Analogies are powerful tools teaching us to think and picture what is going on. Jesus was fond of using them to help everyday people understand important truths. They are also great at getting out of a context we’ve gotten used to in order to examine if a line of reasoning really holds up.
Many thanks to Natalie Schlabach of NSPottery for the use of her pictures!
I’ve been wanting to write about this for years, and now, taking a page from Dr. Lisle’s book, I’m going to present to you the Evolutionary Tree of Pottery! This first bit is copied, pasted, and altered from the Tree of Life Web Project.
Evidence from morphological, [chemical and patina] data suggests that all [pottery] on Earth are [chemically] related, and the genealogical relationships of [pottery] can be represented by a vast evolutionary tree, the Tree of [Pottery]. The [pottery we have] today are but the leaves of this giant tree, and if we could trace their history back down the branches of the Tree of [Pottery], we would encounter their ancestors, which [were around] thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of years ago…
Here’s how it works:
In the beginning you have_???_ (the biggest mystery in all of science)
Then this gives rise to the first plate-like pottery. Small and simple, but still useful in the right setting:
After sprinkling it liberally with time, two things begin to happen (or was that three?). Some of these little button-like things stay exactly the same, but some begin to mutate, growing and deforming into new shapes.
These new shapes form The Families of the Plates:
and The Bowls (whether these are a separate group or evolved from the plates is a matter of debate):
Many eons of mutations later you had a great variety of pottery. For example, look at all the variation in the Soap Dish family:
and even an Albino:
(Now things get tricky)
As the environment that the Pottery found itself in changed, its form and purpose mutated to adapt to each new situation. Natural Selection made sure that only those varieties of pottery survived that would thrive and be useful in each area.
For example, can you guess what kind of environment gave rise to this pottery family? It obviously is more primitive than some of the later forms because it still has the archeo-metallic elements of the earliest pottery forms.
There was another path that pottery took, logically following from The Bowl Family. Here are some of its primitive members:
Leading to progressively more advanced forms, finally even things like this:
All of these progressions make a very neat and tidy story of the history of pottery. There are a few kinks, but with another dose of time, I’m sure we’ll understand it all perfectly!
But, to see the kinds of puzzles pottery can pose check this piece out:
Did this come from the plate family or the bowl family, or did they converge and share their forms with each other to produce one of these?
End of Story
Well, what do you think? Is this how things actually happened, or is it a big fat whopper? Read through the kinds of thinking used here and you’ll start to recognize the same logic all over the place.
So, what did this kind of thinking forget to include from the beginning?
Life has a “potter” too. We call him the Creator. Leaving Him out of the story makes everything we study no better than a fairy tale in a lab coat!
Oh, yes, does using the same materials, body plans, and functions mean creatures have to have be evolved from a single organism? Not at all.
Praise be to our Great Creator who is so smart He can use the same materials (which He personally designed and brought into existence) to form so many different kinds of life forms!
But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. Isaiah 64:8
Quote of the Day from the Tree of Life Project: “The notion that all of life is genetically connected via a vast phylogenetic tree is one of the most romantic notions to come out of science. How wonderful to think of the common ancestor of humans and beetles. This organism most likely was some kind of a worm.”
Oh, boy, they’re in LOVE with worms. I’d much rather be in LOVE with my Creator God!