Friday, August 25, 2006

God, Joshua, and Tegeticula yuccasella

Here in the desert a most interesting relationship exists between Joshua tree and moth, so striking that science calls it coevolution, for Joshua tree (a type of yucca) is dependent on moth, likewise moth is dependent on Joshua tree. Bro. Clarence, with his ever ready field guides, sought to explain this relationship, or more properly 'mutualism,' as we ate our noontime meal. Of course many insects pollinate flowers, yet most are sort of accidental pollinators, a bee seeks nectar and in the process, and with no intent on the bee's part, the bee comes into contact with pollen and the pollen sticks to the bee and the bee moves to another blossom and pollen is transferred. This as Bro. Clarence says is a sort of accidental, yet beneficial, happenstance to both the bee and the plant. But with the Joshua tree, neither accident nor happenstance takes place. In the still of the desert night the white female yucca moth (Tegeticula yuccasella) seeks the Joshua tree and enters a white flower and gathers the sticky pollen (a pollen that cannot be broadcast by wind or bee). To gather the sticky pollen, the moth has a pair of long, curved, prehensile appendages near the mouth, specialized tools to collect and form the sticky pollen into a ball, of which is held 'under the chin' so to speak. And off the moth goes to another Joshua tree, where she enters a flower and uses her specialized egg-laying device (called an ovipositor), inserting it through the ovary wall and depositing an egg into the ovule chamber. Next comes pollination, the moth moves to the top of the ovary and still carrying the sticky pollen ball from the previous Joshua tree, she presses the pollen into the ovary, thus completing the fertilization of the flower. Now, as the seeds develop inside this particular ovary, they will provide future food for the hungry moth larva. And so it goes, without the Joshua tree flower, yucca moths would die off in one generation; without the moth, the Joshua tree would never be pollinated, for no other moth, bee, insect, or even wind, seek out the sticky Joshua tree pollen.

This provoked Bro. Simon to question if God has a blueprint for all these minute details of creation, a kind of grand master blueprint of all creation, a blueprint so grand that included would be details of the yucca moth's 'prehensile appendages' and programming for the yucca moth's tiny brain with not only instructions for identifying Joshua trees, but where exactly to insert 'ovipositor' and on and on and on. Bro. Clarence thinks otherwise, he imagines that God has blueprints for all the 'laws of nature' yet God delights in setting things in motion, and within some sort of unknown to us boundaries, allows life to blossom within these boundaries -- perhaps even boundaries withing boundaries within boundaries. Bro. Sedwick thinks not, for God is timeless, exists (if that word can be used in this instance) outside of time, so God views our universe as past and present and future, all at once. Of course this brought protest from Bro. Juniper, he thinking that even though God be outside of time, but when interacting with His Creation, God chooses to enter our time/space, for this would be the only way a relationship with humans could be possible. Bro. Sedwick thinks all this speculation far too simplistic, for a Creator of the Universe has far more tools in His toolbox than our tiny minds can ever imagine.

With that I excused myself in order to gather my rucksack, I want to pay a visit to a certain Joshua tree tonight, and perhaps, I too may witness a miracle.

Joshua 23:14
“And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one thing has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you; all have come to pass for you, not one of them has failed.

No comments: