Just the other day, as I was taking out the trash early in the morning, I noticed that some food debris had dripped onto the sidewalk. The need to clean the small area came to mind, but I then noticed that ants had beaten me to task. After doing some reading and writing about unclean animals in another article recently, seeing the ants scrounging up garbage made me think on how God made unclean animals as a blessing, and one simple reason He did so is that they help clean up their environment. Let’s consider a few examples.
The Washington Post published an article on December 2, 2014, entitled “City Ants are Garbage Eating, Rat-Fighting Machines.” It explains, “Urban ants might be more helpful than you’d think. According to a study published Tuesday in Global Change Biology, tiny arthropods in New York City do massive amounts of garbage clean-up—and by chowing down on your trash, they may help keep rats and other (bigger) pests at bay.” CBS ran a similar article that month explaining the same point; “Ants Clean Tons of Trash from New York Streets Each Year.”
An article on A-Z-Animals.com entitled “Why Do Ants Even Exist? Discover What They Do For the Environment,” explains that ants “feed on organic waste, insects, or other dead animals,” effectively serving as “decomposers.” Ants fall into the category of unclean animals, as described in the Bible, in Leviticus 11:41, but God designed them as a blessing because they help clean up.
Many of you have probably noticed large birds (likely vultures and buzzards) circling in the sky as they prepare to scavenge a dead animal. Scavenger animals like these are an extremely important way in which God designed certain creatures to help clean up dead animals that, if left, would be a serious health hazard. A number of verses explain how God warned people from touching rotting animals, especially unclean ones (Leviticus 11:8, 11, 24–28).
The BBC published an article on December 8, 2022, entitled “Vultures and hyenas play a vital role in preserving ecosystems and preventing diseases such as rabies. Should we value them more?” The article states, “But the more scientists find out more about these consumers of the dead, the clearer it becomes that we should be valuing and protecting scavengers far more than we do today. They play a vital role in preserving the ecosystems they inhabit and provide important health and economic benefits. By devouring carcasses, they prevent pathogens from spreading to humans and wildlife and contaminants from leaching into the environment.”
Many more examples could be given, such as how many shellfish help filter, clean, and purify water, as Tomorrow’s World notes in “The Filtering Power of Shellfish!” Did you know that some cities once dealt with large amounts of garbage by feeding it to pigs? An article published on August 27, 2018, by the Washingtonian is entitled “DC Used to Feed Its Trash to Pigs. Why’d We stop?” with a subtitle that reads, “It’s not because the pigs didn’t like it.” The article states, “The real challenge for a new city in the 19th century… was how to deal with all the garbage. So for decades, DC fed it to pigs.” And this practice wasn’t unique to Washington, D.C.
Many unclean animals, like ants and buzzards, raccoons, and others, can just seem like dirty pests—and yes, they should be avoided, as the Bible instructs. At the same time, God designed them to be a blessing for human beings because they help clean up the environment, especially from things that could spread disease, like garbage, dead animals, and other types of waste. These few examples are good reminders of the beauty of God’s creation, even including unclean animals. They are also good reminders as to why we shouldn’t eat God’s garbage collectors, or “garbage eaters.” Those ants were certainly helpful in cleaning up that garbage spill on the sidewalk, so I didn’t have to—though they probably took a while.
If you would like to read more about God’s health principles, including what the Bible says about unclean animals, please order the free booklet Biblical Principles of Health, available right here at TomorrowsWorld.org.