B.U.N.K. Volume 3, Number 1 (1986)

God is, Forsooth, a Scarab: A Rebuttal to Acorn's Repugnant Carabid Hypothesis

Brett C. Ratcliffe
Systematics Research Collections
W 436 Nebraska Hall
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
68588-0514 U.S.A.

Dixit etiam Deus: Producant aquae reptile animae viventis, et volatile super terram sub fumamento caeli. Creavitique Deus cete grandia, et omnem animam viventem atque motabilem, quam produxerant aquae in species suas, et omne volatile secundum genus suum. Et vidit Deus, quod esset bonum. Benedixitique eis, dicens: crescite et multiplicamini, et replete aquas maris: avesque multiplicentur super terram. Et factum est vespere et mane, dies quintus.

Acorn (1984) suggested the startling (but patently absurd) possibility that God is a carabid. He proferred this heresy based on some obscure lines that said "split wood: I am there. Lift up the stone and you will find me there." Carabids are sometimes found in these places. Acorn's perusal of the literature was curiously cursory (self-serving one might say), and I believe his interpretations of the available body of evidence were erroneous. We may only hope that it was not deliberately so, that is to say, the specter of a demonaic carabid cult looming ominously out of the steppes of Edmonton.

I propose here to present a more harmonious, parsimonious, and logical argument falsifying Acom's warped line of "reasoning" and to demonstrate through the use of shared, advanced character traits that God is, in fact, a Scarab. My evidence is overwhelming, and the hypothesis is, in fact, testable. Unfortunately, none of us will be in a position to write about it once we test it; such is the nature of death and advanced nirvana.

Regard the following from- the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel, no date):

Cl, V4. "As I looked, behold a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness round about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze." It seems self-evident from the incipient drama that someone important is approaching. Read on.

Cl, V15. "Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel (sphere) upon the earth beside the living creatures..." Now I ask you, what creatures of the natural world utilize spheres upon the earth? Carabid beetles? Hyenas? Golden moles? No! Scarabaeine dung beetles, that's who! Those industrious, thinking beings whose task is, upon reflection, noble... though it is seldom considered so. After all, the consequences of their lack of industriousness is too alarming to seriously consider.

Cl, V22. "Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a firmament, shining like crystal, spread out above their heads." Note the typical representation of the poetically used word "firmament" as in the scriptures and in many paintings of the Christian Deity (Fig. 1) and the clypeal rays of the Sacred Scarab, Scarabaeus sacer (Fig. 2). Incredib]y detailed outgroup analyses rule out convergence or multiple evolution of this trait. Translators of the Bible and Renaissance painters botched it by anthropomorphizing to obtain results as in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Typical anthropomorphic illustration of Christian Diety.
Note representation of clypeal teeth (arrow) and face.
Figure 2. The Sacred Scarab, Scarabaeus sacer. Lovely, isn't it?

C1, V23. "And under the firmament, their wings were stretched out straight...and each creature had two wings covering its body." Does not this sense of discovery begin to make you tremble with impending revelation? The similarity between scripture and the Sacred Scarab is no less than electrifying!

C1, V24. "And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still, they let down their wings." Face it, carabids simply do not fly with a thunder of wings...not even a whole squadron of them. They do not have the body mass or flight dynamics to make the sound of many waters. Scarabs on the other hand, do have what it takes to create such a sound of heavenly tumult and thunder (Bennett, 1976).

The coincidences between Ezekiel's vision of God and the characteristics of Scarabs are, in fact, correlations. This analogy from the God-inspired writings of Ezekiel is a purposeful attempt to reveal to us the true nature of the Deity. Acorn's premise of "split wood and I am there, and lift up the stone and I am there" may now be put in its proper theistic perspective, i.e. the presence of larval scarabs...or nascent godlings.

The ancient Egyptians were not so obtuse as modern man; they had their priorities right. The dung beetle (Scarabaeus sacer) played an important and prominent role in their religion. The Sacred Scarab and its ball rolling behavior symbolized the sun god, Ra. After 200 B.C., during the Middle Kingdom, people believed the Sacred Scarab had magical powers that ensured rebirth after death. Consequently, its likeness was fashioned into amulets and used exclusively in jewelry (Fig. 3), in burial chambers, and in wrappings of mummies and daddies (no kidding!). Heart scarabs (Fig. 4) carved from greenstone replaced the heart inside the deceased so that the truthful heart might not incriminate its owner in the next world. These heart scarabs frequently had verse from the Egyptian Book of the Dead carved on the bottom side. The use of Scarab amulets expanded until they were used as good luck charms by the Persians, Romans, (Ratcliffe, 1980)... and some modernites like myself (hell, I'm not taking any chances!).

