Nothing is ever straightforward with the Bible, but when I drew this I thought it was a straightforward observation based on Lev. 11:20-3 – All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.
Mainly, the Bible was written in a different time period when insects may have been viewed as having 4 legs for one reason or another or we have a translation issue. Therefore, trying to use it as a historical reference for scientific observation is pointless. This is one problem that continues to plague literalism and sometimes the criticism of literalism. Scripture may infer certain things we can investigate, but as one skeptic pointed out to me when I said this was a Biblical error, “You can’t apply modern taxonomy onto a piece of scripture. ” In other words, it’s hard to know for sure the intent of the Biblical author or their interpretation and therefore saying that it is an outright error based on how we define insects now may be an error in of itself.
So there are two sides to the debate which are actually quite interesting. Check out these articles:
Should we throw out the Bible because insects have 4 legs? The problem is not the 4-legged insects, the problem is the “all-or-nothing” approach to the Bible. It’s either all true or it’s not true at all. This seems to be an anti-intellectual approach from both atheists and Christians. Parts of the Bible can be true, but much like scientific inquiry, conclusions are always up for debate. We can’t simply say the Bible is true based on faith. Much like these leg-picking literalists, modern views, modern science and modern morality are forced onto ancient texts. It’s an awkward way of reading the Bible and often can have humorous results. The Bible does not “live” or stand alone which is why churches are necessary to keep adding to the moral codes and theology (as well as subtracting certain pieces of Biblical morality incompatible with our modern laws). The Christian religion would be much easier to digest if this approach were taken (and some denominations have). A living church makes more sense than a living Bible.