Saint Basil, in his letter “against Eunomius the heretic”, used mankind’s insufficient knowledge of the ant to make his argument. It’s rather interesting, even if relatively straightforward, so I think it best to quote his Letter XVI in full:
He who maintains that it is possible to arrive at the discovery of things actually existing, has no doubt by some orderly method advanced his intelligence by means of the knowledge of actually existing things. It is after first training himself by the apprehension of small and easily comprehensible objects, that he brings his apprehensive faculty to bear on what is beyond all intelligence. He makes his boast that he has really arrived at the comprehension of actual existences; let him then explain to us the nature of the least of visible beings; let him tell us all about the ant. Does its life depend on breath and breathing? Has it a skeleton? Is its body connected by sinews and ligaments? Are its sinews surrounded with muscles and glands? Does its marrow go with dorsal vertebrae; from brow to tail? Does it give impulse to its moving members by the enveloping nervous membrane? Has it a liver, with a gall bladder near the liver? Has it kidneys, heart, arteries, veins, membranes, cartilages? Is it hairy or hairless? Has it an uncloven hoof, or are its feet divided? How long does it live? What is its mode of reproduction? What is its period of gestation? How is it that ants neither all walk nor all fly, but some belong to creeping things, and some travel through the air? The man who glories in his knowledge of the really-existing ought to tell us in the meanwhile about the nature of the ant. Next let him give us a similar physiological account of the power that transcends all human intelligence. But if your knowledge has not yet been able to apprehend the nature of the insignificant ant, how can you boast yourself able to form a conception of the power of the incomprehensible God?
It is rather humbling to consider how little we know about the vast majority of over 10,000 species of ants, even 1,600 years after Saint Basil laid bare the extent of man’s myrmecological ignorance. While we do know much more about ants than we did back in the 4th century, things like the average age of individuals or the average period of gestation are still unknown for most species. We really aren’t sure how eusociality evolves. Whole new subfamilies are still being discovered. Maybe it is in fact pure hubris for anyone to pontificate on the exact nature of things like God. Alternatively, perhaps the ant is as complex as any spiritual being? We may never know!