What is the relevance of this discussion? Is it important if lions eat only meat for the consistency of the book of Genesis? It is important and shows that the book of Genesis is wrong when asserting that God had created all animals after their kinds and at the same time that all animals were destined to eat only vegetation after their creation. If animals had been created in kinds on the sixth day of creation as the book of Genesis states, it would have been impossible for some of them to eat only plants. This is an incorrect assertion and it couldn’t have been inspired by God. Much information given by the book of Genesis is incredible, irrational and false and its falsifiability can be demonstrated by simple facts. The existence of predator animals destined to eat plants after their creation is an example of false and absurd information found in the Bible.
- 194 -
Nothing can be further from the truth than the proclamation that God would have created two very different types of animals but attributed them the same kind of food. Why would He have created in this way? There is one answer, which could explain this dilemma. Not God but nature generated animals and their way of feeding. This rather lengthy quotation is necessary to understand better the differences between herbivore and carnivore animals and the need for an evolutionary explanation in order to give sense to the existence of nature on Earth.
“All animals have teeth that are adapted to eating certain types of food. For instance, herbivores, because they are plant eaters, have strong and flat molars that are made for grinding leaves and small or non-existent canine teeth. Carnivores, the meat eaters of the animal world, have very defined canine teeth for tearing at meat, combined with a sometimes limited number of molars. Omnivores, because they eat both meat and plants, have a combination of sharp front teeth and molars for grinding. Herbivores have teeth that are highly specialized for eating plants. Herbivore incisors are sharp for tearing plants, but they may not be present on both the upper and lower jaw. Carnivores have a set of teeth that are very different from herbivores’. This makes sense, because they also have a different diet. A carnivore will use its teeth to kill a prey item before eating it. The sharp incisors and pointed canine teeth are perfectly designed for both incapacitating and eating a meal.”
The biblical description of how animals were created and of how they behave is only a fabrication. According to the book of Genesis all animals had been created by God on the fifth and sixth days of creation. He wouldn’t have created the animals organised in particular kinds only to enable them to evolve into other kinds of animals different from what He had created. If the animals were created only as a transitory stage of evolution God’s creation couldn’t be considered as having ended in six days as the book of Genesis says. God also declared the creation of animals as being good. “Good” in the context of the creation stories from the Bible can be considered to mean also complete or finished.
- 195 -
Did God create species in transit or in evolution or complete, non-evolving animal species? If the former situation is the case what was the initial form in which animal species had been created? In my opinion, the book of Genesis tells us clearly that God would have create stable species which couldn’t have been transformed into others even if they would have suffered some adaptations, such as the colour of the coat.
“24 And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 24-25 NRSV)
The text is clear in asserting that wild animals and cattle are two different kinds of animals. The adjective “good” when applied to carnivorous animals would have meant their extraordinary ability to kill their pray and for herbivores their biological structure which enables them to eat plants. If all animals were herbivores there isn’t any reason why God would have changed something which had been declared “good” from the beginning of creation. Animals which were good on the sixth day weren’t good anymore after the Flood. If the Flood was a real event God would have recreated or created anew the entirety of nature on Earth after the extreme devastation caused by the waters, but the Bible speaks only about the change of dietary habits.
If God created carnivore animals on the sixth day He generated extraordinary biological creatures able to kill in an efficient way:
“Carnivores can be told by their enlarged canine teeth, by the presence of three pairs of incisors in each jaw (with rare exceptions), and by the shape of their molar teeth. In humans and in many other mammals, the molars are flattened and are used for grinding food. In most carnivores (except for bears and pinnipeds), the last premolar of the upper jaw and first molar of the lower jaw are sharp and bladelike, and slide past each other like the blades of scissors when the animal chews. These modified molars are known as carnassial teeth. Molars farther back in the jaw are usually either missing or highly reduced. These features are adaptive for a carnivorous diet, to tear and cut meat; note that bears, which are almost all omnivorous, have re-evolved crushing molar teeth.”
- 196 -
There are many other differences between herbivores and carnivores in relation to their digestive tracts, saliva, stomach size, stomach structure, intestine and liver. All these differences show that it is absurd to think God would have created carnivorous animals and allotted them to eat the food which is specific for the nourishment of herbivores. The evolution of the animals followed a long process of adaptation to the environment and natural selection, and didn’t happened suddenly, with some species of evolved herbivores becoming carnivores from one day to another after the Flood. The book of Genesis is undoubtedly wrong when assuming that God would have created all animal species on Earth according to their kinds, and that He assigned for carnivores the same food as for herbivores.
