on the evils that are just ahead, I have yet to hear a cogent ethical argument as to why even the cloning of a human would be wrong” (1997, p. 16).
There are, in fact, several “cogent ethical arguments” that can, and should, be made against the cloning of humans, only two of which I would like to mention here.

Cloning’s “Failures” Represent Dead Human Beings

It is one thing to attempt—and fail—277 times using sheep cells in an attempt at cloning. Sheep are animals that do not possess souls, and that are not made in the “image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26-27). But it is quite another thing to try—even once—and fail in an attempt to clone a human. Embryos are living human beings! [On occasion, pro-abortion forces often argue that embryos within the womb are “not living.” If that is the case, then leave them alone. This, of course, is hardly an option, because in nine months the end-result is a human baby—something impossible to explain if the embryo was “not living” to begin with.] A laboratory littered with dead and dying sheep embryos is one thing; a laboratory littered with dead and dying human embryos is quite another!
Ask any knowledgeable ethicist, Christian or otherwise, and he or she will confirm that basic medical ethics requires that in any experiment, the subject must know the risks and give “informed consent.” In the case of cloning, however, the tiny embryo being produced (and that more often than not will die) can do no such thing. With cloning—if the success rate of the Scottish scientists is taken at face value—the failure rate will be staggering.
Basic medical ethics also requires that the experiment be to the subject’s benefit. Laboratory procedures for cloning humans scarcely would be to the benefit of the cloned embryos. Scottish scientist Wilmut and his colleagues saw 277 of the embryos they had produced perish before they saw a single one live. What if the same failure rate held true for the cloning of humans? Or, for the sake of argument, suppose that somehow the failure rate could be cut in half (in other words, out of 277 attempts, “only” 139 human embryos died in the process)? Would that then be ethically and morally acceptable? It would not! Producing human embryos—with the full knowledge that many more of them will die than will live—is indeed (to quote evolutionist Stent) “morally and aesthetically completely unacceptable.” Medical ethicist Paul Ramsey has suggested that we cannot even develop the kinds of reproductive technologies being discussed here “without conducting unethical experiments upon the unborn who must be the mishaps (the dead and retarded ones) through whom we learn how” (as quoted in Restak, 1975, p. 65).
Human life, as a gift from God (Acts 17:25), is sacred. The Proverbs writer observed that “there are six things which Jehovah hateth; yea, seven which are an abomination unto him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood” (6:16-17). Yet there is a tendency to ignore these divine principles, and to view human life as that which may be destroyed capriciously. Should Christians consider laboratories teeming with the dead and dying human embryos that resulted from failed attempts at cloning to be a “cogent ethical argument” against such procedures? Or should they instead, to use Leon Kass’ words, simply “leave it so that discarding laboratory-grown embryos is a matter solely between a doctor and his plumber” (as quoted in Restak, 1975, p. 65)?
Further, in examining the ethical issues surrounding procedures such as these, the implications of the various technologies must be acknowledged. For example, if cloning were possible:
  1. It could be used to provide children for unmarried people.
  2. Parents could pre-select the sex (and many other attributes) of their child(ren).
  3. Women’s liberation would be complete, since no male would be needed. The old Cockney saying, “It takes a man to make a girl,” no longer would be true.
  4. Large batches of human clones could be made for statistical studies.
  5. Clones could be produced in order to harvest “spare parts” for transplants (e.g., bone marrow, organs, etc.).
  6. People enamored of their own importance could ensure that exact genetic replicas of themselves were brought into existence via cloning—by tens or hundreds if they so desired.
If we scrutinize the alleged benefits of human cloning, there is less here than at first meets the eye. Producing people for spare parts, or to use as guinea pigs, is repugnant. David Lygre wrote: “The current risks of abnormality and our reverence for human life should rule these experiments out” (1979, p. 44). Indeed they should.

