Friday, July 3, 2015

A Better Mousetrap

Friday, July 3, 2015
Although I’m fascinated by scientific discoveries and the reasons behind how things work, in most cases my total expertise with technology, biology, astronomy, sociology, and all the other “ologies”, can probably fit in a thimble…a very small thimble.

On occasion I am critical of science, particularly when I sense an arbitrary intrusion on theological ethic.  By that I mean something like the crossing of ethical boundaries in “harvesting” brain stem cells from the unsuspecting unborn; when science messes with God’s creation disdaining the value of even a single life, I have to object.

But sometimes – probably most times – science does a lot better. 

This time I think they’ve hit a scientific AND theological home run.

The scientific part is a little “lung” chip – a transparent working model of a lung, using microscopic bits of human lung tissue to study such things as drug reaction to certain diseases.  It is inexpensive and easier to use than former techniques, requiring little tech-training.  It is also more reliable than using animals for the tests, since the differences between humans and dogs, cats or mice significantly raises the eventual failure rate of new medicines.

The theological lift to this medical home run is that they don’t have to kill animals in the process of saving humans.  Do no harm is something you can live with!

I find the theological basis for this celebration in the creation account, where God charged his first created humans to reign over all the animals. 

So God created human beings in his own image.  In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.  Fill the earth and govern it.  Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”  Genesis 1:27-28 (NLT)
That kind of stewardship includes control and care, and nowhere suggests abuse.

Again, two of the three simple Wesleyan general rules:

Do no harm

Do good

Any time you try to advance or enhance the lot of humans everywhere by building a “better mousetrap” of a medical procedure, it is only doing good if it also does no harm!

Congratulations to the science community – you knocked this one out of the park!

For You Today

If your faith – perhaps as big as a mustard seed – can imagine the smile in God’s heart over humans finding ways to be gentle and wise stewards, honoring all life – do that! 

He does smile when His children take his commandments seriously you know!

[1] Title image: Courtesy article on Harvard’s Lung On a Chip wins design of the year by

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