Read the entire book online!
This interpretation places Satan’s revolt after the creation of man but not necessarily after the creation of woman. That revolt would have happened immediately after the creation of man, during the period of six days of creation. Notwithstanding, God would have declared that the creation was very good.
If man hadn’t been created as the Bible says, Satan couldn’t have been unhappy that he wasn’t asked by God regarding that creation. That couldn’t have been the reason for Satan’s revolt, if that revolt happened in reality.
Placing Satan, without any biblical arguments or any kind of other argumentation, in the situation of being God’s counsellor, is wrong. No angels would have counselled God about what to do in His activity in any case. For this reason, Satan couldn’t have expected to be consulted in connection with the creation of humankind. Probably no angels would have been asked about anything regarding the governance of the universe. That we can know for sure from the Bible:
“11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,* having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1; 11-12 NRSV)
God who accomplishes all things according to His counsel wouldn’t have asked for Satan’s counsel. Did God consult Satan’s opinion when He had created the universe? Of course He didn’t because Satan wouldn’t yet have been created. We don’t know when Satan would have been created by God but he couldn’t counsel God about the creation of angels, including of course his own creation. To place Satan near Christ in importance is an absurd thesis because He is eternal but Satan is a creation.
If asked to have an opinion on the problems of the governance of the universe, Satan would have been part of a democratic system in the “heavens”.
- 260 -
Being prevented from exercising his right to opinion, Satan would have had a legitimate claim against God. At the same time, one should bear in mind that the Kingdom of God isn’t seen by the Bible as a democratic but it is understood as an autocratic system.
God had taken a decision without consulting the created beings in connection with the creation of man. Did Satan want to be consulted about this decision? That would have been a fight for democracy in the Kingdom of God.
The lack of democracy would have been the motive of Satan’s revolt in the “heavens” in which he attracted a third of all angels. It is clear from the Bible that God rules on the basis of His own principles without asking counsel from any of His creatures. A monotheistic religion is usually based on the duality between good and evil in which the good is promoted by God.
God’s existence without the existence of an agent of evil would place the entire responsibility for the evil in the world on His shoulders. Nevertheless, God knows both the good and the evil and one can ask how He discovered the evil if He is entirely good. Did God learn about the evil from Satan? It is difficult to accept that Satan would have taught God anything. The eternal God wouldn’t have waited until the creation of Satan before understanding what evil means. The Bible says that God knows both good and evil, it doesn’t maintain that God didn’t know what evil means. If God is Omniscient He didn’t learn what evil means from Satan.
The good and the evil are both in God and He had to make a choice between them as human beings do. God had to choose the good rather than the evil when He created the universe. Creation or construction is good, senseless destruction is evil.
Satan could have asked for a more democratic way of governing the universe but he couldn’t have tried to replace God as the Sovereign. None can compare with God, not an angel and none else if He is the uncreated energies who created all that is as theologians believe. If there isn’t a possible comparison there isn’t also the chance for confrontation between God and Satan. They belong to two different dimensions of reality, the infinite and the finite dimensions. In order to be envied by Satan, God of the Bible has to be a Being in the same ontological category as him, for example, as two human beings envy one another.
- 261 -
Writing about the text in Isaiah 14; 12- 15 Troy Lacey states:
“It is obvious from the text that Satan’s sin was pride. He was so beautiful, so wise, and so powerful as an angel that he began to covet God’s position and authority. He chafed at having to serve God and grew angry and rebellious. He did not want to serve, he wanted to be served; he, as a creature, wanted to be worshipped. How starkly contrasted to our savior Jesus Christ, who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).”
I am very suspicious of this type of reasoning which is so widespread because it doesn’t explain at all why so many angels would have supported Satan’s movement against God. If Satan’s pride when comparing himself with God is nonsensical, the pride of ordinary angels who revolted against Him is absurd. The fallen angels would have had their own motivation in rebelling against God and that motivation cannot be explained only by their fidelity to Satan. Their motivation couldn’t have been generated by their wish to be like God.
In the book of Genesis we have a classical story about a fight for power between two leaders of comparable means. This cannot be the description of the Almighty God who cannot be compared with anyone else therefore cannot be challenged by anybody. This fight for power reproduces in another form the classical war between gods found in other mythologies but doesn’t open the understanding of the unique God.
