Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent
Many ethical lawyers provide valuable legal services to the public. However, “slip-and-fall” attorneys likewise exist to encourage you to sue any and everything. This latter type of legal practitioner typically advertises on television or buys up many billboards to boast about how much money they have earned for their clients. One such commercial for a particular “ambulance chaser” in Atlanta features an actress portraying a female accident victim claiming that the one responsible for her crash had come “out of nowhere.”
This statement is, of course, ridiculous. Unless this client lived in a fictional sci-fi world where physics allowed for the spontaneous generation of matter from nothing, it was more a matter of her senses “betraying” her. This truth sounds strange, but it is a matter of science. Our five senses intake 11 million bits of information per second but compress it to less than 50 bits. Amazingly, it only takes our brain a half-second to achieve this feat!1
Sometimes, when we focus on a task, like driving, we fall victim to what is called “inattentional blindness.” This phenomenon results from the energy required to compress the previously mentioned information.2 In the case of our accident victim, the other driver was most likely visible to her. Yes, that driver may have been driving recklessly. However, it was more likely that she became “blind” to that driver until it was too late for her to react. (Remember there is that half-second delay in receiving sensory information and the processing thereof.)
So, what is our devotional thought? It is not that the flesh fails us. We know that the physical body has limitations, such as inattentional blindness. Our study, instead, is about what we will term inattentional spiritual blindness. Like our accident victim, some claim that the universe we inhabit “came out of nowhere.” It boggles the mind that, though we’ve never witnessed something arise from nothing outside of science fiction, some maintain that an explosion of matter from nothing, billions of years ago, gave rise to you and me today.
Why is that? It is not a lack of information. David reminds us that the heavens proclaim God’s handiworks (Psalm 19.1-6). To this, Paul adds that God’s “invisible attributes” are “clearly seen” in creation (Romans 1.20). The inattentional spiritual blindness results from people focusing too much on the physical than the spiritual. As Paul continues in Romans 1, unbelievers exchange the truth for a lie to worship the creature rather than the Creator (1.25). Atop of the testimony of nature, though, we have the added testimony of God Himself in the book He inspired (cf. 2 Timothy 3.16). So, despite the atheists mocking demand for God to reveal Himself, He is standing beside the atheist in the blind spot of his own making.
Such people remaining disobedient to the Gospel will find themselves taken unaware by the Judgment of God. At that moment, their knees, and tongues, reluctant to do so in life, will be bowed by the presence of He Who would be their Savior, and they will confess His name (cf. Philippians 2.10). But, of course, the recognition comes too late to prevent the eternal destructive consequences.
I would encourage you to work on your attentiveness to your surroundings. More than preserving your physical life, it may likewise profit you spiritually. Blindness, whether caused by limitations of the flesh or choice, eventually proves detrimental.
1. Markowsky, George. “Physiology.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.,www.britannica.com/science/information-theory/Physiology.
2. Chadwick, Jonathan. “Human Brain Has a ‘Limit’ on How Much Information It Can Process.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 3 Aug. 2020, 13:02, www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8588167/Human-brain-limit-information-process.html.