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Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Massage Therapy and the Creator/Creature Distinction: An Interpretive Grid
As a Massage Therapist I live at a time when many beliefs about what I do are changing. It is imperative that I spend a good deal of time studying and reexamining what I do in a therapy session and perhaps more importantly what I think about what I am doing. Failure to do so on my part is a disservice to my clients and ultimately to my God.
The Bible says in 1Co 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” This is said in the context of a disagreement in the church regarding eating meat offered to idols. The principle of “whatever you do” seems to apply itself naturally to pretty much everything. I think of it in regard to my work.
The constant exposure to new or threatening material can cause me to worry. My beliefs are threatened and I can get defensive. I am not immune to that response. Another possibility is to listen carefully to the argument or case being made. There might very well be something there for me to learn.
One of my favorite theologians/apologists, Cornelius Van Til, once said “The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.” This is absolutely true. We have principles in God’s word that give us a foundation for all of our reasoning – even in Massage Therapy!
Let me give a really foundational one that we especially need in Massage Therapy. It is called the Creator/Creature distinction. The Bible clearly says in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” It is clear with very little thought that God is not what he created. This is foundational. Many times as a Christian Massage Therapist I encounter a challenge to my faith. I read or am told that:
God does not exist: Wrong. This verse says he does. Moreover Psa 19:1-6 says “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. Clearly everyone sees and knows this." This is often called Natural Revelation. It is part of the image of God in man that he really does know of God’s existence. So much for argument 1.
There are equal and opposite forces in the universe that I am to balance in the body with Massage Therapy. No, there is a Creator and a creation separate from him. There are no equal and opposite forces to be balanced. The creation is not held together by such eastern philosophy. Colossians 1:15-17 clearly speaks to this issue as well, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” Christ, not yin and yang, holds the universe together. Moreover, we learn in Acts 17:26 – 31, that God has established where and when each of us will live, “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Yin and Yang as a concept is very impersonal – not so the gospel. Jesus in intimately concerned. Indeed, the hairs of our head are numbered in Mt. 10:30. All of this points to the Christian doctrine of Providence that is so well described in the Westminster Confession of Faith: “CHAPTER V—Of Providence1. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold, (Heb. 1:3) direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, (Dan. 4:34–35, Ps. 135:6, Acts 17:25–26,28) from the greatest even to the least, (Matt. 10:29–31) by His most wise and holy providence, (Prov. 15:3, Ps. 104:24, Ps. 145:17) according to His infallible foreknowledge, (Acts 15:18, Ps. 94:8–11) and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, (Eph. 1:11) to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy. (Isa. 63:14, Eph. 3:10, Rom. 9:17, Gen. 45:7, Ps. 145:7)”
Thinking in terms of the Creator Creature distinction will help me to discern truth and error as a Christian Massage Therapist. There is much more to be said on this issue but I hope this is helpful in pointing you toward scripture. Scripture gives guidance in my profession. I have less anxiety when dealing with whatever new idea comes down the road when I think about this concept. As Van Til said: “The Bible is authoritative on everything of which it speaks. Moreover, it speaks of everything.”