This question arose in response to our answer to the question:
ANIMAL DEATH: Dr Lane Craig says animals died before Adam’s sin. Is this correct? Read our original answer here.
Answer by Diane Eager
It is important to know what Scripture explicitly says, but that does not mean we cannot draw logical conclusions based on what Scripture says.
Sometimes the Word of God is clear enough as to leave no room for any disagreement. For example: some proponents of homosexual marriage claim Jesus did not say anything specific about homosexuality, so it must be acceptable for two males, or two females, to be ‘married’ to each other. It is true that Christ did not even mention homosexuality in his teaching, but since he clearly stated that marriage is the lifetime union of one man and one woman, (Matthew 19:1-6), he did not leave room for any other definition of marriage. Also he quotes from Genesis to establish historical precedent, and the Old Testament has lots to say against homosexuality, so when talking to Jews, as in this instance, Jesus had little need to remind them of that.
In a similar way, though animal death is not specifically mentioned before the Fall of man, we are given sufficient information to know that animal death would have been incompatible with a good world before man sinned. Genesis clearly states God created all things in six days, and declared all that he made to be very good.
So to claim God created in six days, but there was animal death before the Fall of man, you have to ask: What would they die from, when did they die, and was that ‘very good’?
It is certainly impossible to fit in either millions of years of evolutionary struggle, disease and death, or vast ages of non evolutionary struggle, disease and death into a six day picture.
Consider again that all animals would have been created perfect, with neither defects nor diseases, and they lived in a perfect world. There simply was no reason they would die from “natural causes”. In fact, what is now called “death due to natural causes” is really the end result of a long degenerative process, involving mutations and loss of function that actually began at the fall of man and speeded up after Noah’s flood. None of these processes are, or ever were, good. They cause pain, suffering and destruction, and would not have been present in the original very good world. They are only “natural” in our present day fallen and cursed world.
In addition, God also clearly stated that animals were to eat plants. This means they were not meant to eat other animals. Therefore, no animals would have died by being killed and eaten by other animals. Neither, would there have been any violent behaviour for any other reason. Violence causes pain and destruction, and neither qualifies as good.
Animals may be different to human beings who have a heritage in the image of God, but all our observations of animals show they do experience pain and suffering, and they do express fear and stress when subjected to disease or violence. Therefore, we can say without a shadow of a doubt that since any form of animal death or suffering is not good, then dying or killing would not have existed in the vegetarian good world described in Genesis 1 & 2.
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