One of the purposes of this blog is to help equip parents to show their children God’s glory in every possible subject of study. This is easy for many subjects – we could talk all day about the ways that mountains and rivers and fish and birds reveal wondrous truths about God. But what about the deadliest of all God’s creatures: the mosquito?
The mosquito truly is the most dangerous animal in the world, killing around one million people each year through disease. These insects were once so hated by ancient pagans that some believed mosquitoes were reincarnated humans being punished for their past evil lives. Paleontologists tell us that the ancestors of our modern mosquito were three times as large – truly a terrifying thought!
How can we see God’s glory in mosquitoes? First, the next time you swat one of these creatures as it attempts to steal some of your blood, take time with your kids to examine the corpse. The mosquito will be a female, because male mosquitoes do not bite. Male mosquitoes get their food from the sap of plants, but female mosquitoes need the hemoglobin found in blood to produce their eggs.
If your dead mosquito is in good enough shape, check out its wings. You’ll notice that they are so thin that the blood vessels are clearly visible. Yet these wings serve their purpose, and the physics of mosquito-flight are far above anything man is capable of achieving. God’s creativity, power, and wisdom are all on display. When you consider that these insects mate while in flight, that only increases the wonder. You can see a cool video about mosquito flight here.
…each year when the snow melts in the Arctic tundra, mosquitoes hatch from their eggs and make up a significant part of the biomass. Some scientists believe these insects serve as an important food source for migratory birds. Mosquitoes even impact the migratory routes of caribou. As caribou move through the Arctic, they take certain routes specifically to avoid mosquito swarms. These migratory routes then impact plant distribution, dictate the feeding behavior of wolves, etc.
In aquatic environments mosquito larvae serve as a food source for fish. In other habitats, spiders, salamanders, frogs, reptiles, and other insects consume mosquitoes. Mosquitoes themselves feed on decaying leaves, organic debris, and microbes. They serve as pollinators as well. Around 3,500 known species of mosquitoes occupy every continent and every conceivable habitat. Yet, only around 200 of these species will annoy humans and even fewer will bite.
Third, and most important in my mind, consider the spiritual lessons we learn from mosquitoes. As I mentioned earlier, female mosquitoes bite in order to obtain the hemoglobin they need for their eggs. However, there are some plants that produce hemoglobin, and it seems reasonable to assume that this was where mosquitoes got their supply before the Fall. It was only after the Fall that we see a hostility between animals and man arise. Before man’s sin, the animals came willingly to Adam and received names from him. Man was given dominion over the animals, and the animals were happily submissive.
Thus, I see at least three spiritual lessons that God may bring to our minds when we slap that pesky mosquito biting our arm:
1) It was man’s sin that brought pain and death into the world. The blame doesn’t fall on this disease-carrying insect, but on our rebellion against God. This insect simply serves as another agent of God’s righteous judgment.
2) We are fragile creatures. When we begin to get puffed up or think that we humans are self-sufficient, this tiny creature reminds us how easily something so small can destroy our lives.
3) This world isn’t our true home. Mosquitoes and their consequences are a reminder that this is a fallen world, and that we are not yet in heaven. To some degree, they help us fall out of love with this world and long a little more for the world to come.
Will there be mosquitoes in heaven? I don’t know. But if so, they will be friendly, peaceful creatures. I do know this: in that world, there will be no more sorrow or sickness, pain or death. And we won’t have to spray ourselves with repellent.