Europe is going through major changes. Our aim is to look at the key issues in our continent from a biblical perspective.
Bee colonies give the impression of being a single organism made up of thousands of individual parts.
"... In [the lion's carcass] there was a swarm of bees and some honey" (Judges 14:8)
There are thousands of different species of bees. Some of them are solitary by nature while others form colonies which can be made up of up to 80,000 individuals. Most of them carry a poisonous sting which they use to defend themselves, but there are also some species which do not. The best known of these species, the domestic bee (Apis mellifera), form hives containing an adult queen bee, a majority of female working bees, and 4% of male drones. In animal societies of this kind, it is not the individual that matters, but the whole community. It is for this reason that bee colonies give the impression of being a single organism made up of thousands of individual parts.
Due allowance made for the obvious differences, the Old Testament also often refers to Israel as a "collective person". This deeply embedded idea of the individual as part of a community led the Hebrews, for example, to assume responsibility for the actions, good or evil, of the other members of the community. If one person sinned, all were guilty. Children thus inherited the consequences of the sins of their fathers, but the converse was also true.
This concept of the "collective person" gradually changed until the idea of personal, individual responsibility emerged, whereby each would be held responsible for their own actions and not for those of others.