Monday, January 11, 2010

God World I

I am religious about donating blood, so I was thrilled to find a drive at The Franklin Institute last Tuesday, eight weeks after my last donation.  This one came with a really cool incentive -- a ticket to Body World 2 for donors.  It just so happens Christine is taking high school Biology and Scott had missed the exhibit the last time around -- Perfect!  Tickets are costly, but well worth it; one free ticket would defray the cost for the three of us substantially.

Well, it worked -- I donated, and after putting in my obligatory time at the canteen (the part I hate the most -- sitting still, doing nothing "for no good reason") we got our tickets and went in.  We slowly visited each model, staring open-mouthed at numerous examples of the Artist's handiwork -- the Artist being Our Heavenly Father.  The man hailed as the artist by the exhibit is Gunther von Hagens, and as far as I can see, he is more the messenger.  He has taken the wonders of God's creation and used them to proclaim God's imagination, His sheer genius and His deep love for mankind.  Gunther von Hagens, sometimes heretofore referred to as "The Messenger" takes the bodies of donors and, through a process called Plastination which he developed, preserves them for us to study, admire and stared at, open-mouthed.  The Messenger's work truly is amazing.  He arranges the bodies in a multitude of activities we, the living, enjoy daily without giving much thought to them.  He preserves cross-sections and individual bone, organ, and nerve specimens.  He cuts away areas of entire bodies to show us the multitude of layers that make up our bodies.  The Messenger gives, as Christine pointed out, each work of art a new identity, renaming them according to the activities in which they are today "engaged" or the qualities von Hagens has given them. There is "The Skateboarder," "The Ponderer," (a take-off from Rodin's "The Thinker") and "The Drawer Man," an amazing full-body model in which von Hagens has cut cross-sections and replaced them back into the model, "Dali-style".  In "The Exploding Man" von Hagens has suspended components of the human body within inches of each other, allowing us to see each item from all angles, but appearing as if they could all just collapse together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. 

The website for Body World says the purpose of the exhibit is health education, strictly utilitarian in purpose.  However, the message for those who know the True Artist is unequivocally clear.  When gazing at these works of art, one can't help but admire The Artist.  Some reviews of the exhibit have questioned the audacity of The Messenger in calling himself an artist, and by definition, I must as well.  The Messenger has definitely done something amazing, he has obviously put his own perspective into each exhibit, and there appears to be a sense of "ownership" and care with which he has completed his work, but artist?  The Artist here is most definitely the One who lovingly, intricately designed each and every one of us.  In this exhibit we are able to see the physical elements of God's handiwork, and it is absolutley breathtaking.  We are able to see the heart that beats inside each one of us, the blood that gives each one of us life, the organs that work to nourish us and move us, the bones that protect some of our most valuable possessions -- all of the things that make us unique to other lifeforms but alike unto ourselves.  There is certainly artwork here, but it is God's.

As for von Hagens' role?  I can only thank and praise God for that as well.  Whether The Messenger knows it or not, he is God's messenger.  Whether it is his desire or not, God uses him to testify to The Artist's stunning creativity.  Whether The Messenger's purposes were simple or not, God's purposes are always larger.  God has used some of the most heinous, hideous and unspeakable acts to bring glory to His name, He can certainly use the curiousities and talent of one man.  We are not always part of the team, but in God's World we are always part of The Plan!
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