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Question

Can a human chimera be saved? Indeed, are they human anyway, technically speaking that is?

Answer

Thank you so much for your unusual but interesting question. 

A human chimera is someone with two sets of DNA, as I understand it. I believe the usual reason it happens (though it is apparently rare) is because twins were conceived but at a very early developmental stage in the womb the two embryos effectively became one. This perhaps raises the question of whether there were two human beings and two souls involved. That is not so obscure a question as might at first appear because the same question arises in various other unusual embryonic developments regarding twins, such as the so-called 'vanishing twin' syndrome in which a twin is apparent in early pregnancy but disappears long before the pregnancy reaches term. Of course, the same question arises in reverse for identical twins.

The simple answer is that there are as many souls as there are conscious individuals - whether before or after birth. Twins are two individuals, as are conjoined twins. A single conscious individual, though possessing two DNA profiles from the early merging of two embryos, is a single soul. However, there is another question here - when does life begin? 

The fact that two conceived embryos can effectively merge suggests that human life does not begin precisely at conception, but Christians disagree about when to identify such a beginning.

Some prefer to regard conception as the moment of life beginning rather than run the risk of disregarding the value of an unborn child at even its earliest developmental stage. For this reason, many Christians oppose abortion under any circumstances. Others identify the moment as the implantation of the embryo in the womb after about fourteen days, which is when the mother's body begins to develop signs of pregnancy. Yet others identify the creation of a human life with the development of consciousness in the foetus, shown by its responses to external stimuli. This has been the traditional Jewish view and is probably reflected in Luke's Gospel where we learn that life certainly begins before birth, as in Luke 1:44 we learn that the unborn child who would be John the Baptist 'leapt for joy' in Elizabeth's - his mother's - womb when Mary, the mother of Jesus, greeted her.

That this was the understanding of pre-birth existence in Jewish tradition is shown by such passages of the Old Testament as Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the womb I knew you and Psalm 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's wombThe same understanding may be present in the New Testament, in Galatians 1:15 ...God, who set me apart from birth... but this may refer to God's plan for the future rather than His creating of a life.

However, there is not a clearer biblical answer to the question of precisely when human life begins - or to put it in biblical language, when the soul begins to exist because these types of phenomena have largely been known only through modern scientific knowledge. In a similar way, there is no biblical answer to human chimeras, however, where there is consciousness there is a soul, and I would encourage them to read the bible, to pray and discover God for themselves. 

I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com

In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:

http://www.lookingforgod.com/churchfinder

Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.

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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise

*If anything in this answers affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at http://www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline


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