Bee-havior Points to God

By Wayne Jackson

For centuries bees have been the objects of careful study by scientists. They are amazing creatures indeed (the bees that is), bearing the imprint of divine design in so many ways.

Consider, for instance, the social conduct of these little insects. A swarm of bees may consist of more than fifty thousand individual insects. Their laboring efforts are skillfully divided among three classes: The queen, at the appropriate season, lays the eggs—thousands of them—which hatch in just three days. The drones (males) have one function—to mate with the queen. The workers do a variety of chores; they tend to the young, build the comb, gather pollen and nectar, protect the colony, etc. They literally work themselves to death, living only about six weeks in the summer, but a bit longer in the winter.

Bees, along with other social insects (e.g., ants, wasps, and termites), have baffled scientists for a long time. Each individual within the colony appears to have its own purpose; and yet, the group is a highly organized entity, functioning as a unit. What (who) has orchestrated these communities of cooperative creatures? The Bible student knows the answer to that query; the skeptic does not.

Those who can think logically, reasoning from the effect back to the cause, conclude that a wise intelligence must have designed these tiny, mobile creatures, and placed programmed instructions within their minuscule brains. We accommodatively designate this as “instinct,” because we simply don’t know what else to call it.

Now some of the world’s prominent scholars are studying social insects like bees and ants to determine what might be learned about the economy of their work procedures.

The March, 2000 issue of Scientific American contains an article, “Swarm Smarts,” authored by Eric Bonabeau, chief scientist at Euro-Bios in Paris, and Guy Theraulaz, a research associate at the Laboratory of Ethology and Animal Psychology at Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France. The thrust of the article is to show that some scientists are applying “bee-havior” to the modern work place with wonderful results.

For instance, in a honeybee colony, the bees specialize in accomplishing certain tasks. The older bees tend to be the food gatherers for the hive; but when “crunch” time comes, younger nurse bees pitch in and gather food as well. Scientists are applying the bees’ work patterns to industry. For example, paint booths in a truck factory are being designed around the beehive plan.

In the [automobile] facility [certain] booths must paint trucks coming out of an assembly line, and each booth is like an artificial bee specializing in one color. The booths can change their colors if needed, but doing so is time-consuming and costly.

And so the labor force is patterned according to the bee method. These scientists claim that the bee system enables the work to be accomplished “with higher efficiency—specifically fewer changes—than [even] a centralized computer can provide.”

Is it not amazing that many in the scientific community will study God’s creatures for the effective designs that characterize them, and yet many of these researchers are virtually blind to the intelligent cause responsible for these operations? How can men ignore that God is there? His “fingerprints” are everywhere to be found—if one is only astute enough to recognize them (see Romans 1:20).

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.