Estimates are that the artificial blood-substitutes market could be worth more than $5 billion by 2022 and more than $17 billion by 2027. A significant problem, however, is that so far there is no real artificial blood-substitute. No single blood replacement can both carry oxygen, like red blood cells do, and initiate clotting, like platelets do.
For centuries, scientists have been trying to find such a substitute. In 1989, the Food and Drug Administration approved an oxygen-carrying substitute, but just five years later it was withdrawn from the market, due to its extensive side effects. Even the latest “breakthrough” substance will, at best, only buy patients time until they can receive a transfusion of actual human blood.
In essence, scientists have similarly been unable to create life, despite any number of attempts in that direction, many of dubious ethical judgment, not to mention their having to use material that God, Who created everything from nothing (Hebrews 11:3), has already “provided” for them. Perhaps there is a connection between scientists’ inability to create life and their inability to create blood, for the Bible says that life is in the blood (for example, Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:11, 14).
We can and should, when we are eligible to do so, give the gift of life that is in our human blood—the 21st Quarterly Kilgore Community Blood Drive is today, October 6, between 8:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., at 713 Florey Street in Kilgore (for more information, visit www.pilgrimlc.org/blooddrive or call 903-984-4333; walk-ins are welcome). However, just as we cannot come up with a substitute for human blood for sustaining life, we have no substitute for Jesus’s blood when it comes to forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:14, 22).
From the temporal death and eternal torment that we deserve on account of our sinful nature and all of our sin, we cannot redeem ourselves (for example, Matthew 16:26, citing Psalm 49:7-8). Only Jesus’s blood shed on the cross for all people, received in the Lord’s Supper by those who repent and believe, can give life, not only now, but for all eternity (John 6:53-54)!
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.