The commentators emphasise a close relation between Satan’s revolt and humankind’s sin. The same author, Troy Lacey, writes in connection to that subject:
“They didn’t just ignorantly decide to eat the fruit, nor did they eat it because “the Devil made them do it.” Satan’s outright lies and cunning half-truths brought something to the surface of Eve’s mind that fateful day.
- 262 -She realized that to “be like gods” meant not having to serve God, it meant being equal to God. It meant that she felt as if God had deliberately kept her and Adam in the dark regarding their “divine potential.” Why should they tend God’s garden in Eden when they could be as gods themselves? Why should they have to obey God if they were also gods? The quickness with which Adam acquiesced to Eve’s offer of the fruit may possibly show that he too harboured these same feelings, or it may mean that Adam, though knowing Eve had sinned willfully decided to throw his lot in with her by deliberately eating from the fruit. Eve had been deceived, Adam had not. In any event, we know that it was Adam’s sin that was responsible for the Fall and the Curse (Rom. 5:12). The sin of pride that led to Satan’s fall had now infected the hearts and minds of Adam and Eve, and the result was the same: shame, loss of wisdom, ruin and death.”
Not having to serve God and being equal to Him are two artificial arguments used in the article. God is a serving divinity and this is determined by His love. We can see that clearly in the life of Jesus therefore to be like God means automatically to serve. Where did Satan see and envy the situation of being served by others? Seeing the service made to God by His creatures, Satan would have been impressed and he would have wanted the same treatment applied to him. There is a contradiction between the understanding of God as love and the idea that He is a Supreme Leader worshiped by everyone. From this contradiction starts the principle of Satan’s revolt.
Seeing service as a one-way road coming only from God’s creation is a very bad theology which generates spiritual damage. God was the first who gave service to humankind. At the same time, none can be equal to God no matter how much he or she wants it. This is an ontological problem. If God is the origin of all things this origin cannot be erased and replaced with a creature. God is an irreplaceable Reality or He isn’t God the Almighty. For this reason, God is unique and cannot be equated with any being. This is another fundamental contradiction of the Bible; either God is the unique source of life and He cannot be equalled by anyone, or He is a Ruler who can be envied and who is susceptible to be contended by someone else.
In my opinion, in the context of the Bible, humankind would have been created after Satan’s fall and as a result of his rebellion.
- 263 -
Human beings were needed to allow God to demonstrate once again His love for His creation, and that was done at the Cross of Calvary. Without human beings on Earth Christ couldn’t have taken a human body and couldn’t have died on the Cross. Was the Cross important for the angels also? The Bible says that at the Cross God defeated Satan, therefore without the Cross one cannot speak about Satan’s failure. If the Cross never happened Satan wouldn’t have been completely defeated by God.
Some commentators remark that Satan is not a match for God who is All-powerful; he couldn’t have been in a real battle with Him. There is a contradiction between two principles, on one side God who is considered All-powerful and on the other side Satan who could have won a battle against Him. Winning a small battle against God would have made the description “All-powerful” unsuitable. This contradiction is emphasised in an article which can be found on a site named precious-testimonies.com under the title “How Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross”.
At the same time, the book of Genesis maintains that Satan won a battle against God when he succeeded in deceiving Adam and Eve. Following this deceit Satan would have attracted the eternal condemnation to hell of billions of human beings and that is a huge victory against a loving God. This win would have raised questions about God being All-powerful if the story of Adam and Eve was real and not only a myth. The book of Genesis contradicts the image of God being All-powerful.
The creation of humankind would have been a necessary step for God to show His love for His creation at the Cross. Without humankind and their Fall that event couldn’t have happened. The creation of humankind and the embodiment of His Son as a human being was the price that God had to pay in order to assure His victory against Satan. Incomparable as He is, God wasn’t indifferent to angels’ opinions and that is based on His love. God didn’t crush the rebellion against Him but He adjusted His attitude toward the created world. These aren’t facts, it is what the Bible maintains and it is a profound contradiction.
The world will never be the same as the one existing before Satan’s rebellion against God. Good and evil influence each other and in these stories we can see not only how good influences evil but also the way in which evil determines changes in the good.
