For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.
We are creatures who are created in the image of God. From the microscopic level of actin and myosin fibrils, to our macroscopic ability to run, jump and dance, the intricate complexities of our bodies sing out in praise of their Creator. At these and many more levels, the human body shouts “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” But even as we rejoice in our Creator, our bodies bear the unmistakable signs of humankind’s fall into sin. Eyes that require correction in order to see, digestive systems that cannot tolerate gluten or lactose, and tumors that grow uncontrollably are all examples of a creation that is groaning to be set free from its slavery to corruption. These limitations remind us of our separation from God, but even in our fallen state, we can still sing out that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” because we are creatures who are created in the image of our Creator, and this means that we too are creators. As creators we have the opportunity to design devices that mitigate the groaning of our corrupted bodies. Creating devices that improve health and functionality allow people more opportunities to live, love and praise their Creator. Do people misuse these devices? Without any doubt, the answer is yes; we are finite, sinful creatures, after all. However when done correctly, the goal of easing physical suffering walks hand in hand with our calling to love God and neighbor. Broadly speaking this is the aim of biomedical engineering, which applies different aspects of traditional engineering fields (e.g. mechanical, electrical, materials) to augment the structure and function of the human body.
The devices and solutions that biomedical engineers create cannot reverse the groaning that results from humankind’s sin; they can only temporarily alleviate them. Perhaps this means that in the New Creation there will be no need for biomedical engineers. We can only speculate. But until then, the field of biomedical engineering provides an exciting opportunity to directly work toward easing the suffering caused by our sin.