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
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
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
a. Committed to a certain role
b. However, reported to be able to produce many cell types beyond their
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
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
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
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
A. What are the key questions
is human life?
does life being?
if ever, ought an embryo be used to save other human life?
B. Different Perspectives Regarding this issue (why do people believe what
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
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
Protestants & Catholics
a. Unique human creation at conception (anything else is murder)
b. They claim that scientists are reducing the value of a newborn
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
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
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
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
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;
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
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?
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.
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
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.
1. Conception linked with birth
2. Conception linked with womb
3. Conception and birth
considered a blessing
IV. Step Four - Biblical Norms
linked with personhood; humanity begins at conception
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