Biblical Integration in Anatomy and Physiology: A Design Approach

Toy human dolls designed

Design features are evident in the structures and functions of each of the body systems

by Elizabeth Sled

We have been created fearfully and wonderfully by our Creator God, and the human body showcases God’s intricate design. Design features are evident in the structures and functions of each of the body systems. In this paper, I present a design approach to the study of human anatomy and physiology from a biblical worldview. I establish a theology of the body as a foundation for the study of human structure and function. I then discuss key repeating themes in the human body systems as evidence for design and offer suggestions for biblical integration in the study of these themes. I also highlight the concept of overdesign in the human body as evidence for a Great Designer. I conclude the paper with a discussion of ways that a design approach to the study of anatomy and physiology could inspire praise, promote deeper reflection on God and His creation, and encourage a holistic view of stewardship of the body.

Study of human structure and function from a biblical worldview is centered on God’s intricate design. We are fearfully and wonderfully made by the sovereign Designer/Creator, and this truth is evident from the molecular to the systemic levels of organization. Scientific discoveries over the past century point even more convincingly to a creation and design model of human origin (Jeanson 2017).

As a professor at a Christian liberal arts university, I approach the teaching of human structure and function from a biblical worldview using a design approach. I wrestle with the question of how a biblical worldview connects with the disciplines of anatomy and physiology as I seek to incorporate faith-learning integration in the classroom. My intent is to approach faith-learning integration as “a scholarly project whose goal is to ascertain and to develop integral relationships which exist between the Christian faith and human knowledge, particularly as expressed in the various academic disciplines” (Hasker 1992, 234). In this paper, I will examine some of these integral relationships between the Christian faith and the study of the structures and functions of the human body, with particular emphasis on a design approach.

I will lay a foundation for biblical integration in the study of anatomy and physiology by first presenting a theology of the body from a Christian worldview. I will then present a case for design as an approach to the study of human structure and function. This approach will feature key repeating themes in the human body systems and the concept of overdesign. Throughout the paper, I will discuss classroom examples of biblical integration in anatomy and physiology. In the final section, I will explore ways to foster growth in spiritual character and engage both the mind and the heart as vital aspects of biblical integration…

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image credit: Krzysztof Kowalik