Bruce Jenner, Biological Sex, and Science Deniers

Bruce Jenner, Biological Sex, and Science Deniers

What is the biological sex of Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner? No, this isn’t a question about the gender that Jenner was “assigned at birth” (as if a gender announcement in the delivery room has any material effect on the sex of a baby), or the gender that appears on Jenner’s birth certificate, or the gender Jenner currently identifies as.

What I am after is the science behind the reality. Or better, the science that is the reality.

If Jenner walked into a clinic where individuals can have genetics tests done, what would Jenner’s results indicate? What are the chromosomal realities behind the person that is Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner?

Is there anyone who would doubt, were such a test to be done, that the results would return sex chromosomes XY?

So what is Jenner’s biological sex? Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, President Obama—what is Jenner’s biological sex?

If you say anything other than male, are you not a science denier?

 

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Surrogacy and Personhood

Surrogacy and Personhood

“My body, my choice.” So goes the slogan of the pro-abortion movement. Unless, of course, you are a surrogate—or is that the case?

The Atlantic ran a fascinating article recently entitled “When Parents and Surrogates Disagree on Abortion.” In it, the author wrestles with the difficult questions surrounding the meaning of fatherhood, motherhood, and personhood—even if sometimes unintentionally.

In her article, Katie O’Reilly details the story of a 47-year-old California woman, Melissa Cook, who has contracted with a 50-year-old single man in Georgia to be a surrogate for his children. After an in vitro fertilization procedure, doctors implanted three embryos that were created from eggs donated by an anonymous 20-year-old and the single man’s sperm. All three babies are healthy and viable, but the man is now insisting the woman abort one, citing “limited finances and the health of the babies.” Cook is refusing to abort and is demanding the right to adopt the third even as she gives the other two to the man she contracted with. Needless to say, the situation is complicated.

Commenting on the situation in a profound understatement, O’Reilly writes,

As long as people have been using third-party reproduction, they’ve been grappling with novel legal and social questions about the meaning of parenthood.

She goes on to ask what she terms are the legal, bioethical, and political questions involved in these cases:

Who are the parents of the fetuses, and who gets to make such decisions? What are the implications for women’s reproductive autonomy?

Before there is the legal, the bioethical, and the political, though, there is the moral and theological. These questions involve definitions of fatherhood, motherhood, and personhood, which can only be answered from a properly theological foundation—a foundation that O’Reilly seems unwilling to acknowledge.

O’Reilly goes on to reveal that she once was an egg donor herself and in the process, she had to grapple with the emotional complications inevitable in the new, Wild Wild West of reproductive technology.

In 2009, I went through an agency in California to donate my eggs to anonymous parents. At 25, I donated out of financial desperation, so I found myself surprised by how overjoyed I was when the birth mother became pregnant with triplets. I was also devastated a few months later, when I learned via our agency liaison that she had lost two of the fetuses in utero. And when I learned much later that egg-donation recipients who become pregnant with multiples are often advised to “selectively reduce”—which very well could have been a factor in my recipients’ case—I found the idea unsettling, despite the fact that I’m fervently pro-choice [emphasis added].

O’Reilly is “unsettled” about the selective abortion of one of the infants she contributed genetic material to create because she recognizes—hard as she might try to suppress it—the personhood and inherent worth of the child who lost its life.

Later in the article, O’Reilly quotes Elizabeth Reis, a professor of gender and bioethics at City University of New York.

“There’s so much interaction between a mother’s body and a developing fetus,” says Reis. “Nowadays, we understand that with surrogacy, you’re not just putting something in a toaster and having it come out, with no give and take. Now that egg donation is all over the place, we don’t want to think that because someone gave an egg, they’re a mother. But should these women—donors and surrogates—have some kind of relationship with the child? [emphasis added].

And this gets to my central concern. In this article, which so desperately tries to paint surrogacy and abortion and reproductive freedom in neutral colors, there appears a third party that is not being considered in these contractual relationships: the unborn child. The tacit, unstated reality of the infant’s personhood is made clear when a man demands—and a contract reflects—legal control over the life of a little one who is growing inside of a surrogate’s womb. Her body, her choice? If her body were the only meaningful entity, then these surrogacy contracts would be meaningless.

