Why Animals could not die before the fall
“Then God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to everything that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food:" and it was so.” Genesis 1:29-30
We know today that animals are separated into two basic categories: carnivores and Herbivores. Yet God’s book of truth says that EVERY BEAST of the earth and bird of the sky that moves and has life were given every green plant for food. This statement begs the question, where were the carnivores? It should be enough for us to accept the Bible’s clear statement that before the fall neither man nor animal ate meat.
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:20-23
It is true that the whole of creation is in pain, suffering, and death in this dog eat dog world in which we live. The Apostle said, the whole creation groans and travails in pain together, not willingly but was made subject, and it shall be delivered. We conclude that deliverance for the whole of creation is dependent upon the children of God, because it was under their authority that it suffers. If a country loses after going to war, all the inhabitants become subject to the winning nation, furthermore, the slaves of that country are enslaved along with their masters. In this way, the whole of creation has been enslaved in connection with the bondage man. Genesis 1:26 says,
“Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth…” so that, when man fell due to sin the whole of creation suffered also.
In the Romans passage, man and creation are undeniably linked together, and it is not that man evolves out of the animal kingdom but the animal kingdom comes under the control of man. God gave to man the role of leader upon earth, it follows that when man came under divine judgment the whole of creation followed. The term “subject to vanity” is to put under or subdue, in the passive voice or not of itself that is not willingly but by another. The word vanity in the Greek conveys the idea of depravity, inutility, transient, and of something that passes away, ends, is useless, or without utility. When man sinned he became liable to death, as a result the animal kingdom under his control became subject to die.
It is very important to note that the creature was made subject to depravity on the one hand and on the other is delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. If man were not the reason for animal death, how and why would they be included in his deliverance? If according to God’s original design animals were made to die, why would that change? Did God make a mistake?
If God’s original design for animals was death
then nothing changed after the fall.
The whole of humanity will not be delivered because the bible speaks clearly of eternal punishment and hell for those who are lost. The bible also speaks of the earth being under the rule and authority of man, so that when man sinned the whole of creation suffered the consequences. Concerning the hope of verse 20 John Calvin wrote,
“God has given to everything its charge; and he has not only by a distinct order commanded what he would to be done, but also implanted inwardly the hope of renovation. For in the sad disorder which followed the fall of Adam, the whole machinery of the world would have instantly become deranged, and all its parts would have failed had not some hidden strength supported them.” 1
Were Animals Delivered from God’s Original Design?
If God’s original design for animals were death how could it be said they are delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God; would we say they are delivered from God’s original design? For what reason would we believe that God created the animal kingdom in its present carnivorous state, devouring and being devoured, and that He should leave them that way for millions of years? Certainly it would not be to substantiate the reasoning’s of men like Charles Lyell whose Uniformitarianism totally destroyed the certainty of the creation account of Genesis 1 & 2 in the minds of so many. In addition, men like Charles Darwin, greatly influenced by Lyell himself devised “The Origin of Species” to confirm Lyell and do away with God.
The option is to believe the scriptures as they describe the effects of the fall upon humanity, planet earth, and the animal kingdom, which was intensified after the flood. The period immediately following The Fall was marked by the consequences of sin, which meant men became idolatrous, liars, thieves, covetous, murderers, and the whole gambit of evil actions, thoughts, and intentions. The earth was cursed, which is man’s prominent sphere of influence, and as a result it became difficult for man to even live. For fifteen hundred years prior to the flood, God exercised common grace and forbearance toward sin, so that, life on earth was not as bad as it could have been. However, sin became rampant so that men’s thoughts were only evil continually, so that further judgment was pronounced by God. The result of that judgment was an altered earth, which made it even harder to bring forth food, the decreased years of man’s lifespan, decreased land mass, differing seasons, greater diversities of temperatures, more difficult terrain, and animals as a source of food.
"The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Genesis 9:2-4
Deliverance is always from bondage or the slavery of sin, so when the bible speaks of deliverance for all creation it speaks of the effects of the fall brought upon it by sinful man. The bible does not speak of deliverance from God’s original intended purpose. John Calvin remarked,
“It is then indeed fitting for us to consider what a dreadful curse we have deserved, since all created things in themselves blameless, both on earth and in the visible heaven, undergo punishment for our sins; for it has not happened through their own fault, that they are liable to corruption. Thus, the condemnation of mankind is imprinted on the heavens, on the earth, and on all creatures. It hence also appears to what excelling glory the sons of God shall be exalted; for all creatures shall be renewed in order to amplify it, and to render it illustrious.”
