The issue of cosmetic surgery isn't specially covered in The Bible, leaving Christians to debate whether it's spiritually acceptable to alter a body that God created in his own image.
Without explicit biblical instructions, it is mostly left up to the individual to consider the social, medical, emotional and psychological aspects to make an informed decision.
Opinions are naturally varied. Here are seven quotes from the heated debate:
In January, a Vatican document titled "Women's Cultures: Equality and Difference" condemned elective plastic surgeries, such as breast implants and tummy tucks, as "manipulations of the body that explore its limits with respect to the concept of identity." One woman told the report's authors that "plastic surgery is like a burqa made of flesh." A burqa is an outer garment worn by some Muslim women to conceal the body in public.
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2. Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr.
is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, one of the world's largest seminaries. He tackled the question of whether Christians should seek cosmetic surgery in 2006, and wrote: "As a society, we have corrupted the vision of beauty to the extent that some persons have procedure after procedure, entailing medical risk and using finite resources."
Using an example of a mother getting her daughter breast augmentation as a high school graduation gift, Mohler continued: "Something is seriously wrong here. How can we square these developments with the fact that the Bible stresses the value of inner beauty and the passing nature of all physical beauty? We are witnessing a mania of distorted beauty."
In an article for Christianity Today, poster Mary Anne Mayo wrote: "Nowhere does the Bible condemn undergoing elective self-improvement procedures
. But while it's silent on cosmetic surgery, God's Word has much to say about the condition of our heart and the upkeep of our body, his temple. Ultimately, your motivation, expectations, and safety must determine what you decide to do. Bottom line: You need to be sure you're applying the correct medicine for what ails you!"
Lilian Calles Barger, author of "Eve's Revenge: Women and a Spirituality of the Body," told Christianity Today in 2009 that the choice to undergo cosmetic surgery
comes at a cost. "If you tell me, 'my mother had cosmetic surgery. She's a very independent woman. She really loves God and she wants to do this, and this is her choice,' I say, 'This is not a free choice. This choice is under duress.' ... The body is not just a hunk of meat. The Bible talks about how we are to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God. The question is: What are we offering our bodies up to when we do that?"
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In that same piece, former model Cena Rasmussen said: "I don't think [cosmetic surgery] is a spiritual issue in any way. I personally believe that when we die, we're going to have a glorified body that's not going to be physical in any way. So what does the Lord care what we do to our skin?"
Inner beauty may be a Christian ideal, though a December 2007 article with the headline, "All I Want for Christmas is a Bigger Bust," suggested that it may not be practical. In the story, an unnamed woman who participated in a Today's Christian Woman
roundtable discussion was quoted in Christianity Today: "Talking about internal beauty is fine for a grandmother or a mentor, but what about for a teenage girl trying to attract a mate? How she looks determines what kind of husband she'll get."
Following a January 2015 near-death plastic surgery mishap, Brazilian model Andressa Urach told The Daily Mail that the experience was punishment from God for her vanity
"I knew that I'd left my body and died," Urach told the paper. "I arrived in an empty place, like a desert, completely silent. That's when I knew that God exists. I felt his presence. I knew I was at the judgment. My life flashed before me like a film. I felt ashamed and knew I wasn't worthy to enter heaven. I asked for forgiveness and begged for another chance, promised to make amends."
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