Then is it her body, the baby’s body, and their choice? If so, then it is a choice that involves nothing short of life and death.

There are a whole host of moral and theological concerns with surrogacy. But we should be thankful for articles like this that shine a bright light on the persons that this culture of death so desperately wants to ignore. How ironically backwards is it when a business whose whole purpose is to bring persons into this world does not even recognize these persons as persons? Lord, have mercy.

New York Magazine and a Vision of the Good Life

New York Magazine and a Vision of the Good Life

New York Magazine has a cover story written by Rebecca Traister that details the rise of the American single woman, both praising her influence and lamenting the wider culture’s failure to embrace her in all her liberated glory. It’s a must-read article if for no other reason than that it gives a fascinating glimpse into the motivations of the machination that is the feminist project. Consider this zinger:

The most radical of feminist ideas–the disestablishment of marriage–has been so widely embraced as to have become habit, drained of its political intent but ever-more potent insofar as it has refashioned the course of average female life.

In case you missed it, Traister (a married woman herself) admits that one of the radical–here perhaps she means most fundamental–of feminist ideas is the disestablishment of marriage. And that is exactly what we are seeing unfold before our eyes in today’s wider American cultural climate.

But more interesting from my perspective is Traister’s underlying vision of the good life. What, according to Traister, is necessary in order to have a fulfilling, well-lived life? From what I can tell, her picture of the good life is summed up in this: relational independence.

The way Traister begins her article is telling, with a boast of how long she “made it” in the world independently before she married.

By the time I walked down the aisle–or rather, into a judge’s chamber–in 2010, at the age of 35, I had lived 14 independent, early-adult years that my mother had spend married. I had made friends and fallen out with friends, had moved in and out of apartments, had been hired, fired, promoted, and quit. I had had roommates and I had lived on my own; I’d been on several forms of birth control and navigated a few serious medical questions; I’d paid my own bills and failed to pay my own bills; I’d fallen in love and fallen out of love and spent five consecutive years with nary a fling. I’d learned my way around new neighborhoods, felt scared and felt completely at home; I’d been heartbroken, afraid, jubilant, and bored.

I was a grown-up: a reasonably complicated person. I’d become that person not in the company of any one man, but alongside my friends, my family, my city, my work, and, simply, by myself.

Later in her article, Traister summarizes her research into the lives of other single women and she concludes that, again, what these women are after is independence.

Academic drive, the urge to capitalize on educational opportunity, a plan to put off distracting romantic entanglement, all with the conscious desire to make later independence possible: These motivations were mentioned by nearly every one of the college students or recent graduates I interviewed.

A quote from a young woman interviewed by Traister, who is a senior at Northwestern University, puts a fine point on this desire fundamental for relational independence.

I know it sounds hyperbolic, but I mean it when I say that getting married right now would ruin my life. I want freedom. I want the chance to pick up and move to a new city for a new job or for adventure, without having to worry about a spouse of a family. I need to be able to stay at the office until three in the morning if I have to and not care about putting dinner on the table.

Don’t miss this. Here is this young woman’s picture of the good life, and by extension, Traister’s picture of the good life. This is what relational independence looks like: staying at the office until 3am instead of coming home and eating dinner with your family.

If this is the good life, count me out.

We were created for relationship. We are relational beings, so much so that some theologians define the imago dei in purely relational terms, meaning that man is created in the image of God insofar as he is a creature with capacity for relationship. Our relationship with God and humanity, the first and second greatest commandments, is the sum of our purpose for existence.

The Christian worldview is clear as to what constitutes the good life. It is to be in right, even dependent, relationship with our Creator and fellow creatures

Given the choice between being in the office until 3am or coming home to my family for dinner, well, I’m choosing cooking and praying and eating and laughing and singing and cleaning every single time.

 

Antonin Scalia

Antonin Scalia

Below are a few resources that I have gathered together (for my own archives) in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. If you have suggestions, add in the comments section below.