The whole of the created order will be changed and returned to their state prior to the fall of man, which probably continued until post flood days.
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6 “The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, says the LORD.” Isaiah 65:25
Concerning the conditions of the pre-flood earth it can be said, God was exhibiting grace and patience that would only be fully realized in the person of His Son. I will examine the conditions of a pre-flood earth further in a future Blog.
Primarily, that which differentiates animals from plants is the blood.
The bible is very clear that the life is in the blood, “you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood” Genesis 9:4. God first distinguishes animals from plants by referring to animals as “every moving thing,” after the flood God makes a further distinction in animal life by stating that life is in their blood, and at that time God gave both animals those that “move and live” and green herbs for food. According to God’s word, it is clear that animal life is distinguishable from that of plant “life” because of mobility and most importantly because of the blood. Life in the blood is so sacred to God that He commands man not to eat animals with the blood remaining. When the bible speaks of our salvation, such as (1Peter 1:18-19),
“realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ.”
When the bible speaks of the blood of Christ, it is referring to His life because the life is in the blood; as Christ poured out His blood, even so He poured out His life. There is nothing mystical about the blood of Christ, so that His blood cleanses away sin; upon His divine and sinless life, God brought to bear His wrath instead of His elect.
“But make sure that you do not partake of the blood; for blood is life, and you shall not consume this seat of life with the flesh.” Deuteronomy 12:23
The death of animals was not part of God’s original order, He would never have looked at the beast on the day that it was created and said, “It is good” if death were part of their existence. Death resulted from God’s judgment on sin; it is not in His character to create death anymore than it is for Him to create sin. Some may argue that God is sovereign and planned all things that took place from the beginning, which I would totally agree, however, even though God is sovereign He is never that author of sin, neither is He directly responsible for any evil in the world. Man and his father the devil are responsible for sin!
Animals are distinct from men who are made in the image of God
Much could be said about what it means that man is made in the image of God, but I will only focus on those attributes distinct from the brute beast. We know from the bible that animals are creatures of instinct, which means they do not reason and they have no capacity to conceptualize, no matter what Disney says.
“But these, (false prophets) like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge…” 2Peter 2:12.
Animals do not communicate on a human level, they do not create, dream of things beyond themselves, build, or do anything that demands the use of the mind through the capacity to reason. They are unreasoning and irrational animals as the scripture says. However, even though animals cannot reason and their death does not carry a penalty of death as in the murder of men who are made in the image of God, they still die in the biblical sense, and as such, their death could not precede The Fall.
Animal Death cannot be advocated from Psalm 104
Some have tried to side step death before the fall by saying the death of animals is not what God meant when He said, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world…” Romans 5:12. They will take a verse from Psalm 104, “The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God” verse 23, and say that it was in the plan of God for animals to eat each other from the day of their creation. However, they overlooked one thing – the effects of The Flood.
“You covered it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 7At Your rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place, which thou hast founded for them. 9Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.” Psalm 104:6-9
These verses must refer to the flood or else they could not say, “They turn not again to cover the earth.” Never again, would God judge the earth by a great flood and the rainbow is His proof. Therefore, the young lions that roar after their prey existed after the flood and not before man sinned in the garden.
HOW EVOLUTION DISTORTS THE GOSPEL
The Gospel always begins with God, who He is and what He does. The Bible always refers to God as good, pure, holy, perfect, as seen in the letter by James, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” 1:17. If God is the reason for any death, excluding His judgment on sin, even animal death then He is not good, and only a good God would die for the sins of men.
According to the Gospel, man is the author of sin; God permitted man to sin but man is the direct cause and not God. The difference between God who permitted man to sin in order to reveal His holiness and love, and man who sinned out of open rebellion toward the God who gave him life is the difference between petty little sinners and an infinitely holy God. Man is the author of sin, which is the consequential cause of death, God judges’ sin and invokes death as the penalty. In the Gospel, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the holy Lamb of God is the death of death. The death of death is not just the ending of physical existence but brought depravity to the soul and separation from God, who is the source of eternal life.
Evolution by definition is a process of death. The order of life rises higher and higher through a process of disease, suffering, wars, fighting, hardship, and fighting as it were to gain improvement in the species. Death is the means to greatness, from the very beginning to the appearance of man, and then according to some Christians man appears without sin and death until he falls into sin in the garden. I personally have never heard any explanation as to how the creation of man sidestepped the evolutionary process by a Christian evolutionist.
1. John Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Westminster john Knox Press, Louisville, London.