Image: Test-tube meat

It’s alive! Well, not really. But coming sometime in the next 10 years, you will be able to buy a hamburger that was…wait for it…grown in a petri dish. Yippee! Wait, seriously? It’s true. Earlier this week, researchers fed two food critics hamburger that had been grown in a petri dish. And while the $330,000 price tag to make this burger might seem a little higher than you would pay, the cost is sure to come down soon.

How does one make a petri dish burger? Lab grown beef muscle cells are mixed with salt, egg powder, and bread crumbs. Then beet juice and saffron are added for color because researchers decided the natural grey (no blood in this burger) is not particularly appetizing. And people think veggie burgers are strange! It will take years before “shmeat” or sheet meet (also dubbed Frankenmeat) is commercially viable for eating. Nevertheless, uses such as leather for purses, etc., are not far off at all.

As impressive as it is to take live meat cells and grow a hamburger, we should probably take a moment to remember that the scientists merely grew something “after its own kind.” A fish or bird or tomato didn’t pop out of the meat cell dish. God alone creates and God alone gives life (Genesis 1-2). God alone makes something from nothing. And God’s food doesn’t take years to grow. Whether it is manna from heaven, water from wine, or feeding thousands from a few loaves and fish, God’s miraculous powers are far beyond our capabilities.

Like Pharaoh’s magicians, we might seem impressive at first glance, but in comparison to God’s amazing power of creation, all we do is take the created objects and energy and learn how to redistribute them. And as far as the end of meat as we know it…well, don’t sell the family cow for a few magic beans just yet, Jack. As impressive as this latest feat is, the critics said the meat still has a long way to go on texture and flavor too!


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