Ants and the Bible

Proverbs 6:6 says:

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.

One critic claimed that this is "blatantly untrue" that ants have no ruler, because ants are divided up into castes and have a queen.

But there's a problem with that objection. We refer to ants having a "queen" and "castes" but that is no more than a case of us imposing human terms analogically...i.e., anthropomorphizing. The queen ant is mostly just an egg factory the ants care for; she doesn't make decisions like sending embassies to other anthills, etc. (unless in response to an attack, which is also something instinctual) -- the ants don't rule each other, or make decisions; it's all instinct, which is sort of the point of Prov. 6:6.

To compare the ant's "authority structure" to that of a human government as though they were the same is simply wrong. As one reader puts it:

...(I)n context, Solomon is comparing human life (and the tendency to be lazy) to ant life. Ants have an inborn industriousness that does not need to be forced by having an overseer and ruler lord over them...ants are born into a certain caste and just operate within that caste. They don't need to be constantly be put back in their place by an overseer or told to not be lazy by a commander. The queen...controls the numbers of ants born into a particular caste according to the needs of the colony and is basically the storehouse of information on cave-ins, food supplies etc. The ants come to her and do the various jobs according to an innate purpose.

To put it another way:

Antz and A Bug's Life are not documentaries.

-JPH