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Mystery of the Greenland Shark

A fascinating online science article reports that researchers have determined that the Greenland Shark is the slowest shark in the world, cruising at speeds less than 1 mile an hour.

After tagging the GS for electronic data collection, the scientists also learned that it lives in near freezing water (36 degrees) farther north than any other shark species.

Because researchers have  found remains of seals in the sharks’ stomachs, they’ve wondered how a fast swimming seal could be caught by a predator that takes seven seconds for a full sweep of its tail—to propel it forward.

One theory has been that the shark is a scavenger that eats the remains of dead animals lying on the ocean floor. But other recent findings indicate that the sharks are taking live animals.

According to the article, two theories are being discussed. One is that the slow moving sharks sneak up on seals that sleep under water in frigid regions to avoid polar bears. Another theory is that they use a powerful sucking action to pull in an unsuspecting seal that gets too close to the shark’s mouth.

In an attempt to find answers, the scientists are planning to attach a video camera to one of the GS  in hopes of capturing “the slowest chase on record”.

The article might bring to mind a spiritual parallel. As we wonder how a slow moving Greenland shark can catch and devour a fast moving seal, a more important question is how can a defeated enemy like the devil catch and devour anyone who is in Christ?

Could one possibility be that, Satan really does try to catch us asleep? The Apostle Peter seems to imply that Satan feeds on us when we are spiritually asleep or distracted from the God who cares for us (1Peter 5:7-8).

I don’t think I’m just imagining that Peter views the devil in much the same way as the Apostle James does (James 4:7).

Peter describes our enemy as being like a roaring lion who is walking about trying to scare up some lunch. James talks about the same devil as someone who will run from us if we resist him by drawing near to God (James 4:8).

In the process both Apostles make it clear that our real wake up call is not that we need to resist the devil, but rather than God resists the proud, while giving grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5). Both warn about our spiritual enemy in light of the greater problem of thinking that our well being lies in the use of our own strength. Both seem to suggest that Satan feeds on children of God who are already proudly engaged in eating and devouring one another.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time considering together Satan’s attempt to break Job. It may have bothered us that God let his enemy bring such heartbreaking loss into Job’s life. As Job himself found out, getting to the place where he could humble himself finally in the presence of the Creator’s wisdom was a difficult and painful process (Job 42:1-6). But is it possible that the devil was smiling as he saw Job and his friends engage in their bitter dispute?

Or, by trying to find a relationship between a shark, lion, and the devil, am I overcooking our food? :-)…

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21 Responses to “Mystery of the Greenland Shark”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart you are wading into my water today with this topic; Christ, science and history are my intellectual passions. All interconnected and for the purpose of exposing the nature of God.

    I enjoy greatly the amazement of scientists when they are confronted with yet another anomaly that challenges their accepted understanding and exposes their lack of knowledge, and add to it as well

    Watching nature as I try to do is a never ending classroom, there is always something that doesn’t seem to fit into what I have come to understand as *normal*, in the plant as well as the animal world.

    Right when you believe that it is the aggressor that survives, you learn that the ones that survive as well are those things that are patient and await their opportunities.

    I find that the same can apply to people as well, and apparently to wayward angels too.

    I am straining to remember the comedian who used the catch phrase “The devil made me do it.”; he had a good little comedy routine and had a character named Geraldine who blamed her wayward behavior on the devil. It was funny.

    Yet as Mart has mentioned in his scripture references, the devil can only present the temptations and opportunities for sin; he can not force any thing on us we do not willingly accept.

    It is the opportunistic predator who waits for the right moment to feed, and the same goes for the devil he awaits for the right circumstance to present the opportunity for us to fail; just as he did in the garden to Eve. But it was Eve who took action, believing the lie because she wanted to and acted upon her wayward desires.

    In nature though there seems to be a balance of life where one thing depends upon the other for its existence at the cost of the life of its food. Take one out of the equation and both species will die out. The famous lemming is an example of an imbalance in nature, when their population is not kept in check by its predators; they kill off thousands of themselves in what appears to be an action to keep the species alive by there being enough of them left alive for the amount of food they have in order to survive. All of them would starve to death if not for the mass suicide.

    So we have what has been made to appear to be a similarity in the predators of nature and the predator of our spiritual well being, but are they the alike?

    Alike if you think about the fact if the rabbit didn’t take precaution it may be eaten by either the fox, or wildcat, or eagle, or hawk. But what precautions does the rabbit take?

