Comment # 1
Meilaender expresses his distinction between procreation and reproduction by describing procreation as the gift of life given to us by our creator himself and reproduction as the manufacturing of life by assisted technologies. Begotten translates as the transmission of life from parent to child, “to come into being.” Being made refers to the human manufacturing of new life via assisted reproductive technologies. God designed procreation in the perfect union of man and woman and Christians believe it to be not a right or means of self-fulfillment but as a gift from god. The blessing of a child in a marriage between man and wife is Gods perfect design. There are many married couples who struggle with achieving pregnancy. Because of science, there are a multitude of options to achieve pregnancy when it is not occurring naturally. The desire to be a parent is so strong for some couples that reproduction through means of science is the only way they feel they can ever be successful. Methods including invitro fertilization, sperm doors, and surrogacy are heavily debated topics among Christians (Meilaender, 2013). Is man creating life in a laboratory and overstepping his bounds by taking the creation of life into his own hands? Yet God gave us knowledge and intellect to discover how life begins from sperm and egg. Is the measure of human morals in how we use the knowledge and power given to us? I have two children that I believe are gifts from God, but I do not feel that I can sit in judgment of a person’s desire to become a parent and raise a child with love.
Meilaender, G. (2013). Bioethics a primer for christians (3rded.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B Eerdmans Publishing Company. Retrieved from https://viewer.gcu.edu/UXWB22
Meilaender makes clear distinctions between the natural (begotten) procreation, and unnatural (made) reproduction. In the technological world of today, there are countless ways to create, carry, and birth a baby. However, just because the end “product” is the same, does not mean it was done in the same way.
In procreation, the love-giving is life-giving between a husband and a wife. Procreation is the product of mutual and powerful love. A child who is begotten and not made embodies the love and union of father and mother. They have not simply reproduced themselves, and the child is not an affect, but the power of their mutual love has given life to another.
Assisted reproduction and fertilization in the laboratory destroys precisely those features that distinguish procreation from reproduction. Meilaender cautions at using the human body as an “object” for these desirous wills, as it may become tempting to begin to view ourselves as only free spirit and not attached to our body. In addition, one may find themselves as viewing the child as a “product”- made, and not begotten, of our rational will rather than the offspring of our passions and left to God’s will.
Do I agree with his description? Yes I do. I was raised Catholic and every Sunday where we professed the Nicene Creed. When I hear the word “begotten”, this is the first thing that comes to my mind. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father.” (Wright, 2018). There are some Christians that do not support the artificial reproduction of human life, which it is the will of God to have children and not something to be taken into the hands of humans. There are others that will argue that the bible only speaks of pregnancy in a positive light that brings happiness and joy, and that assisted reproduction is still a life that is being brought into this world as a creation from 2 people. The Catholic Church does not condone it in any sense or for any reason, and does not even condone contraception.
Meilaender, G. (2013). Bioethics: A primer for Christians. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Wright, W. (2018). The Nicene Creed: Explained. Retrieved from https://catholic-link.org/the-nicene-creed-explained/