Church & Society
Azusa Pacific University
Church & Society
January 14, 2002
"Stem Cell Example Presentation"

I.   Step One: Describe the Situation
A.   Stages of the Stem Cell
1.   Totipotent - can turn into all the different types of cells necessary to form a fetus (0-17 days)
2.   Pluripotent - can turn into many cell types but not all of them
a.   As cells start developing they become more specialized (skin cell, etc &)
b.   The more specialized, they are not allowed to go backwards
c.   This is usually what they are referring in the media in regards to Stem Cell Research
d.   This lasts up to 18 days after fertilization
e.   Proposed uses of Pluripotent
i.   Study human development
ii.   Study gene regulation
iii.   Streamline development & safety testing of medication
iv.   Cell replacement therapy
a)   Heart attack is caused by heart cells dying
b)   Some cells (i.e. heart) do not reproduce themselves independently
c)   Replacement cells would then be produced from stem cells and then they could grow
d)   These replacement cells could be rejected by your immune system
f.   Obstacles for the Pluripotent
i.   Technology is not there for clinical [practical] application, yet
ii.   Immune rejection problems
iii.   Screening for genetic errors in donor embryos (diabetic stem cells won't help a diabetic)
iv.   This would kill embryos when taken from them
3.   Multipotent/Adult Stem Cells
a.   Committed to a certain role
b.   However, reported to be able to produce many cell types beyond their original commitment
c.   Limitations
i.   Not all tissues have had stem cells isolated from them
ii.   Small number (the older you get the less stem cells you have)
iii.   Very hard to isolate
iv.   May have to remove tissue to isolate
v.   Time involved in growing cells
vi.   Won't be able to use cells from patient with genetic error
vii.   Ageing caused DNA mutations
B.   The issue of cloning - SCNT - Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
1.   Reproductive Cloning
a.   Fully cloning by taking DNA
b.   Putting the DNA into an ovum
c.   Plant the ovum in a uterus
d.   Will grow to a full replica
2.   Therapeutic Cloning
a.   Take a DNA from me
b.   Begin to grow in a ovum
c.   Remove the stem cells in the early stages
d.   Plant the stem cell into the part of my body that is not working correctly
3.   Problems with cloning
a.   Dolly was one of 277 attempts
b.   Health problems
i.   Premature arthritis
ii.   Other health problems
iii.   Normal birth weight; extremely heavy in early years
II.   Step Two: Key Questions after knowing situation? (the theological/ethical question)
A.   What are the key questions
1.   What is human life?
2.   When does life being?
3.   When, if ever, ought an embryo be used to save other human life?
B.   Different Perspectives Regarding this issue (why do people believe what they believe)
1.   Jews - reform and orthodox
a.   What they believe
i.   Our Bodies belong to God
ii.   All human life is valued; even disabled
iii.   God expects you to use your mind to develop therapies in helping people (Deut 30:20)
iv.   Babylonian Talmud 49b
a)   Day 0-40 -> "Fetus as if it were mere water"
b)   Day 40-ff -> "like the thigh of its mother"
v.   You cannot create embryos for research; but if they are just going to be discarded anyways they should be used to help humans
vi.   Less legal status than an adult
2.   Some Protestants & Catholics
a.   Unique human creation at conception (anything else is murder)
b.   They claim that scientists are reducing the value of a newborn
3.   Islam and some Protestants/Catholics
a.   Respect for the embryo
b.   Less status of a person until it has reach a "sufficient embryonic development"
c.   Trying to combine the biological with the spiritual (when do we get our soul)
4.   Hindu - life begins at conception
5.   Mormons - "cautious scrutiny"
a.   Life consists of two parts - the spirit and the body
b.   No statement on when life begins but will say when the spirit and body come together
c.   Most abortion are sinful, but not the same as murder
d.   Sen. Gordon Smith - stem cells are required for life but will not give life themselves -> life begins at implantation
e.   Proclamation on the Family -> Reproduction only between husband and wife
6.   Others
a.   Life begins at the primitive streak
b.   Heart starts beating
c.   When blood forms
III.   Step Three - Biblical Passages Used to Develop Conservative Christian Position
A.   View of Conception
1.   Lord gives power to conceive
a.   Ruth 4:13 - So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her. And the LORD enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.
b.   Hebrews 11:11 - By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised;
2.   God opens the womb as a blessing
a.   Gen 29:31 - Now the LORD saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
b.   Gen 30:22 - Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb.
c.   1Sam 1:5-6 - but to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the LORD had closed her womb. 6 Her rival, however, would provoke her bitterly to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.
3.   Conception and birth linked - "conceive and bear"
a.   Gen 4:1, 17 - Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, "I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD."É And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
b.   Gen 21:2 - So Sarah conceived and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time of which God had spoken to him.
c.   Gen 29:32 - And Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, "Because the LORD has seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me."
d.   Ex 2:2 - And the woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months.
4.   Children "fruit of the womb" a blessing and reward
a.   Gen 30:2 - Then Jacob's anger burned against Rachel, and he said, "Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?"
b.   Deut 7:13 - "And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.
c.   Psalms 127:3 - Behold, children are a gift of the LORD; The fruit of the womb is a reward.
B.   Status of unborn child?
1.   God knew us
a.   Psalm 139:13-16 - Psa. 139:13 For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. 14 I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from Thee, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. 16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Thy book they were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
2.   John filled with the Spirit
a.   Luke 1:39-44 - Luke 1:39 Now at this time Mary arose and went with haste to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 "And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
C.   View of Interrupting Pregnancy
1.   Conception without birth a curse
a.   Hosea 9:11-14 - As for Ephraim, their glory will fly away like a bird  No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception! 12 Though they bring up their children, Yet I will bereave them until not a man is left. Yes, woe to them indeed when I depart from them! 13 Ephraim, as I have seen, Is planted in a pleasant meadow like Tyre; But Ephraim will bring out his children for slaughter. 14 Give them, O LORD  what wilt Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
b.   Hosea 13:16 - Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.
2.   God punishes those who rip open pregnant women
a.   Amos 1:13 - Thus says the LORD, "For three transgressions of the sons of Ammon and for four I will not revoke its punishment, Because they ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead In order to enlarge their borders.
3.   Killing an unborn child punished the same as killing a slave, but different than killing an adult free person
a.   Ex 21:22 - "And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.
D.   Summary
1.   Conception linked with birth
2.   Conception linked with womb
3.   Conception and birth considered a blessing
IV.   Step Four - Biblical Norms
A.   Conception linked with personhood; humanity begins at conception
B.   Guiding principles for use or non-use of embryos to save a life
1.   Solomon? 1Kings 3:16-25
2.   Obey laws of land? Rom 13:1-8
3.   God from evil? Gen 46; Rom 3:8