What does Christianity say about gene therapy and genetic engineering?

Christians believe that God creates all life, and that human life is sacred to God. Human beings are the stewards of God's creation.

Humans were created to have dominion over nature but the guiding principles they follow are:

Sanctity of life

Because all human life is created by God, every life has great value so all life should be protected and respected.

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When the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being.Genesis 2:7

Stewardship

Christians believe that God gave human beings a special responsibility within creation to cultivate and guard it. They are to act as stewards over creation.

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Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'Genesis 1:26

Compassion

Christians believe that they should act compassionately towards those who are sick. They should follow in Jesus's footsteps. In the Bible it says that we should:

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Love your neighbour as you love yourself.Matthew 22:39

Christian teachings on medical skill

Christians interpret teachings and apply them to medical and scientific possibilities. Different churches apply the teachings in different ways. They agree on these points:

  • The skills and knowledge of scientists and doctors are God-given, and intended to relieve suffering and encourage quality of life.
  • Christian history points to the provision of care and medical treatment for the sick, eg hospitals funded by monastic communities.

Churches disagree on the question of when an embryo has full human status. Many Protestants would allow therapies involving embryos up to the 14-day limit. Roman Catholics believe that life begins at the moment of conception and so would not support any procedure involving the destruction of embryos.

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By treating the human embryo as mere 'laboratory material', the concept itself of human dignity is also subjected to alteration and discrimination. Dignity belongs equally to every single human being, irrespective of his parents' desires, his social condition, educational formation or level of physical development.Dignitas Personae