And God Created ...

The Periodic Cicada

David Everson

A friend of mine recently brought to me a question that had been posed to him by someone looking to discredit the existence of God. This individual insisted that if he could find an animal that did not have a purpose designed for it by God, then it must have come about by natural evolutionary processes and God, therefore, does not exist. He thought he had found the perfect animal that would stump my friend and, therefore, prove that there is no God. The animal he chose was the "Locust." I am assuming that by this he meant the Cicada and not the grasshopper-type animal famous in the Bible and even modern times. A little study into this animal shows that, indeed, this creation of God is vital to the design that God created for the world around us.

The periodic cicada or "locust," as it is called in the United States, is an amazing animal. They are called periodic because of the appearance of the "broods" after long periods of time. This time delay can be from one year for the "Annual Cicada" up to as many as 17 years for some broods of the periodic variety. This ability to live under ground as a nymph for as many as 17 years and then emerge within just a few days of each other in numbers up to 1.5 million per acre is indeed amazing. How these insects have been "programmed" by acts of pure chance (evolution) with this one ability, alone, would stagger the imagination and should prove to a rational person the existence of an "All Knowing" Creator. Then, there are those that stay in the ground for 13 years and those that are only down for a single year, the annual cicada. This must be the work of the eternal, all-powerful God, because naturalistic science has no answer to how this would occur.

The cicada is an amazing animal in other ways as well. It is among the loudest animals on earth - being able to produce a chirp audible for more than a half mile away. As adults, they are very fearsome looking, with bulging bright red eyes. They are harmless to all living things with the exception of young trees where the female lays her eggs. The eggs are laid on the underside of a twig, and, after maturing, the ant-like nymphs drop to the ground and burrow two to eighteen inches for their entire lifetime, no matter how long that is.

What possible good can such an animal be? Well, all we need to do is ask the Cicada Killer wasp. The "killer" feeds its young with the cicada, primarily the annual type, but any that is available. By stinging the cicada, the "killer' paralyzes it and then takes it back to its nest and lays an egg on it. After the egg hatches, the wasp young feeds on the immobilized "locust."

The Cicada Killer wasp is not the only animal that feeds on the cicada. During the huge emergence of the 13 and 17 year periodic cicada, they are eaten by many different animals. Birds, spiders, snakes, and even dogs are among those that will eat them! So, as a food source for many animals, the cicada "locust" is a very valued member of the food chain.

So, even in the humble 13 to 17 year time keeper, the cicada, we see the amazing creation power of an all-knowing God. Praise be to Him. Rt. 1 Box 116A, Belington, WV 26250.


Return to West Virginia Christian