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The dragonfly gospel

An incredible metamorphosis displays God’s handiwork


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Out here in the new Old West, we’ve got critters. You’ve met Chicken Carrot and the alpaca gang across the street. A black-and-white kingsnake named Doc patrols the area, careful to avoid the hungry gaze of ­red-tail hawks wheeling overhead. We also have owls and bobcats and bunnies. I even met my first tarantula the other day. (I don’t know how she got into my kitchen.)

Day to day, the chaparral pours forth speech. Night to night, coyotes yip-yip-yip from the horse ranch out back. All proclaim God’s creative glory, but by far the most glorious are the dragonflies.

They show up in spring and summer, fiery orange with crystal wings etched in shimmering gold. I like to hang out in a steamer chair and watch them fly oval-shaped reconnaissance patrols over the swimming pool. Despite their fairy-tale appearance, dragonflies are aggressive, and aerial dogfights are common. But a ­dragonfly’s life is as fleeting as a dream, so they’re also looking for mates.

I decided to do a little research on these fascinating creatures, and that’s when I knew: A dragonfly is a grace note ... a flourish … a wink from the Creator.

Here’s why I think so:

Dragonflies begin life underwater as larvae or “nymphs.” During this phase, they are wingless, bug-like, even a little ugly. They subsist on a Gollum-ish diet of crustaceans, worms, snails, tadpoles, and small fish.

Nymphs live underwater for a year or two, and then  … some type of biological timer buzzes.

The nymph climbs out of the water. It starts to breathe air. And what happens next is nothing short of a magic trick.

The nymph attaches itself to a reed, splits its larval skin, and unfolds a new thorax—twice the length of the old one—lowering it exactly the way a ship lowers its brow. Next, the nymph pushes out a dragonfly head and dragonfly legs, along with two gossamer wings, which grow so quickly that with a little patience, you could see them form before your eyes. After a 30-minute break to let its legs harden, this new creature warms up its wings and launches on its maiden flight.

The entire process takes just three hours. Incredible.

Even more incredible: Unlike the familiar butterfly metamorphosis, there is no pupal stage. No extended, secret manufacturing process. The nymph simply unzips its wetsuit and—presto!—unfurls an entirely new self.

This got me thinking. How do evolutionists say this moulting process evolved? What sequence of undirected, unintelligent, random, “beneficial” mutations could ­possibly explain this—even once?

Since dragonflies mate and make more nymphs, one might argue the species was propagating itself. Surviving. But nymphs live underwater for years. Most dragonflies live for just weeks. From a survival-of-the-fittest standpoint, that doesn’t seem helpful.

I asked Lehigh University biochemist Michael Behe about all this. Behe wrote our cover story on how the advancing science of microscopy is revealing God’s ­marvelous molecular designs. When I asked him how evolutionists explain the dragonfly, he dug up a 2019 state-of-the-science research paper and highlighted a sentence for me.

“We propose,” dragonfly researchers had written, “that the final moult, and the consequent hemimetabolan metamorphosis, is a monophyletic innovation.”

My translation: When your theory is weak, dazzle ’em with jargon.

Behe has a different translation: “Propose means they don’t know, and that nobody before them knew either.”

But there is One who does. And He speaks through His handiwork. I like to think of this particular work as the “dragonfly gospel.”

This is what you were, God seems to be saying: ­hiding, crawling around in the dark.

And this is what you are: a new creation, soaring in the light, beautiful in My sight.


Lynn Vincent

Lynn is executive editor of WORLD Magazine and producer/host of the true crime podcast Lawless. She is the New York Times best-selling author or co-author of a dozen nonfiction books, including Same Kind of Different As Me and Indianapolis. Lynn lives in the mountains east of San Diego, Calif.

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