- 264 -
This dialectic between good and evil is reduced simplistically by many commentators.
It is unclear if the author of Genesis chapter 2 understood the serpent as a personification of a force of evil acting behind him, or just as an allegoric figure in its own right. Most probably, the latter option is the proper one.
We have references to Satan in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28 but the texts are obscure. Satan is a complex figure with influences from Persian mythology:
“The Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions are monotheistic faiths, which means their followers believe there is only one God. That God has a powerful adversary known as Satan, or the Devil. Satan’s role changed over time, as the three religions developed. At first he was a creature under God’s control with the task of testing people’s faith. In time, however, Satan came to be seen as the prince of darkness, ruler of all evil spirits, enemy of both God and humankind, and source of treachery and wickedness. The name Satan comes from a Hebrew word meaning “adversary.” It first appears in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. In the book of Job, God allows this adversary—sometimes called Samael in Jewish literature—to heap misfortunes on Job to see whether Job will turn against God. Judaism was influenced by the dualistic Persian religion in which good and evil struggle with each other for control of the universe and for power over human hearts and minds. The Jewish Satan took on some characteristics of Ahriman, the Persian god of evil and ruler of demons.”
Satan revolted against God and would have attracted a number of angels as his followers. God had thrown them from heaven but after Satan’s revolt He would have allowed the devil to take the body of a serpent, to enter the Garden of Eden and tempt the human beings. God had known that Satan cannot be trusted, but regardless of that He would have allowed him to enter the Garden. Even if the Garden of Eden could have been protected against any intrusion by cherubim, it wasn’t guarded against Satan.
- 265 -
The temptation of humankind was a necessary step in the complex plan of God’s creation. It seems that the Fall was a necessity which allowed God to demonstrate His love for His creation. God’s Son, Jesus, wouldn’t have died for the redemption of humankind without the Fall. The necessity to demonstrate God’s love shows a lack of evidence of it because what is obvious and visible for all doesn’t need demonstration. It is a fundamental dogma that the cross of Calvary was needed to show God’s love for His creation.
In the book of Genesis God was able to throw Satan from heaven but wasn’t capable or willing to stop him entering the Garden of Eden. If God was able to ban Satan from the Garden of Eden why didn’t He do it? The conclusion is that God allowed the temptation of humankind in spite of what the Bible is saying, that He doesn’t tempt anyone to sin. (James 1; 13) It is true that God didn’t directly tempt humankind but He set in place all elements for that temptation.
The Bible is confused about the location of Satan’s revolt. Was it in heaven or in the Garden of Eden? A biblical text places the location of the revolt in the Garden of Eden. As we know the Garden of Eden was on Earth and not in heaven.
“11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me: 12 Mortal, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the signet of perfection,* full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire,* turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings.* On the day that you were created they were prepared.” (Ezekiel 28; 11-13 NRSV)
According to the most widespread interpretation, Satan, and not the King of Tyre, would have been in Eden, the Garden of God, and the devil is presented in his glory and not as a fallen angel. We know that the King of Tyre couldn’t have been in the Garden of Eden because he didn’t belong to the same generation as Adam and Eve.
Was Satan in the Garden of Eden personified as a serpent or an angel full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, or both? This of course is a contradiction because once in the Garden of Eden Satan would have already been thrown from the “heavens”, losing his prerogatives and his spectacular outfit.
- 266 -
“18 He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.” (Luke 10; 18 NRSV)
How did Satan fall from the “heavens” if he was on Earth in the Garden as a glorious angel? In Eden, the Garden of God which was situated on Earth, Satan would have been covered with many precious stones, but Jesus saw him being thrown from heaven. Either Satan was thrown out from the “heavens” and fell like a flash of lightening or he was a signet of perfection in t/span>he Garden of Eden. These are two different versions which don’t harmonize with one another and shadow the truthfulness of the biblical texts regarding Satan.
Man was also in the Garden, which was planted after his creation. Did man and woman not know about Satan’s revolt if they all were in the Garden? The Garden, in Genesis chapter 2, was planted by God after the creation of man, hence Satan’s revolt would have started after man’s creation according to Ezekiel 28.
We don’t have any argument which would plead for the thesis that there would have been duplicate of the Garden in the “heavens”. Moreover, the Garden of Eden described in connection with Satan was a material, not a spiritual realm, with precious stones and gold.
