Insects are the most abundant group of animals on the planet. You cannot go anywhere that is completely free of insect or arachnid life. The fact that insects are surrounding us at all times makes them a constant concern. Before the enlightenment period, when scientific exploration and methodology came into its own, people had some pretty strange ideas about these ever present creatures. Considering this, it should not come as a surprise to learn that insects used to be a source of fascination among people living in past societies. Ancient religions, both extinct and still existing, commonly referenced insects and/or arachnids. In fact, some of the most well known religions, mythologies and belief systems have made symbolic use of insects since the earliest civilizations formed thousands of years ago. The types of insects and arachnids that were referenced in ancient myths are still well known among the public today.


Mosquitoes are just one of the many insects that have been mentioned in the lore of eastern religions. For example, according to Buddhist lore, mosquitoes were the physical reincarnations of wicked people. For ancient Buddhists, mosquitoes were just as annoying as modern people find them to be. Vietnamese folk tales also refer to mosquitoes as being the reincarnated embodiments of those who have passed away. Of course, mosquitoes are not the only dangerous arthropods that have been referenced in ancient myths. Unsurprisingly, the well known arachnids that people today call scorpions were referenced as being dangerous in some of the oldest religions known to mankind. For example, the Mesopotamians associated scorpions with their sun god, and the ancient Egyptians considered scorpions to be vicious but noble protectors of the Isis Goddess.


Ancient religions did not just focus on disease-carrying or predatory arthropods, as the people of ancient Japan considered butterflies to be the souls of those who had passed away. In one instance, shortly before a large group of Japanese people suffered the negative consequences of a rebellion, a group of butterflies suddenly appeared. Sadly, this sudden appearance of butterflies was taken as a sign of the groups impending death at the hands of the rebels, as the Japanese believed that the butterflies represented their soon-to-be souls.


Do you know of any insects that have been referenced in Christian scripture?