Cloning Circumvents God’s Plan for Reproduction

In a series of articles authored some years ago, Wayne Jackson remarked that these scientific experiments “strike at the very heart of God’s arrangement for human reproduction within the circle of the family unit and all that this involves” (1979, 15:3; see also Jackson, 1994, pp. 27-36). The use of such things as donor sperm, donor eggs, surrogate mothers, and cloning stand in stark contradistinction to God’s divinely designed plan for the home. While many things, biblically, could be said about God’s design of the home, one thing is clear. It is through the family unit (which includes both a husband and wife in the procreative act) that God intended for children to be brought into this world. According to divine design, marriage is to precede the bearing of children (1 Timothy 5:14). And it is not by accident that Moses recorded: “And the man [Adam—BT] knew Eve, his wife; and she conceived...” (Genesis 4:1; emp. added). Jack Evans correctly observed that God’s
...spiritual law says the oneness of the flesh can be approved only by Him in the marriage of the male and female who are producing another part of their flesh (Hebrews 13:4; I Corinthians 6:16; 7:1-5). Thus, the Bible teaches that the male and female producing the offspring of the one flesh, according to spiritual law, must be married to each other. ...It is obvious that marriage precedes bearing children. Thus, if the female bearing the child is not married to—is not one flesh with—the male in the reproduction process, they violate God’s spiritual law (1987, p. 358).
God’s plan is that children be produced through the husband and wife via their “one flesh” covenant. The world often forgets that childbearing never was intended to be an end within itself, but is part of a much larger plan.
Any action that ignores, or nullifies, God’s plan for the home, and reproduction within the framework of the home, must be avoided and opposed. Cloning does just that. It circumvents the principle of a husband and wife becoming “one flesh,” and through that procedure bringing children into the world. The family unit was planned to provide an atmosphere of love and trust (Proverbs 15:17; 17:1), which would create an ideal environment for spiritual growth. To ignore these truths is to miss the real meaning of the divinely planned family, and the procreative acts that God placed within that family unit.


Each day brings exciting new scientific discoveries. Improved techniques block pain and prevent suffering. New medicines cure or prevent diseases. Advancements in knowledge and methodology continually work to mankind’s benefit. As Suzuki and Knudtson concluded:
There is no reason to fear the stunning new conceptions of human hereditary disease now emerging from genetics research. In fact, we can rejoice that this new genetic knowledge is certain to improve the prevention, detection and treatment of many previously untreatable genetic disorders. At the same time, each of us shares responsibility for ensuring that techniques allowing the manipulation of the human genome are never exploited for arbitrary and self-serving ends or in ways that fail to consider the potential long-term consequences of large-scale genetic repair on human populations (1989, pp. 206-207).
Certainly, the faithful child of God may support many scientific advances that cure disease, alleviate suffering, and make life better. But the Word of God is the criterion against which every advance must be measured. The end does not always justify the means.


Elmer-Dewitt, Philip (1993), “Cloning: Where Do We Draw the Line?,” Time, pp. 65-70, November 8.
Evans, Jack (1987), “Is Surrogate Motherhood Sinful?,” Gospel Advocate, 129:358, June 18.
Gish, Duane T. and Clifford Wilson (1981), Manipulating Life: Where Does It Stop? (San Diego, CA: Master Books)
Harris, Randy (1997), “Will There Ever Be Another You?...Ewe?,” Christian Chronicle, 54[5]:16-17, May. [Harris is one of several scientists, theologians, and philosophers whose positions on cloning are presented in a special two-page spread, edited by Lindy Adams.]
Herbert, Wray, Jeffrey L. Sheler, and Traci Watson (1997), “The World After Cloning,” U.S. News & World Report, 122[9]:59-63, March 10.
Howard, Ted and Jeremy Rifkin (1977), Who Should Play God? (New York: Dell).
Jackson, Wayne (1979), “Ancient Ethics in a Modern World,” Christian Courier, 14:41-47; 15:2-4,6-8, May/June.
Jackson, Wayne (1994), Biblical Ethics & Modern Science (Stockton, CA: Courier Publications).
Lygre, David (1979), Life Manipulation (New York: Walker).
Nash, J. Madeleine (1997), “The Age of Cloning,” Time, 149[10]:62-65, March 10.
Restak, R.M. (1975), Pre-Meditated Man (New York: Viking).
Scientific American, “Special Report: Making Gene Therapy Work,” 276[6]:95-106.
Sinapiades, Mike (1997), “Cloning, Clowning, or What?,” First Century Christian, 19[2& 3]:6, February/March.
Stewart, Colin (1997), “An Udder Way of Making Lambs,” Nature 385:769,771, February 27.
Suzuki, David T. and Peter Knudtson (1989), Genethics (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press).
Travis, John (1997), “A Fantastical Experiment,” Science News, 151:214-215, April 5.
Wilmut, Ian, A.E. Schnieke, J. McWhir, A.J. Kind, and K.H.S. Campbell (1997), “Viable Offspring Derived from Fetal and Adult Mammalian Cells,” Nature, 385:810-813, February 27.

Cloning Links
In addition to part one of the current article, other references to cloning are available on our Web site

WWWThe following articles are available off-site. We do not necessarily endorse the material you find at these links. They are provided for information purposes only.
Dolly and Mom
  • Roslin Institute. Information from the Scottish research center that cloned Dolly.
  • Salon. Interview with Ian Wilmut—one of the principal scientists who cloned Dolly.
  • Genomics. Comprehensive links to scientific, legal, and ethical issues. Sponsored by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.
  • Reason Magazine. Favors few restrictions on cloning humans.
  • Yahoo! Cloning Update. Links to news reports and other sites on cloning.
Dolly, the Finn Dorset lamb, and her Scottish Blackface surrogate mother (Roslin Institute)