Cosmetic Surgery to the Glory of God

A friend and I were discussing the ethics of cosmetic surgery a few nights ago.


The questions we were left with were;

  • If we are created in God’s image, what modifications can we make to the bodies He has given us?
  • Is corrective cosmetic surgery (i.e. from burns, cuts, deformities) different from a purely superficial procedure (e.g. botox, rhinoplasty).
  • Is cosmetic surgery different to tatoos?

There were others, but I am interested in others thoughts on the issue. I realise I have left a lot unsaid, but hopefully that will create discussion.

What do you think?

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4 Responses to Cosmetic Surgery to the Glory of God

  1. Nancy says:

    three things come to my mind-
    1. everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial
    2. what’s the motivation? God is interested in our hearts as well as what we do.
    3. considering eternity, what is most helpful for our holiness and our effectiveness as christians in a non-christian world?

    I don’t there a blanket statement answer to this one. It’s believable that there could be a situation where a christian wanted to have plastic surgery with good healthy motivations and kingdom goals.

    p.s. i think tattoos are cool – we’re gonna die anyway, may as well colour ourselves in!


    p.s. hey erich! haven’t seen u in ages!

    • Duke says:

      Hey Nancy,

      Great to hear from you!!

      That’s where we ended up in our discussion, each situation is unique and needs to be weighed up on its own merits.

      In the end it’s where your heart is at, and this applies for all the things we do. We should be seeking the glory of the Kingdom in all things.

      p.s. I saw a friend get inked today, made me think more about the design I’ve slowly been working on for myself.

  2. Joel says:

    Reading where you’re heading with this the framework of your belief in God needs to be stated first.

    A belief in an interventionist God would apply the notion that anything happens does so as a result of the intervention of God. In this case, the dual problem exists – is the change being done at God’s intervention or not? If so, then God is, under this interpretation, at odds with Himself as he altering his own image. If not is God really interventionist?

    For those who believe that we are made in the image of God, then there are many questions raised, not least around the notion that we are born inherently full of sin. If so, one could claim that living in and of itself is an act that destroys that image as our cells die and are replaced.

    Perhaps the literalism of “in His image” is part of the problem. As a reference to Genesis this has been an element that the Christian Bible (as a descendant so to speak of the Jewish faith) has adopted (for want of a better word) from the Torah, and should be viewed with some historical perspective. “In his image” may be viewed as a means to say that God is human in form rather than animal in form, as some Gods of other faiths were at the time. Just a thought there…

  3. Duke says:

    Joel, your comments always help me to think deeper and also consider how I write my thoughts and state my assumptions. For this I am thankful.

    I think a more useful term than interventionist God (who may choose or chose to not intervene) is a Sovereign God who is in control of all things (I realise that there are many caveats to explore on what the sovereignty of God entails, but that’s another discussion). But does changing my exterior image change the image of God? I believe the answer is no.

    I think our understanding of what is mean by being created in the image of God is important. And our understanding of that does shape how we answer the question I asked. I don’t think our physical image is the image that is being spoken of. Rather the image is one of relationship. Some may say that animals have relationship, but I believe this to be different to the way that humans are in relationship with each other. Also the idea of being made inherently sinful is something that comes after the fall an event after being made in the image of God, and thus actually distorting what the image of God is within us.

    I get your comment about considering the historical setting of the writing of the Torah, and can see validity in the comment. My thought in relation to this is the incarnation. God throughout the history of the Israelites related to his people through his chosen prophets. But in Jesus, God entered the world in human form and related face to face with humans made in his image. And in his death and resurrection he defeats the issue of sin.

    Just some quick thoughts late at night.

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