Daily Devotional – December 10
It’s a lazy summer day in the cornfields of Iowa; yet, an all-out war is taking place.
Into the cornfield comes a caterpillar with a voracious appetite for corn leaves. As the caterpillar munches on corn leaf after corn leaf, what’s a corn plant to do? The damaged corn plant releases volatile chemical compounds, that send a message warning the other corn plants to activate their own defense genes. A different volatile chemical attracts parasitoid wasps to the corn plant, where the caterpillar is eating. The parasitoid wasp lays its eggs under the caterpillar’s skin. The eggs hatch and the larvae eat the caterpillar from the inside out. If the corn leaf is damaged by wind or hail, does the plant still release these signals? No. The corn plant only cries for help when the caterpillar’s saliva is recognized; false alarms do not happen!
It is the caterpillar’s saliva plus the wounding of the plant that starts what scientists call a signal transduction pathway in the corn. This complex process results in the making and releasing of volatile chemicals crying for help. Was this battle in the cornfield taking place before man sinned? Is this what God calls “very good” at the end of Creation week? No. It was not always like this. Like so many predator/prey relationships, it reveals the tragic consequences of man’s sin. God the Creator equipped each organism with the necessary ability to adapt to sin’s consequences - which affected everything in the universe.
According to Scripture, plants are not “alive” in the same way as people and animals. In the beginning, plants were created as food. Creation scientists speculate that originally wasps may have laid their eggs in protein-rich plants and not in the caterpillars. After the Fall, everything deteriorated. Wasps needed more protein-rich sources (like caterpillars) and alternative defense mechanisms arose. Sin’s consequences affects EVERYTHING!
Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.
~ Genesis 3:17-18
Source: "Pearls in Paradise" by authors Bruce Malone and Jule Von Vett