“I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (Psalm 139:14)
This week's article is written by Sylvia, an American nurse (RN MSN FNP-C CEN). A medical bibliography is included below.
The human body has been incredibly designed by God. While studying human anatomy for 6 years to get my Bachelors and Masters of Science, I was constantly amazed at how perfectly every part of the body has been created.
Scientists and doctors can study the human body for decades yet still not fully know everything about the human body or understand exactly how bodily functions work. They continue to make daily discoveries about the immune system, nervous system, and others.The human body has been incredibly designed by God.Click To Tweet
The human body is incredibly complex – our kidneys, liver, thyroid, intestines, white blood cells, thymus, platelets, heart, arteries, and ligaments are intricately designed, billions of cells working as God intended them to in order to keep us alive and functioning.
It can be an act of worship to study the human body, if one comes away with an awe and wonder of our incredible Creator. During years of studying the human body, two realizations came to my mind over and over:
- God's design is more complex and perfect than we can even imagine.
- God did not make mistakes. The human body is designed to function, and function well.
So, does this relate to baby boys being circumcised?
Of course it does. We as Christians should realize that the prepuce is not a mistake. In fact, it has purpose and function, just like all of our other organs.
Our Creator God intended the majority of mammals, both males and females, to have it. In fact, dogs, cats, horses, cows, mice, and humans all have a prepuce. In female humans, it is called the “clitoral hood.” In males, it is called the “foreskin.” Humans are the only mammals that have their prepuce removed – infant boys in the USA and a few other areas and girls in the Middle East and Central Africa.
Remember how some organs were once considered “useless” and routinely removed, but then later discovered to have important functions? Tonsils, for instance, are now known to provide immunologic protection.
No body part is without function and purpose. Far from being “extra skin” as many think, the foreskin is very complex. Some of the many functions of the male foreskin include:
In infants and young boys, the foreskin is tightly adhered to the glans (head), such as your fingernail is to your finger. This prevents any bacteria from entering the urethra (urinary tract).
Many people do not realize that the glans was designed to be an internal organ; in the intact male it is a mucous membrane, soft and moist – like the inside of your cheek. After circumcision, constant exposure to air and the external environment decrease sensitivity, causing the glans to keratinize (become dried out and rough). God did not design the glans to be an external organ.
In fact, one of the most common complications with circumcision, meatal stenosis, is when the urethral opening becomes narrowed and scarred from this constant exposure to the outside environment. Meatal stenosis is virtually non-existent in intact males.
The foreskin has thousands of sensitive nerve endings. In fact, it is far more sensitive than the glans (head). The glans only contains pressure receptors, but the foreskin has thousands of “fine touch” nerve receptors. The same types are found on the fingertips and lips. Modern circumcision removes virtually all of these nerve endings. And as men age, their sensitivity tends to decrease even more, which can lead to difficulties in intercourse. The USA both has high rates of male circumcision and extraordinarily high consumption of Viagra. Studies have found that circumcision decreases sexual pleasure (see bibliography).
The foreskin provides 1/2 of the erogenous tissue in the area. This tissue is double layered, a total of about 15 square inches in an adult. This double layer provides a comfortable “gliding” during intercourse, a friction-less rolling action. Circumcision of males removes this “gliding” mechanism, often requiring couples to depend on artificial lubricants during intercourse. Otherwise, they may experience dryness and painful friction. In intact males and females, artificial lubricants are rarely needed since they are functioning the way God designed them to. The foreskin also produces pheromones and contains estrogen receptors.
The foreskin provides special immune protection against pathogens including bacteria and HIV, including protective lysozyme, chymotrypsin, cytokyne, and Langerhans cells. It also contains beneficial flora in the healthy human, just as the intestines and vagina do. The foreskin is a self-cleaning organ in young children, just like an eye, and so needs no special care or cleaning. It should never be pulled back by a caregiver. Older boys and men only require water to keep clean, but nothing else.
Why should Christians care about this? When God created the world, He said that everything was “very good.” This includes all of the human body, including the prepuce/foreskin. We should praise Him for creating our bodies “fearfully and wonderfully,” not amputate parts of babies that are healthy and beneficial.
I encourage every parent-to-be: please respect God’s design of your baby boy or baby girl. Leave him or her intact, perfect, and whole!
Note: ancient Biblical circumcision – which is not required of Christians – was quite different from modern circumcision. It left the majority of the foreskin intact, meaning the functions mentioned above were still present. Today’s modern USA circumcision is more damaging. Click here to see a drawing depicting the difference.
Bensley, G. and Boyle, G., “Effects of male circumcision on female arousal and orgasm”, N Z Med J 116 (2003): 595-596. [link]
Cold, C. and Taylor, J., “The Prepuce”, BJU** 83 (1999): suppl. 1: 34–44. [link]
Kim, D. and Pang, M., “The effect of male circumcision on sexuality”, BJU International 99 (2007): 619-22. [link]
O’Hara, K. and O’Hara, J., “The effect of male circumcision on the sexual enjoyment of the female partner”, BJU 83 (1999): suppl. 1: 79–84. [link]
Sorrells, M. et al., “Fine-touch pressure thresholds in the adult penis”, BJU International 99 (2007): 864-869. [link]
Taylor, J. et al., “The prepuce: Specialized mucosa of the penis and its loss to circumcision”, BJU 77 (1996): 291–295. [link]
See also “Foreskin Functions”, a list compiled from medical sources, 2017. At foreskinfunction.org. Text only.
See also “Functions of the Foreskin: Purposes of the Prepuce”, 2009. http://www.drmomma.org/2009/09/functions-of-foreskin-purposes-of.html [Advisory: anatomical photographs and frank discussion included.]