“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

"Disabled" by design

And Jehovah said to him, Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the
dumb, or the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Is it not I Jehovah?
(Leviticus 4:11)

Moses tells God that he didn't do the greatest job on his mouth. He says he is "heavy of mouth" and "heavy of tongue." Good description. However, in spite of his qualms, God doesn't relent. God responds with a kind of a rhetorical question put down. God knows Moses' mouth. The reply, however, is much broader when it says "who made man's mouth." To me the implication is that God knows about mouths (being the inventor) not just Moses' mouth, and also knows about the variations within and between mouths. "Who makes the dumb" God goes on to say, implying 1) that he knows of the variation between mouths, and 2) that he made the variations between mouths. That is, God even made the mouths of the dumb, those who cannot speak for whatever reason.

These observations on God's part are not restricted to the mouth, however. He goes on to say, "or the deaf" (i.e. variations in the ear) or the "seeing or the blind" (i.e. variations in the eye). Once again, the implication is that God created the variations we see in human beings, down to what are called disabilities; being unable to speak, unable to hear, or unable to see. One would assume that these variations could also include other types of "disability" including physical and mental differences. After all, sensorineural deafness and blindness imply nerve tissue insults or changes which would include mental retardation.

Taking this type of thinking to its final conclusion, these individuals we call persons with disability, are in reality part of the normal variation within human functioning. To think that God created a person who is unable to speak as a person who is unable to speak changes 1) the way I think about that person, 2) the language I choose to describe the abilities of that person, 3) the notion of who God is.

We will revisit these ideas.



CWG said...

Hi there
I want to encourage you in your quest for God's truth. My career is working with individuals with various disabilities from deafness to Autism. You are right in the way we can see folks with disabilities. John Magee founder of Gentle Teaching International talks about how he see's Chist in the individuals that he works with. Thanks for your insight it is inspiring and encouraging....Press on.

Anonymous said...

I’ve always wondered if imperfection were a part of creation or if it was a result of Adam’s fall. After the creation of Adam and Eve, God pronounced his creation very good; Gen 1:27, 31 – “(27) so God created humankind in his image, in the image of god he created the; male and female he created them (31) God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”

Adam and Eve were given a garden to live in, animals to care for, and food to eat. They were only given one command, obedience, with the sentence for disobedience being death, “And the Eternal God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it. And the Eternal God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat: for in the day that thou eat thereof thou shalt surely die!"- (Gen. 2:15-17).

But since they did not die right away did the death sentence mean the introduction of imperfection into their creation, resulting in a gradual disintegration of their perfect bodies and eventual death?

If this is true, how can we attribute disabilities to God’s creation? Perhaps the fault is Satan’s, since he is ultimately responsible for the introduction of sin into the world. In John it even says that he is the ruler of this world, John 12: 31, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out.” John 14:30, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me.” 2 Cor. 4:4, “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the Glory of Christ, who is in the image of God.”

I believe that our present state of imperfection is a direct result of Satan’s influence and Adam’s sin. But God in his divine goodness has given us a Savior, who is prepared to take on our sin. We must have hope, for the Lord has promised deliverance from our infirmities.
Isaiah 35: 5-6 – Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.

Anonymous said...

I think that God makes no mistakes, and that we are all designed to be who we are.
When I was pregnant with my daughter who is now five, the ultrasound showed water on her kidney-called hydronephrosis-a condition commonly found in people with Down's Syndrome. Some people in my life were stunned and told me they would terminate their pregnancy at the slightest abnormality. I never even considered that an option.
I read up on Down's and was suprised to learn that some people believe that people with Down's have a poor quality of life-a life not worth living.
My daughter was born and is completely fine. She is healthy and smart. I can't imagine how many people have terminated a pregnancy because of something like this.
What really bothers me is the view that people with Down's are not people who have a good quality of life. This frightens me to know that people set their own standards for so-called "quality of life." It seems that some would prefer a society that doesn't include any people with a disability.
As far as I am concerned I believe that God makes no mistakes and we do through our attitudes and perceptions. We are all brothers and sisters and should treat each other with loving care.
Elizabeth Ryan