This past weekend I attened a Christian Life conference and the speaker was Dr. Voss from the Concordia Bioethics Institute. It was a wonderful conference and if anyone would like to learn more about bioethics, you should check out the istitute's web site at www.concordiabioethics.org . He also lead bible study on Sunday morning and shared the follow this us.
Jesus the Zygote
What do you think of when you say in the Apostles' Creed that Jesus was "conceived by the Holy Spirit"? Do you ponder that mystery or do you rush on to "born of the virgin Mary"? The latter is a little easier to think about because we have all those pretty manger scenes in our heads. We've seen depictions of baby Jesus lying in a manger. We sing songs about the "little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay". I asked a group awhile back how God came into the world. "As a baby," was their answer. True enough, but . . .
March 25th is the Annunciation of our Lord. I've written about this before, but it seems appropriate to bring the subject up again in light of the attention given to stem cells and cloning these days. The annunciation is celebrated nine months before Christmas. It marks the conception of Jesus. A more precise answer to the question of how God came into the world is "As a zygote!" A zygote is the name given to what human beings look like at the one-cell stage.
This picture is what each of us once looked like. It is what Jesus looked like on March 25th as He began His prenatal growth toward December 25th. I'll grant you that it is not exactly conducive to inspiring great works of art or memorable musical melodies, and I doubt you will receive many Annunciation cards with this on the front. Nevertheless, it has profound implications for all of humanity.
Psalm 51:5 reminds us that all of humanity was sinful from the moment of conception. The implication, therefore, is that we were human beings from the moment of conception. We were human beings in need of salvation from the moment of conception. That is why God sent Jesus as a zygote. We were single zygotes. He took our place as a holy Zygote.
"Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death-that is the devil". Hebrews 2:14 In order to redeem us, Jesus had to become just as we were except without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus' conception as a holy zygote attests to our humanity from the moment of conception.
Therefore, it is not just a five-day-old growth of cells that are destroyed when stem cells are extracted. A five-day-old human being, for whom Jesus was conceived, born , suffered, crucified, died, and rose again is destroyed. It is not just stem cells that are extracted. These are the body parts of a living human being. If a zygote would be cloned, he or she would be a living human being, a genetic twin of someone else. Although cloning is contrary to the will and ways of God for procreation and we should vigorously oppose it, once a cloned zygote exists he or she should not be subject to mutilation and experimentation.
So the next time you say Jesus was "conceived by the Holy Spirit," remember that you are saying all you really need to know when it comes to deciding the rightness or wrongness of embryonic stem cell research.
Rev. Dr. James I. Lamb
Lutherans For Life
Thank you Dr. Lamb for your insightful words.