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The Lie: Evolution


Lessons from the Ants

by Dave and Mary Jo Nutting

God has given us many object lessons in nature, to help us learn about Him and His ways. In the Bible He calls our attention to what He has made:

Go to the ant 0 sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer, or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer,
And gathers her provision in the harvest.
[Proverbs 6:6-8]

Ants are diligent workers and frequently carry loads larger than themselves. We see immediately the application that we also need to be diligent workers. But what about the other part of this passage? Is it really true that the ants have no chief, officer, or ruler?

After all, isn't the queen the ruler of the colony? We thought so, but we found evidence that the Bible is right again! We were the ones that were mistaken! World Book Encyclopedia agrees with Scripture on this point. It states: "No single ant rules the colony… The queen is not the ruler of the colony. . . . The ant colony has no government, although the tasks are divided among the workers." All the ants in the colony work together, each apparently "knowing" what to do and doing its part. We as Christians can learn from that.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. And since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly. . . . [Romans 12:4-6]

This principle is certainly well-illustrated in ant colonies. Each ant is made for a particular function and spends its life doing what it was created to do. There are workers, nursery attendants, soldiers, farmers, ranchers, harvesters, and more. Wouldn't things go more smoothly in the church if we all exercised our own gift for the-good of all and stopped trying to be something we were never meant to be.

Ants are indeed especially suited to their particular job in size, shape, and form. Leaf cutters have mouthparts especially suited for cutting and chewing leaves. The honey-pot ant stores up a sweet substance in its body and becomes a living storage tank giving whenever a need arises. The blockhead ant has a head shaped like a block for barricading the doorway against intruders. Amazon army ants have jaws specialized for battle and that's all they do. These soldiers don't involve themselves in the affairs of everyday life. Christians, are we mindful of the spiritual battle we are in? Are we totally devoted to our Master, or are we so caught up by the world that we forget the battle? Paul reminds us in II Timothy:

No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday -life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. [2 Timothy 2:4]

One of the most interesting types of ants is the "farmer" ant. These ants actually raise aphids and other types of insects that produce a sweet, honeylike substance. They "milk" the aphids for the "honey" by stroking their backs with their antennae. The ants defend their aphid colony from enemies, and occasionally move them to better feeding spots. Other farmer ants cut leaves in small pieces. They then carry them into their colony, chew them into tiny pieces, and "seed" them with fungus. The tiniest workers tend the crop until the fungus is ready to harvest, and then all share in the feast.

And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. [Galatians 6:9]

Once, while observing a large colony of leaf cutter ants, we were impressed by the teamwork displayed. One ant was struggling with a large load. As it came across the bridge, it slipped and almost fell off. It managed to hang on tightly to the bridge with 2 legs and to the load with 2 more, but was in quite a predicament. At that moment several other ants came to its rescue. At great personal risk, they managed to save the ant and the load. They exhibited well the meaning of Philippians 2:4:

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. [Phil. 2:4]

God has illustrated many of the spiritual principles from Scripture in the natural world. Have you learned lessons from the ants- or some other creature? Drop us a line telling us about it. If you give us permission to use it, maybe someday your story will appear in Think and Believe.

Alpha Omega Institute newsletter - July/August 1990 (page 2) issue of Think & Believe