Spirit and Heredity

Article excerpt

WHILE advances in genetic research hold great promise for increasing crop productivity and other benefits, there are other aspects of this work that have a grim message. As geneticists have analyzed our biological heritage, many have come to believe that certain proclivities--such as a tendency toward alcoholism, for example--are inherent in the genetic makeup of some people. This cruel theory would condemn us to be forever subject to the outbreak of disease or a failure to rise above moral lapses or antisocial behavior because our genes are flawed. Under the circumstances, it is not surprising that many people fear the implications of genetic research.

Yet there is an alternative to simply accepting as inherent a tendency toward disease and sin. And the alternative has a great deal to do with who and what we think we are. To pursue this alternative demands a change in our thinking and in our lives.

The basis of genetic research is the premise that man is a material being, governed by a genetic map that determines biological and even some psychological details. Governed by this map, our futures would already be determined, and the hope of avoiding disease and other troubles would be slim.

The Bible gives us a completely different view of man. And the prophet Ezekiel saw clearly that God's power is able to overcome genetic inheritances. He describes God as saying, "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold all souls are mine. Christ Jesus built on this fact throughout his healing ministry. He taught that man is spiritual and forever at one with his divine Father, God. He was telling us that our real heritage is spiritual and that we can trust this heritage to be good. …