Carnivores which eat only green plants is a proposition which is as absurd as daylight happening without the sun. Herbivores which became carnivores after Adam and Eve’s Fall or after the Flood by suddenly changing their dietary habits is also an idea which shows that the book of Genesis isn’t inspired by God but is the product of human ignorance. The biological differences between herbivores and carnivores are very important but all this information wasn’t known by the authors of the book of Genesis. Here are more such differences:
“Herbivores have long digestive tracts because it takes a long time to absorb nutrients from the plant material which they eat. They also have a large caecum which helps, along with enzymes, breakdown the plant material and cellulose. Carnivores have shorter digestive tracts as they can obtain nutrients from the meat they consume more quickly. They have a relatively small caecum as their diet only consists of small amounts of plant material. A carnivore’s saliva does not contain digestive enzymes. Herbivores saliva is alkaline, containing carbohydrate digestive enzymes. Stomachs differ greatly between carnivores and herbivores. Carnivores have greatly enlarged stomachs which encompass between 60 and 70 percent of their entire digestive tracts, while herbivores have much smaller stomachs as they generally are required to process smaller amounts of food.”
- 197 -
Very important also are the processes which happen in the stomachs of herbivores and carnivores, which differentiate them greatly and make them dependent on a certain kind of food and not another. It is impossible to accept that such different animals would have eaten the same kind of food until the Flood.
God through evolution didn’t create animal species isolated, but all plants and animals are linked in trophic levels or food chains. Each food chain ends with a top predator, an animal with no natural enemies like an alligator, hawk, or polar bear.
God through evolution and contrary to what the book of Genesis affirms would have created an ecosystem in which plants and animals play their role and help each other to survive and not only as parallel series of biological beings. Many living creatures are a source of food for other living creatures, either animals or plants. Without this food chain the survival of so many species would be impossible. All living creatures accomplish a certain role in the process of sustaining the ecosystem. For example, herbivores eat plants and fruits and after that they spread the seeds at a long distance.
Carnivores eat herbivores and in this way they find the nutrition they need. If the herbivores multiply too much through lack of enemies they can create an important imbalance by destroying the vegetation. For this reason God, through nature, also generated carnivores which limit the number of herbivores and ensure the survival of vegetation. The book of Genesis implies that this ecosystem didn’t exist before the Flood, when all animals and also humans ate only plants. This was not a sustainable ecosystem.
For example, if one tries to imagine the herbivore dinosaurs and the huge quantity of plants eaten by them and also their multiplication without limits, one can understand why a limit to their multiplication was necessary. Carnivores kept the number of herbivores under control and allowed the survival of plants, and in this way the continuation of life on Earth. The eating of plants by all animals is nonsense and if one tries to extend that image to fish, birds, and animals of the sea, one can see clearly that this is an absurdity.
- 198 -
This is another serious reason the stories of creation from Genesis are unacceptable. They present a world based exclusively on the consumption of plants without trophic levels but such an environment would have been unbalanced and self-destructive. Nature works different than the book of Genesis presents.
“Charles Elton, an Oxford ecologist, first conceptualized food webs in the 1920s, speculating that wolf removal would unleash hordes of deer. These insights gave rise to the 1960s “green world” hypothesis, which held that plants prevail because predators hold herbivores in check. Profound food chain effects — caused by adding or removing top species — are now known as “trophic cascades.” In a classic 1966 experiment, biologist Robert Paine removed the purple seastar, Pisaster ochraceus — a voracious mussel-feeder — from an area of coastline in Washington state. Their predator gone, mussels sprouted like corn in Kansas, crowding out algae, chitons, and limpets, replacing biodiversity with monoculture.”
In the last period of time, more and more data are accumulating only to show how important predators are for the equilibrium of an ecosystem. But Schmitz, who grew up north of Toronto where wolf-hunting was a way of life, thinks the process is underway:
“Piece by piece, it’s taken 20 years to accumulate the evidence, and the culmination is in that Science paper — that the world is driven by predators as well as nutrients. We have to pay attention to their health and well-being if we want a healthy ecosystem. Simply eliminating them because we want more prey or because we don’t think they’re important is very misguided.”
An ecosystem without predators is an absurdity and the Bible clearly maintains this idea when it says that all animals had to eat only vegetation after their creation. Such an idea shows that the writers of the book of Genesis didn’t understand what an ecosystem was and how it functioned.
- 199 -
This is not God’s work because the level of knowledge contained by the texts isn’t very advanced but it is really low.
What could have replaced the existence of the ecosystem until the Flood? Because the narratives of creation from the book of Genesis are incredibly naïve and absurd, people have to invent all kinds of scenarios in which God is imagined to intervene in the world in the most incredible ways. For example, someone could say that God replaced the ecosystem by killing a number of herbivore animals systematically. If God had done such a thing He wouldn’t have had any reason to complain about the level of violence in the world before the Flood because that violence would have been committed by Him, not by human beings or by animals.
