20 November 2009

Heavenly bodies

At a recent Bible study we were discussing Paul's statement that God's eternal power and divine nature can be clearly seen and understood from what has been made (Rom 1:20). We talked about the moon and stars and the beauty of the natural world. Someone suggested that a person who had lived all their life in a hovel in a large, polluted city might never see any of these. That left me wondering why it is that we never seem to mention the human body as one of the wonders of God's creation.

By that I don't just mean the super-model or the elite athlete's body. Every human body is an amazingly complex and beautiful thing. The stars are just enormous balls of hot gas, but our bodies are incredibly complicated, delicate and versatile. Even those who know nothing about anatomy or physiology or neurology must surely see something of God's creative power and divine nature when they look at another human being or even their own body. As Louis Armstrong once sang "every time I see a newborn baby cry....I believe."

Perhaps it's because we're so used to thinking of ourselves as sinners who have offended God that we forget that God still loves and delights in what he has created. We may have misused our bodies, but our bodies per se are not evil. We may have turned our minds to rebel against God, but he gave us minds that are capable of bringing him great glory and honour when they are put to right use. The fact that in our sinfulness we sometimes feel lust or envy towards another person's body doesn't negate the ability of the human body to inspire us to worship its creator.

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