Otherworldly Window – Smoltification
Philip Yancey grew up in a strict, fundamentalist church in the Deep South. At one point he jettisoned his faith but then warily returned to it.
Now one of America’s most popular Christian authors, he cut his journalistic teeth onIgnite Your Faith (then Campus Life) magazine. He served on its staff for 19 years, 5 of them as its editor. Philip still writes regularly for Christianity Today.
What He Said … Smoltification
We occupy bodies of skin, bone, fat, and muscle on a material planet. But the apostle Paul reminds us that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20).
Standing by a series of concrete fish ladders in Seattle one raw day, I learned a new word, smoltification, from a placard describing the life stages of a young river salmon.
After several months of solitary contentment as a bottom-dweller and jealous patroller of its modest territory, the fish takes a sudden interest in the larger world. One day it embarks on a journey far downstream, where a vast new world awaits it—the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists are just beginning to understand a whole complex of bodily changes that accompany this strange behavior. The fish becomes more streamlined, the color of its scales changes to silver, endocrine activity increases, and its gills adjust to allow for a greater tolerance of sodium and potassium. The salmon, a freshwater creature, is preparing to do something exceedingly rare: switch to a saltwater environment.
Adapted from Rumors of Another World (Zondervan, 2003)