“12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” (Genesis 6; 12 NRSV)
The complaint is false in every way. It is false if God created carnivorous animals on the sixth day. It is also false if God needed to systematically kill some herbivorous animals in order to reduce their number because in this case the only one who would have committed violence would have been He.
Without predators nature cannot exist in lack of vegetation. The image of a world in which humankind and animals would have eaten only plants and in which the ecosystem would have been absent is the image of an idealised world which doesn’t have anything to do with the real world. Such an image has to be rejected strongly as authentic history and if anyone thinks that it can be used for a religious purpose in order to indicate a peaceful God who doesn’t like suffering, that is his or her problem. The need for the ecosystem shows clearly that God didn’t create nature in the way described by the book of Genesis, but the world has evolved from less developed biological beings to superior ones. Life took all possible turns trying all possibilities in the process of evolution and in this way a balanced ecosystem on Earth appeared. Top predators are the key to ecosystem survival:
- 200 -
“Constant predation of the top consumers prevents a population from growing larger than the system can support. Removing a top predator can often alter the gentle balance of an entire ecosystem. Here’s an example of what can happen: When an area floods permanently and creates a series of islands, not all the islands have enough resources to support top predators. Top consumers are left to gobble up nutrients and experience a reproductive boom. The boom is felt throughout the system, though, as the booming species out-competes others, potentially driving the lesser species to extinction and reducing biodiversity.”
The oceans are populated with many predators, which don’t eat green plants, as the book of Genesis maintains. Did God create herbivorous sharks which after the Fall of man became predators? It is not agreed amongst biblical commentators when some animals became predators. Some creationists maintain that animals become predators after the Fall of man, but others, taking into account that before the Flood meat consumption was prohibited, have to admit that predators came only when the consumption of meat was allowed. Again, to endow animals with all characteristics for eating meat but to give them plants as food is nonsense.
How did God create the animal species? It is possible for animal species to change their attributes and become other species? Is in this case God’s creation modified by nature? Does nature co-create new species by changing the kinds established by God? Did God create animals to change or to remain the same? According to the Bible animals were created according with their kinds. What does that mean? Did God create all species of animals on the fifth and sixth day or did new species appear after the end of the creation week? If God created all animals in the creation week and the creation was at its end after the sixth day, as the book of Genesis claims, on what grounds can one maintain that the creation would have continued and new species such as the carnivore ones would have been created after that period of time? The biblical text announces:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2; 1-3 NRSV)
- 201 -
The narrative of the book of Genesis, concerning the creation of animals, contradicts all empirical observation anyone can make. Did a herbivore lion transform into a carnivore one? If the answer is positive this transformation amounts to the creation of a new kind of animal, but all kinds would have been created in the period of six days of creation. A herbivore lion would be a very different species from the carnivore lion that we know. In point of fact, such a lion would not be a lion at all but some other animal, and if the former was created by God the latter was created by nature therefore the book of Genesis is wrong when describing the creation of all land animals on the sixth day.
Some Christians believe that we can accept modifications in the structure of species or kinds, as the book of Genesis identifies them. The same biblical commentators consider that the so-called fixity of the species, as Darwin perceived the Bible to be saying, is not taught in Scripture. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even widely taught in the Church before the eighteenth century. Sylvia Baker quoted by Don Steward writes in “Bone of Contention”:
“The idea that species cannot change was certainly not an article of the church before the eighteenth century. It was then considered quite in accord with the Bible to believe that they could change, though not in the direction of greater complexity. It was not until the eighteenth century that the view became widespread that species cannot change, that they are fixed or immutable. The man responsible for promoting it was Linnaeus, who is famous as the first man to introduce systematics to biology. He maintained that species as he had defined them represented the kind of the Bible and therefore could not be changed. This view became widely accepted, insisted on, and carried to absurd limits. (Slyvia Baker, Bone of Contention, Revised edition, Sunnybank, Queensland, Australia, Evangelical Press: 1976, p. 7).”
- 202 -
There is a big difference between species and varieties inside certain species. There are varieties inside species but a tomato cannot become a watermelon, as John Klotz maintains. It doesn’t matter how many varieties of tomatoes there are, they still remain tomatoes and not something else. Nevertheless, herbivore lions and carnivore lions wouldn’t be two varieties of the same species but two very different species. The idea is that a herbivore lion isn’t a lion but an animal about which we don’t know anything. John Klotz again quoted by Don Stewart comments:
“We also need to recognize that the language of the Bible is the commonsense, everyday language of our newspapers. This language does not change; technical scientific language does change . . . . We may have new species of tomatoes, but they are still the same kind. There may be changes within the species, yet tomatoes have not developed into cantaloupes or watermelons. There may also have been changes within the dog kind, but these have not developed into lions or bears (John Klotz, Studies in Creation, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1985, p. 76).”
