Paper: Moral Status of a Human Embryo

Paper: Moral Status of a Human Embryo (PDF), or read via Google Docs

I am currently taking MCDB 50: Stem Cell Biology, Politics, and Ethics. For this class we were required to write a paper on the moral status of a human embryo. (Moral status is the term for the right to life and other liberties; an individual that has moral status receives consideration when it comes to moral issues.) This is the paper I wrote, which draws on Psalm 139:13-16 and Genesis 1:27 as primary sources of support for why moral status (also referred to as “personhood,” or when an individual is considered a person with moral consideration) is gained at fertilization. Thus the implication is that human embryonic stem cell research, which for the most part necessitates destroying a very young human embryo to harvest special cells (“stem cells”) that can be coaxed to turn into any cells of the body, is morally wrong. It is this essay that I am posting here, in its final form, unedited between submission to my TA and posting to this blog.

Quite frankly, this essay is not as good as my response to the Biola Queer Underground. I was pressed for time and I didn’t have time to do a thorough edit or revision. I wish that I had more time to write this essay, and perhaps also a longer page limit to thoroughly discuss this topic. Not only do I feel that the logic is somewhat choppy, or that I did not follow well the instruction to consider both philosophy and science, but more importantly, I fear that I did not do a good job at my handling of the Word. The first is troubling since the very reason I did not have enough time is that I was at a GOC retreat, where I heard a sermon on being a good steward of my education. The second is troubling since I want to be someone who “rightly handles the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15), and I want to handle the Word well. My consolation is that God can use anything for His will, even a poorly written essay such as mine. I pray for forgiveness in rushing this essay, I pray that God would use my defense of His Word and the preaching of the Gospel to convict the readers, and that He would be glorified in my proclamation of Christ and His Word.

I hope that you are edified by my feeble exposition of the Word. And if you have a moment after you are done reading the essay, would you pray for the readers, that God would work in their lives to show them the necessity and beauty of the Gospel? May God be glorified through this, because my understanding of and devotion to the Word would not be possible without the gift of His Spirit, which I gained through that most precious act of salvation and Christ crucified.


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