No Significance (Psalms 8:3-4)

Thirty years ago, when I was a fellow in dermatopathology, I observed an unusual finding on the slide of a common skin cancer. I was unsure of its significance and brought the slide to my professor. As I pointed out the histological changes, I asked him, “I’ve read some conflicting things about this. Is there any prognostic significance?”

“No.” He paused. “I know why you are asking but unlike other skin cancers, this does not appear to be a poor prognostic sign.”

I was relieved but made a mental note and over the ensuing thirty years, I closely followed the medical literature and consulted with other colleagues ensuring that the opinions had not changed. Meanwhile, what my professor taught me that day was also communicated to my own residents.

Recently, I reviewed a journal article that convincingly demonstrated that this histologic change definitely has prognostic significance. Recalling my conversation with my professor and my previous teaching sessions with my own residents, I immediately forwarded the article to my colleagues and residents, explaining that this new data will change the way we manage this skin cancer. 

Medicine is dynamic, ever changing as new data and facts come to light. While this is exciting and ultimately leads to improved diagnoses and treatments for patients, some may also conclude that all knowledge is changing, with no absolute standard. Thus, the concept of an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God is an anachronism. Some scientists scoff that if there is no current explanation for a phenomenon in nature, Christians immediately fall back on God and use it as an inclusive crutch, instead of searching for scientific proof or validation. For  these critics, Christianity is no different than ancient myths that surmised the sun was driven through the sky by a celestial chariot. 

Contrary to this narrow minded view, some of the leading scientists in the world are Christians. Francis Collins is a physician-scientist, responsible for many major discoveries in medical genetics. He led the Human Genome Project, responsible for mapping the entire human genome, a monumental task that was completed in 2003. He is currently the director of the NIH (National Institute of Health) and the recipient of numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Science.

In his book, “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief”, Collins wrote that scientific discoveries are “an opportunity to worship.” His faith is exemplified by this quote, “The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome. He can be worshiped in the cathedral or in the laboratory. His creation is majestic, awesome, intricate, and beautiful.”

I agree!

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? 

Psalms 8:3-4 (NIV)

God has endowed us with an amazing intellectual capacity and ability. The universe and all living creatures were created by God who has allowed us to discover some of the biochemical and physical processes that He put into place. Science and medicine are tools for mankind to understand the workings of God and ultimately point to the complexity of God’s sovereignty, not the ingenuity of man. 

Medicine is dynamic because God is unchanging, everlasting, and eternal!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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