Cloning of Humans

Prof. John F. Brug, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary


A reader asks: Cloning of animals (may have) been discovered and done. Men boast humans are next. Through my Bible reading, I do not believe this is possible, but is another lie of Satan. Does it not take God to install our souls in us? Would it, therefore, be impossible to clone a complete man with an exact soul? If this process results in an impostor of man, would God be bound to give it a soul? Is there any biblical insight or would it be speculation? I believe cloning of man may be a result of man’s sinful nature or of Satan’s desire to make man in his image without a conscience, and either a soul from Satan or soulless. Am I being too fanatical or speculating too much about this?

Exactly how God creates the soul of each new human is a mystery that has long been debated. Some believe that God directly creates the souls that he places in each new human. This is called creationism. This does not seem to be correct, since God rested from his work of direct creation at the end of the six days. He now creates new lives through the processes he set in motion during the original creation. It also is difficult to understand how the soul could come into the world corrupted by sin if it was a direct creation of God.

For this reason most Lutheran theologians believe that the soul of the newly conceived child is somehow derived from that of the parents. This is call traducianism.

We can’t say with certainty what would happen if an attempt were made to clone a human (which is one reason it shouldn’t be done). Perhaps it cannot be done at all. Perhaps only some sort of monstrous being would result that was not truly human. Perhaps a real person would be the result. A clone is basically a being derived from only one parent.”Cloning of humans should not be done because it is a dangerous intrusion into the beginning of human life.”

The only example we have of this is Christ, who was a true human with body and soul derived from one parent, Mary. His was a unique case involving the intervention of the Holy Spirit and does not give any assurance that other humans could be derived from one parent. On the other hand, it cautions us not to proclaim too certainly that this is impossible.

There are a number of things we can say:

  1. Any being without a soul is not human.
  2. Satan cannot create a soul, or any being, for that matter.
  3. If it is possible for cloning to produce a real human, that person would be subject to the same principles of sin and grace as any other human.
  4. Cloning of humans should not be done because it is a dangerous intrusion into the beginning of human life, which departs from the way that God established for such life to begin.

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