Die implikasies van die mensbeskouing in die Pauliniese briewe vir die morele status van die menslike embrio ten opsigte van stamselnavorsing : 'n teologies–etiese perspektief
Van der Walt, Johann George
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Stem cell research offers hope to many people suffering from incurable diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, heart disease and spinal back injuries. However this poses a moral dilemma because embryos are destroyed during embryonic stem cell research. To determine whether embryonic stem cell research is morally justifiable, two views in respect of a human being were considered: * a human has a dualistic nature in which his body and soul are two separate entities or * his body and soul forms a unity which can not be separated. If a human has a dualistic nature, it means that the embryo is not a human, it does not have a soul because the soul is added later to form a human. The implication of this is that it will be morally justifiable to kill an embryo during embryonic stem cell research. However if body and soul forms a unity which can not be separated, the embryo is a human which is already developing into a full grown human with several stages of development. It will thus not be morally justifiable to kill an embryo as this will violate the sixth commandment, i.e. “Thou shalt not kill.” To determine whether a human’s body and soul is an inseparable unity or whether they are two separate entities, the Pauline letters' view on the human being was investigated. The research method employed was to do a comparative literary study to highlight the different aspects of stem cell research and then exegesis was done in respect of body (σoμα / sōma); soul (ψυχὴ / psychē) and spirit (πνεῦμα / pneuma) in the Pauline letters according to the grammatical-historical method. An electronic Bible Concordance was used to determine the texts in which the above concepts appear. A semantic word analysis was also done to analyse these concepts. Then authoritative commentaries were used to check the findings. The analysis indicated that Paul refers to a human as unity in which body and soul can not be separated. The implication of this finding is that embryonic stem cell research should be dismissed because it will result in the destruction of embryos. Humans will thus be killed in violation of the sixth commandment. On the other hand adult stem cell research should be encouraged because it has the potential to cure diseases which has up to now been incurable.
- Theology