One Little Bug

Some conversations I’ve been having lately have sent my thoughts drifting in the direction of science. In particular, I’ve been thinking about one little bug: the Bombardier beetle. Okay, even if you don’t like bugs, hang with me for a few minutes, for this little bug is a fascinating creature. What makes it so fascinating is how it defends itself, which is what gives the beetle its name (notice the bomb in Bombardier). How this happens is the fascinating part. I’ll do my best to explain this simply for you, especially if you are not a science person. Here it goes…

Two chemicals, good old hydrogen peroxide and another chemical called hydroquinone, are produced and stored in the beetle’s abdomen. When threatened by an enemy, these two chemicals enter into a mixing chamber where they combine with enzymes, and a violent chemical reaction begins. The fluid boils, gases are released, and an enormous amount of pressure builds up. At the same time, the valves from the explosion chamber close to protect the bug’s internal organs. In less than a fraction of a second from when this process begins, the boiling, smelly poison shoots out in a series of explosions and often the fluid is able to be aimed in several directions to hit the bug’s enemy. The enemy is scorched. The bug is saved. And that, in a nutshell, is how it’s done.

The whole process is pretty amazing, isn’t it? But why is this little bug significant enough to be written about on a Christian speaker’s blog? Well, this little beetle is discussed in a number of Christian circles because it points to a creator at work in the universe. In fact, this little beetle with a brain smaller than a pea has made quite a stir among the big brains in the scientific community.

Why? Well as many have argued, a system like this could not have come about by a series of small changes without a designer, as many evolutionists claim. This complete system of the two separate chemicals, the well insulated thick-walled mixing chamber, the valves to protect the beetle, and all the other tiny little details must be in place for the defense mechanism to work properly. If one single little part is missing or defective, it will not work. Not to mention, it must work well enough so the beetle doesn’t become a suicide bomber! In fact, if this process was developed through a series of random mutations and other small changes, somewhere along the way, the beetle would have become toast. And dead bugs don’t evolve. Thus, we see how difficult it is to explain how a gradual process like evolution is going to produce this little beetle. How could this system ever have worked unless it came into existence at once and fully? For those who refuse to believe that there is an intelligent designer in the universe responsible for life, they have to grapple with this small but mighty bombardier.

In my science background, I have been taught the arguments of those who believe that we came into being through random evolution. I have studied the responses of evolutionists to the detailed complexity found in nature, including that of the Bombardier beetle. But none of them satisfy and many of them seem quite far-fetched. Greater minds than mine will state the same. But the more I study the complexities of nature, the more I am convinced that the most believable theory is that they come from a complex creator…a great intelligent designer. Moreover, these complexities, including those of this little bug, display God’s creative power that should draw us to him. As the Bible says, “…since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

This is our God: the great Creator who is able to perfectly arrange all these tiny parts in the belly of a beetle to create an amazing little creature. Astounding. And the implications for our daily, seemingly mundane little lives? Well, just think about it.