Cosmetic surgery, also called plastic surgery, has become increasingly more popular in recent years. People are spending as much as thousands on procedures from tummy tucks, liposuction, brow lifts, botox injections, breast augmentation, nose jobs (rhinoplasty), hair transplants, and everything else. All of this raises an interesting question: Is it a sin to get plastic surgery? What does the Bible say about getting plastic surgery?
Does the Bible Say Anything About Plastic or Cosmetic Surgery?
We have to keep in mind that during the time span the Bible was written, medical knowledge was not very advanced. If someone had surgery, there was an incredibly high risk of infection or death due to unclean surgical practices. For this reason, most any type of cosmetic surgery would have been rare.
Also, people were not as concerned with their appearance as they are today. We live in a society that places great importance on your physical appearance. The Bible warned that in the last days, one of the characteristics of society would be vanity and selfishness:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Tmothy 3:1-5
In the passage above, I emphasized the words, “People will be lovers of themselves; proud, conceited.” While not everyone who seeks plastic surgery is this way, people with those characteristics seem to always concern themselves with their appearance.
Nevertheless, the Bible is silent on the issue of cosmetic surgery specifically. We know that people did try to improve their appearance on occasion, even in the Old Testament. The ancient Egyptians painted their eyes, and also wore perfumes and oils to make themselves more appealing looking.
The Bible doesn’t forbid makeup, but it does warn against dressing or acting in a way so as to draw attention to yourself:
likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire,
1 Timothy 2:9
This verse warns women of not putting too much focus on physical appearance. This doesn’t necessarily forbid any kind of physical care or makeup, but is saying to limit it and not put too much focus on it. This same principle would also apply to many plastic surgery procedures as well.
Is It a Sin to Get Plastic (Cosmetic) Surgery Done? What About Corrective Surgery for a Deformity?
Whether or not plastic surgery is a sin depends greatly upon the type of surgery, and more importantly, the spirit behind it. Is a woman enhancing the size of her breasts so she can be attractive to other men? Or getting botox so she can look younger than her friends and attract more compliments? If so, this is sin, for the Bible says:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Of course, there may be gray areas where a necessary surgery could be done in a way so as to enhance the appearance of something. For example, if a person has rotten teeth, it is not necessarily vanity to have them fixed, because rotten teeth can lead to health problems like abscesses or infection. In that case, if you have to have your teeth fixed anyway, why not make them look nice?
But is it right spending thousands and thousands of dollars trying to look perfect when some people could be saved if they got a $2 pill tonight? Is it worth it staring in the mirror all day long stressing over a big nose or small breasts when there is a child out there crying to their parents after they found out they are dying from cancer? Sometimes it helps to count our blessings, and thank God for the time we have on this Earth, and the blessings He did give us.
Satan loves for us to put the focus on “self,” but the Bible clearly teaches we must deny self. We must DIE to self. Jesus said,
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
To deny yourself and take up the cross was like accepting the death penalty. The cross was a symbol of death by torture. It is like using an illustration of an electric chair in today’s time.
People considering plastic surgery should also remember that they don’t own their bodies, God does:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Also, God is not concerned with our appearance, but with our hearts. Is your heart pure before God? Are you being obedient? Or are you living in sin?
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
Finally, many people die each year on the operating table. Plastic surgery, especially the type where they put you under anesthesia, is a very serious operation. People die from these surgeries. Also, you must consider the fact that many people have a procedure done, and they actually look worse than before. Some even become addicted to plastic surgery and end up looking unrecognizable.
The Bible teaches that we should care for our bodies. We should eat healthy, exercise, and dress nicely so that God can get glory from our behavior. We should have our beauty in our actions, not our bodies.
Beauty is a blessing from God. Not all of us are meant to look extravagantly beautiful. Praise God for whatever gift he gave you, because you certainly have one. God gives us all blessings, talents, and gifts.