Perhaps the most common question asked among those of a certain age is “How’s the health?” With the older half of the population on blood thinners, stents and pace-makers the conversation flows into what the author Maeve Binchy described with delightful ambiguity as an “Organ Recital”!
The fact is, as the Psalmist puts it, we are “fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, God. That, my soul knows full well” (Psalm 139 verse 14). The expanding industry of spare part surgery testifies to the fact that we are not only well made but capable of undergoing the most complicated repairs!
Modern man maintains that we are simply sophisticated animals but this is not so. The creation of man was different. Genesis Chapter 2 verse 7 states “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature”. This was a creature like no other. In addition to physical and mental properties man had a spiritual dimension which made him unique.
This uniqueness is further explained by the fact of man and woman being made in the image of God. God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Genesis Chapter 1 verse 27). This special relationship is made plain in Christian marriage.
St Paul takes this special relationship in marriage and uses it to illustrate Christ’s relationship to his church. “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, (Ephesians Chapter 5 verses 28 to 29). It is this illustration that demonstrated the image of God which is most perfectly seen in man and wife in marriage. It’s this special relationship between man and wife that best resembles (images) our relational triune God.
So mankind is different from animals. It is wrong for the recent poster campaign to state that killing calves is murder. Murder in scripture is used exclusively for the unlawful killing of humans. Adam (and his descendants) have been made stewards over creation “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…” (Genesis Chapter 1 verse 28).
There is one part of our anatomy that resists instruction and is inclined towards sin – the heart. Jeremiah summed it up when he wrote “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (chapter 17 verse 9). He later was able to write more encouragingly of God taking the initiative of a new day when instead of writing the law on stone God would write it on human hearts “I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Chapter 31 verse 33).
Titus 2:11 says it’s both here and not yet– “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ…
God has done his part. Our part is to have faith in God the master surgeon!