Why would there have been a Garden of Eden in the “heavens” if man was only on Earth? The Garden would have been planted only after man’s creation and man had to till it and keep it. We don’t have any biblical or rational argument to support such an idea. The Garden of Eden would have been placed only on Earth and that Garden was the region where God spent some of His time, according to Genesis chapter 2.
The future paradise will be also installed on the new earth and not in the heavens, and that strengthens the idea that the old paradise was the Garden of Eden which was situated on Earth.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21; 1-2 NRSV)
- 267 -
If the New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven on the new earth, that means that the paradise would be on that earth, hence we don’t have any reason based on biblical texts to believe that there will be a paradise in the “heavens” also, and that place will host human beings.
The New Jerusalem isn’t a heavenly Garden, a celestial Eden, it is a city, it is the place where God will dwell together with human beings. This is the most important element of the paradise, the presence of God in the same place with the elect human beings. Nevertheless, there are connections between the Garden of Eden from the book of Genesis and the New Jerusalem. According to the book of Revelation, inside the New Jerusalem will also be the tree of life.
There are also differences between the Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem. In the Garden, Adam had to toil the ground but in the city the streets are made from gold. The city will be surrounded with a great wall and twelve gates and that is unspecific for a garden.
Why would the New Jerusalem need a great wall and twelve gates if there will be nothing on the new earth to threaten the security of the saved human beings? Some people will be saved for eternal life and others will go into the lake of fire. None other than God, His Son, the elected human beings and the faithful angels will be on the new earth. God would regain an undisputed authority over the entire universe following Satan’s defeat. No walls or gates to protect the eternal city, New Jerusalem, will be needed. The images from the book of Revelation generate a confusion comparing the future eternal city with an ancient fortress.
“15 The angel* who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles;* its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits* by human measurement, which the angel was using.” (Revelation 21; 15-17 NRSV)
- 268 -
If none will threaten the security of the New Jerusalem on the new earth, the high walls of the city will be useless. Even if the gates of the city will never be shut the situation doesn’t change the conundrum because the gates will be guarded by angels.
At the same time if Satan was such an important personage in the Garden of Eden, Eve would have heard about him and about his intentions. Did Eve not identify Satan’s voice when she heard the serpent talking to her? She had to know that Satan was God’s enemy if the entire revolt had happened in the Garden of Eden. The book of Genesis didn’t tell us that Adam and Eve would have been implicated in the events generated by Satan’s revolt or that they knew about them, but if that event was real the first human beings would have been necessarily aware of them and would have known the difference between good and evil before eating from the tree of knowledge. The book of Genesis implies that Adam and Eve didn’t know about Satan’s rebellion but in Ezekiel is written that the revolt happened in the same Garden.
It is hard to equate the serpent from Genesis chapter 3 with Satan from other texts of the Bible; they look like two different personages. In Genesis chapter 3 the serpent was an animal living in the Garden of Eden and not a spiritual being. It was a special animal and not a banal one, because unlike other animals, the serpent could speak.
According to the book of Genesis one may assume that the serpent was an animal, which initially had legs. That is a logical conclusion because after the temptation of woman, the serpent was doomed to go onto its belly. For the serpent, going onto its belly was a consequence of the curse and not an innate natural characteristic of that animal.
One may ask if all species of serpents were condemned to go onto their belly, after the temptation of woman, or only the individual which perpetrated the temptation of Eve.
Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpents that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears.
- 269 -
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica serpents are one of the species which go upon their belly, and I quote:
“Snake (suborder Serpents), also called serpent, any of about 2,900 species of reptiles distinguished by their limbless condition and greatly elongated body and tail. Classified with lizards in the order Squamata, snakes represent a lizard that, over the course of evolution, has undergone structural reduction, simplification, and loss as well as specialization. All snakes lack external limbs, but not all legless reptiles are snakes.”
