Why We Need Tears

Why We Need Tears

The human body is amazing. Things we take for granted or try to explain in simple ways turn out to be incredibly complex when we fully understand how they work. Tears are a classic example. Most of us don’t realize why we need tears and that we have three different kinds.

Basal tears lubricate our eyes. They are generated in the lacrimal gland, which sits just above the eye and just under the eyebrow. The word “lacrimal” comes from the Latin word for tear, which is “lacrima.”

Reflex tears form in response to irritants. You are most familiar with them when you cut an onion or are exposed to smoke or dirt. These tears have a complex mix of saltwater mixed with antibodies, oils, and enzymes that are not present in basal tears.

Emotional tears carry protein-based hormones, including leucine-enkephalin, which is a natural pain killer released when the body is under stress. Crying causes the release of oxytocin and endorphins, which are chemicals that help us feel better. Crying also may generate social support, depending on the situation.

Interestingly, babies don’t produce tears until they are seven or eight months old. The average human produces 15 to 30 gallons of tears a year. It is incredible that such a simple thing as tears has such a complex design and serves so many different purposes. It is easy to see why we need tears.

The more I learn about God’s design of my body, the more I appreciate the statement of David: “I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works” (Psalms 139:14).

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Reference: Reader’s Digest, February 2020, page 34-36.

Misconceptions of Heaven

Misconceptions of Heaven In a series of studies, I became impressed with some serious misconceptions of heaven that are common among believers and non-believers alike.

One misconception is that heaven is a physical place with physical relationships. Jesus faced this same misconception among the people of His day. In Matthew 22:28-30, someone asked whose wife a woman would be in the afterlife because she/had been married more than once. His reply was, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” In our day, we find people talking and joking about doing physical activities in heaven such as golf, fishing, and the like. I do not have enough information to determine whether we will know one another in heaven. I do know that heaven will be such a beautiful existence that nothing we have ever experienced on Earth can begin to approach it. No negative physical emotions exist In heaven – neither sorrow, nor pain, nor tears, nor crying, nor death (Revelation 21:4).

One of the prominent misconceptions of heaven by many people is that it’s a literal city of gold floating in the sky. Second Peter 3:10-12 describes the end of time as when the “elements are dissolved with fervent heat.” Nothing physical will remain, and our existence will be one of a “spiritual body.” “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God… we shall all be changed … and put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:44-58). We must remember that Christ clearly stated: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). In Christ’s day, people refused to accept that He would not rule a literal, physical kingdom, and so today people expect a temporal rule of an earthly nature.

Time-dependent existence is another of the misconceptions of heaven. Not only will there be no physical form or physical problems in heaven, but time itself will not exist. A child asked me what would happen when heaven was over. Like a lot of us, this child had not considered what eternity really is. Time does not exist in eternity. This also means that all the things associated with time will not exist either. God is the Alpha and the Omega. Before time was, God was. We think too small when we try to lock God into our time capsule.

Another one of the common misconceptions of heaven is that it will be boring. A man once told me that he did not want to go to heaven because he did not want to spend eternity singing hymns and/or playing a harp. This was an intelligent and sincere man who said everything he read about heaven in the Bible sounded as “boring as church.”

There are indeed statements in the Bible about being with God and singing to God. Again the problem is attaching physical significance to heavenly acts. Heaven will not be an eternal church service. It will be a union with God which has some parallels with our worship on Earth, but it will be free of the negative feelings and irritations we sometimes experience here. Those of us who have had the privilege of participating in a worship service which raised our spirits, brought us great peace, and lifted us through song and prayers may have had a taste of the feeling we will have in heaven. It will be a timeless spiritual “high” with our God which is so beautiful that our limited minds can only faintly comprehend it.

There are undoubtedly other misconceptions of heaven, but their root is probably the same as what we have already considered. In our present materialistic realm, we cannot understand a non-physical existence, and thus we will have misconceptions of heaven and hell. Although we “see in a mirror darkly,” with study and thought we can “press on to the mark.” Praise God for all we have now and all we have to look forward to!
— John N. Clayton © 2019

Types of Tears – There are Three

Types of Tears – There are Three
In April of 2016, I received a note from Charles and Brenda Beard who asked if I had ever studied the subject of tears? I put that in my list of topics to investigate thinking that types of tears could not be very complicated. There should be only one type of tears that came with different kinds of situations. Upon researching tears, I have learned that there are three types of tears, and they are different in function and different in composition.

BASAL TEARS keep the cornea of the eye continually wet and nourished. They also lubricate the eye and keep it free of dust. Tears of this type contain water, mucin, lipids, lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, lacritin. immunoglobulins, glucose, urea, sodium, and potassium. The substances such as lysozyme fight against bacterial infection by dissolving a layer in the outer coating of certain types of bacteria. This action is part of the body’s complex immune system.

Basal tears also contain antioxidants including ascorbate, urate, cysteine, glutathione, and tyrosine. For those of us that aren’t biochemists, this simply means there is a complex, designed system in the tear production of our eyes. This system keeps this vulnerable, exposed surface from being destroyed by agents in the world around us that would attack such a sensitive area.

Typically a person will secrete .03-.04 ounces (.75-1.1 grams) of this body fluid per day. If you have had a family member or even a pet that could not produce tears, you know that very quickly the eye becomes unusable. Basal tears are a carefully compounded chemical substance essential to our vision.

REFLEX TEARS attempt to wash away anything that irritates the eyes. When foreign particles or irritants contact the eye or nasal area, TRP (amino acid) channels in the ophthalmic nerve act to produce these tears. Most of us have produced tears when working with certain substances such as when cutting onions. Tear gas, pepper spray, or some fragrances cause this same reaction. Yawning, coughing, or vomiting can trigger these tears. Bright lights shining in your eyes or hot, peppery substances in your mouth also trigger reflex tears. The fluid, which is water laced with amino acids, help to wash away the irritant.

Those are two types of tears that are very important. There is also a third type which we will talk about tomorrow.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Data from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.