The Oceans Declare the Glory of God
Jorge Vazquez moved from Cuba to the United States as a toddler. He grew up far from the sea, in West Virginia, where his parents taught at a local college. But he cherishes memories of taking long walks along the beach with his father, a biologist, when the family would visit relatives in Miami, Florida. "[On our] long walks on the beach, he'd point out jellyfish on the shore, or algae, or different organisms," says Vazquez. "He had this deep appreciation for God's creation."
Vazquez returned to the Sunshine State for college at the University of Miami, then earned his master's at the University of Rhode Island's School of Oceanography and a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Since 1984, Vazquez has worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. For the past decade he has been part of the JPL Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperatures, an international group of NASA scientists and scholars studying climate change. Vazquez says, "I study the world's ocean from my computer, using data from a series of NASA satellites that orbit Earth . . . to measure how climatic changes affect local regions like California's coast."
Vazquez recently spoke with Kingdom Calling author Amy L. Sherman about how his scientific pursuits as an oceanographer contribute to shalom in his community and in the wider Creation.
Your dad was a Christian. How did his faith—and belief in a Creator—affect his approach to biology? Did his sense of wonder lead to your own interest in the sciences?
Absolutely. My dad was a person of faith. [On our] long walks on the beach, he'd point out jellyfish on the shore, or algae, or different organisms. He had this deep appreciation for God's creation. I remember one time growing up, he called the police because he saw people who were intentionally killing opossums. He was so upset about it. That's how much love he had for God's creation. He really instilled that in both my brother and me.