Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Ichneumon Wasp and the Problem of Evil

One of our members brought me an Ichneumon Wasp that he found buzzing around in his garage recently. This wasp would give most people a scare with what appears to be three, five inch long stingers dangling from it abdomen. But as it turns out they are not stingers, rather they are "ovipositors." With these long tubes the wasp is able to lay eggs near beetles and other insects that are deeply embedded in trees. The larvae then feed on the bugs, and in this way they are extremely helpful for controlling pests.

I was amazed to hear how this little creature operates, and how God has designed this world with a delicate balance between "every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." Charles Darwin didn't think so. In a letter to American botanist Asa Gray, Darwin wrote: "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice."

Why did I immediately see God's design in the Ichneumon while Darwin saw something unworthy of a "beneficent and omnipotent God"? The reason is that Darwin's view of God is just too small. Most atheists reject God because of the problem of evil. They can't believe in a God who can be good and all-powerful and also allow evil to exist. (I don't think wasps eating beetles is necessarily evil, but Darwin was a very sensitive man!) Darwin's view of God did not include the possibility that, along with allowing evil to rise up in this world, God might turn evil into good.

Wasps killing beetles or cats playing with mice may not seem very nice to us. But I believe that God knows what He's doing, and I'm amazed that even in a fallen world God is still working everything together for good. Jesus is certainly the ultimate example of God's good overcoming this world's evil.

Galatians 1:4-5 [Jesus] gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

For more on my approach to Creation and Evolution, see my Bible study (with Audio files, handouts, and Powerpoint slides).

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