Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2017
Texts: 1 Peter 1:14-16; Isaiah 6:3; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Timothy 1:8; Psalm 15:1-2
The building blocks of life are spelled G, T, C and A—the molecules that pair up in the DNA helix. Researchers have modified living organisms with an expanded genetic code. This paves the way for the manufacture of entirely new life forms. Scientists modified E coli microbes to carry a beefed-up payload of genetic material, which allows them to program the organisms’ behavior. The goal is to make bugs that churn out proteins that they will harvest and turn into drugs to treat a range of diseases.
According to a January 23 report, Floyd Romesberg and his team at the Scripps Research Institute in California expanded the genetic code from four letters to six by adding two new molecules (X and Y) to the bugs’ genetic makeup. These molecules also ensure that the cells will die if they should get out of the lab. He’s often asked “have you seen Jurassic Park?” where Jeff Goldblum questions whether the park’s dinosaurs might breed despite the failsafes built into their genetic makeup. “What the movie depicted is very different to our failsafe,” Romesberg said. “Our failsafe is based on the availability of X and Y, and the cell could never make them.”
Romesberg’s team modified the first organisms in 2014, but these were sickly and soon died out. He compares this to having proved he could generate electricity, but not put it to good use. “We demonstrated that you could throw the switch and the light would go on, but then it would quickly go out,” he said. “Now you throw the switch and the light stays on.” Romesberg says that it’s important to eliminate the fear of the unknown, adding, “the benefits need to be weighed against the potential costs, and in this case the benefits include new and better drugs.”1
God has a process and a mechanism to improve the quality of human life right now: the Holy Spirit. This week’s lesson looks at the possibility of living holy lives through the infusion of God’s Spirit into our hearts. The benefits include experiencing God’s peace in our lives and obtaining power to overcome the temptation to sin.
It’s easy to think that we’ll experience holiness by doing “holy things.” Thursday’s lesson, however, reminds us that “sometimes we are so busy doing all kinds of things for God that we forget to enjoy time with Him in prayer.” The process to receive Holy Spirit benefits in our lives includes simply spending quiet time in study and prayer so that we can hear God’s voice.
But be warned: just as modifying DNA holds the potential for danger, the infusion of God’s Spirit in our lives holds the potential to permanently modify our lives. The Holy Spirit is “dangerous” to our humdrum, status quo lives!
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