I arrived home to recover from open-heart surgery. It’s been said we have a very weak grip on life being only ever one heartbeat away from eternity.
It is thought by some that the human heart begins to beat at about six weeks after conception (the ‘foetal heartbeat’). Where that spark of life comes from (a spiritual question) defies humanistic cardiac certainty. But God’s adopted children (us) know. That tiny heart grows and faithfully beats until death when the countdown to eternity begins: 5,4,3,2,1…DEATH.
What and where is it?
Being about the size of an adult clenched fist the heart lies in the front, middle of the chest behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone. It is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body providing it with the oxygen needed to function.
Simply put, it contains four one-way valves and is ‘divided’ into two halves, the less stressed half (shown in blue) and the more stressed half (shown in pink). It comprises two smaller chambers (atria) and two larger chambers (ventricles) plus the aorta, the main artery supplying oxygenated blood to the circulatory system.
Veins transport venous blood from all parts of the body back into the right (blue) side and on into the lungs for oxygenation, and is then pumped as arterial blood around the body, collected again as venous blood to the ‘blue’ side to repeat the owner’s life cycle. The heart beats between about 65-100 times per minute (mine at 95) being (what I call) the most active part of the body.
Our pulse is the “rhythmical throbbing of the arteries as blood is propelled through them”, each successive throb confirming the beating heart.
Should I or shouldn’t I?
I was lying in the cardiologist’s rooms as the female assistant performed an ultrasound scan of my recently operated on heart (in readiness for discharge) when suddenly the volume came on. This was the sound of my new bovine mitral valve (in the pink) receiving oxygenated blood from the lungs as it enters the heart to be pumped throughout the body on its life-sustaining journey.
I hesitated whether I should ask the following ‘religious’ question not wanting to invade her privacy: as you listen to that noisy swishing and slurping of my mitral valve within a ‘rush-of-blood’ to the heart do you ever wonder whether there is a great power out there causing this to happen? I mean, it’s only flesh and blood yet it’s so ‘alive’, spiritual even, operating perfectly for 70, 80 or 90+ years. Asking that question prompted only brief discussion but nothing deep and meaningful followed.
The heart operates in total silence and darkness inside our chests once the chest is closed up after surgery although that ‘swishing and slurping’ continues unabated until the last beat of life.
The LORD God: formed the man…and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living [human] being. (Genesis chapter 2 verse 7).
Jesus did not mince words about people who were spiritually dead, who lacked a ‘spiritual pulse’ for bluntly He said about excuse-makers not following Him: Follow Me and let the dead bury their own dead. (Matthew chapter 8 verse 22).
The heart of the matter
The operator did not appear to appreciate the point of the question. The wo/man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to them and s/he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 14).
The high and lofty One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy says:
I live in a high and holy place but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite [whereas] the wicked are like the tossing sea which cannot rest…There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked. (Isaiah chapter 57 verses 15, 20/21).
The more complex the subject matter the more compelling the conclusion that it didn’t just happen. It strains reason to conclude that complexity somehow just happens by itself.
Complexity must have materialised by the power of something/one outside of, external to itself such as the heart-lung machine which kept me alive during surgery when the heart was stopped and the lungs had collapsed. The central position and complexity of the human heart with its chambers and one-way valves must have had an intelligent, powerful designer and ‘builder’.
The Bible teaches that: what may be known about God is plain to the wicked men
who ‘suppress’ the truth by their wickedness, for since the creation of the world His invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse. (Romans chapter 1 verses 18-20).
But the fact that God is a great designer/Creator does not bring salvation to mankind. Jesus was sent and people have to genuinely respond to Him to be rewarded with heaven. God’s conclusion regarding those who suppress the truth about Him? They are: without excuse.
Whilst I have no idea where on the ‘spiritual scale’ the very clever caring people who operated on me stand, God (their Creator) says regarding any unbeliever(s) among them, that when their last heartbeat propels them to stand before Him, they will be without excuse.
When He says to them: why do you think I sent My Son Jesus into My world to die a brutal horrible death for you? they will helplessly stand before Him trembling and alone, unforgiven and be…without excuse. No-one ever told me???
Gavin Lawrie is a retired Barrister and Solicitor from Tweed Heads NSW Australia and author of the book: 'THE EVIDENCE OF EVOLUTION: Uncovering The Faulty Science Of Dawkins' Attack On Creationism'. He is married to Jan with two adult children and they are grandparents.
Gavin Lawrie's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/gavin-lawrie.html