Throughout history chemists have faced the accusation of ‘playing God’ or similar devilish associations, overshadowing all moral judgments of chemistry. The paper provides an ethical analysis of the accusation with focus on Craig Venter’s 2010 announcement of having produced the ‘first selfreplicating cell’. Against the deeper historical background of the ambitious projects that came to be known as ‘synthetic biology’, I describe Venter’s actual research and its international media reception. Then I analyze both the ethical and theological implications of creating living beings in the laboratory. In conclusion I argue that the Venter case, like many others cases from chemistry before, is a case of unfortunate science-public interaction that mislead both ethics and science.