Answers in Genesis had heard that the title of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest film The 6th Day was taken from Genesis 1:31. So an AiG reviewer went off to the theater believing that this movie on human cloning might have something to do with the Genesis vs. evolution issue and was worthy of comment.
That initial impression seemed to be confirmed when the film’s opening frame appeared on the screen—the text from Genesis 1:27 was displayed (“God created man in his own image”) and also verse 31 (“God saw every thing that he made, and, behold, it was very good”). The hero (Arnold) was then introduced, who, interestingly, is named “Adam.” Through the rest of the movie, however, little reference was made to the book of Genesis. Yet this well-publicized movie is worthy of discussion because the ethics of human cloning will be in front of the public once again. Christians should be ready to have thought these complex issues through from a thoroughly biblical perspective as the debate over cloning undoubtedly increases.
The film takes place in the not-so-distant future when cloning of animals has become commonplace. The cloning of humans (except for body parts), however, is banned by the government. Human cloning is an illegal activity called a “6th day violation,” hence the film’s title. The implication is that God alone—who made man on Day 6 of creation—should be creating humans.
The movie’s split personality
The movie is not, however, favorable to Christianity, even with its references to the book of Genesis. Christians are labeled as intolerant “fundamentalists”, and tract-distributing Christians are portrayed negatively. On the other hand, Christians are the ones who are shown to be the most in opposition to the cloning of animals and humans, and so in that sense they share something in common with the film’s hero, Adam.
In an early scene, Adam (Arnold) arrives home and sees double: he discovers that he’s already home! He sees his identical clone through the front window; Adam’s beside himself. Seeing his family being taken away from him, he (and later) his clone heap double trouble on the two villains engaged in the banned business of human cloning.
One of these evil cloners declares that although God created man, He gave man the “power to understand evolution.” (For a rebuttal of this variation of a view called “theistic evolution,” see Q&A: Genesis.) He also brazenly claims that he can now conquer death by re-cloning a person over and over again, which the Bible teaches is impossible—all people have to die (Hebrews 9:27) because of the Fall of Adam. In any case, a human clone, if this were to be achieved, would not be a re-creation of the same person. A clone (see below) would start life as an embryo, and would grow up to be a totally separate individual, with individual thoughts, emotions, memories and so on. There are some interesting plot twists and witty dialogue, but the vulgar language, breathless “MTV pace,” and wooden acting from Arnold (no, two Arnolds are not better than one) lead this reviewer to give the movie four thumbs down.
Bring in the clones?
On the serious side, the topic of human cloning is one that Christians must understand and place in a proper biblical context.
Cloning is a type of technology that can create a genetically identical copy of a living organism, such as the famous sheep “Dolly” (unveiled in 1997). The cells of any living thing contain a complete set of genetic information or “instructions” for itself. Dolly is a copy or “clone” of a sheep (whose udder cell was used). At the same time, clones are never absolutely identical to the original. For example, so-called “identical” human twins are clones, but they are still two different people who can be influenced by their own individual experiences and choices—and, of course, they have their own separate souls.
Should Christians view cloning of animals differently than humans? Perhaps. In Genesis 1:28, humans are appointed by God to rule over “every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (as well as fish and birds, verse 26). Therefore, if the cloning of animals could benefit mankind (e.g., produce cows that yield more milk that would feed more people), then there seems to be no biblical reason not to clone animals. But what about humans?
The Bible draws a very clear line between the nature of animals and humans. People are created differently and separately from the animals (Genesis 1:27). In verses 26 and 28, God entrusts humans with dominion over the animals, but humans are never told to have dominion over other humans.
In addition, the cloning of a human opposes the biblical institution of the family. Because a clone could never have two parents, the process of cloning would go against the doctrine of the family (i.e., two parents) as ordained by God in Genesis.
In a world that increasingly denies the authority of Scripture (and its very first book most of all), people who view Genesis as myth will disregard standards such as the divine institution of the family. A sad consequence of rejecting the authority of the Bible may be that human cloning will become more acceptable to those who reject the Creator and His Word.
For more information on the biblical implications of animal and human cloning, read Cloning: Right or Wrong?