The following essay contains some fascinating reflections by Scalia on proper interpretation methods which have important similarities to biblical hermeneutics:

Law Courts in a Civil-Law System: The Role of United States Federal Courts in Interpreting the Constitution and Laws


 

In Conversation: Antonin Scalia, New York Magazine (Jennifer Senior)

You believe in heaven and hell?
Oh, of course I do. Don’t you believe in heaven and hell?

No.
Oh, my.

Does that mean I’m not going?
[Laughing.] Unfortunately not!

Wait, to heaven or hell?
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to hell, just because you don’t believe in it. That’s Catholic doctrine! Everyone is going one place or the other.

But you don’t have to be a Catholic to get into heaven? Or believe in it?
Of course not!

Oh. So you don’t know where I’m going. Thank God.
I don’t know where you’re going. I don’t even know whether Judas Iscariot is in hell. I mean, that’s what the pope meant when he said, “Who am I to judge?” He may have recanted and had severe penance just before he died. Who knows?

Can we talk about your drafting process—
[Leans in, stage-whispers.] I even believe in the Devil.

You do?
Of course! Yeah, he’s a real person. Hey, c’mon, that’s standard Catholic doctrine! Every Catholic believes that.

Every Catholic believes this? There’s a wide variety of Catholics out there …
If you are faithful to Catholic dogma, that is certainly a large part of it.

Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?
You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore.

No.
It’s because he’s smart.

So what’s he doing now?
What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way.

That has really painful implications for atheists. Are you sure that’s the ­Devil’s work?
I didn’t say atheists are the Devil’s work.

Well, you’re saying the Devil is ­persuading people to not believe in God. Couldn’t there be other reasons to not believe?
Well, there certainly can be other reasons. But it certainly favors the Devil’s desires. I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.

Right.
What happened to him?

He just got wilier.
He got wilier.

Isn’t it terribly frightening to believe in the Devil?
You’re looking at me as though I’m weird. My God! Are you so out of touch with most of America, most of which believes in the Devil? I mean, Jesus Christ believed in the Devil! It’s in the Gospels! You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil! Most of mankind has believed in the Devil, for all of history. Many more intelligent people than you or me have believed in the Devil.”


“At the end of its opinion–after having laid waste the foundations of our rational-basis jurisprudence–the Court says that the present case ‘does not involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.’ Do not believe it. More illuminating than this bald, unreasoned disclaimer is the progression of thought displayed by an earlier passage in the Court’s opinion, which notes the constitutional protections afforded to ‘personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education,’ and then declares that ‘[p]ersons in a homosexual relationship may seek autonomy for these purposes, just as heterosexual persons do.’ …. If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is ‘no legitimate state interest’ for purposes of proscribing that conduct, and if, as the Court coos (casting aside all pretense of neutrality), ‘w]hen sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring,’ what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples exercising ‘[t]he liberty protected by the Constitution,’? Surely not the encouragement of procreation, since the sterile and the elderly are allowed to marry. This case ‘does not involve’ the issue of homosexual marriage only if one entertains the belief that principle and logic have nothing to do with the decisions of this Court. Many will hope that, as the Court comfortingly assures us, this is so.”

-Justice Antonin Scalia, 2003 dissent in Lawrence v. Texas. This prophetic statement would come to be fulfilled in the Obergefell decision in 2015


“Today’s decree says that my Ruler, and the Ruler of 320 million Americans coast-to-coast, is a majority of the nine lawyers on the Supreme Court. The opinion in these cases is the furthest extension in fact—and the furthest extension one can even imagine—of the Court’s claimed power to create “liberties” that the Consti­tution and its Amendments neglect to mention. This practice of constitutional revision by an unelected commit­tee of nine, always accompanied (as it is today) by extravagant praise of liberty, robs the People of the most im­portant liberty they asserted in the Declaration of Independence and won in the Revolution of 1776: the freedom to govern themselves.”

-Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges


Antonin Scalia, Conservative Legal Giant, New York Times (Ross Douthat)


Antonin Scalia Will Be Remembered as One of the Greats, Slate (Mark Joseph Stern)


Antonin Scalia, Christian (Rod Dreher)

Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, D. C. 20543

CHAMBERS OF
JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA

September 1, 1998

Dr. James C. Goodloe
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church
1627 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23220-2925

Dear Dr. Goodloe:

I looked for you unsuccessfully at the luncheon following the funeral yesterday. I wanted to tell you how reverent and inspiring I found the service that you conducted.

