Surgeons have been using bodies donated for medical research to experiment with face transplant surgery. The proposed surgery has raised the hopes of potential patients whose faces have been severely disfigured in accidents while sparking an intense debate among ethicists.
Recent breakthroughs in transplanting skin have opened the door for face transplant research. However, questions remain about the surgical procedure:
- Can drugs successfully reduce the potential for rejection of the new skin?
- How will the new face look after being transplanted onto a face with different bone structure?
- What criteria should be used in choosing recipients of the new faces?
- How will transplant recipients adjust emotionally to their new faces?
While we marvel at the medical breakthroughs and wonder about the future ethical problems, lets not forget the members of the religious community have been experimenting with face replacement for thousands of years.
In fact, the Pharisees perfected the art of face transplants way back in the days of the Christ. There was no need for surgery. They found the only medication needed was some strong anesthesia for the heart. Once the heart was deadened, they could put on a new face with few complications.
Jesus called them out about their face-replacement lifestyle. “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! Blind Pharisees! First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too. How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:25-28 NLT
New face transplant surgery offers new hope to those whose faces have been disfigured. While the ancient religious face replacement procedure disfigures those who have misplaced their hope.
God save us from two-faced living.