I was instantly intrigued to hear that the kidneys held such high status across the ancient world.
The kidneys were known figuratively and symbolically for many things, including as the seat of: Emotions, Morality & Ethical Activity, Vigour & Wisdom (Eknoyan, 2005 & Kopple, 1994).
Unbelievable…. I guess the reason I find all these references to the kidneys in the bible so fascinating is because... I live with kidney failure.
If you believe in what the kidneys stood for, and the meaning given to them in the Bible:
What happens when you have NO working kidneys?
How are these characteristics to be seen? Am I to feel less of a person, not just physically, but spiritually?
The people of the ancient world viewed the kidneys as mysterious organs surrounded by an ancient aura, hidden deep in the body.
Today, science has shown the kidneys as anatomical structures that remove and excrete waste. Certainly not as alluring and fascinating as biblical writers revealed.
Is there a way we can view the kidneys, once again, as the bible did?
Not from a scientific or personal viewpoint. Is it possible to view the kidneys through a lens more akin to what the ancients thought of them; as seats of morality, wisdom, emotions and ethical value.
If, as the bible suggests (Eknoyan, 2005), God weighs us by the measure of our acts on earth, I would be happy for him NOT to see my two dysfunctional and useless kidneys but to see a transplanted kidney, the ‘Gift of Life’.
This gift of love and humanity, given freely and thoughtfully, allows me to live a life with less suffering and pain. This viewpoint shows once again the importance and focus of the kidneys as written about in the bible, characteristic of wisdom, moral & ethical activity.
Nowhere in life can the coming together of science and religion, of the intelligence and ingenuity of people, of the generosity of humankind, as depicted in the bible, be seen as in the act of transplantation.
Being a donor for another person is probably the greatest act of humanity that someone can give.
What greater example of ‘Biblical’ love of our neighbour than among kidney donors and those they save.
Love shines in from the organ donor and never ending gratitude from the person receiving this ‘Gift of Life’ flows back.
My original kidneys may have already ‘gone to God’. And if, as the bible suggests, God examines the ethical nature of man through the kidneys, I would be very happy to be judged by the transplanted kidney that was so thoughtfully and lovingly shared with me.
Organ Donation is a gift of humankind back to God, which science lovingly provides.
Burton S. E. "Kidneys". Accessed 04/01/2022 https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/kidneys/
Eknoyan, G. (2005). The kidneys in the Bible: what happened?. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, 16(12), 3464-3471.
Kopple J, D (1994) The Biblical View of the Kidney. Am J Nephrol;14:279-281. doi: 10.1159/000168735
Maio G. (1999). The metaphorical and mythical use of the kidney in antiquity. American journal of nephrology, 19(2), 101–106. https://doi.org/10.1159/000013434