One of the things that has hit us hard in this Pandemic is the realization that we are so vulnerable to biological reality. A virus that we cannot see can kill us. Our best defense is the biological defenses that our bodies produce (antibodies). What scientists are trying to do with all their great intellectual and technological resources, our bodies can do almost automatically.
What we call biology can therefore be seen as part of the creative action of God. On a parallel track, given the mathematically precise proportions of all that is, some authors call God the Mathematician par excellence. What I am suggesting is that given the dimensions and the quality of all that is life biologically, God can also be called the great biologist.
Just think of how we are created in the womb. By the love of our father and our mother, sperm and egg are united. A process of growth ensues: zygote, embryo, fetus, infant. This highly complex growth happens automatically. Even in the poorest and uneducated women, the amazing is occurring in their wombs. They have only to provide proper nutrition to give the body the building blocks to see this to its stupendous climax: the birth of a human being. God is at work in the womb, the great Artist sculpts in human flesh.
There is another factor that is involved in the assessment of the importance of the biological factors that come from God’s hands: it is the importance of the human collaboration in creation and the sustenance of life.
Many times, in different biological processes things may go wrong. This sometimes happens in the creation of the human being in the womb. It requires that the doctor intervene to correct the imbalance or remedy the process gone awry. This is not always permissible if it leads to death. For instance, a fetus is found to be afflicted with Down’s Syndrome. If there is a way to correct that biologically by something the doctor can do to make that developing human being be freed of the affliction, it would be ok for the doctor to proceed. But to terminate the pregnancy (which is happening in the majority of such cases today) is not morally allowed. To kill a developing human life is not a remedy to Down Syndrome, it is an intensification into the realm of moral evil.
This interplay between the mind of the human person, which includes knowledge and wisdom and God’s will in action is still bound by universal precepts that cannot be put aside. That something can be done does not mean it ought to be done. Humankind got to this question in a dramatic way when it sought to create the atom bomb. Nuclear energy is a good that with great care can be used for humanity but use of the atom bomb can never be justified because of its widespread destruction of innocent human
The same is true in the realm of biology as in the debate over gender identity. Where does the given of one’s birth gender end and the ability of human ingenuity to chart a new biological reality begin? What is the given of God’s purpose and the arena of man’s ability to change that purpose?
You see that seeing God as the ongoing creator in the here and now has vast modern consequences, even legally.
For those of us who are baptized and confirmed Catholics we have the wisdom of the Church’s Magisterium to guide us and protect us from error. There are many, even in the Church, who do not accept that authority and feel that they can form their own opinions apart from that authority. This fundamental division affects where we stand on issues dealing with the importance of the biological dimension and what can and cannot be done in cooperating with the actions of God in this domain.
Where we stand on the binding authority of the Church’s teaching may be predictive of our stand on a host of moral issues. It would be well to be clear where we stand and the implications of that stand in dealing with the actions of God in the biological realm and the limits of human intervention.