Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Question:
I was wondering if you could explain why cosmetic plastic surgery is wrong. I know that Leviticus, talks about not cutting into our bodies and numerous places talk about the fact that our bodies are God’s temple; we don’t own them. So why would we have the right to deface them and destroy God’s natural design. I am trying desperately to stop some family members from having cosmetic surgery, but I need so help.

Answer:

This is one of those questions I really want to answer, and yet everything in me is screaming “NO, don’t do it!”.

No matter how I answer this, I’m going to get hammered. I’ve never been smart enough to let that stop me in the past, so why start now….

First, who says that ALL cosmetic surgery is wrong? We must be very careful about pronouncing anything as ALWAYS sinful unless God does so. For example, many Christians will dogmatically state that ALL drinking of alcohol is sin, when in fact God declares that DRUNKENNESS is the aspect of alcohol consumption that is ALWAYS sinful. Consuming alcohol was a matter-of-fact in the Bible and when God wanted it prohibited, He clearly did so (ie, Rom 14.21; Eph 5.18; 1Tim 3.8; Titus 2.3). Whether its SMART to drink, or whether we SHOULD drink, is a whole other topic… but you can’t call it “always wrong”.

We have no verse in Scripture that plainly states “all cosmetic surgery is wrong” or any verse that even clearly implies it – especially if you are looking in the New Covenant which applies to Christians today.

In the absence of verses stating something as “wrong” or “always wrong”, you have to then move to finding PRINCIPLES that apply to the issue.

Are there any Biblical principles that would make cosmetic surgery wrong for a burn victim or someone who has a deformity? Are there any Biblical principles that would make cosmetic surgery wrong for a woman who has lost a breast to cancer? What about for a boy with a cleft lip? Or someone who has lost an eye?

See what I mean? As Christians, we are all too quick sometimes to pull the “sin gun” out and start blasting away… and typically it will be about issues we have never had to deal with. It’s funny and perplexing actually – Christians are quick to call some things sin which God has not, while ignoring other things that are CLEARLY sinful. Something to ponder…

Then we move to other gray areas…. what about the person who has the big bump on their nose and has a fairly minor surgery to remove it? Can it be said that this is “always wrong”? Without clear Biblical support, I would say this is an issue between that individual and God. If God, through the Holy Spirit, is telling this person, “no, don’t do it”, then they should not. If that person is a true Christian, and has no conscientious problem with having the procedure done, I think it is very presumptuous for another Christian to cry “sin!” with no Biblical support.

Now, let’s get a little more gray…. what about the adult female who is unusually small around her chest and considers a modest augmentation for the sole purpose wanting to feel and look feminine? I’m not talking about the woman who does it because they want to increase their sexual allurement around men. I’m talking about the woman who does it just to reach a point of “normal” and feel more feminine in the very modest manner.

Is that wrong? Can we dogmatically declare that as wrong? There are many Christians who would quickly declare that all breast augmentation is wrong… but can you really do that and stand on God’s Word?

“Live with what God gave ya”. “If God would have wanted you to have them, you would of been born with ’em!”. Well, aren’t we all just hypocrites? Using this argument, one could argue that ANYTHING done to improve appearance is wrong including getting your nails done, or using makeup, or removing body hair, or working out to build muscle, or changing your hair color or…..

Wearing an artificial limb; getting a glass eye; getting varicose veins removed; or how about tanning?

It’s not so simple is it? We have a list of “approved” cosmetic improvements that don’t bother us, but are quick to condemn someone who ventures over to the “unapproved” list.

Of course, there is cosmetic surgery that is definitely wrong such as those who do it purely for sexual reasons – to increase the amount of male sexual allurement through showing off the body (even males are doing that now!). But if you are talking about a woman doing it for private reasons (maybe for her husband’s interests) and modesty/privacy is being maintained… how can we definitively state that it is “always wrong”?

Now I know that my answer is going to get me some significant grief, lose me a few readers, and get me cast as wordly, wishy-washy and liberal…. but I maintain that our liberty in Christ is governed by God’s Word, and our conscience. And short of the having clear Scripture that calls something “always sinful”, we must allow each person to walk through their Christian life being led by the Holy Spirit through a sensitive conscience.

What are some principles that WOULD make cosmetic surgery clearly wrong? I think cosmetic surgery would be wrong if:

  • It is done merely to increase sexual attraction
  • It is done purely because of personal vanity
  • It is done in violation of your Godly conscience
  • If it becomes stumbling block to a weaker Christian
  • If it violates any clear principle of Scripture

Otherwise, I think we need to be careful about declaring something “always wrong” that God has not declared “always wrong”.

Let the hammering begin….

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.