Tag Archives: natural mysteries

Slime Mold: Animal or Plant?

Down to Earth: The radical collective of slime mold

Jambo, Mr. Nature here–and this is wild: how do you tell whether a living thing is an animal or a plant?

There are more than 900 species of slime molds, they’re found all over–even inside your air conditioner, if the drain gets blocked. They mostly live as single-celled organisms; but when food is scarce, they can clump themselves together and function as a multi-celled organism.

They have neither brains nor nervous systems: nevertheless, slime molds can remember, and some studies suggest they can even learn, modifying their behavior in light of past experience. Yeesh, did I say “experience”? Well, yeah: because that’s apparently what’s going on with them–although just how they do it, no one knows.

Currently biologists have decided that slime molds are not plants but rather a kind of amoeba. The smart kind that remembers things. Go figure.

Just when we think we’ve got Creation figured out, God likes to tantalize us with a mystery like this.

It keeps us on our toes.


Another Mystery of God’s Creation

“Lake guns” have been around for hundreds of years and we still haven’t figured out what causes them.

These are booming noises heard over bodies of water. In 1850 James Fenimore Cooper wrote a story, “The Lake Gun,” about the mysterious boomings heard over Seneca Lake in upstate New York. But the lake guns are known from all over the world, under a variety of names.

Among the causes proposed are mini-earthquakes, sonic booms, methane gas, ghosts, UFOs, meteorites… and none of them stands up to investigation. The simple fact is, nobody knows what causes lake guns.

My wife and I used to hear them occasionally, over Barnegat Bay. The water always seemed to be unusually calm when the lake guns spoke. Elsewhere, they can be loud enough to move alarmed residents to call police.

We don’t know what they are. They’re cool, they’re a little bit scary, and we don’t know what makes them go boom.

Unraveling all the mysteries of God’s physical creation is a task that will keep us occupied for as long as human beings are on earth. We don’t know–apart from what the Bible teaches us–how non-living matter can acquire life. We don’t know how many species of insects there are.

But we do know that Jesus Christ is Lord–Lord over all we know, and Lord over all we don’t know. As we inquire into the mysteries of creation, let us remember whose creation it is.


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