Did all reptiles become legless after the temptation of woman or only the suborder of the serpents? Lizards, as well as other reptiles, are limbless, but they are not serpents and consequently they shouldn’t have been affected by the curse of the serpent, which tempted woman. Why do lizards move on their bellies if they weren’t responsible for woman’s temptation? It is clear that the entire story with the temptation of Adam and Eve is a fable and doesn’t have anything to do with real facts. All reptiles go on their belly, at least this is the norm, and they were created within the six days, according to Genesis chapter 1. If they had been created before humankind the reptiles wouldn’t have been recreated as new species after humankind’s Fall. The reptiles go upon their belly not because one of them has tempted Eve but because this is the characteristic of their kind.
According to the book of Genesis God didn’t punish one individual serpent for its behaviour but He condemned many species of serpents to go on their belly. If the “Squamata” is a new order emerged after the temptation of woman, the creation was not finished in six days and the text in Genesis chapter 1 is wrong when it maintains that the process of creation would have ended when the sixth day of creation expired. Adam and Eve couldn’t have been tempted by the serpent and failing during the six days of creation, and at the same time at the end of them the creation being declared very good.
“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.” (Genesis 2, 1-2 NRSV)
- 270 -
If the order of “Squamata” in which the serpent is included had certain limbs before the human Fall, and as a result of the Fall and of God’s curse moved on the belly, He recreated a certain part of the animal regnum after the sixth day of creation, but this is in contradiction with Genesis chapter 1 which professes that the entire creation was finished in six days. To admit that an entire species of animals were condemned to go onto their belly because one individual tempted Eve is preposterous. This assertion would be even more absurd if we accept that Satan, not the serpent, was the real tempter. Satan was an angel, not a serpent, and he would have used the animal for his ends. Satan hid himself under the guise of a serpent. In such circumstances the animal was a victim, not a perpetrator, and there wouldn’t have been any reason to curse all species of serpents for that. Of course, that is a fable and doesn’t have any sense taken as real facts.
According to Genesis chapter 2, the snake from the Garden of Eden not only spoke unlike other snakes but also had legs which were lost after the temptation of Eve and God’s curse. In the real world, probably, snakes do not resent as a curse going upon their belly, they are very well adapted to this kind of movement which does not generate any inconvenience for them.
“14 The LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’ (Genesis 3; 14-15 NRSV)
The point is that serpents could not have legs and also be serpents. If the serpents went onto their bellies after God’s curse and as a consequence of the curse, how did they move before the curse? If the serpents moved with legs they were not serpents at all but other species of animals. The allegory with the serpent invalidates the whole story of the Fall of humankind as a factual account.
- 271 -
The story from Genesis chapter 2 is not accurate and it cannot be trusted as a scientific fact. God’s curse of the serpent is a mythological and also an inconsistent story. At the same time, serpents, of course, don’t feed with dust, as the text from the book of Genesis says. Genesis chapter 2 is an allegory about creation which doesn’t have anything to do with what really happened in the human history.
According to the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis adopted by many believers, the devil entered a serpent and realised the temptation of woman. The animal serpent was not responsible for tempting Eve but Satan was, nevertheless the animal was cursed and punished. The animal was cursed to go upon the belly and not Satan. It is unfair to punish an animal for something for which it isn’t responsible. Punishment does not apply for whichever cannot bear a responsibility. God can do what He wants but He is just and He doesn’t punish anyone who is innocent. This is one of the columns of the Kingdom of God.
The text doesn’t allow us to make the shift from the animal to a spiritual power. It is about an animal, not a spirit, an animal which moves on its belly. In mythologies serpents can talk but of course they cannot do that in reality. The mythological symbolism of the serpent was so complex, in the ancient world, that to limit it only to the biblical interpretation is a form of unwarranted reductionism.
In the O.T. the serpent is in conflict with God, but not with man and woman. He is seen as a bringer of light of the knowledge, something similar to Prometheus, the Greek hero, who brought light to humankind. In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, a figure who is credited with the creation of man from clay and who defies the gods and gives fire to humanity. The theft of fire is an act that enabled progress and civilization. He is known for his intelligence and as a champion of mankind and in many ways, he is similar to the serpent from the book of Genesis.
The figure of serpent, in the book of Genesis, cannot at all be understood to be isolated from the whole mythological environment, in which the book of Genesis was written.
- 272 -
“The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.In some cultures snakes were fertility symbols. In other cultures snakes symbolized the umbilical cord, joining all humans to Mother Earth. The Great Goddess often had snakes as her familiars - sometimes twining around her sacred staff, as in ancient Crete - and they were worshiped as guardians of her mysteries of birth and regeneration. Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.”
