Researchers in the US and China injected human stem cells into monkey embryos to create the first ever human-monkey embryos. These embryos are known as chimeras—organisms that are made of two different sets of DNA, often both human and animal. The 132 human-monkey embryos didn’t survive long, however. Within 19 days, only three remained. One developmental biologist, who read these results, commented, “I expect better evidence.” He believed that the speed at which the embryos died off indicates that they were “very sick.”
The team of researchers had other concerns too. Though they eventually hope to use this technology to grow human organs, right now they can’t predict how the human stem cells will interact with the animal cells and affect them.
This type of research is highly controversial. For one, the use of primates in research has been restricted in Europe and the US. As a result, this particular team of researchers worked together with Chinese scientists that have already been using cloning and gene-editing techniques on monkeys. Another issue relates to the ethics of using human stem cells in research since few guidelines have been established. For the past few years, the US National Institutes of Health has banned funding for such research, though it may soon relax this ban.
For followers of the Bible, experimentation with human-monkey chimeras is an attempt to dabble with the prerogative of God as Creator. To take the cells of humans, made in the image of God, and inject them into animal embryos degrades God’s purpose that animals should only reproduce “each according to its kind.” Gen. 1:24, NKJV. Experimentation with chimeras will not receive His blessing.
“First Monkey-Human Embryos Reignite Debate over Hybrid Animals,” Nature, nature.com, April 15, 2021.
Artificial intelligence, robots, self-driving cars, online shopping, automated checkouts in grocery stores, online education—we live in a world where human interaction seems increasingly unnecessary to survival. Modern technology is finding ways for us to avoid one another.
The implications of this new world are serious. Though getting humans and their volatile emotions out of the way would seem to simplify a lot of processes in life, it may come at a cost. Researchers have found that emotions play a vital role in making good decisions and reasoning well. For example, a patient at USC experienced frontal lobe damage that made him unemotional, though his brain was healthy in every other respect. But because he did not experience emotion, he struggled to make decisions, going back and forth over small details. This case study highlights the fact that decision-making isn’t just about facts; it’s influenced by our emotions and social connections.
Living in a virtual world has other unintended consequences. People who spend a lot of time on social media, taking in algorithmically curated content, begin to experience a kind of “echo effect,” in which they only see and hear what they agree with. They end up living in a bubble where they become less tolerant of people with views differing from theirs. Soon, tribal mindsets develop.
And if nothing else, social networks have been shown to make people feel worse, not better. The simulated connections of social media don’t provide the same kind of satisfaction that comes from personal interactions. Why? Evolutionists will say that we have evolved to need human connection and cooperation. The Bible offers a more convincing reason: we were created by a relational God to express selfless love within the context of a community. It’s no surprise, then, that the enemy of humanity would do everything in his power to eliminate our interactions with one another.
“Eliminating the Human,” MIT Technology Review, technologyreview.com, Aug. 15, 2017.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people panicked and rushed to stock their pantries full of food, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Whole rows of grocery store shelves were emptied.
Now, Americans are facing shortages for different reasons. Though demand has decreased since the beginning of the pandemic, we’re still witnessing the ripple effects. Supply levels have dropped as distributors are facing labor shortages and delays. Even Sysco, North America’s largest wholesale food distributor, is not able to keep up right now.
Finding workers is especially challenging for distributors. With better unemployment benefits and stimulus payments during the pandemic, many workers have little desire to return to in-person employment. Benjamin Walker, the senior vice president of sales, marketing, and merchandising at Baldor Specialty Foods, shared that finding truck drivers is “next to impossible.” Both domestic orders and imports are being delayed.
As we continue to deal with the fallout from the pandemic, we can expect to experience food inflation and shortages—the “famines” spoken of in the Bible. Matt. 24:7. These challenges may very well play a role in ushering in the final crisis before the Second Coming.
“Largest US Food Distributor Having Trouble Keeping Shelves Stocked,” ZeroHedge, zerohedge.com, Aug. 24, 2021.
A district in northeastern China recently released “The Reward System for Reporting Illegal Religious Activities Offences.” This system offers up to 1,000 yuan (US$150) to people who report “unqualified religious personnel, unauthorized trans-regional activities, preaching and distributing printed religious works, audiovisual products outside places of worship, unauthorized donations, or private house gatherings.” A couple more districts have followed suit. One district went as far as to promise rewards to those who report on people who share unapproved religious information on the internet.
Of course, the system is framed as a benefit to the people because it will help maintain a “stable religious landscape” and prevent the gathering of groups that could spread COVID-19. But they also reinforce restrictions on personal religious liberty and create an environment of surveillance. How can Bible believers fully practice their beliefs when they can’t share them publicly or even gather together with fellow believers?
Religious restrictions and other forms of persecution are not unusual in many countries throughout the world. But are we prepared to experience them ourselves? The Bible prophesies that followers of Bible truth throughout the world will face surveillance, restrictions, and societal pressure in the last days.
“Chinese Cities, Counties Offer Rewards for Reporting ‘Illegal Religious Activities,’” China Christian Daily, chinachristiandaily.com, Aug. 13, 2021.