The Threat of Great White Sharks and Contact Lenses that Zoom: God’s Call to Excellence

Jim Denison | Denison Forum on Truth and Culture | Monday, August 19, 2019
The Threat of Great White Sharks and Contact Lenses that Zoom: God’s Call to Excellence

The Threat of Great White Sharks and Contact Lenses that Zoom: God’s Call to Excellence


“Any person could be attacked at any minute,” said a surfer who spotted a great white shark off Cape Cod. Researchers have identified at least three hundred of the huge predators in the popular area.

Nine people were injured last night in Pennsylvania when lightning struck a tree, causing it to fall on their tent. Fleas carrying the plague have infested prairie dogs near Denver, threatening humans and prompting officials to close parts of a wildlife refuge. Overseas, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a bombing at a wedding that killed sixty-three people and wounded 182 others in Kabul, Afghanistan

With all the bad news in the news, let’s focus today on some good news. 

Scientists have taken the next step in developing contact lenses that zoom when we blink. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) gave an award to a Bluetooth-connected water bottle that plays music, takes and receives phone calls, and offers caller ID. 

CES also recognized a countertop dishwasher that requires no plumbing connections; you load your dishes, add a gallon of water, and turn it on. And the event celebrated a laptop computer with a keyboard that transforms into a writing pad. 

Scientific advances are changing our lives daily. For instance, thousands of people have RFID devices implanted in their bodies so they can activate doors and computerized locks. A Tesla owner recently implanted in her arm the RFID chip that starts her car.  

Earbuds now offer real-time language translation. Exoskeletons are being tested that enable soldiers to hike long distances without fatigue. A man who is colorblind can detect color through an antenna grafted onto his skull.

What a rocket scientist said about God 

Each day’s news seems to report new ways science is improving our lives. By contrast, religious news these days is tragically focused on clergy abuse scandals, hateful rhetoric, and radical ideologies. 

It’s unsurprising that Americans trust scientists far more than they trust religious leaders today. But what if deciding between science and religion is a false choice? 

Wernher von Braun, the NASA scientist who designed the Saturn rockets: “I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science.” 

Dr. von Braun added: “There is certainly no scientific reason why God cannot retain the same relevance in our modern world that He had before we began probing His creation with telescope, cyclotron, and space vehicles.” 

“Great and hidden things that you have not known” 

Christians should not see science as an enemy. To the contrary, we should be the best scientists. 

The Bible says that God gave Daniel and his friends “learning and skill in all literature and wisdom” (Daniel 1:17). Note that this “literature and wisdom” was within Babylonian society. 

The fact that God blessed these men in a “pagan” land and culture shows that he can enable us to excel in every dimension of life, not just the so-called “religious” world. There is no secular-sacred division in Scripture. God called all that he created “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and reminded Peter that nothing he created is to be considered “unclean” (Acts 10:9-16). 

Though our world is fallen and broken due to sin (Romans 8:22), our Lord assures us he can still show us “great and hidden things that you have not known” (Jeremiah 33:3). Who better than the Creator of the universe to reveal truth about his creation? Who better than God’s children to hear his voice? 

In fact, Scripture promises: “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3, my italics).

Advice from a wise mentor 

How can we join God in a divine-human partnership that blesses the world with intellectual excellence? 

Peter urged his readers: “Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love” (2 Peter 1:5-7). 

Here’s why: “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 8). When we are committed to be as virtuous, knowledgeable, and godly as possible, we position ourselves to be used by God’s Spirit in transformative ways. 

When Moses was being “instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22), he could not have imagined the ways God would use him to lead his people from Egyptian bondage to their Promised Land. When Paul was learning secular philosophy in Tarsus, he could not have imagined the day when he would quote secular philosophers in winning intellectual leaders to Christ (Acts 17:28, 34). 

Jesus commands us to love God “with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). A wise mentor once told me, “The Holy Spirit has a strange affinity for the trained mind.” The more prepared we are, the more usable we are. 

How to “put a smile on God’s face” 

“When you do the most what you do the best, you put a smile on God’s face.”

—Max Lucado

God deserves our best. Our broken world needs our best. The greater our commitment to excellence, the greater our service to God’s kingdom and the common good. 

Author James Clear asks: “How long will you put off what you are capable of doing just to continue what you are comfortable doing?” Max Lucado notes: “When you do the most what you do the best, you put a smile on God’s face.” 

Will you “do the most what you do the best” today?

For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.

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Publication Date: August 19, 2019

Photo Courtesy: Gerald Schombs/Unsplash