The Immortal Jellyfish Exists

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Today I started reading about the Turritopsis dohrnii, which is essentially, an immortal creature.

I had no idea this was possible in this universe. In Romans 8, we are told that all creation suffers the effects of sin, except, apparently, this jellyfish.

I’m no scientist by any stretch of the imagination, so I don’t know exactly how it works, but according to WikiPedia, when it is fully mature, it can return its cells to the adolescent phase and start over. Like, you reach middle age and decide to go back to second grade. Sounds nice, right?

I have just been baffled by this little fellow and wondering what that would be like if humans were like this. If the only way we could die is to be killed by a predator, but you need to start over every couple decades (reincarnationists rejoice!). My question is, would ALL your cells restart, including brain cells, or could you carry the things you learned back in time with you?

Imagine an elementary school teacher, some of whose students are 7 and others are 70 and others are 700, but they all look the same age.

Just when you think all of creation functions in the same way — at least in the area of birth, age, atrophy, death — you learn about a little bulbous jellyfish who spins it all around.

I have long been under the impression that the natural/physical world is here to teach us truths about the spiritual. Not in a trite, cliche way, but in a realistic way (i.e., The gym teaches us more about the spiritual life than a lot of sermons I’ve heard, but that’s for another day). So what the heck does the Turritopsis Dohrnii teach us about how the world functions?

One thing that brings me a heap of comfort today is the reminder that all things can be made new. That perhaps we, too can attain immortality by taking on the attitude of newness, not by our own means, but by the action of God on our behalf. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17, old things have passed away and the new has come. Life verse of the jellyfish?

Do we in fact participate in the immortality of this little aurelia more than we think?

I just finished typing up a sermon on Mark 8, where Jesus instructs His followers to take up their crosses on a daily basis if they want to follow Him. This is a mirror image of what Rome demonstrated: Citizens (natural or acquired) were daily given two options: Side with Rome or be crucified publicly, as a way of showing what happens to enemies of the State. Jesus also offers a very black and white option to His listeners: Follow me by taking up the cross with your old self, your flesh; or continue holding onto those things. Those desires, prides, identities, and everything else that is of the flesh rather than the Spirit.

There is zero middle ground.

You die to the world and follow Me, or you follow the world and eventually become dead to Me.

For those who choose to follow Christ, we imitate this little celopod. We regularly shed the old, dying parts of ourselves in order to be reborn, and return to a childlike state. And according to the promises of Christ in scripture, we also will not die.

Perhaps this little jellyfish isn’t so strange after all.
Perhaps we have something to learn about spiritual realities in every little corner of the cosmos.

Perhaps Christ really does play in 10,000 places.

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