In my aging years, I have attended so many funerals of prominent people that I consider myself a connoisseur of the genre. When the deceased and his family are nonbelievers, of course, there is not much to be said except praise for the departed who is no more. But even in Christian services conducted for deceased Christians , I am surprised at how often eulogy is the centerpiece of the service, rather than (as it was in your church) the Resurrection of Christ, and the eternal life which follows from that. I am told that, in Roman Catholic canon law, encomiums at funeral Masses are not permitted—though if that is the rule, I have never seen it observed except in the breach. I have always thought there is much to be said for such a prohibition, not only because it spares from embarrassment or dissembling those of us about whom little good can truthfully be said, but also because, even when the deceased was an admirable person—indeed, especially when the deceased was an admirable person—praise for his virtues can cause us to forget that we are praying for, and giving thanks for, God’s inexplicable mercy to a sinner. (My goodness, that seems more like a Presbyterian thought than a Catholic one!)

Perhaps the clergymen who conduct relatively secular services are moved by a desire not to offend the nonbelievers in attendance—whose numbers tend to increase in proportion to the prominence of the deceased. What a great mistake. Weddings and funerals (but especially funerals) are the principal occasions left in modern America when you can preach the Good News not just to the faithful, but to those who have never really heard it.

Many thanks, Dr. Goodloe, for a service that did honor to Lewis and homage to God. It was a privilege to sit with your congregation. Best regards.

Sincerely,

Antonin Scalia

Intelligence, Desire, and Ardor: A Parable

The following extended excerpt is from On the Meaning of Sex by J. Budziszewski, 115–118.

[T]he soul may be pictured by a rider, horse, and lion…The man is not the soul per se, but her power of directive intelligence. Because her intelligence is her highest power, the one through which the “I” most clearly speaks, it is represented not as a beast, but as a man. The horse is the soul’s desires; the lion signifies her ardor. Intelligence is in the saddle, because of his calling to be their master.

If we expand the image of the rider and his two beasts into three different scenes, we get a glimpse of how such royal rule might be accomplished. In each scene, intelligence, desire, and ardor stand in a different relationship.

Scene one unfolds at night. A muddy road stretches out toward the eastern horizon, but the road is hard to see. In this scene the horse is not a horse, but a shaggy-eared ass, and the lion is not a lion, but a scrawny wildcat. In his left hand, the man is holding the ass’s reins, though he doesn’t seem to know what to do with them; in his right he is holding a whip. The ass continually brays, “You had better feed me,” and whenever it does, the man obeys. All down the roadside he walks in search of things for the ass to eat. Every now and then, he thinks it might be more dignified to ride in the saddle, but whenever he tries to climb into it, the ass rears and plunges to dismount him, then drags him around by the reins. As he is being dragged, the wildcat bites him, yowling “Do as the ass says!” Sometimes he strikes back at the two animals with his whip. The ass, knowing his mood will pass, sits down on its rump to wait him out. The wildcat cringes, but although it is cowed, it is not tamed. Eyes flaming with anger, it waits its chance to bite again. If anyone asks the man what he is doing, he says, “Im pursuing my happiness.”

In scene two, the man is till there, but the ass has turned into a brawny mule, and the wildcat into a starving leopard. This time the man has some control over his animals, but his command is uncertain because they are more powerful than he is. Although he is seated on the mule’s back, trying to direct it down the highway, they are making little progress. Sometimes the mule turns off the road into pasture. At other times it stays on the road and perhaps even gallops, but as often as not, it runs in the wrong direction. Though the man uses the whip, reins, and spurs, it detests being checked; twisting its head around to face him, it shows its blocky teeth and brays, “I haven’t yet lost my strength. You had better fear me.” But the the leopard snarls, punishing the mule by sinking its fangs into its flank. As the mule reverts to sullen obedience, the leopard gives the man dark looks and mutters, “I don’t know why I should be helping you.” The sun has risen, so the man can see the road, but he is ashamed to be seen because he looks ridiculous. If anyone asks him what he is doing, he says, “I’m trying to be good.”