Figure 3. Portion of a gold inlaid pendant from the tomb of King Tutunkhamun showing the sun god depicted as a Scarab pushing the sun's disc.

Figure 4. Egyptian heart scarab showing top and hieroglyphics on bottom.

Did the Egyptians, in their wisdom, use a carabid beetle to represent their religious beliefs and cosmic view? Emphatically not! Carabids are good for skittering in the litter or peering into the homes of certain gastropods or infesting a tropical canopy, but they will never, ever have that certain aura of royal presence and religious significance possessed by Scarabs.

Hinduism and Brahmanism also take these traits of scarab beetles into account. I mean, holy cow, do you for one minute believe there is no connection between all those sacred bovines sashaying around on the Indian subcontinent and dung beetles? It's food for thought.

The Navajo Indians of the American Southwest also realized the importance of dung beetles (ca'nilma si or coyoté dung rollers) in their world view (Wyman and Bailey, 1964). The point to be made is that Scarabs as religious significa could go on and on. But carabids so revered? Tout au contraire.

On a more empirical basis, consider that Scarabaeidae are more highly derived in the evolutionary scale than carabids and, as has been noted, share synapomorphies with what now passes for many as a Deity. I refer you to Ezekiel (loc. cit.) and Figures 1 and 2. Scarabs are more exalted than carabids because they occupy a higher position in any interpretation of phylogeny you might care to examine. Deus (personal communication, 1985) indicated that He is a Scarab, and that the idea of Him being carabidiform is distasteful in the extreme. Coleopterists should take heart in this because we all know deep down that carabids are primitive and of loose moral character. After all, they are prognathous (plesiomorphic) and eat other animals. Seventh Day Adventists will testify that eating flesh is sinful and is specifically forbidden in scriptures. So how could such an animal attain godhood? To even consider such a trifling cogitation is grotesque and irrational.

It is encumbent upon the investigator to reliably present data and interpret that data. Instead Acorn chose blasphemy. After lurching through Acorn's treatise, one should heed Psalms 120 which states "In my distress I cry to the Lord, that he may deliver me: 'Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue!'". Acorn should pray for forgiveness for his transgression for, as Ezekiel (loc. cit.) says, (C13, V2), "Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!". One cannot seek the Deity in the "right place" sensu Acorn, for He is everywhere. Wilson (1978) sums this up rather nicely thusly:

                  Tumble-Turds and Lillies

          Beneath the yellow lillies, Tumble-Turds 
          Pursue their Oeconomical employment. 
          Two scarabae with thorax shields of crimson 
          And green gold, with ribbed and shining  
          Deep green wings and black horns recurved  
          Backward, search the dirt beneath the blooms  
          For dung just fallen hot from man or beast.  
          And from this excrement, one beetle makes  
          A ball to house an egg and rolls it backward  
          Off to its interment under lillies.
          Up from the middle of the dirt a lilly  
          Thrusts its stalk and spreads its yellow blooms  
          In floral canopy as if to make  
          A niche for these most humble artisans,  
          As if asserting general harmony  
          Between such opposite particulars.
          East of Eden even beetles work  
          In dust and plant their generations in  
          The filth to be reborn through warm decay  
          To green gold iridescence. The Garden's lost,  
          But beauty, purpose, even dignity  
          Persist where minute order seems design  
          And filth is spangled with such brilliant shards.

Figure 5. INTELSAP-16 photograph taken from high stationary orbit on 25 December 1984. Note Great Spirit near Earth. Photograph courtesy of NASA tracking.

The final evidence I present is a satellite image (Fig. 5) taken by the INTELSAP-16 in the early morning hours of 25 December 1984. This photograph clearly and unequivocally shows the GIeat Spirit of the Sacred Scarab tending the planet Earth. There can be no remaining doubt; pictures don't lie. We are being brooded over and protected by a Deity. We know not our origins, nor where we are going now that we are here. Suffice to say, Lord Scarab will not let us get dumped on any more.

Literature Cited

Acorn, John H. 1984. Is God a carabid and if so why? Biologie und Naturwissenschaft der Käfer 2:5-8.

Bennett, Leon. 1976. Induced airflow created by large hovering beetles. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 69:985-990.

Ezekiel, no date. The Book of Ezekiel. In, God (ed.), The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments. Revised Standard Version. Thomas Nelson and Sons New York.

Ratcliffe, Brett C. 1980. Take a beetle to lunch today or the natural history of dung beetles. University of Nebraska News 59(18):1-4.

Wilson, David. 1978. In the Presence of Nature. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Wyman, Leland C. and Flora L. Bailey. 1964. Navajo Indian ethnoentomology. University of New Mexico Publications in Anthropology No. 12:1-158.

Copyright © 1986, 1996, David R. Maddison, John H. Acorn, and Robert S. Anderson.