Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
One of the quirkier habits of hard-core materialists is to attribute to mindless creatures a sort of temporary godlike creativity. In evolutionary scenarios, we are frequently told that such-and-such an environmental challenge arose “and so” various creatures developed tusks, or gills, or whatever it was — as though it was the result of a burst of ingenuity and not the dumb luck the materialist insists rules evolution. Speaking of creatures this way is not terribly different from speaking in the way today’s verse speaks of the ant. Strictly speaking, ants are dumb as rocks. They are not “industrious” in the way a human being is. They don’t get up in the morning, bursting with enthusiasm to go out and take on the day, eager to make their mark on antdom. They choose nothing, decide nothing, hope for nothing. They’re ants after all. But their Maker has invested them with a certain amount of His energy so that we might see in them something to imitate, just as He has invested other life with a certain amount of His creativity to manifest the ingenuity of the Creator. So if Proverbs and the materialist both speak of living things as though they are clever when they aren’t, what’s the difference between them? Well, just as we don’t compliment our stereo system for its compositional abilities when it plays Beethoven’s Ninth, so the author of Proverbs doesn’t credit the ant for the lessons he teaches.