Are ant hills Supernatural? The answer to this question, like so many others, depends on your underlying faith. For right now, let’s assume a purely naturalistic starting point, like we’re taught in textbooks and on TV. Just nature left to nature, with no divine creation, order, and purpose. So, on that view, Are ant hills Supernatural?
Certainly if you consider dirt all by itself then yes an ant hill is something which would not naturally occur. However, because there are ants, an ant hill is something which will naturally occur. It doesn’t require magical dirt to explain an ant hill.
So we can consider the ant hill to be the end product of the ants’ decision (or instinct) to build an ant hill. Even though it would not happen without the ants, we would all agree it is a natural thing.
The ant hill changes the Topography of the yard that it is in, therefore making a observable change in its environment. Yet we still consider it to be natural. We don’t consider ant hills to be damage to the ground unless we are a golf course. We merely consider it to be natural change.
There is nothing Supernatural about an ant hill.
What about cows? Are cows Supernatural?
I believe we would all agree that cows are natural even though the cows that exist on American Farms are not animals that would exists in nature if left to themselves. The cows of the modern American Farm are the result of farmers selecting certain traits so that we would have cows with certain type of meat and a certain type of milk (and as much as possible). So maybe today’s cows are not natural in the sense that they are something that simply would have existed in the wild left to themselves, but still there’s nothing Supernatural about cows
When we refer to Farmers making selective breeding choices with their cows or other animals we call this artificial selection (as opposed to natural selection).
Nature left to itself would produce the Platypus (somehow… perhaps by accident?) but it would not produce the modern American cow or the Chihuahua.
Those cows (which we have produced through artificial selection) poop and release methane into the atmosphere. Many green-thinking people are concerned that the amount of methane produced by these cows is having negative effects the environment. Cow farts are statistically important to these people. Does this make them unnatural? Does the sheer volume of cow toots make cows Supernatural?
I think we would agree that cows having an effect on their environment does not make them Supernatural or even Unnatural, even if they are cows that wouldn’t exist without the interference of an intelligent agent.
Now let’s consider the automobile. Is the automobile Supernatural?
Once again I think we would agree that it is not Supernatural, but I think we would also agree that an automobile is not a natural thing. All of its parts can be traced back to Nature, through different types of rocks and minerals and petroleum which is found in the Earth. Yet all of these natural elements found in the earth, when assembled into an automobile, are significantly changed to the point where we would consider it at least unnatural, even if not SUPERnatural. But why?
The automobile is to humanity what the ant hill is to ants.
It is the end result of a naturally occurring species choosing (or following their DNA encoded instincts) to create something using the environment around them. Just as the ant hill changes the topography of its environment and cow flatulence changes the chemical composition of its environment, the automobile and the roads we’ve built for them have changed the topography and the chemical composition of the atmosphere in their environment. And yet nobody seems to think that cars and their emissions are natural.
Why is this? Why do we look at cities and highways and Automobiles and what we call “pollution” and put it in such a different category as ant hills and cow toots?
The reason is, we all understand that human beings are not simply part of nature. As much as atheism has poisoned the modern University and modern science to pretend that we are a natural byproduct of natural forces and nothing else, we know of ourselves that we are Supernatural- in a sense unnatural. We are IN Nature, but we are not nature. Ants are nature. Trees and dirt and clouds are nature. Cows and their toots are nature. WE are not nature. And therefore, the things that we do can be outside of nature, against nature, or above nature.
When a cow toots we don’t tend to think of that as pollution. When an ant build an ant hill we don’t think of that as destroying the environment. But when a human being builds a skyscraper or an automobile that releases carbon dioxide, we call that destroying the environment and we call it pollution. The only reason all of this makes sense is because at some fundamental level we understand that we are not merely a part of nature. We are something else. We are not God because we did not create nature, but neither are we merely part of nature. We understand that we are in one sense animals but in another sense very much not.
The only thing that accounts for this is the Biblical view of creation. It is written in our hearts and we understand it to be true even if we intellectually choose to reject it. So when people are shouting about how BAD pollution is and how we need to protect the Earth, remind them in love that they are standing on the purpose God gave us in Genesis- to rule over the earth and seas, and the animals and the fish and everything God made. We SHOULD protect nature, because it is our God Given JOB to care for HIS creation. We are made in God’s image and are given by God the purpose of governing His creation. WE are supernatural.
Otherwise, if we reject the truth in scripture and choose to believe we are just animals in a godless world, then what we are and what we do is just as natural as anything else on earth. We should just accept plastic beaches, smog and toxic waste as no less a part of nature than ant hills and cow toots.