In the final scene, the man is clad in knight’s armor, laughing and singing fighting songs. The mule has turned into a white stallion, and the leopard has turned into a great tawny lion. Thunderously purring, the great cat sidles up to the knight’s knee and murmurs, “Where is the enemy? Command me!” Snorting and rearing, the stallion neighs, “Where may I carry you? Let me run!” The man guides the stallion with nothing but his knees and a few quiet words. In place of the whip, he carries a sword for making swift work of foes and barriers. Sometimes at a canter, sometimes at a gallop, the three of them head down the high road, straight toward the sun. Although that great orb is so bright that it ought to blind them and so blazing that it ought to consume them, instead it gets into them like molten gold. If anyone asks the man where he is going, he answers, “Toward joy.”

Exodus 1:15–21, Planned Parenthood Version (PPV)

exodus-1-pharaoh-decrees-the-drowning-of-every-new-male-offspring-among-the-israelites-by-michiel-van-der-borch-1332

“15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah,16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” 17 The midwives, however much they feared God, they feared Pharaoh more. So they did what the king of Egypt had told them to do. But so their consciences were clear, when they positively identified the male children, they left the babies part-way in the birth canal and snipped their spines unto their deaths. 18 Then the Hebrew women cried out against the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you killed our sons?”

19 The midwives answered the Hebrew women, “You are confused. We have not killed your son. We have killed a foetus, which does not actually become a human until it is fully birthed, at which point humanity is, albeit mysteriously, imparted to the being. We have performed what is termed a “partial-birth abortion” and thus our consciences are clear before God and before man.”

20 So Pharaoh was kind to the midwives and gave them special positions in his cabinet. 21 And because the midwives feared Pharaoh more than they feared God, they were very pleased with themselves.”

And so, to this day, the Israelites remain enslaved to the Egyptians, for their deliverer, Moses, was killed in the womb at the hand of his own people.

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Philosophical vs. Biblical Syllogisms

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Philosophical vs. Biblical Syllogisms

The headlines have been filled in recent days with a big story coming out of Wheaton College. A professor at this prestigious evangelical institution—the alma mater of evangelical notables such as Billy Graham—created quite a stir when she announced that she would be wearing a hijab over the advent season, and also that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God.”

Contrary to the many news outlets that got this story terribly wrong, it was actually the second statement—that Muslims and Christians “worship the same God”—that she was suspended from Wheaton for.

Many on Wheaton’s campus have come to the defense of the professor (which is worrisome), claiming that her statement in no way contradicts the historic, orthodox position of the church. This has caused many in evangelical circles and beyond to revisit this important question: Is the God of Christianity the god of Islam?

Which brings me to Francis Beckwith. Beckwith, an evangelical-turned-Catholic-during-his-tenure-as-president-of-ETS(!), is a first-rate thinker, and what he says has great influence over many in both evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism.

Just today, Beckwith wrote an article in defense of the Wheaton professor that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, which also happens to be the official position of the Roman Catholic Church.

In his argument, Beckwith uses two analogies to make his point. I have greatly simplified them below:

  1. Since two different names, such as Cashus Clay and Muhammad Ali, can refer to the same man, “Yahweh” and “Allah” can refer to the same god.
  2. There can be a question over whether or not a man is a father. One person can believe that a man is a father with illegitimate children, and another can believe the same man has no children. Whether or not “fathering” is a quality of the man, both persons can know and speak of the same man. It follows, then, that even though Muslims deny that Jesus is the Son of God, they can still speak of and worship Yahweh—albeit by a different name and with a different understanding of his attributes.

Again, read his article if these don’t make sense out of context.

But here’s the deal. Those are fundamentally philosophical syllogisms and analogies. This is my (and many other’s) concern with people who try to do systematic theology without biblical theology and exegesis.

Let’s try a biblical syllogism instead.

Jesus said in John 4:23, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

Muslims neither have the Spirit nor know the truth about who God is (Muslims vehemently deny the triune nature of the Godhead revealed in biblical Christianity), and who his Son is (Muslims equally strongly deny that God has a Son).

