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New Insight into the Miracle of Metamorphosis

Until recently, the only way to study how a caterpillar changes into a butterfly was to cut open the chrysalis or x-ray it—both with fatal results. But a recent issue of National Geographic reported on new micro-CT scans that show how metamorphosis takes place.

Metamorphosis is a radical change in form and function. Many animals go through this process (frogs, sea urchins, wasps, beetles), but most of us know about metamorphosis from caterpillars that become butterflies. Yet scientists are only beginning to grasp the miracle of what goes on in a chrysalis. New research shows that the insect’s makeover is a mix of destruction of old ways of being and thinking combined with brand new ways of being and thinking.

The article notes that, “Certain cells die, and body parts atrophy. Meanwhile, other cells, in place since birth, rapidly expand.” The adult emerges “completely remodeled, capable of flight” and possessing a completely rewired brain.

Possible Preaching Angles:

New Birth; Spiritual Growth; Sanctification; Renewal—In the same way, our new birth in Christ causes certain sins and bad habits to die and atrophy while new habits and thoughts emerge. We become “completely remodeled” in Christ. And yet, this doesn’t happen overnight. The process of sanctification takes time.


Daisy Chung, “Programmed to Change,” National Geographic (December 2018)

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