The modifications entailed by the transformation of a herbivore animal into a carnivore animal cannot be considered by any standards to be a modification within the same species. Everything is different, from the morphological structure of the animal to its behaviour. To take the example of tomatoes, this time tomatoes will not be tomatoes anymore, but a kind of watermelon. Don Stewart concludes that some modifications within the limit of a species are acceptable by the standards of the Bible but not the evolution of species from one to another:
“Hence, what Darwin discovered was not contradictory to what the Bible has to say about kinds. The Bible teaches “the fixity of the species” in that each biblical kind can only reproduce within certain fixed boundaries. Change within a kind, however, is consistent with biblical teaching. Today, whenever kinds are crossed, the offspring is always sterile. For example, a donkey and a horse produce a sterile mule. A lion crossed with a tiger produces a sterile liger. Charles Darwin saw this problem and wrote in The Origin of Species.”
- 203 -
Creationists admit changes but not from a biblical kind, to another, but within the limits of a certain kind. Nevertheless, herbivorous and carnivorous animals are different kinds and not varieties of the same ones. Don Stewart extended his conclusion with the following observation:
“The Bible allows for change or variations within plants and animals. Change is evidence for microevolution or selection. What creationists are denying is the existence of any evidence for macroevolution. They reject the procedure of using evidence for microevolution as confirming the theory of macroevolution. Unfortunately, a great many people believe that evidence for microevolution proves macroevolution. This is by no means the case. Furthermore, the Bible limits the amount of change which can happen. Cats cannot mate with dogs, pigs with apes, etc. This limitation is exactly what we find in our world. Hence, the Bible is certainly not unscientific when it says that kinds of plants and animals are limited in the degree in which they can change.”
If this is true it means that the transformation of a herbivorous animal into a carnivore was impossible because they are different kinds. This transformation entails macroevolution at its highest level. By limiting the amount of change that can happen and at the same time maintaining that a fundamental transformation was necessary, given by the way in which animals feed, this shows that the Bible is certainly unscientific. Some commentators contradict the Bible when trying to defend its concepts. The Bible implies that some herbivorous animals would have been transformed into carnivores after the Flood in spite that all kinds of animals would have been created on the sixth day. That means that some kinds of animals would have become other kinds, and also signifies that some kinds of animals such as carnivores wouldn’t have been created by God. This of course questions the entire account of the creation in the Bible.
- 204 -
This conclusion isn’t similar to the one accepted by very important commentators of the Bible who had an important influence on their generations. The problem isn’t only that the book of Genesis is wrong but also that many apologists of the Bible fundament their dogmatic conclusions on the literal interpretation of the narratives of creation contained by it. John Calvin, the well-known reformer, commented on his notes on Genesis 1; 24:
“I say, moreover, it is sufficient for the purpose of signifying the same thing, (1) that Moses declares animals were created ‘according to their species:’ for this distribution carried with it something stable. It may even hence be inferred, that the offspring of animals was included. For to what purpose do distinct species exist, unless that individuals, by their several kinds, may be multiplied?”
Prior to the Latin Vulgate Basil, a renowned theologian and father of the Church, discussed species as the biblical kind. In the late 1600s Matthew Henry uses species as kinds. He affirmed that there would be no new “species” created after creation week was completed. The point is that species originally meant biblical kinds from the Bible.
Today the discussion is about definitions. What does “a kind” mean? “Kind” means a certain identity beyond which animals cannot change. There are many species of dogs but all of them are dogs, not cats. That what-ness that makes an animal what it is represents a kind. Kinds are different in their essential characteristics. At the same time the morphological traits of herbivores are essentially different from that of carnivores and these biological traits surely signify the particularities of kinds. In other words, herbivorous animals are different kinds than carnivore animals because both have a different identity beyond which animals cannot change.
If God created herbivore lions, which would be understandable if they really had to eat only green plants, He wouldn’t have created carnivore lions, which appeared only late after the creation week. In this case, the facts show us that the creation didn’t end in six days as the book of Genesis says, and many animal species have appeared in existence through evolution if they weren’t the result of God’s creation.
