Wisdom for Life in a Complex World
“God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to the man who pleases him.”—ECCLESIASTES 2:26, THE NEW ENGLISH BIBLE.
IT IS no small challenge to make wise, ethically sound decisions in a world of increasingly complex medicine and technology. Consider some recent developments that have stirred controversy. Women can now terminate an unwanted pregnancy by just taking a “morning-after pill.” Scientists have breached the gene barrier, enabling them to “engineer” plants and animals. Laboratories are scrambling to acquire human embryos for precious stem cells, which many people hope will spawn a medical revolution.
Such attempts to manipulate nature make many people nervous and fearful, not to mention morally or ethically confused. These effects remind us of the Bible’s words: “To earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Yes, just as children need guidance from parents, all humans need help from our heavenly Father in order to walk wisely.—Proverbs 1:33.
Wisdom From Listening to God
We listen to God by reading and applying his written Word. True, the Bible does not specifically address all the complex medical and scientific issues facing us today. Nevertheless, its principles, which endure forever, can help us to arrive at sound conclusions.—1 Peter 1:25.
For example, consider the debate over human embryonic stem cells. As we have seen, these are obtained at the cost of a live embryo. Regarding the ethical conflict this creates, Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute in the United States, said: “It is a classic example of a collision between two very important principles. One is the sanctity of human life and the other is our strong mandate as human beings to alleviate suffering and to treat terrible diseases . . . Many people feel, I think justifiably, this type of research is taking liberties with the notion of the sanctity of human life, by manipulating cells derived from a human embryo.”
The Bible helps us with this complex issue by revealing God’s view of the unborn. In ancient Israel if a pregnant woman was injured by another person and either she or her unborn child died as a result, God viewed the person responsible as a manslayer. That one had to pay “soul for soul.” * (Exodus 21:22, 23) Hence, we can conclude that to the Creator all human life is sacred, including that of the unborn. In fact, God’s interest in us begins while we are still in the womb, as the psalmist reveals: “Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, and in your book all its parts were down in writing.”—Psalm 139:16.
Notwithstanding the great technical strides humans have made, the Bible helps us to have a balanced, realistic attitude toward humans and their achievements. It states: “Put no faith in princes, in any man, who has no power to save. He breathes his last breath, he returns to the dust; and in that same hour all his thinking ends.” (Psalm 146:3, 4, New English Bible) To some, this statement may smack of pessimism. But does it really? Is it not simply a frank statement of fact? Yes, indeed, for even the most capable human cannot prevent himself from aging, getting sick, and eventually dying—let alone prevent others from doing so.
The Creator, however, has none of our limitations. What is more, he has both the “power to save” and the will to do so. Jesus said: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) To give us a basis to ‘exercise faith,’ Jesus when on earth cured all the sick and disabled who came to him. Why, yes, he even raised the dead!—Luke 7:21, 22.
Jesus’ actions furnished a preview of God’s great healing program, which will begin when his Kingdom takes over complete control of the earth. This is what people request when they pray what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer. Indeed, only by means of God’s Kingdom—God’s heavenly government in the hands of Jesus Christ—will God’s will be done here on earth.—Daniel 2:44; Matthew 6:9, 10.
Do these Bible promises imbue you with hope? And do you want to do your best to please God now by having his mind on the many difficult issues that confront us? If so, then we encourage you to listen to and heed God’s Word. It really is wisdom for life—yes, for endless life.—John 17:3; 2 Timothy 3:16.
^ par. 8 Some have argued that this law refers only to violence done to the mother. However, the original Hebrew text indicates otherwise. Respected Bible scholars C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch say that the wording of the Hebrew text “apparently renders it impracticable to refer the words to injury done to the woman alone.”—See The Watchtower, August 1, 1977, page 478.
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The Bible provides guidance for today and a sure hope of perfect health in the future