January 10, 2008

Human Dignity, Personhood, and Embryos

Referring back to the case study on infertility, think about what you believe—in thought and in action—about the issues. Do you hold that s/he is a fully a person created in the image of God or do you view an embryo in as an incomplete or potential person? I believe that the reason we, even as Christians, so easily embrace assisted reproduction is because we don’t fully embrace embryos as persons, though in their earliest stage. We are as attached to certain appearances and abilities as a requirement of personhood as is the proponent of embryo destructive research or abortion. Can a person truly be prolife if s/he passively and/or actively denies the personhood to an embryo? To follow with another question, if you hold that an embryo is a person, are you willing to freeze people via cryopreservation? I don’t believe we want to develop a nonchalant attitude toward the embryo by continuing to advise women and couples toward IVF. Granted, IVF doesn’t require freezing embryos, but the process is most economical when eggs are harvested and fertilized in larger quantities, thus necessitating the cryopreservation. If we are motivated by virtuous living and following Christ in thought and action, we ought to concern ourselves with the activities of an image bearer, activities which potentially mirror or deny the Creator. The call of the creation (cultural) mandate to multiply and fill the earth is not a call at all costs. We must not argue in action that to follow God we must violate his character by lowering our view of what it means to be human.

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