- 205 -
This is an argument which validates the theory of evolution against creationism but doesn’t exclude God’s existence. It dismisses the way in which the book of Genesis accounts for the creation of the animal world and strengthens the theory of the evolution of the species as the real explanation of the origin of the nature. Moreover, it is more sensible to believe that herbivores and carnivores evolved together during a long period of time in the context of the ecosystems of the earth than to believe that all animals were once herbivores, both because the latter proposition is contradicted by the findings of sciences and because of the way in which the Bible describes their creation. Sciences discovered that the existence of carnivorous dinosaurs occurred long before the existence of human beings on Earth.
Nevertheless, this observation changes drastically the Christian theology regarding the explanation of death in the world. If we take into consideration that God would have created also all viruses and bacteria within the creation week and before the creation of humankind we can understand that even the source of so many illnesses would be His creation. An earthly Paradise before Adam and Eve’s Fall is an absurdity in the presence of numerous deadly viruses and bacteria.
It would be wrong to cling to a theological explanation which is invalidated both by an analysis of the coherence of the biblical texts and by scientific research, and it is better to modify our theological views regarding the way in which the world came into existence, accepting all rational consequences our findings bring.
The earth would have been a paradise if after their creation all animals including birds ate only green plants and didn’t eat each other. This wasn’t the case and besides many land and marine carnivores, there were many birds on Earth which were also carnivorous:
“There are about 10,000 living species of birds and the cross the spectrum from meat eater to purely plant eater. The carnivores eat only meat, usually small animals and other smaller birds. Species of birds that are carnivores include owls, eagles, hawks and falcons. The omnivores eat both meat and plants, but the meat is more likely to be from small insects and worms. Species of omnivorous birds include, chickens, robins and ostriches.
- 206 -
The herbivore eats only plants, but for birds this usually means fruits, berries, nuts and seeds. Herbivorous birds include cockatoos, macaws and parakeets. Different bird species have differently shaped beaks because each species has evolved a beak design that suits its diet and lifestyle. Beaks function somewhat as human tools do, and they help the birds to access food. While some birds have beaks suited for a variety of foods, most possess beaks that display some level of specialization. For example, many birds have evolved short, stout beaks for cracking open nuts and seeds.”
Eating meat is a widespread dietary habit, hence is found in plants, marine animals, birds and land animals. The biblical account, according to which there was a time when animals had eaten only plants, is wrong and brings theology to false conclusions.
There are many contradictions in the biblical narratives of creation. The origin of the birds is given in a contradictory way in the book of Genesis:
“20 And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 20-21 NRSV)
“19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2; 19 NRSV)
Comparing these texts one can see that in the first one the birds came out directly from the air. In the second one in Genesis 2, God formed every bird of the air out of the ground. The manner of creating animals is different between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. In Genesis 1 God said: “Let the waters bring forth” and “Let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky” but in Genesis 2 “out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air”. This is an obvious contradiction. It is not the same story.
- 207 -
In the first one it was not God directly but the waters and earth, at His command, which produced the animals. In the second one, God formed out of the ground every animal of the field and every bird of the air. There are two different and contradictory stories of creation of animals in the Bible. It is impossible that both were inspired by God. More likely none of them have a divine source.
Were the animals created immortal at the moment of their creation? Did they die because of Adam’s Fall? It is a very unlikely hypothesis. All plants and animals were endowed by God, according to the book of Genesis, with the ability to multiply. If death wasn’t a limit for this multiplication, at a certain moment in time the earth and waters would have been overcrowded by so many plants and animals living forever. Death was a regulator of the excess in multiplication and in fact death is a biological apparatus for evolution also. Without death evolution is not possible, because the new and better adaptations cannot come into place unless they replace the old ones. God would never have created living beings immortal with the ability to multiply in a limited space, as Earth is. Plants were surely not immortal if they were to be eaten by animals. It is not written in the Bible that God created animals to be immortal, so the entrance of death into creation only after Adam and Eve’s Fall is an incorrect doctrine. The following quotation refers to animal mortality:
“It is unknown whether pre-fall immortality affected just humans or all organisms on earth. Animal immortality is argued by some due to the fact that animals were not given as food at the creation. Likewise, God’s own description of the created world was in terms of “very good”, which to many is contradictory to the suffering which frequents death. On the other hand, the possibility of immortal animals is immediately rejected by others because accidental death occurs on a regular basis for many small organisms today. For example insects are killed frequently under foot, or swallowed by accident. However, under examination such distinctions between humans, and other creatures do not hold-up. Accidental deaths are similarly likely for humans as almost any other organism. There may be no generalized scenario that would cause the death of another organism that could not also happen to humans.
- 208 -
Any natural incident that could kill a bug, could also certainly kill a human. Humans are one of the most environmentally fragile of all organisms on earth, but the exoskeleton possessed by the average insect can handle several hundred times its’ weight, and the fossil record is filled with animals which upon chance contact could crush humans as easily as we do bugs today.”
