Today I stumbled across some good reading relating to science and the Bible. I looked up 'circumcision' in the Tyndale Bible Dictionary to gain a better understanding of the topic while I was reading through Exodus. I found great information (that I have yet to finish reading), but here are my thoughts thus far.
Circumcision was practiced even before the Hebrew people. Males were circumcised around puberty, often for fertility reasons, but also for preparation for marriage and full tribal responsibilities. Circumcision became established with the Hebrew people when God established his covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17). For the Hebrew people thereafter it became a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham. The Hebrew people were then the only people to circumcise during infancy. Today, it is often practiced for hygienic reasons and only within Judaism does it carry religious implications.
My thoughts and opinions:
There were a few things of note that I find fascinating. Most fascinating is how God's instruction about circumcision displays his Creator knowledge of physiology. "Medical research has determined that prothrombin, a substance in the blood that aids in clotting, is present in greater quantity on the eighth day than at any other time in life." In many Western nations today it is practiced a few days after birth because of the hygienic benefits believed to be a result - prevention of genital cancer for both sexes. Although it is regularly practiced in medicine today, I am considering waiting for the eighth day if I ever have a son.
Another interesting point is that circumcision is not mentioned in the Koran. However, Muslims practice circumcision traditionally because Muhammad was circumcised. In contrast to Judaism or Western culture, males are commonly circumcised at age 13 because that is when Ishmael was circumcised. Ishmael is significant because Arabs trace their ancestry to Abraham through Ishmael.
Finally, circumcision was a sign of the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham. The fact that it was done in infancy reaffirmed the covenant for each generation, regardless of faith or unbelief. By this, God made it so that no matter the response of the heart of the people, his covenant would be fulfilled. There was nothing the people could do to bring about or hinder the fulfilling of God's covenant. I guess I like Elwell's and Comfort's interpretation of that meaning because it points back to the Gospel - there is nothing we humans can do to earn or hinder our salvation and sanctification through the blood of Jesus.
I guess I do not have any questions for now.
Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale reference library (p 285). Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers.