“So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Zombies are all the rage today in movies and television series. On today’s broadcast, however, we will be looking at a real-life zombie, produced not by Hollywood but by a fungus. The Ophiocordyceps fungus literally turns carpenter ants into zombie slaves.
By chemically manipulating the ant’s brain, the fungus causes the ant to leave the colony’s comfortable nest in the tree canopy and move to the underbrush closer to the ground. Penn State entomologist David Hughes explains that “infected ants behave as zombies and display … behaviors of random rather than directional walking.” By walking in such an erratic manner, the fungus prevents the ant from climbing back to the canopy.
According to writer Chad Meeks, “the fungus keeps the ant wandering about 10 inches above the forest floor – and then, right at solar noon, the ant bites as hard as it can into a leaf” – something these ants would never dream of doing. “Then the ant locks its jaw and dies there.” Two or three days later, “a stalk erupts from the dead ant’s head. It soon begins shooting out new fungal spores, which will be picked up by more carpenter ants. And the cycle begins again.”
The sin nature that corrupts and controls us comes not from a fungus but from the first Adam. Thankfully, though, the last Adam – Jesus Christ – died on the cross to free us from the control and the curse of sin.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for letting my sin nature draw me away from You and Your ways. Help me to hate sin as much as You do! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“I Want to Be a Zombie Ant”, Chad Meeks, adjunct professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Behemoth, published by the editors of Christianity Today, 11/12/15. Photo: Zombie ant fungus. Courtesy of David Hughes and Penn State. Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)