The book of Genesis doesn’t speak about immortality on Earth before the Fall. The assumption for immortality is based on the kind of food which would have been allocated for human beings and animals, but that information is nonsensical. One reason is the presence of carnivores which had to kill other animals in order to feed themselves. Another reason was the presence of the tree of life as a condition of getting immortality. To that we can add also another reason which is a very reduced lifespan of some insects.
“Despite being prolific, with over two and a half thousand known species scattered across the globe, the Mayfly depends on quantity, rather than quality of life for their survival on earth. These aquatic insects have the shortest lifespan known, with their life expectancy ranging from just a half an hour to one day, depending on their species. In fact, their sole purpose in life is to hatch, and reproduce.”
Living only few hours, some insects would have died naturally before the creation of humankind and their alleged Fall. In this way death would have entered into the creation before Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God, and it wouldn’t have been triggered by the attitude of the human beings.
To the first three arguments invoked already another one pleads also against the existence of immortality at the beginning of creation. Accidental death of insects and other animals would have also been a cause of death before the alleged Fall of man. If we imagine blue whales, when open their mouths they swallow around 220 tons of water in a single full mouth. When they did that before the creation of humankind they surely also swallowed numerous living beings:
- 209 -
“Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet (30 meters) long and upwards of 200 tons (181 metric tons). Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Their hearts, as much as an automobile. Blue whales reach these mind-boggling dimensions on a diet composed nearly exclusively of tiny shrimplike animals called krill. During certain times of the year, a single adult blue whale consumes about 4 tons (3.6 metric tons) of krill a day.”
Can anyone imagine blue whales eating only green plants? Such an image is so absurd that by itself it disqualifies the veracity of the text of the book of Genesis, and also the declaration of the N.T. that death had entered in the world through Adam and Eve’s sins.
Another example can be Spironosaurus:
“Spinosaurus was the biggest of all the carnivorous dinosaurs, larger than Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus. It lived during part of the Cretaceous period, about 112 million to 97 million years ago, roaming the swamps of North Africa… Spinosaurus ate mainly fish and that was deduced not only after its skull but also studying it chemically.”
Spinosaurus’ huge size is a motif to imagine that it could have killed small insects or small animals accidentally only by its movement from one place to another. The same is available for other large animals. Spinosaurus would have done such accidental killings before Adam and Eve’s Fall also. The death in creation before Adam and Eve’s sins changes everything in the Christian theology.
If man wasn’t immortal before the alleged Fall, needing the tree of life in order to become immortal, animals were also mortal. It is absurd to think that humans were mortal but animals were immortal. If humans were mortal, animals were also mortal, and they all needed the tree of life in order to become immortal. Again, the point is that death was not introduced in the creation by human sin as Apostle Paul maintained.
- 210 -
“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law.” Romans 5; 12-13 NRSV)
Paul was wrong because God’s creation presupposes death, which is a natural thing. If death is considered to be the payment for sin and God’s creation implies death in its very nature, sin also is in the fabric of things created by God. There isn’t any reason to see the human species that morally decayed following Adam and Eve’s alleged disobedience to God. because those sins never happened and death is a natural thing introduced into the creation by Him, not by humans’ Fall. There isn’t any reason to be ashamed any more that we are human beings with ancestors who were disobedient and consequently they died, because they would have died anyway because they were mortal.
What would have happened if the animals were immortal, and also other forms of life, for example viruses, would have lived forever and at the same time they would have multiplied unbridled? It isn’t clear from the book of Genesis if only human beings would have been called to immortality or all living creatures. If Adam and Eve were obedient to God and if they had lived forever, what would have happened with the other living beings unaffected by the Fall? Let’s us imagine the following scenario. Adam and Eve were obedient to God; death wouldn’t have entered into the creation as Apostle Paul said and all animals would have been immortal also. No reason for God to call the end of the world if humankind were all in accordance with Him. Nevertheless, the earth has a limited extension and if multiplication hadn’t stopped the planet would have been spatially insufficient for so many beings. In the end, God would have needed to impose a ban on multiplication which is strange because the human beings and animals are endowed for multiplication and they were asked by God from the beginning to multiply. The recommendation for the multiplication of biological beings given by God in Genesis chapter 1 and death entering into the creation only after Adam and Eve’s sins, is another contradiction of the book of Genesis, in the context of life on Earth.
- 211 -
If by sin we understand violence and destruction, there never was a time on Earth without sins from the moment the first predators appeared on our planet. This apparition was anterior to the creation of humankind, according to the book of Genesis. If by sin we have to understand disobedience to God we have to notice that in reality humankind didn’t appear on Earth through Adam and Eve because they are legendary, not real personages. The first humanoids would have acted according to their nature, being violent and killing prey, which would have assured their survival.
Sin didn’t come into the world through one man and death didn’t come into the world through sin, but death came into the world through God’s creation. Adam and Eve, two mythological personages, never sinned if they never existed on Earth but human beings sinned from their first apparition on Earth because sin is written in human nature. The problem with many Christian doctrines is that their premises are wrong and they cannot be right if their premises aren’t right.
If Paul’s premise was wrong the entire theology based on the principle of death coming as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s Fall must also be defective. At the same time immortality is possible and God can give it to the elect. For the natural world death is natural, it is not a punishment for sin. Immortality is possible through Christ even if the two first human beings, Adam and Eve, never had existed on Earth.
There are biblical texts which refer to the future immortality of the animals.
“19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8; 19-21 NRSV)
That would mean nature would have been created as a kind of paradise, but this image doesn’t correspond to data from reality. For the future, the Bible describes a very idealistic picture about the relationships between animals and that is a sort of comeback to the initial idealised world.
- 212 -
“6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11; 6-9 NRSV)
The same problem arises. The lion doesn’t eat straw like the ox because it is a predator animal, a carnivore, not a herbivore. It is important because if the text in Isaiah wanted to transmit something it cannot, nevertheless, be taken as the real image of a future reality. This earthly heaven is an idealisation of nature, no more and no less, and this idealisation was used in the book of Genesis also, where it is written that all animals have eaten green plants. If the lion eats straw it is not a lion any more, but a sort of ox. In order to be described as a lion an animal must be a predator, and even if it is raised by man in a zoo or on special farms, the lion will eat meat and no straw. It will be friendlier with humans, accustomed to them, but it will not change its way of feeding. A herbivore lion wouldn’t have any of the features which give identity to the animal which we describe as lion, hence a herbivore lion would be a contradiction.
Another behaviour coming from a natural instinct and which contradicts the paradisiac image of nature before an alleged Fall of humankind is sexual cannibalism. This sexual cannibalism of some animals has nothing to do with the Garden of Eden or with man disobedience; it is a development of nature.
“Sexual cannibalism became a hot topic of debate among biologists in 1984. Scientists from Cornell and the University of Texas at Austin proposed that it evolved because the males of some species could get an evolutionary advantage from being eaten. Their bodies could nourish the mothers of their offspring, raising the odds that those offspring would successfully hatch and grow up to produce their own offspring, thus carrying on the father’s genes.”
- 213 -
Bees also display carnivorous behaviour and most likely they always did that:
“Bees can be ruthless relatives. Bumblebee queens eat their offspring’s eggs, and honeybee workers make meals of their siblings’ eggs. But this ritual, gruesome by human standards, makes a bee family more productive. Although worker bees are usually unable to mate, as females they can lay unfertilized eggs that emerge as males, if given the chance. The same applies to wasps and ants. But many don’t survive. Workers are prone to eating their siblings’ eggs—an act scientists call “policing”—when their mother queen mates with multiple males. In these species, including the honeybee, most workers are half-sisters, and more related to their brothers (sons of the queen) than nephews (sons of other workers). Half-sisters show no mercy, devouring their nephews.”
This type of behaviour supports a theory by William Hamilton according to which closely related animals cooperate but more distant or unrelated animals tend to be hostile to one another. Genetically, close relatives are considered to be more valuable carrying similar genes.
Who did create this type of behaviour? Was it God or nature? According to the texts of the book of Genesis, God created a paradisiac world in which humankind and animals would have eaten only plants, and that would have determined the avoidance of sufferings in the world. At the same time, nature isn’t structured in that way and never was, and we can see that from the manner in which it functions. The insects which eat eggs as well as the products of plants are not determined to behave like that by humankind, but by their organisation. Even if Adam and Eve had existed on Earth their disobedience to God couldn’t have influenced the comportment of bees.
- 214 -
At the same time the division of all living beings only into plants and animals, which is made by the book of Genesis, is incomplete. The book of Genesis divides all living beings into plants and animals but there are beings which are neither plants nor animals. Are bacteria plants or animals? This is a question which the following quotation answers well:
“Bacteria are tiny living beings (microorganisms) - they are neither plants nor animals - they belong to a group all by themselves. Bacteria are tiny single-cell microorganisms, usually a few micrometers in length that normally exist together in millions. A gram of soil typically contains about 40 million bacterial cells. A milliliter of fresh water usually holds about one million bacterial cells.”
The description given by the book of Genesis in connection with the creation of animals is extremely simplistic and for this reason lacks any informational value. For example, bacteria aren’t included in the process of creation in any way but their existence isn’t unimportant.
“Bacteria consist of only a single cell, but don’t let their small size and seeming simplicity fool you. They’re an amazingly complex and fascinating group of creatures. Bacteria have been found that can live in temperatures above the boiling point and in cold that would freeze your blood. They “eat” everything from sugar and starch to sunlight, sulfur and iron.”
A suitable classification of living beings includes five or six kingdoms of such beings. In the past, all living things were classified into two kingdoms, plants and animals, but not anymore. The point is that the book of Genesis separated the biological world, beside human beings, into plant and animals. The problem is that some biological entities are neither plants nor animals but the authors of the book of Genesis didn’t know that. There isn’t any indication in the texts of the Bible about things which weren’t known in the common knowledge of that time. The book of Genesis didn’t give us any revelation which discloses the secrets of nature.
- 215 -
The real knowledge of nature came through scientific research, not by the revelation of the book of Genesis.
“Animals included every living thing that moved, ate, and grew to a certain size and stopped growing. Plants included every living thing that did not move or eat and that continued to grow throughout life. It became very difficult to group some living things into one or the other, so early in the past century the two kingdoms were expanded into five kingdoms: Protista (the single-celled eukaryotes); Fungi (fungus and related organisms); Plantae (the plants); Animalia (the animals); Monera (the prokaryotes). Many biologists now recognize six distinct kingdoms, dividing Monera into the Eubacteria and Archeobacteria.”
Did God create bad viruses which are responsible for so many diseases? Not having a real solution to this question, many creationists repeat somehow the pattern used in relation to herbivore and carnivore animals. God created good viruses but after Adam and Eve’s Fall viruses became bad, causing diseases which can kill people. Here is an extract from such an opinion, signed by Dr. Jean Lightner:
“Given our current knowledge of viruses, it is quite reasonable to believe that disease-causing viruses are descended from viruses that were once not harmful. It has been suggested that they have played an important role in maintaining life on Earth—somewhat similar to the way bacteria do.”
There isn’t any reason to believe that all viruses would have been inoffensive at the beginning of their creation and in time they became dangerous. It is true that viruses can mutate and can become extremely dangerous but this information would have been known by God when He created them. The viruses which are supposed in the context of the book of Genesis that would have been created by God, were in any case potentially harmful for humankind.
- 216 -
It is also true that using the most advanced results of scientific research some viruses can be used as a tool against dangerous bacteria which are hard to cure with antibiotics. Nevertheless, in order for some viruses to become useful for humankind an important scientific effort took place for a long period of time. Only in our days, viruses can be used to do some good, but for millennia they killed countless human beings indiscriminately. Did God create killing viruses with the idea that after thousands of years a very developed human science would use them to destroy bacteria, another biological being created by Him? A positive answer is somehow strange. In my opinion, the existence of viruses wasn’t a moral decision taken by God, it is the product of the evolution of nature.
If God created viruses only as a good thing, how could all viruses have become bad on their own? Viruses were never good and bad, they are a kind of entity which evolves like anything else, and adapts to conditions, but they can be incredibly bad for human lives.
In relation to bacteria, many of them are useful to humankind but not all. That some bacteria and viruses remained good and other bacteria and viruses became bad after Adam and Eve’s Fall is a theory which cannot in any way be validated by reality if it doesn’t present with clarity the criterion on which these differences would have been possible. To use a moral criterion, Adam and Eve’s Fall, for the evolution of viruses and bacteria is nonsensical.
Are the viruses plants or animals? The question is very important because the book of Genesis tells us that God would have created only plants and animals beside human beings as biological entities. But if not God, what could the origin of viruses have been? In the context of the book of Genesis only God could have created viruses because He is the only Creator.
What is bacteria and what is a virus? This quotation explains it in a clear way:
“Bacteria are single-celled, prokaryotic microorganisms that exist in abundance in both living hosts and in all areas of the planet (e.g., soil, water). By their nature, they can be either “good” (beneficial) or “bad” (harmful) for the health of plants, humans, and other animals that come into contact with them. A virus is acellular (has no cell structure) and requires a living host to survive; it causes illness in its host, which causes an immuneresponse. Bacteria are alive, while scientists are not yet sure if viruses are living or nonliving; in general, they are considered to be nonliving.”
It is true that the book of Genesis is not a scientific book but if taken literally is able to distort reality and create a false image of how nature came to be. This is important because human beings are a part of nature, and if one misrepresents human origin one cannot understand many other things about human existence.
- 217 -
 www.ask.com › Pets & Animals › Birds