    God gave him camouflage and certain instincts that if he follows them he has a good chance of not being eaten.
    Is it the same for us? God gave us our intelligence as well as instincts and backed them up with written rules, but we get to make the choice of whether to be prey or predator, to give in to our desires over our instincts and written rules or to go against them in favor of obeying God.

    Then when you have it somewhat figured out God gives us the story of Job and like the Greenland Shark throws what we have come to understand into a whole new way of attempting to understand God.


  2. fadingman says:

    Slow predators can definitely catch fast prey when the prey is sleeping. I remember as a child catching a bird on the ground this way. I snuck up on it and it didn’t wake up until I wrapped my hands around it.

    Satan finds us much easier prey when we sleep or don’t think clearly. I think spiritual sleep can be much like physical sleep: sometimes we think we’re awake, but we’re only dreaming we’re awake.

    I wonder what the spiritual equivalent of pinching yourself is?

    Steve, the comedian’s name was Flip Wilson.

  3. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… Praise God, you’ve done it again, back onboard with you in your much learned crafting of words to provoke our thoughts.
    I do submit to your thoughts here, but will interject another one…
    The word “not” was not used in the verse that says, “Resist the Devil and he WILL flee from you.”
    I am relying only on the leading steps of the Lord’s direction for me here in using His Discerning Spirit, that spirit says to me, that one “can resist” the Devil, and that God can provide for us what we will need in doing so, if we will only listen and Obey.
    To not resist would be against the word of God as directed by those Apostles that He has so empowered to speak His Words for us. “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you seems very much in line with many other verses that should empower us. “Make every effort,”or, “be Holy as Christ is holy.” Christ clearly resisted the Devil at every turn of his tempting.
    Sorry, if I’m being seen as out of context here, but I do not agree that “not resisting” is what the apostles were referring to, for they were speaking to those who were already empowered by the Holy Spirit, they were speaking to the church. Even in the church today, we have too many who just fail to resist, or listen and obey!
    Or, have we now become so proud of our chosen position in our new form of Already Forgiven, Forever Saved flesh, to even resist doing what the word clearly says?
    I resist being led down the trail of doing nothing, when the word says we are to be actively involved in exercising, or the working out of our faith.
    How does one actively reflect on one’s faith if not resisting temptation at every turn also knowing God is there to provide, for if we just listen and obey, can we “not” also resist?
    If we are given the power to resist, then why not use it as directed?
    1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But, when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.”
    Like David who chose to actively flee the scene of that temptation, where he used both his respect for those who ruled over him, his God and his Pharaoh, and the power his legs then provided…
    One thought speaks of direct submition to those in authority over us, or elders in the church, and one to our God-given abilty to discern when we need to resist the Devil, even when using our own strength… IMHO :) Gary

  4. poohpity says:

    Yes pride is a sure means of falling and there are several historical facts that back that up. When we take pride in any spiritual gifts we have then God is not honored, we are honoring ourselves, the door is then opened for a fall. When we believe we can do things on our own with no help again the door opens for a fall.

    The seals believing the slow movement of this shark is not a cause for concern are soon eaten if that is how the sharks work. I will be interested in finding out how those seals are eaten whether it is because they are scavenged or caught.

    We are given information on how the devil works by twisting the words of God by small details that one has to be on their toes to catch as in the temptation found in the garden with Adam and Eve and in the desert with Jesus. Deception is found often in many teachings especially when someone tries to take our eyes off of the Lord and put them on a man/woman. (2 Cor 11:13-15 NIV) So not only does the devil prowl around like a hungry lion which is easily noticed but can come disguised as an angel of light.

    The answer is not to go around looking for the predator but to be filled with God’s Word, His spirit and to stay close to Him then we are already armed for attacks when they come and we know that they will. Do not fall asleep in the comfort of the deep from the grasp of the overt Polar bear to the covert slow movement of the shark in the deep.

  5. poohpity says:

    We have noticed overt actions like when bible reading and prayers were taken out of school and our government meetings, trying to take the word “God” off of the money, the Ten Commandments off of justice buildings we fight for those things but are unaware of the covert actions when the bible is no longer something the families gather round to read, taken out of the first part of our days, when we read every other book on the market but yet no longer put God’s Word in first place in our lives. Then we wonder why things are like they are.

  6. SFDBWV says:

    Fadingman, thank you, Flip Wilson was indeed the fellow I was mentioning. He is missed as well as his humor. Thanks again for helping me with my *senior moment*.


