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PETA wants to replace Punxsutawney Phil with a robot: An unchanging word for a changing world

Dr. Jim Denison is the CEO of Denison Forum.
His Daily Article and podcast globally reach over 160,000 subscribers. Dr. Denison guides readers to discern today’s news—biblically. He is the author of multiple books and has taught on the philosophy of religion and apologetics at several seminaries. Prior to launching Denison Forum in 2009, he pastored churches in Texas and Georgia. He holds a Ph.D and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Jim and his wife, Janet, live in Dallas, Texas. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

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Category Culture

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wants the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club to retire their groundhog and replace him with an animatronic substitute.

Every February 2, Phil is taken from his hole and held up to flashing lights and crowds. PETA claims that this is a highly stressful experience for him. They also claim that his current accommodations don’t allow him to dig, burrow, or forage like normal groundhogs.

“It’s no kind of life for these animals,” according to PETA’s president. The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club could not be reached immediately for comment.

Articles appear in the news daily about ways robots and artificial intelligence can and will replace humans. We’re told that entire industries that can be automated are at risk.

Of course, this has been the way of progress across history. Horses as a mode of transportation were largely replaced by automobiles driven by humans, which may now be replaced by autonomous vehicles. Automation is affecting everything from farming to factory workers to individual entrepreneurs.

I was a typesetter in college, using machines that have now been obsolete for more than three decades. In fact, the occupation of typesetting is now obsolete as well. I became a graphic artist while in seminary, a manual job that has been replaced by software tools nearly anyone can use.

However, while human innovation changes, human nature does not. I feel the same fears and cherish the same hopes as my grandparents and their grandparents. As a result, God’s word is just as relevant as when it was first inspired.

An unchanging word for a changing world

Consequently, Christians do not need to “make the Bible relevant” today. Our job is to communicate the intended meaning of the text to the issues and opportunities of our day, knowing that the same Spirit who inspired the Bible will use its timeless truth in our lives.

Scripture is still “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). God testifies that his word “shall not return to me empty” but “shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).

So know this: every word of biblical truth you communicate today will be used by God’s Spirit for God’s purposes to extend God’s kingdom for God’s glory.

Punxsutawney Phil may become obsolete someday, but God’s word will still be true, powerful, and relevant.

What challenges are you facing today? What does Scripture say to your needs?

John Wesley testified: “At any price, give me the book of God! I have it; here is knowledge enough for me.”

Do you agree?

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