Genetic engineering is only about 20 years old, but someday soon, it may bring us cures for cystic fibrosis or cancer, or enable us to avoid various birth defects. Some say the field will one day allow parents to determine the genetic make-up of their children with sort of a catalog approach: “We’d like a dark-haired, blue-eyed artist,” or “We’ll take a well-muscled, strong athlete.”
So genetic engineering has an upside medically that is promising, but also a potential downside that is frightening. Personally, I believe genetic engineering works the wrong side of the equation. We don’t need to think about engineering children—we need to worry about how to re-engineer parents! If there were a catalog for parenting skills, I know what I’d choose. I’d like to have the intelligence of Socrates, the discipline of General George Patton, and the practicality of Dear Abby. But what if we could be re-engineered by God’s grace into better parents? And what if our “catalog” was the Bible?
Then I would want the ability to give my child a good self-image. To see himself the way God sees him, not as the world sees. Also, I would want the insight to weave my child’s special strengths into a feeling of competence. To give him confidence that he can get on in this world. Finally, I would want the emotional stability to teach him good relationship skills. (By the way, none of these—I believe—are mastered by watching television!) How do we do this? We do it by being teachers. By constantly teaching and living out and demonstrating the precepts of God’s word. When we do this consistently, our children are better equipped for life than any catalog of engineered traits could ever hope to make them.