Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Biblical Look at GMOs

Living in California is just like any other state... it has it's pros and cons. In the case of Proposition 37, it definitely seems like a plus! But lately I have noticed a huge disconnect between our doctrines and application of Scriptures in the Christian community, and in this situation, it's not any different. Therefore, I want to take a moment to explain what really drives me to oppose genetically modified foods (a.k.a. genetically engineered) from a Biblical basis.

For most people, the main force behind their personal mission to eat mostly GMO-free foods is their health.  I get that. It's certainly one of the reasons I try to serve my family produce and meat we grow ourselves or have purchased from a reliable source that is GMO-free. So yes, health is a good reason. But it's not my primary concern.

Food may seem like a small thing in light of eternity... it's an earthly need we all have and there is certainly more to life, but consider how many scriptures or stories in the Bible are centered around food. Certainly a complete list would exceed your patience if I were to post it here on my blog!

Given the vast number of Biblical references, including the food that is to come in the heavenly kindgom at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9), we can not ignore the fact that it has been God's good pleasure to make food an eternal part of our lives.

Suffice it to say... food is no small matter. 

Knowing this should cause us to pause and consider what we're doing to our food supply when we allow companies such as Monsanto* to genetically modify it in such a way as to violate God's ordained order of nature. I think most people who have not looked into GMOs think it's just another form of hybridization. Not so.

The Simple Science of It All

Compare what Webster's Dictionary says about hybrids and genetically engineered organisms (I've condensed it to the essentials, but you can click the link to read the full definition) ...

HYBRIDS
     
• an offspring of two animals or plants of different races, breeds, varieties, species, or genera
• something heterogeneous in origin or composition; hybrids of complementary DNA and RNA strands (example: two roses)

GENETICALLY ENGINEERED 

• the group of applied techniques of genetics and biotechnology used to cut up and join together genetic material and especially DNA from one or more species of organisms and to introduce the results into an organism in order to change one or more of its characteristics

• artificial manipulation, modification, and recombination of DNA or other nucleic-acid molecules in order to modify an organism or population of organisms... 

Hybrids are traditionally a combination of two of the SAME species (see photo at right). Genetically engineered means two things from different taxonomic "kingdoms" have been combined (animal and vegetable, vegetable and mineral, or mineral and animal). This difference is HUGE. Hybrids are similar in cellular structure and DNA, GMOs are worlds apart in similarity. And in the case of something such as Monsanto's Roundup Ready® seed, it appears they've combined the DNA from the plant kingdom with the mineral kingdom. 

In short, hybrids follow the admonition of Genesis 1:11-12, GMOs do NOT.

"Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good." ~ Genesis 1:11-12

Then He stated the same for animals...

"Then God said, "let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind"; and it was so. God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good." ~ Genesis 1:24-25


Did you catch that? It was GOOD! Do we really think we can improve on that? In His sovereign design, He made everything perfect in the Garden of Eden. Only after the sin of man did it become defiled and I do not recall anywhere in scripture where He revoked this. Dare I say we defile it when we tamper with His ordained order? 

I am NOT saying God does not allow us to discover, create, and invent. But even these things should be within His natural order. When we step outside of God's ordained design, we essentially build a "tower of Babel" and shake our fist in His face, saying "I can do better; I can be like God".

Oops... where have we heard that before?

Business Ethics in the Bible

"Differing weights and differing measures,
Both of them are abominable to the LORD."
~ Proverbs 20:10

"A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, 
But a just weight is His delight."
~ Proverbs 11:1

"You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another."
~ Leviticus 19:11

It was the unsavory custom of some in Biblical times to play the old "switcheroo" in the market place by changing the weights out so that they measured in favor of the seller, not the customer. In other words, their balance was false or incorrect, and the seller was doing this intentionally and thereby dealing falsely with the shoppers. Basically, he was telling a lie and stealing. 

God does NOT like that.

Not labeling food products as genetically modified isn't a weight or a measure literally speaking, but the principle behind the scripture... to be honest in your business dealings, certainly applies. In the 21st century, listing ingredients on the package (in order of their volume from greatest to least), informs the customer of what they're really buying. It's how we "weigh the value" of the item when purchasing since so many foods are a conglomeration of ingredients. 

People clearly want to know if they are purchasing food that contains genetically engineered ingredients. Instead, they typically add labels such as "all natural" or "healthy" or any number of other phrases, conveying something that is clearly misleading and a down right lie when you get to the bottom of it. By refusing to label the package as containing GMOs, companies are dealing falsely with the customer.

A Logical Conclusion

Let me make it very clear. I consider myself a capitalist. But being a capitalist doesn't mean that companies should be allowed to do something that will eventually lead to a NON-capitalistic society. If Monsanto* and others are allowed to continue with their march on patenting all the seeds in the world, in time they will control all seed production and thus all food production (if they haven't ruined a good portion of it first). They will even control the production of animals used for meat since they eat plant based foods. 

To vote no on 37 is to vote yes for a Monsanto* monopoly and their ability to rule over us in the future (indirectly). 

Do I sound like a crazy lady? 

This isn't as far fetched as it sounds. Monsanto* is already controlling farmers, politicians, and businesses way beyond your wildest dreams. Just do some Google searches if you're not sure. 

Again... Let me state, I'm NOT anti-business. But God has clearly stated that greed leads to unethical practices and sin. And while His laws do not state anything specific about GMOs, God's Word does give us principals to apply to our food and business dealings.

Voting YES on 37 and supporting other similar legislation (as well as voting with our dollar) is clearly the correct Biblical position.

Sometimes doing the right thing hurts and even costs us. But in the long run, the payback is good!








*I have used Monsanto as my example in this post because they are the largest manufacturer of GE seeds that I'm aware of, but I'm sure other companies are pushing the limits of ethics and wisdom as well. I also believe Monsanto is the largest contributor financially to the NO on 37 GMO campaign.

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