Therefore, Muslims do not worship (and here it is important that we are defining “worship” biblically) the God whom Jesus spoke of, the God of Christianity.

Let’s dust off those Bibles before making sweeping claims. Otherwise, we might find ourselves saying the exact opposite thing that our Lord says.

 

In this edition of “Guess Who Wrote It?”…

(1) The literal sense of the biblical texts comprises (i) verbal meaning, (ii) illocutionary and perlocutionary force, and (iii) the relation to the centre. As communicative actions, the texts seek to convey a meaning in order to evoke a particular response. To concern oneself with the literal sense is therefore to reflect on ‘application’ as well as verbal meaning, for without this dimension the texts are no longer understood as communicative actions. The criteria by which scriptural communicative actions are assessed derive from God’s definitive communicative action in the incarnation of the Word.

(2) To grasp the verbal meaning and the illocutionary and perlocutionary force of a text is to understand the authorial intention  embodied in it. Authorial intention is the principle of a text’s intelligibility, and cannot be detached from the text itself. The capacity of writing to extend the scope of a speech-act in space and time precludes an understanding of authorial intention purely in terms of the author’s immediate historical context.

(3) A text’s verbal meaning, illocutionary and perlocutionary force, and relation to the centre precede and transcend the additional meanings or significances it may acquire as it is read in different communal contexts. Objective interpretation concerns itself with the primary and determinate aspects of a text’s existence. While local, contextual concerns will often and rightly leave their mark on interpretive practice, they should not deprive the text of its proper vocation, which is to represent, in frail human language, a divine communicative action which does not arise from among ourselves but addresses us from without.

Apostolic Authority and Authorial Intent

Apostolic Authority and Authorial Intent

We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

The passage above was written by John the apostle in the letter known as 1 John, a letter that was very likely intended to be circulated among the 1st century believing community.

I have a question: What would it look like for a 1st century reader or hearer of this text to “listen to” or “not listen to” John? (this text was probably eventually read to each congregation from a centralized copy—the ESV study Bible was not yet available).

Is not the answer simply this? To “listen to” the apostle John—and the apostles he includes by using the apostolic “we”—is to believe and to obey what they are attempting to communicate through the written word. And to “not listen to” them is to disbelieve and to disobey the communication.

If a false teacher directly contradicted something that John had written to the churches in this letter, then the false teacher was directly contradicting John—the false teacher was not “listening to” John—and was therefore showing himself to be one who does not know God. This can be implied from this text. If someone decided not to heed the words he read in his copy of this letter, then he was deciding not to heed the words of the apostle John. Or if someone decided not to heed the words that were read aloud from a copy of the circulating letter in the assembly, then that person was failing to heed the words of John—an apostle of the Lord Jesus who had been commissioned to speak on Christ’s behalf (John 16:12–15).

(I’m intentionally being redundant above to make the point below.)

Here’s my point: What 1 John means is what John meant it to mean. If you choose to “listen to” the text in a way that doesn’t include asking the question “What did John, the Spirit-filled, commissioned-by-Christ apostle, mean?”, then you are not rightly listening to the text. And this means you are not listening to the “us” in 1 John 4:6—the apostles.

Apostolic authority is tied to authorial intent.

Let us be those who know God by listening to the apostles. For the apostles speak the words of Christ, and their words lead to belief in Christ (John 17:20).

Pro-Creation vs. Re-Production

Consider the views of life and the world reflected in the following different expressions to describe the process of generating new life. Ancient Israel, impressed with the phenomenon of transmission of life from father to son, used a word we translate as ‘begetting’ or ‘siring.’ The Greeks, impressed with the springing forth of new life in the cyclical processes of generation and decay, called it genesis, from a root meaning ‘to come into being.’ … The premodern Christian English-speaking world, impressed with the world as given by a Creator, used the term ‘pro-creation.’ We, impressed with the machine and the gross national product (our own work of creation), employ a metaphor of the factory, ‘re-production.’

Excerpted from Gilbert C. Meilaender, Bioethics, 10.