Consider the Ant!? Answers in Genesis suggests Invertebrates May Not Be Alive in the “Biblical Sense” or Whaaaat the Sheol?!?!

I can’t make this stuff up. Okay, I could. But I don’t have to because Answers in Genesis has a whole staff of writers who make this stuff up.

In order to defend AiG’s assertion that death only entered the world when ha’adam ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and following a typical AiG strategy, Avery Foley suggests that ants and other insects are not living things[1],

Aside from the possibility that ants, and other insects, are not even alive in the biblical sense . . .

What does “not even alive in the biblical sense” even mean, is it like “knowing someone in the biblical sense”? “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well.”[2] Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.[3] Well, under the veneer of real research, AiG often includes footnotes [of course, footnote 1 is the only footnote but surely this indicates that this “scientifically” or “biblically” grounded article must have data to back up such a bold and paradigm shifting claim], let’s scroll down, shall we?

1. It is not clear from Scripture whether insects receive the designation nephesh[4] that people and most animals receive in Genesis. The Hebrew word nephesh basically means “breathing creature,” but Leviticus 17:11 states that “the life [nephesh] is in the blood,” so it is possible that nephesh life must have blood. Scripture never uses “blood” in reference to invertebrates and, in an everyday sense, invertebrates don’t actually have blood. It might be implied from this that insects may have died before the Fall. However, this is unlikely as God only gave “every green herb for food” to all animals, including “everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life” (Gene-sis 1:29–30). So it would appear that nothing ate insects in the pre-Fall world.

New article: Did Adam Step on an Ant Before the Fall?: The question to ask first is why the idea of death befo…

So, in the footnote, which I thought might lead to scientific data or even biblical data that supports this fantastic claim (and I do not mean fantastic “in an everyday sense”), I am informed that its not just insects but all invertebrates that I have been mistaken for living organism (in the biblical sense) because they do not have blood (in the everyday sense).

I think fisherman can feel some relief here for all those times that you stuck a worm on a hook, despite appearances to the contrary, you never actually killed those worms because they weren’t alive. Crawfish broil anyone?

Wait are insects not “creeping thing”, if anything falls under this highly specialized nomenclature, then don’t insects fit the bill more than guinea pigs? Wait is my Guinea Pig alive, or not?

A Quick Google Search for the Truth

While thorough research takes time, energy, skill, and dedication, the reality is that much of what Answers in Genesis claims can be easily validated (or, God forbid, invalidated) through a quick google search. For example, see figure 1.


Figure 1: So easy a Creation Scientist could do it. If you are not sure how to work Google, ask your child.

After one types in the search term, then one can click on one or more of the links. Here, try it.

“Scripture Doesn’t Not Say . . . ” and Other Useful Writing Techniques

Of course, when Scripture does not mention something, Ken Ham and the folks at AiG take this absence of direct affirmation or contradiction as license to insert whatever they want to insert into what they frequently refer to as “God’s word”. This practice is odd for a group that holds to views of revelation and inspiration that are supposed to take adding or deleting one “jot” or “tiddle” from the text very seriously.[5] But as Jesus may hav said in an unrecorded conversation, “The end justify the means. I am the truth and the life whatever way you get there.”[6] The Bible also says, “Each one does what is right in his own eyes” which when properly decontextualized to fit my point is clearly an imperative but not in the biblical or everyday sense of the term.
At the beginning of this article, I suggested that Foley uses a typical AiG writing strategy. That is, if you introduce a solution to a problem that is so utterly ridiculous that even Ken Ham would be skeptical, then any suggestion that follows will sound that much more credible by comparison. In this case, Foley quickly introduces the idea that ants may not be alive and just as quickly dismisses this idea before turning to the more common though no less fantastic AiG arguments. In the world of prestidigitation, they call this “sleight of hand”. Distract your audience over here while you do something over there. Hopefully, the audience won’t notice. Don’t worry, keep trying, you’ll get the hang of it.

