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Fear of Spiders and Snakes


Genesis 9:2

“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.”

I don’t like spiders, but I am not particularly bothered by the sight of snakes. Don’t get me wrong. I have no personal desire to approach a snake if I don’t know anything about it as it could be dangerous, but those snakes which I know to be harmless, like the garter snakes that populate the area close to Mount St Helens, I find quite appealing.


Spiders are another matter altogether. There are some people I know who will literally leap screaming at the sight of these eight-legged invertebrates – and others who will react likewise to the aforementioned no-legged vertebrates!


Why does this fear exist? Is it because we know that some varieties of both animals are venomous? My mother always maintained that fear of snakes was because of what happened in Eden, but that would not explain why I have some lovely Christian friends who adore these creatures.


One recent science article suggested that our fear has developed by evolution. Dr. Stefanie Hoehl of the University of Vienna says, “We assume that the reason for this particular reaction upon seeing spiders and snakes is due to the coexistence of these potentially dangerous animals with humans and their ancestors for more than 40 to 60 million years.” But this evolutionary view also fails to explain the people who love, rather than hate, spiders and our general lack of fear for other dangerous animals.


The fear that animals have for humans is a result of the Fall and the after-effects of the Flood. The fear that some but not all of us have for certain animals must likewise be the result of an imperfect world.


Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the animals that You have made, some of which we like and some that we don’t. Thank You, nevertheless, that they all witness to Your incredible designing power. Amen.


Ref: Stefanie Hoehl, Kahl Hellmer, Maria Johansson, Gustaf Gredebäck. Itsy Bitsy Spider…: Infants React with Increased Arousal to Spiders and Snakes. Frontiers in Psychology, 2017; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01710. Image: J.J. Harrison, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.


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