The Wonders of World Book
Have you ever discovered some random bit of information that sounded so impressive that you felt just a tad more significant, simply because you knew it? When I was a kid, total boredom drove me to browsing the ‘S’ volume of our set of World Book encyclopedias (remember those?). I was interested in learning more facts about outer space, of course, because I had seen the authoritative documentary, ‘The Three Stooges Go to Mars’. World Book informed me that the sun was 93 million miles from earth! What an astounding thing to discover. My eyes flew open like Aunt Millie’s did when that fly found its way into her mouth. I had never felt so intellectually superior!
The problem is that having impressive information doesn’t always equate to an understanding of what it really means, nor does it always tell us quite what to do with it. For example, consider this excerpt from an article about a new computer developed by the Chinese:
“There is no U.S.-made system that comes close to the performance of China’s new system, the Sunway Taihuight. Its theoretical peak performance is 124.5 petaflops, according to the latest biannual release today of the world’s Top500 supercomputers. It is the first system to exceed 100 petaflops.”
So now we are armed with some pretty impressive information about computers. And we can now feel intellectually superior to all of our friends, most of whom, by the way, would very likely think that a ‘petaflop’ is some kind of new doggie bed, or maybe the description of a fat dude falling off the high board. On the other hand, the news may not impress us at all. OK, hang on. Here’s the rest of the description:
“A ‘petaflop’ equals one thousand trillion (one quadrillion) sustained floating-point operations per second.”
Impressed, Yes – but not Necessarily Enlightened
Now we’re impressed. A petaflop is definitely not a doggie-bed, or a huge splash in the pool, but most of us normal folks are probably struggling to find some way to grasp what it really means. What in the world is a thousand trillion of anything? And how can that many of anything whiz by in the space of a second of time? And how do they know? In terms of real understanding, most of us would have been just as enlightened if the article had said that the Chinese have developed a computer that can do 124.5 whiggledoobers of grimpet-dyed merledibbets every scrawkle.
My impressive bit of information didn’t really do much for me, other than enable me to impress my clueless friends, or imagine ending up on a game show and getting hit with a million dollar question about petaflops. Since the odds against anything like that happening are about a million petaflops to one, I couldn’t see the information adding anything of value to my life. For some reason that bothered me, so I subsequently brought up the Chinese computer in one of my conversations with God, who, by the way, already knew what a petaflop was. He reminded me of something even more impressive.
I don’t know how big the supercomputer is, or any of the techy details associated with it, or what most of the terms describing it mean, but I do know this. The source from which the machine emerged isn’t another machine. All of it was conceived and created by a little 3-pound organ that sits between the ears of the ones involved in the machine’s development. The device that created the supercomputer is completely portable and for the most part, maintains itself without any outside help. It is alive. It is made up of squishy looking gray stuff and full of little things that can’t be seen by the naked eye.
Information vs. Understanding
I don’t pretend to understand how a supercomputer works, but I know that the incredible human brains that produce them are not the result of some random, purposeless series of accidental chemical reactions. I also know that the One who designed those human brains that invented the supercomputers loved us enough to take on a body just like mine, only flawless, and in one single, magnificent operation, He absorbed into Himself the awful consequences of every sin I ever committed, and He paid the price those sins required.
Here’s something else I know. Among all those quadrillion operations and processes that the supercomputer can do every second, there is not one that will ever be able to undo a single sin in a single life. We will never find one that can guarantee everlasting life for a single soul. I may not be able to relate to what a petaflop is, but I can relate to the One who said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…” (John 11:25-26 NKJV).
Now that’s some impressive information worth sharing.
© 2016 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
To follow this blog for more ‘Right Side Up Thinking ~ In an Upside Down World’, sign up just below the ‘Search box’ in the upper right sidebar for regular email notifications of new posts.