Bananas

You will notice that the variety of bodies is stunning. Just as there are different kinds of seeds, there are different kinds of bodies—humans, animals, birds, fish—each unprecedented in its form. You get a hint at the diversity of resurrection glory by looking at the diversity of bodies not only on earth but in the skies—sun, moon, stars—all these varieties of beauty and brightness. And we’re only looking at pre-resurrection “seeds”—who can imagine what the resurrection “plants” will be like!                           I Corinthians 15:39-41 (The Message)

I know what you’re thinking. What in the world is up with a headline titled Bananas. Well, bananas illustrate an important biological fact. The bananas that you eat are likely Cavendish variety bananas. In fact, about 99% of all exported bananas are now the Cavendish variety. That was not the case 100 years ago when the Gros Michel (Big Mike) was the predominant variety of banana that hit the export market.

Why does that matter you say? Well, about 50 years ago or so, a fungal infection overcame the Gros Michel variety, and it was found that the Cavendish variety was able to withstand the fungal plague that has all but eliminated the Gros Michel variety. The good news for banana lovers is that the Cavendish variety seems to have immunity to that killer fungus.

Except, now maybe it doesn’t.

Here is where the point of the story emerges. The Cavendish variety has been bred so that it is actually reproduced by cloning itself. It is genetically so lacking in diversity that it has no resistance to menacing predators that might now come along. It is so inbred, that if that certain fungus attacks the Cavendish, we are out of bananas! Current research indicates that the nasty fungus that devastated the Gros Michel may now be able to attack the Cavendish variety also. Lack of diversity tends to doom life forms that are not diverse.

God’s plan for diversity is an insurance that there is a healthy response to diseases and predators that would overwhelm highly inbred life forms. That is just the way it works. We humans tried to get “pure stock” (the eugenics debacle of the late 19th and early 20th centuries), by naming some races inferior, or some people as “defective”.

God’s plan is for the marvel of diversity- accepting that differences in nature work for the good of preserving life.

Prayer: Lord, you have given us the beauty of diversity in your creation. Help us to truly appreciate it, Amen

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