I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)
We often read this verse and think about the miracle of new life — specifically, how God knits together babies in the womb. In this lecture at Southeastern Seminary, Dr. Jeff Hardin discusses the inctricacies of embryos so we can see that, scientifically, we truly are “fearfully and wonderfully made.”
Hardin is chair of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to numerous scientific research articles relating to embryonic development, Hardin is senior author of World of the Cell. He received a Master of Divinity degree at the International School of Theology in Southern California, where he met his wife, Susie, who worked in campus ministry with Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). He is on the national advisory board for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s Faculty Ministry and serves as faculty advisor for the Navigators and InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship on the UW-Madison campus.
Watch his lecture (“Fearfully and Wonderfully Made? Embryos and Biblical Faith in the 21st Century”) above, or read an excerpt below.
“We are fearfully and wonderfully made, and our souls know this very well. The processes of embryonic development are God-given, and I have the privilege of studying them. But the very same basic science that scientists like me have employed to unlock the secrets of the embryo have allowed technological approaches to human cells and human embryos that are deeply problematic and troubling, and we all need to be informed.
“So my first charge to you is to be informed. You can do this; it’s not that difficult. You just need to find good popular treatments of this topic. You can do it.
“Secondly, be critical thinkers. We live in an era of technological optimism in the Unites States. We have a lot of dystopian novels and movies, but our actual applications of technology are very optimistic. But be critical about these technologies.
“Third, as you dialogue with people out there, outside of Southeastern, be loving advocates. The culture war kind of language is useful in certain contexts, but I’d argue that it doesn’t invite people into dialogue. And where I am as an embedded Christian in a secular university, I need to develop ways to have winsome dialogue. I hope you can, too.
“Finally, this is my charge to all you… You all are pastor-theologians. You’re helping to train the next generation of church leaders. The most prevalent authority figure that Christians ask about these technologies is not a scientist; it’s their pastor. You need to equip pastors to think well about these issues.”