There’s a lot of talk this morning about scientists’ creation of artificial cells, synthetic life, man-made DNA. The hyperbole is being swapped like spit in a dark classroom during a stake dance. This is no surprise to me: I was around when the Bay City Rollers were supposed to be the next Beatles.
While some of the fanciful predictions are pleasant enough (eliminating pollution, the creation of biofuels) what concerns me is how some are saying this breakthrough is a blueprint for making organisms that will ensure physically and mentally perfect offspring. No more congenital diseases, no more mental disabilities, no more physical deformities. Now, as wicked cool as that sounds, are there accompanying spiritual repercussions?
For example, let’s take the mentally handicapped. According to Elder McConkie:
What about the mentally deficient?
It is with them as it is with little children. They never arrive at the years of accountability and are considered as though they were little children. If because of some physical deficiency, or for some other reason unknown to us, they never mature in the spiritual and moral sense, then they never become accountable for sins. They need no baptism; they are alive in Christ; and they will receive, inherit, and possess in eternity on the same basis as do all children.
After revealing that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through the atoning sacrifice of Him who died to save us all, and after specifying that Satan has no power to tempt little children until they begin to become accountable, the Lord applied the same principles to those who are mentally deficient: ‘And, again, I say unto you, that whoso having knowledge, have I not commanded to repent? And he that hath no understanding, it remaineth me to do according as it is written.’ “(D&C 29:49-50) LDS.org – Liahona article – Salvation of Little Children
Does this mean that what would have been an otherwise mentally handicapped child is now fully developed and accountable? Who knows what the Lord’s intention was for the child to be handicapped? And what faith-promoting challenges have been removed from the child’s family and the others whose life it would have touched?
Obviously science is made known to us so we may progess; to heal, to create more productive, healthier lives and maybe even better qualities of life. But, could the artificial creation of physical perfection detrimentally affect our spiritual paths?