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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Wow, what a world!


A few weeks ago, following the UMBC Research Symposium, I was talking with a group of students about some of the research that we'd observed throughout the day. We were all impressed by the various projects and the depth of scope in some of the work. As we were discussing the joys of discovering things that were new to us, somehow we ended up talking about creatures of the sea (The Discovery Channel's "Blue Planet" was about to air) and some of the creatures that are discussed in the Bible. Have you ever read this verse in Revelations Chapter 4: 6-8 (New King James Version)?

"Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “ Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” "

When I read this for the first time, I remember ignoring it. It was just too "different" to comprehend. I've been recently more fascinated and believe that it's too awesome to ignore. I'll tell you why. After learning about some of the animals under the sea, I began to see that there are already creatures that have some of these unimaginable characteristics. Let's take a look:

But my absolute favorites are these from Claire Nouvian's book: "The Deep"




Weird? Scary even? Yes to both for me! After all, I heard someone say that the Dumbo Octopus on the right looks like it has a finger for a nose. The marrus orthocanna on the left is a deep sea siphonophore, part of the jellyfish family. I once read that sometimes you can see their digestive systems through their transparent tissues. And the middle picture is in the finfan angler family, and they look simultaneously fascinating and frightening. (Here's more about a deep sea project -the Serpent Project- between BP and the University of Southhampton in the U.K.:
http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/STAGING/global_assets/downloads/B/BPM_04one_P14-18_deep_blue_sea.pdf)

So my new thought is as follows:

If these creatures exist now -- on this earth, why shouldn't I be able to wrap my mind around creatures with 6 wings and full of eyes that will give glory to a Holy God in heaven?




19 comments:

YC CHEN said...

This is truly an "eye-opening" piece and yes, pun intended. Thank you so much for sharing, Dr. Tull. I, too, have wondered about creatures mentioned in the Revelation passage from time to time. To be sure, there is scriptural interpretation of their significance and I accept them. However, the scientist in me struggled to see their forms in my mind’s eye. May be I lack the “source material” that can stretch my imagination as well as my faith? No more!  (especially after more browsing of the links found in the article.)

Thank you again for rescuing me from an “isolated perspective” on this matter.

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