“And the Yahweh caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Yahweh had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man” (Genesis 2:21-22)
One of the Bible stories that most fascinated me in my school years was that of the creation of Eve out of Adam. The wonderous moment of the “grafting” of woman from a man’s rib left, I must confess, the same impression on me as the myriad transformations of Zeus and his many lovers in Greek mythology. It was the impossible – the deity in question performing the seemingly unachievable and changing a bone into another human being. The woman-out-of-a-rib phenomenon is of course not in any way comparable to what Yahweh does a few lines earlier – the creation out of nothing. Creation ex nihilo remains top of the top in the impressive feats mentioned in the bible – Elijah riding down from the heavens on a chariot nothwithstanding.
Anyway. My point is when I was still a child it was easy to see this as a God thing. You know: Put a man to sleep. Take his rib. Fashion other man less penis plus breasts and vagina (putting it mildly of course). Wow. End result… child impressed. (Child with illustrated Bible with picture of Eve’s her long enough to cover her freshly formed nipples and leaf to cover the latest pudenda on earth would be even more impressed). Yep. No amount of magicking by your average home performer could ever equal the omnipotence of the Creator and this story served as a demarcation line for the children of yesterday between God and the lesser beings on this earth. Creationists from Louisiana to Alabama could yell at their assembled congregations “Just let me see David Bloomin’ Copperfield pullin’ this ‘un off!”
So pity today’s children. Or maybe the children in five years time. The BBC reports that sperm have been made out of human marrow. Scientists have managed to take human bone marrow samples and managed to transform them into sperm. Actually, the problem is that these sperm are still “immature” – whatever that may mean. My guess is that instead of trekking up to whichever part of the fallopia the ovum is to be found in a-waiting mode they decide to have a little set of races …”first to the fundus wins” style. In any case, within five years the German scientists are hoping to be able to develop fully mature sperm.
Sounds crazy doesn’t it? I’d hate to be reading the story of Eve’s creation to a class of kids in Bormla in a hundred years’ time when suddenly Ivmarkssfordthunderbird stands up and says “Eh! Just like Uncle Frikbert… he was made out of sperm which came from Nannu Osredent’s marrow…. Is Dr Jos. Muscat III, God sir?”
* A note of caution is due here. Should you choose to venture to the linked BBC article you will notice that science is being cautious about the new development and that a number of obstacles (immaturity of the sperm, genetic feebleness of the sperm etc) are still to be overcome before we can really say that this part of man’s playing God has been fully achieved.