In South Korea you can clone your dog. No need to grieve after its time on earth is done; for a bargain £75,000 you can have another one exactly like it, according to an article in The Times Magazine this week.
What a shame Loni Edwards didn’t know that. When her bulldog Chloe died, Edwards didn’t just lose a pet, but a valuable source of income. Chloe was one of an increasing number of pets who are ‘Instagram stars’, apparently earning their owners up to US$15,000 per sponsored post. Chloe died as a result of a staff error during a routine surgery, and Edwards has been involved in legal proceedings ever since, trying to gain recognition that her pet was more to her than just ‘property’, as the law currently sees domestic animals.
I can understand Edwards’ desire to recoup her financial loss, but the article about her and Chloe includes some frankly extreme reactions by other pet owners (and pet fans) to the passing of the social media ‘stars’. And for anyone to go to the lengths – and cost – of cloning an animal is beyond my comprehension.
Loss of anything or anyone we love is, of course, a bad thing. It is painful and upsetting, and is not how God designed the world. However, this realisation should drive us into the arms of our creator, not to finding solace in created things.
‘Solutions’ to our sadness like pet cloning may all too easily become a form of idolatry, telling us something other than God can fill the hole in our lives. And like all idols, these solutions promise much, but can never satisfy. Your new pet might look identical to the one you lost, but it won’t be the same. And one day it too will die.
Seeking satisfaction in created things is what put humanity in this predicament in the first place. Adam and Eve had everything they could possibly need; they were ‘like God’ already – created in his image, to carry out his rule and reign on the earth. But when the serpent showed them the fruit and told them that they needed it to be complete, they chose to believe him. The fruit was attractive and nutritious, but putting it in place of God had tragic consequences. Let’s stop repeating the mistake: only the creator can comfort us in our grief and satisfy our deepest longings.