Concluding Remarks

In answer to the question posed by AiG and in accord with their teaching, I must conclude that Yes, Adam did step on ants and repeatedly. Who wouldn’t? I can hear it now . . .

Hey, woman (she wasn’t named Eve til after the fall, let’s be literal here), come over here and watch this! No matter how hard I stomp on this thing, it just keeps going. Quick get a magnfying glass! I left over by one of the trees in the middle of the garden . . .


1. I have been misleading people while playing Twenty Questions all these years. Think of how this false secularist teaching has infiltrated even our children’s game like Pictionary and Cooties (I bet cooties don’t even where hats, but the Bible is silent on that issue.) I felt having a footnote was in order. To paraphrase G.K. Chesterton, they help to prop up one’s argument, if only in appearance.

2. from Hamlet some act within one of the scenes written by Kenneth Branagh and directed by Mel Gibson I think — if only there was quick way to check trivial facts like this one or whether invertebrates have blood or what “nephesh” means, oh well, the Bible doesn’t say anything about Hamlet, so whose gonna notice, did I write that out loud, well, what does it matter, if I say anything to ridiculous, i can update the page and deny I ever said it, I hope nobody reads these footnotes. I wonder if anyone has ever done a PhD or even a Master’s level course on Hamlet. I bet they could figure out who wrote it but then again they probably got their degree at some institution founded on secular principles like Oxford, Yale, Harvard, or Wheaton. N.B. Long footnotes can look overwhelming and so may deter readers from really scrutinizing their content.

3. Monty Python’s Flying Circus “A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat. Know what I’m saying?”

4. Along with using footnotes, throwing in transliterated terms from the Greek or Hebrew is also a good way to suggest that one has done a great deal of research and has some level of competence in the original languages in which this most sacred of books was written. Yet, a word of caution is in order. The lack of actual skill is usually readily apparent to anyone who has acually studied these languages. Here, employ the “fear of compromised Christians” technique.[ii] So be sparing in your use of this device and make sure that your readership is immediately suspicious of anyone who is competent in this area.[i]

5. The terms “jot” and “tiddle” refer to the smallest elements of the Hebrew alphabet. The smallest letter in Hebrew is the yōd and a tiddle is a small part of letter like the line that distinguishes a lower case “t” from an “l” in english. Also, the origins of the phrase “not one iota”. An Iota is the smallest greek letter.

6. Can I help you?

Footnotes to Footnotes

i. Indeed, you might even provide an approved list of schools that will keep your readership in relative ignorance on the topics where your organization claims expertise, i.e. biology and biblical studies.

ii. Why am I suddenly thinking of C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters?

P.S. Except where I quote AiG, this post should not be taken too literally.


One thought on “Consider the Ant!? Answers in Genesis suggests Invertebrates May Not Be Alive in the “Biblical Sense” or Whaaaat the Sheol?!?!

  1. All of this relates to the common creationist claim that there was no physical death before the Fall. Besides the problem of inevitably squished insects, countless other creatures (lizards, snakes, and salamanders alive, because surely a 20 ton sauropod would sometimes have stepped on them!), while large ocean creatures (even if one imagines that all sharks, plesiosaurs, and whales were really vegetarians), would have accidentally ingested many small fish and other sea creatures with their sea weed dinners). This is but the tip of the ice berg when it comes to problems (both scientific and theological) with the “no-death” doctrine. Indeed, it minimizes the fact that Genesis teaches a spiritual fall, and ignores the integral role of physical death in ecosystems. Without death, the creation would not be “very good” but soon awash in exponentialy exploding populations, turning Eden into hell on Earth. Moreover, why would so many creatures have elaborate structures for hunting and predation, or elaborate structures and camouflage to avoid predators, if all animals were vegetarians. Good grief, even some plants consume small animals (eg Venus Fly Trap and Pitcher Plant) For more on this issue, see:


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