Spiders: Very Good?

Spiders: Very Good?

I don’t know of many people who view spiders as anything other than creepy. There is a small subset of people who find them cute, but ask any woman who has found on in her bathroom and I can almost guarantee they will view them as a nuisance at best and terrifying at worst.  Yet in the beginning, God described everything He made as very good. Some people might have trouble believing that something as creepy as spiders was created very good but this article will attempt to demonstrate why this is the case.

The first, and perhaps most obvious objection to spiders being created very good comes from what they eat. Conventional wisdom holds that spiders are carnivores, that eat insects and small arthropods. If this was their original design, then there would be a problem with death before sin.  However, this raises the question of if insects are alive in the first place. I’ve covered what life is in the Biblical sense of the word elsewhere but part of that bears repeating. Most insects have some form of a circulatory system. They do lack what the Bible calls the “breath of life” since they breathe through their skin instead of nostril based breathing as vertebrates do. However, while the Bible does make this distinction, it is unclear whether this excludes insects from being alive or not.  I’ll do another article on this subject another time. What is important here is that carnivory was possible prior to the fall, provided the thing eaten was not Biblically alive.

However, even if one believes insects are not alive Biblically, not all spiders are carnivorous even today. Some spiders dine on pollen grains.  Others prefer to munch on the leaves of plants. For reference on why this would not have been death before sin, you can check out my article on whether plants are alive or not.  Pollen and plants could easily have been the food spiders were designed to eat in the beginning. This would completely remove the death before sin issue from the discussion entirely. There are dozens of examples in the scientific literature documenting this which leads me to suspect that some if not most spiders were potentially originally vegetarian.  However, I will be doing further research on this issue.

The second most common objection to spiders being very good in the beginning is the fact that they are creepy and ugly. While that objection sounds good, ugly and creepy are matters of perspective.  For example, I don’t know too many people who consider fish embryos to be attractive. Yet I find them cute and fascinating. By the same token, I consider chihuahuas to be mishappened, hapless mutants.  I mean who would breed a dog to look like a big brown rat? However, there are people out there who adore chihuahuas.  It’s purely a matter of perspective. While spiders having eight legs and being covered in tiny hairs is not endearing to most people, it truly is a matter of perspective.

While I cannot say this with authority as it is not in the Bible, I strongly suspect the reason spiders are so creepy to many people, particularly women, comes from the curse.  A direct reading of the Bible points out that the serpent and the woman have enmity with one against the other.  However, it is possible, though not stated outright, that the curse brought on the stereotypical feminine fear of insects and spiders. Before the fall, no such fear would have existed. Post-fall, things had changed. Now things could be viewed as ugly and creepy since the darkness of sin had entered the world. It is possible, though not stated, that the curse caused Eve to view many of the very good creepy crawlies as ugly and undesirable.  Obviously, that can’t be proved either Scripturally or scientifically but it is an interesting concept.

Spiders were created very good. Their purpose was likely to keep the insect population manageable, specifically those insects not meeting the criterion for being Biblically alive, and to keep some of the faster-growing plants in check. They could have done both or either of those things in the beginning and still been very good.  Since being ugly and creepy is based on perspective and would not have been an issue pre-fall, it is irrelevant to the question of spiders being very good.  Thus spiders can be viewed as created very good in the beginning for the purposes God planned for them.

 

This topic was requested by a reader. Feel free to request creation apologetic related topic from In His Image and we will do our best to cover it.  

 

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