  7. poohpity says:

    Mart, I do not think you are overcooking the matter I find the spiritual parallels if we are focused on Christ in every area of life. To me it is like a backup to what is written we are given spiritual proofs in everyday life that the creation itself speaks of it’s Creator. (Romans 1:20 NIV)

  8. Loomis says:

    Good thoughts on the shark. I learned something. How would CS Lewis write a chapter using the Greenland shark and Satan’s attack of te believer. Any way brillent stuff, something for me to chew on. Thanks

  9. SFDBWV says:

    It has always interested me that Satan can be in the presence of God (Job 6: 1); that is up until Revelation 12: 7, 8, 9. Whereby not until then are Satan and his angels cast out and into the earth.

    Yet before the expulsion of Satan and his angels from heaven, Satan is free to go back and forth from earth to heaven and in Matthew 4:1 and Mark 1: 13 and Luke 4: 2 we see that Satan was allowed to tempt even Jesus Himself.

    And that Satan remains free today to go back and forth from God’s presence to the earth with a strange calling…to accuse the brethren, night and day.

    Interesting that night and day would appear to only exist here on earth that the Author didn’t just say continually. There may be more to this verse that first meets the eye.

    Yet why does Satan even bother to accuse? Isn’t God fully aware of every detail of the brethren’s life and heart? Does Satan think that by speaking accusations against *us* that he can somehow trap God into admitting our guilt? Or worse trapping God into going against His Word?

    Personally I believe it is so that God can again and again point to the *cross* and say because of the cross all justice is served and all are forgiven even when the accusations are correct. Perhaps this is why angels look upon it in awe (1 Peter 1: 12).

    Yes we must always be alert and not caught unaware and realize that Satan is still allowed to tempt us, to accuse us, but we must also keep our eyes upon the cross and realize that Satan has no power over us that we don’t give over to him. The power is not us, but in us to fend off his attacks.

    Thanks to that one day God made that we can all rejoice in (Psalms 118: 24).


  10. poohpity says:

    Steve, don’t you feel that because of the Cross everyday is that day that we can rejoice? John 16:33; 1 John 2:14; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4,5; Romans 12:21

  11. foreverblessed says:

    If we are full of Jesus, if we live in faith in Him, if we have left our old ways, if we make Him the King of our heart, if we praise Him, if we exolt Him, if we sing Glory to Him, all evil that is around us, and even in us, will eventually have to leave.
    THat’s why Paul tells us to sing Ephesians 5:18-19,20-21

  12. saled says:

    I like Loomis’ question as to how C.S.Lewis would write a chapter on the shark and satan’s attack on the believer. I don’t recall Lewis writing about sharks, but he had a lot to say about lions. I am a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, and what is for me maybe the most intriguing scene in the whole series comes from book 3, The Horse and His Boy. Near the end of the book the children Shasta and Aravis are chased by a lion while on horseback, and Aravis is scratched badly by the claws of the lion. Later, the boy Shasta has a conversation with the Voice. Here is part of this conversation:

    “Don’t you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?” said Shasta.

    “There was only one lion,” said the Voice.

    “What on earth do you mean? I’ve just told you there were at least two the first night, and -”

    “There was only one: but he was swift of foot.”

    “How do you know?”

    “I was the lion.” And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. . . .”

    “Then it was you who wounded Aravis?”

    “It was I.”

    “But what for?”

    “Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

    When I think of the story of Job, I think of this scene from The Chronicles of Narnia.

  13. davids says:

    Saled, that was a beautiful excerpt. It makes me want to read those books. I have loved his Mere Christianity, which mirrored and extended the thoughts that brought me back to God.

    We wonder about how God would allow Satan to convince Him to make Job suffer. Do we judge God from our earthly perspective, like Job’s friends?

    If God took all Job’s earthly posessions, isn’t that only God’s right to take back what is His? Some of us have had children called back to God early. Do we fault God? God allowed Job’s health to suffer, but isn’t that the fate of all?

    My point is that although we see in Job’s suffering a great injustice, provoked by Satan, Job’s initial response might be the only proper response: “With nothing I came out of my mother’s body, and with nothing I will go back there; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; let the Lord’s name be praised.” [BBE]

    Only that which touches our soul can harm us for eternity. There is no injustice in the world, speaking from a heavenly perspective. So the only prowling sharks and lions are those created by God to fulfill a role in nature.

  14. poohpity says:

    I think sometimes we think of the shark that it is a bad creature when it only seeks what it will eat to stay alive. We eat cows, chicken and pig and because we do not see their big brown eyes like the seal we call the shark a predator, at one time before mass production we also were the predators. That shark as a predator does not cause the soul to do wrong it is sneaky as are several other animals to catch their prey but the wiles of the devil causes separation from and denial of God.

