Large Animals

The original question was:
While studying animals of the past such as the 15 meter long (48’) gigantic serpent Titanoboa cerrejonensis, who could have swallowed a man whole, I’ve discovered that many animals were of gargantuan dimensions. I can’t believe such animals were part of God’s original very good creation. If God created animals so huge, how could people survive if such huge beasts could have destroyed houses, crops, and killed me n? Was animal giantism an effect of the curse?

Answer by Diane Eager

There certainly were gigantic creatures in the past, and the fossil record confirms this, but that does not mean they were dangerous.

Genesis tells us that in the original creation all animals were created to eat plants (Genesis 1:29-30). Therefore, whatever their created size, animals did not eat people or other animals.  Since God had designed them for this vegetarian diet, He also provided plenty of nutritious plant food for both the animals and people to eat.  This is also confirmed by the fossil record of plants, which indicates there was not only lush vegetation but huge plants all over the world.  Therefore, regardless of size animals would have never even been tempted by hunger to eat people or other animals.

Genesis also tells us that when God had completed the creation He declared it to be “very good”, and a very good world is a place where there is no aggression and nothing to fear, no bloodshed or death or violence. So note well – being large does not make an animal aggressive.  Animals of any size may have calm, gentle temperaments and live in co-operation with other animals and with people. Yet the opposite is true also. Today’s rather small leopard is a very aggressive killer.  Therefore, we can be confident that in the original creation large animals as well as small had non-aggressive temperaments, and were no threat to any people, whose hearing and eyesight were so much better than today and who could both hear and see large creatures coming so would never have been stood on at all.

God also gave human beings dominion over the earth and told them to rule over the all the animals and plants. In the original very good world this meant that human beings would have had control over all animals regardless of size and the animals would have obeyed.  No animal would have dared harm a human, and they would have stayed out of the way of any place people did not want them to be. Therefore, Adam would never have stood on the smallest ant either.

Sadly, the world did not stay like that. Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator, and God judged them by cursing the world so that it would became harder to make a living.  This degradation also affected kingdom, so the animals, began to rebelled against their rightful ruler.  By Noah’s time the world was corrupt and filled with violence.  Therefore, it was increasingly likely that large and small animals did harm people, sometimes in self-defence, when stupid, sinful human beings tried to harm them, and sometimes by accident, e.g. when a Brontosaurus stood on you.  However, this was not God’s original intention.

After the Flood the environment became even more degraded, and it was harder for animals and humans to find food. God then gave mankind permission to eat animals, and at the same time also caused animals to fear man. (Genesis 9:2)  This was to protect animals from being hunted to extinction while there were still relatively few of each kind in the world.  Man and animals were now in greater competition with each other, and large animals would have been increasingly dangerous.  However, God prohibited the killing of human beings by animals when he gave these instructions to Noah (Genesis 9:5) and later elaborated on them in the Law of Moses, e.g. Exodus 21:28-32.  An animal that killed a human being was to be put to death.  This is direct challenge to current environmentalist thinking, e.g. those who think sharks have a right to attack divers and surfers.

By the time of Job there were large, dangerous animals that would have been a menace to people by their size, e.g. the Behemoth and Leviathan described in Job chapters 40-41.

Today we live in a world where large animals, including the vegetarian ones like elephants, are dangerous when they blunder into human farms and settlements. This kill or be killed struggle for life is real, but it is not good.  It is a degenerative process that is part of the cursed world.  However, this suffering and savagery was never pleasing to God, and is not part of His eternal plan.  The prophet Isaiah foretold of a new heaven and earth where the lion will lie down with the lamb and “They shall neither hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain”.  (see Isaiah 65:17-25)  This is affirmed in the Book of Revelation by the Lord Jesus Christ, who will create the new heavens and earth, which will be a place where there is no curse, and no suffering.  (Revelation 21:4, 22:3)

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