Body Worlds and the Cycle of Life at the Houston Museum of Natural Science is one of those “don’t miss” exhibits that may change your life – or at least the way you view it.
It’s not until you see the body stripped of its skin, with everything exposed, that you are mesmerized by God’s design and the miracle that is human life. Body Worlds provides a look into your future based on how you treat your body today, and is the scientific evidence behind God’s command to treat our bodies like temples.
Body Worlds is one version of a few exhibits that have travelled around the world displaying actual human bodies, preserved, in this case, by the meticulous process of plastination. The bodies are then placed in various positions, allowing visitors to see all the parts in action. In separate processes, organs are removed and sliced into cross sections, displaying cancer and other diseases and how they wreak havoc on the body. A smoker’s lungs are placed next to healthy lungs so the devastating effects of tobacco use are inarguable. Obesity and its effects are clearly obvious as you view a side-by-side comparison of a body filled with fat – inside and out – next to a model of what a healthy body should look like.
None of this is eerie or disturbing. You have to be there to experience it. It draws out more of a sense of awe and wonder. Every artery, every vein, every organ, the entire central nervous system – all are displayed individually with a placard explaining its purpose. Put it all together, the bones, muscles and inner workings, and it’s a marvel to observe. What comprised the body and makes it work is just staggering to envision.
Looking at the body this way, I can’t imagine how anyone can doubt not just the majesty and power of God, but His very existence. Did the body come together purely by evolution? Was it mere survival adaptations that created the tiny bones inside the ear and perfect amount of fluid to allow the inner ear to vibrate and hear sounds? I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that. And attending this exhibit will make it very hard to deny that there is a higher power at work, one who is producing miracles every single time a baby is born.
And speaking of babies… One of the more enlightening aspects of this exhibit hits you the moment you walk in the door. Displayed before you are embryos at various stages of growth, all the way from just a couple weeks in utero to 9 months. It is bewildering to see a fetus at just 6 weeks old, already with a clearly formed and distinguishable tiny body, the length of just the last segment of your finger. The detail, even at that size, will stop you in your tracks.
That first part of the exhibit sets the tone as you progress through the displays. Throughout, you are reminded that everything you do now affects your body, your temple. Lifestyle choices matter. Smoking, drinking, exercising, eating – these are the obvious contributors to bad or good health, and they are 100 percent controlled by the choices you make. But aside from the physical displays that bear this out, there were messages everywhere, both literal and figurative.
Walls of photos of centenarians, beaming in their photos and explaining how they lived to be 100 and beyond. “I surrounded myself with love, which is all that really matters,” one said. Another described a lifestyle of healthy food choices and daily walks. One still water skis at 95 years old. Many talked about finding a purpose in life, volunteering, getting involved in church groups.
But then there were the unspoken messages. Your body is a miracle. Treasure it. Take good care of it. Be a good steward of it. Use it. Keep it moving and active. Practice moderation. Enjoy all that God has provided and remember what is important: fresh air, sunshine, love, companionship, activity, good food, volunteerism, purpose, positivity.
Our bodies are God’s gift to us, and we have them for a limited time. Check out this exhibit for a clear reminder of the existence and power of a God who knows all our needs and provides for them.
Body Worlds & the Cycle of Life is on exhibit until May 31. Tickets are $30 a person for non-members of the museum and can be purchased online or at the museum. Note: The Museum is practicing all CDC guidelines. Masks are mandatory and times are assigned to limit the number of people in the exhibit at any given time.