Google© has become the dominant online consumer search engine. We should know this as its brand has seamlessly snuggled into our vocabularies as a verb. Who of us doesn’t access this powerful search tool and its counterparts to get quick answers to our everyday questions? Where would we be (literally!) if we didn’t have online maps supported by real-time Global Positioning Systems (GPS)?
For you younger readers, this is just the way it is. For those of us north of the mid-life divide, we remember navigation with paper maps; communication with phone books, no cell phones, and no email. This isn’t to get all nostalgic about the good ol’ days; nor is it to blindly celebrate and embrace all technological evolutions as equally good.
The ubiquity and convenience of informational technologies is in many ways a good thing and has closed our knowledge gaps more fluidly. Thanks to the internet, the power of information is democratized (for better and worse) and ignorance is on the decline (or is it?).
Many products that we buy come with user manuals. And those manuals often come with warnings about misuse. The stories of product misuse range from comical to tragic. This thing we call the worldwide web (www.) has often been referred to as a “wild, wild west.” It’s an untapped, undomesticated space with no real user manual just waiting for creators and innovators to descend upon it and wrestle it into something really useful. There is, too, such a thing as the “dark web” in that many vices and illegal practices go under the radar of normal search methods and monitoring. In the online world, it seems like much of the end-user guidance is actually sourced by the users themselves. Google emits light and darkness.
All said: the world of privatized, digital search has made us more connected and informed. Great. But has it made us wiser? Does Google (as a catchword) bring its users closer to God? Have you let the word of Google trump the Word of God?
Who of us doesn’t at least occasionally turn to Google when we’re even “stuck” on bigger problems? Maybe we don’t have an answer for someone or against someone’s argument. So? Turn to your search bar. It’s amazing what a few keyboard strokes in a little box can do to help us find someone or something to agree with us; or, to put a person down or in their place. Talk about being “powered by Google.”
They say that the internet doesn’t discriminate and that it never forgets. Anywhere you go now, cameras and microphones surround you, and the content created on those devices can be uploaded from anywhere in seconds. But, the internet isn’t God. Google isn’t God. And Google certainly isn’t a replacement for the Word of God. And before Google was, God is. And long after the massive server farms that drive our online searches go extinct or are bombed out in cyber warfare, God’s Word will still be standing (Psalm 119:89). Relevant as ever; ready for the next search.
Praise God for all of the ways he providentially appoints a soul’s search with digital interfaces to get us to his Word! And to Christ! Gutenberg’s press has met a powerful partner in today’s digital technologies to spread the omnipotent Word of God.
We as Christians do well, however, to employ the tools of our age wisely for God’s glory. It’s all his anyway. But we must give exclusive prominence, ruthless allegiance, and continued attention to God’s timeless, powerful Word as our search “engine” of choice.
So, the next time you’re tempted to take the queries or anxiety of your soul to soulless search-bots, pause. Close the laptop; toss the device aside, take a couple deep breaths and point your soul’s cursor prayerfully to God’s Word. Restart your mind's "computer" with these kinds of search criteria— straight outta the Word itself.
Job 5:8-9— “As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number.”
Psalm 27:8— “You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.””
Proverbs 8:17— “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”
Matthew 6:33— “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
John 6:68-69— “Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Colossians 3:1— “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”
Hebrews 11:6— “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Hebrews 13:14— “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”