Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Our Bodies

Yesterday we went to the KW Regional Children's Museum to see the "Our Bodies" display, and to let the children enjoy the exhibits. When I first heard that people have developed a polymer impregnation method to preserve actual bodies, I was torn. The scientist in me thought that it would be interesting to examine the human body's skeleton, muscles and organs, learning anatomy in the process. Yet the reality that these are actual human remains made me shudder. How demeaning to treat human remains that way, I thought.

I wasn't going to go, but found out that someone I love and respect had seen the exhibit. I thought it might be a once-in-a-lifetime educational opportunity for the kids, so I made arrangements and off we went.

I'm sorry we did.

These were human beings, made in the image of God, formed and fashioned in the secret place of their mothers' wombs - then cut apart after death and displayed for all to see.

There were some amazing exhibits. The tiny "fetuses" (literally babies, in Latin) were amazing. One was the exact size of baby Jack who was born too soon to my daughter.

The bones of the hands and arms and feet and legs were intricately designed. I was able to point out to Christopher that the meniscus was what his dad had torn when he had his knee operation.
The circulatory system was incredible. We could see the blood vessels that supply the entire body, from the huge ones near the heart to the tiny ones in the extremities.

The nakedness was disturbing to me. I kept thinking that if it were my body, or that of someone I love, I would not want it displayed like that. I thought these people were treated like objects, rather than people who had lived and died, loved and laughed.

One of the things that made it impossible to view these bodies as merely objects was a small torso that had a scar and stitch marks at the bottom. Obviously, this person had undergone an appendectomy.

I'm not against scientific research, nor am I particularly squeamish. Each year we kill and eviscerate our own chickens, and as we do I marvel at the design of the bowels, the liver, the kidneys, the heart, the lungs, and so on. I point out to the kids that the trachea is ribbed so it doesn't collapse easily. I show them the crop and the lungs, which are spongy. It doesn't bother me, because the chicken is not a human being. It has no soul. It is a marvelously designed creature, but it was not created in the image of God.

Humans are.

Each of the people on display will live for eternity. Each will be raised on the last day, the day of Judgment, when an account will be given.

The Bible teaches us that we are to care for the dead and bury them properly. When God judges a group of people for great sin, the judgment often involves bodies not receiving a proper burial. Jezebel, that wicked woman, had her body eaten by dogs.

Jeremiah 19:7 And in this place I will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, and will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. I will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. 8 And I will make this city a horror, a thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds.

There is no reason, in my opinion, to use real bodies to teach anatomy. In this era, people can design anatomically correct bodies with blood vessels and nerves, heart and lungs, everything made of plastic. The children could then touch the exhibits, understanding each of the systems of the body and how they are designed to function so well. That would be a far better learning experience.


  1. Yeah.

    I didn't like all the nakedness, either. It was interesting... but so disturbing.

    I won't be recommending it to anyone.

  2. Exactly.

    All through the exhibit I had this somber feeling, and a deep sadness. I kept wondering who they were and what they had been like, rather than just marveling at how we are made.

    I thought the part with the circulatory systems was neat, in part because it seemed...less real.

    We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but I don't think I would ever want to see that exhibit again.

  3. I have wondered about the appropriateness of that exhibit when I see the advertisements - science is a favourite in our house, too. Thanks for saving us a trip.

  4. I agree. With what everyone said.

  5. Being that God allowed these people to be put on display, I have to say I was completely comfortable seeing the exhibit, and I would tell everyone I know to go see it.


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