As part of our curriculum at Concordia, we often incorporate components of faith into the coursework. Each professor does this differently using a variety of methods including Bible verses, class discussions, or written essays. One way that I’ve brought faith into the classroom in my Human Anatomy and Physiology course is through my Faith and Physiology assignment. Not only has this achieved a union between the subject matter and belief in God, it has been a project that many students enjoy doing.

This project provides an opportunity for students to incorporate the wonder of God’s creation into the topics of my course. In other courses in the core curriculum, students will have already discussed what Martin Luther wrote about vocation and the many vocations we all have. For instance, God will give one student the vocations of sister, daughter, Sunday school teacher, and nurse. My course helps prepare many students for a variety of health-related vocations where they will serve God by helping others. This assignment ties in with the student’s faith, their future vocations, and the topics of anatomy and physiology.

What! Another Assignment?

While no student wants to accumulate mounds of homework, the focus of this project is usually somewhat enjoyable and a change of pace for many students. Students also have some freedom in choosing how they want to produce a final product. Learners are allowed to produce a work of art (painting, poem, cartoon strip, or drawing), film a short video, write a work of fiction, or analyze three Bible verses of their choice. However, each category must specifically address the student’s knowledge of physiology and vocation and tie that into their faith.

For a work of art, students provide a detailed description of why they used images or words to portray their vocation. In a fictional story, students will write about their career in the future usually in a stressful healthcare situation. Then, they describe the physiology and how God has provided them with the education and skills to treat the patient effectively.

For the Bible verses, students scour the Bible for any verse that discusses anatomy or physiology. There are a lot! For instance, blood is mentioned more than 300 times. If a student chooses a verse containing blood, they will first analyze the verse in terms of faith and what the verse means to their lives and future vocations. Next, they will talk about what modern science knows about the biological attributes of blood as a review of what they have learned in the course.

Feedback from Students

Generally, students enjoy completing this assignment (as much as can be expected from a graded project.) Below are two quotes from recent student evaluations highlighting the project as a favorite part of the course.

“I enjoyed the faith and physiology paper because it let me take a break from the hustle of life and let me sit back to reflect on the goodness of God and be thankful for everything he provides humans”.

“Moreover, she was good about relating anatomy and physiology to the Christian faith. Her faith and physiology project served as a non-stressful, fun assignment that allowed students to apply their faith to anatomy through a creative medium.”


Thus far in my course, I have enjoyed seeing the creativity and originality students employ when they complete this project. Through this assignment, students combine their faith with their vocational goals while learning the basic information needed to obtain their degree. Being able to incorporate faith into physiology within the classroom is a unique attribute of attending a Christ-centered University and something I truly enjoy about teaching at CUW.

This story is written by Sarah Lovern, PhD, Professor of Biology.