Could you ultimately explain any aspect of life in a way that would make sense not only to the human mind, but also with proper deference to the mysteries of life? In “The Cosmic Cube” chapter of our worldview series of essays, we have been addressing the need to look outside “the box” to answer many of life’s most important questions inside “the box.” In this final essay of “The Cosmic Cube,” Sandra reminds us of some essential things to consider. Please do just that. – Arthur
“Hurry up, Mom! I see a caterpillar on our passion vine,” cried Angela. I hurry up and go outside to bring in the little crawling caterpillar. We love bringing in the caterpillars. We love watching their amazing metamorphosis take place before our very eyes. This past winter, we brought in 15 caterpillars and watched all of them transform into butterflies. Since our passion vine had very few leaves, Daniel, Angela and I rode our bikes one Sunday to the South Pasadena High School field to get some of their passion vines’ leaves. I love seeing the caterpillars get bigger and fatter as they continually eat and shed their skins. They are very dainty eaters, taking small bites on a leaf until they have eaten it all.
After they have eaten and gotten quite plump and large, they start crawling around, looking for a place to attach the end of their bodies. They anchor themselves and then hang down in the shape of a “J”. Unlike a moth, they do not “spin” a cocoon; rather, they just allow their bodies to start “metamorphosizing” until their outward body starts hardening. Eventually, all the spikes from their caterpillar bodies collect into a little ball and fall off. After a couple of weeks, we see the chrysalis start getting darker and have a couple of white dots on the sides. We see it start to wriggle and know that it is almost time for it to “hatch”. In an instant, it bursts from the thin skin of its chrysalis and emerges as a butterfly. At first the wings hang limp and the antennae are twisted together, but soon the wings starts to flatten out and expand, and before we know it, it is starting to flap its iridescent wings. They are beautiful and glorious.
We always make a ceremony of releasing our butterflies, and I always cry out to them, “Have a good life, butterfly!” During one recent release, we witnessed one of our butterflies not even being able to get away from our house before a bird came and snatched it in its beak! The kids ran into the house hysterical, screaming. It was very traumatic to see the “circle of life” take place before our very eyes!
What if Angela was to ask me, “Mom, why does the caterpillar transform into a butterfly?” Well, could I answer that question with solely natural, physical explanations? I could just say that they were programmed that way, but then I would need a programmer. I could also say that caterpillars are unable to mate, so they need to turn into butterflies so that they can mate and propagate the butterfly population, but then I would need to introduce the idea of male and female and the amazing fact of life, to be able to reproduce itself. It is pretty obvious that the answers to these and other questions lie outside “the cube“ that we call this universe.
Where did the life-giving substance of water come from? It is one of the few liquids whose frozen state is less dense than its liquid state, so ice floats to the top. If this wasn’t true, the oceans and lakes would all eventually freeze over as the frozen blocks of ice drop to the bottom and would not be exposed to the sun to melt them. Water is the perfect liquid that all life needs to exist. It is totally “recyclable” and cleanses itself as it goes from earth to the heavens and back down again. Within the cube, one person can only hypothesize that our “blue planet” is a result of an “intense bombardment of the inner solar system over 4 billion years ago.”
As hard as it is for us to answer the most basic questions of our world, it is even more difficult for us to answer questions of love, ambition, hate, jealousy, ideas of immortality, and other questions unique to man. Like Del Tackett says, “there is no direction/area in life where God has not spoken….” God’s fingerprint is on everything inside this cube. Man reveals his blindness and distorted heart when he refuses to not only acknowledge, but more importantly, to worship the obvious Creator of everything inside this cube.
So, why does the caterpillar turn into a butterfly? Perhaps the Lord wanted us to have the constant illustration and reminder that that all Christians are naturally caterpillars that, one day, will hang up this body and miraculously go through a metamorphosis where we are transformed into glorious “butterflies” whose likeness to our former selves are barely recognizable. The mystery of the butterfly, as well as millions of other facts of creation, are remarkable and amazing. Let us never fail to declare it to be so! But let’s not stop there. Everything found in the finite cube points to the greater Truth of the one and only God who is infinite and holds this cube in the palm of His hand.
“The heavens are telling of the glory of God and their expanse is declaring the works of His hands.” Psalms 19:1
– by Sandra Hsieh