  15. poohpity says:

    I was thinking it is also so neat that most sharks are warm water creatures or so we thought but God created a mystery in this shark that it lives in freezing water and it’s movement being any faster would cause it’s body temperature to rise and it may not be able to survive.

  16. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    I hope all is well in your lives. Don’t know why, but, this year in particular, it seems that I’m more busy in the Summer than I am during the school year. Mart, I want to address your comment, “As Job himself found out, getting to the place where he could humble himself finally in the presence of the Creator’s wisdom was a difficult and painful process (Job 42:1-6).”
    Job’s actions bring to mind Abraham’s response to God’s request that he sacrifice his beloved and only son Isaac (Gen. 22:1-18). The Bible passage I just referenced makes me wonder if God knew how much Abraham really loved Him? Verse 1 reads that God *tested* Abraham. Thinking that that “test” meant that God didn’t really know what Abraham would choose to do. But I understand/have been taught that God knows everything. Would be hard for me to believe that God didn’t know what Abraham would choose to do when asked to sacrifice his only son. As I ponder God’s test for Abraham, I’m in awe of the confidence, pride and trust that He had in Job. God sounded like the proudest Father when he asked Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (Job 1:8, NKJV). That verse causes me to understand that God knew the decisions that Job would make in the face of great suffering, pain and loss. God knew that Job would never give up his faith in Him! Wow!! Would that God would have that kind of confidence, pride and trust in us all… that we would never forsake the cross of Christ, and NEVER give up our faith in Him no what the cost, even if it cost us our very lives! A Bible verse comes to mind… “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” (Job 13:15).
    Would write more but I’m thinking about the chores and errands that I’ll have on my plate tomorrow. So, I’m going to prepare to sleep now.

    Love to all…

    Triple digit temperatures in Texas today (102 degrees this afternoon)! Thank God for cold water and air conditioning! :-)

  17. Regina says:

    correction: no *matter* what the cost. :-)

  18. poohpity says:

    Good thought Regina and it really makes one think. Abraham and Sarah had already taken things into their own hands which we are still suffering the consequences of those actions in the middle east right now. Many of the Arab people consider themselves relatives if Ismael. How many times do we take matters into our hands because we do not think God is acting quick enough for us or even trust Him with our care? That is really a pride issue thinking we can do better than what God can so we break our backs and cause more pain and suffering than we already have to go through because we feel we can do a better job.

    Could that be why Mart wrote, “Both warn about our spiritual enemy in light of the greater problem of thinking that our well being lies in the use of our own strength.” Pride causes us to do many things that may harm others and ourselves.

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    Saled… what a blessing your post brought to me today, thank you for sharing it. Those two statements are so very powerful. “It was I”, and “I am telling you your story.”
    I see the entire biblical account of Good verses Evil, and even the entire Life of Christ, as the living story authored only by God, and it is a telling of “our story” as well.
    It is written to us, for us, and about us. For God lives within each believer, that He alone has created. He is really saying, “It is I who wrote the book, it is you who I write it for.”
    Praise God that he cared enough to tell us in His Living Word, who He is, and who we are. He is God, and we are His Creation! Our life is nothing more than his story written in us and upon us, as we are both created and living in His Image, where only He can perfect us. We do not live by ourselves or for ourselves, as we were all created by him and for him, and for His pleasure. Be Blessed,Gary

  20. lovely says:

    hi everyone
    I’ve read everyone’s post and i just like to throw a thought since we agree that this enemy of ours are sometimes like a shark waiting to devour us. What is most shocking is that they are attacking leaders and most respectable people in the church or even Christian ministry. Since the enemy do attack when we turn against each other especially in churches it is hard when you have leaders had a great fall example adultery beside praying what can we as church members of brothers and sisters do?condemned them or love them? it is indeed humbling for me to pray for someone’s else problem let alone help them.All in all leaders and missionaries are not exempt from the enemy’s trap

  21. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,
    Happy 4th of July to all of my precious BTA brothers/sisters in Christ Jesus! I enjoyed my day just relaxing around the house, and I hope you all enjoyed your day too! So grateful to God for the freedom that we enjoy in this country, so humbled to know that it wasn’t free, and SO thankful for the men and women who sacrifice their lives on a daily basis in order to protect the freedoms that we enjoy in our beloved country!

    Thank you, Poohpity! :) Enjoyed reading your comment too!

    Love to all…

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