What is the function of the serpent, in the book of Genesis chapter 2? It is an ally of man and woman, an opponent to God, he is on humans’ side. In Genesis chapter 2 not only the serpent but humankind also is an opponent to God. In mythology gods were seen sometimes as positive and sometimes as negative figures. In the Judeo-Christian traditions, God is presumed to be a positive figure, even if He, in the O.T. almost destroyed the human race, through the Flood, killed all first-born children of the Egyptians, and their army, destroyed many ancient civilizations, in order to offer to Israel the promised land. In the O.T. God was presented as a positive figure for anyone who obeyed His laws but very destructive for His human enemies. In the N.T. God is presumed to love His enemies and not to destroy them.
The snake, in the book of Genesis, wanted to open the gates of knowledge for humankind, to show them God’s reasons and strategies, in His dealings with humankind. Of course, the mythological figure, the snake, could be suspected of having its own agenda but this is not necessarily contrary to human interests.
In the Christian tradition we are asked to take sides, to be either on God’s side or against Him, meaning to be on the side of the devil. What would it mean to be just on the human side, to try to understand the universal confrontation between good and evil, from a human perspective? What were God’s reasons, depicted by the Bible, and what were the devil’s motives, according to the same book? What was the issue of the debate between God and Satan and what were the arguments of both sides? The Bible does not give all these answers.
- 273 -
The struggle for power between God and Satan in the Judeo-Christian tradition looks like a battle between a human King and His vassal. It is not the relationship between the infinite God, the Creator of all things, and one of His creatures, no matter how special this created being was. No creature can replace God and if any created being can do it He is not how the Judeo-Christian traditions describe Him. In those traditions God is Almighty, Omniscient and Omnipresent and most importantly the source of all life. God is unique and He is irreplaceable and His situation is incomparable with anyone else’s. This is a dilemma. If God could have been replaced by Satan following his revolt, all His attributes taught by the Christian doctrines and dogmas are false. At the same time, Satan is described as a very intelligent angel and if this is true he would have understood from the beginning that he couldn’t have won a battle against God. Either Satan is not that intelligent or God is not the unique source of life and can be replaced by one of His creatures.
In the understanding of Christian theology God is not only a King who can be dethroned. He is the existence of all existent things. Such incomparable Reality is degraded by the way in which it is seen by most interpretations of the Bible, mainly those which take literally its texts. If God could be eliminated by a creature He is not infinite but only a finite Reality because an infinite and Omnipresent Reality cannot be eliminated or subdued. This is another inconsistence of the book of Genesis.
At the same time, God couldn’t have been troubled by man who endeavoured to know good and evil. This is the expression of a mythological human understanding of God who cannot be treated as a possible competitor in a universal fight. The infinite God cannot be challenged by the attitude of human beings in their natural request for knowledge. The conflict is not between God and science but it is between a limited understanding of God by many commentators of the Bible and the human knowledge which cannot and should not accept limitations. God doesn’t prevent human beings from knowing Him; the eternal life means an infinite knowledge of Him.
The idea of Satan being the enemy of God in the way presented by the classical theism renders incredible the entire plot of the Bible.
- 274 -
In a gnostic view things become relatively different with the Demiurge who wouldn’t have tried to replace the Father in His unique situation as the essence of the entire existence, but who tries to become a lesser god dominating humankind.
The indubitable conclusion of many interpretations of the O.T and N.T., is that Satan is an adversary or accuser. In the New Testament, it is interchangeable with “Diabolos”, or devil, and is so used more than thirty times. “He is also called “the dragon,” “the old serpent” (Rev. 12:9; 20:2); “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30); “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2); “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4); “the spirit that now work in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). The distinct personality of Satan and his activity among men are thus obviously recognized. He tempted our Lord in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11). He is “Beelzebub, the prince of the devils” (Matt. 12:24). He is the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom, of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood and all malice, and exciting and seducing to evil in every possible way. His power is very great in the world. He is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Men are said to be “taken captive by him” (2 Tim. 2:26). Christians are warned against his “devices” (2 Cor. 2:11), and called on to resist him (James 4:7). Christ redeems his people from him that. (Heb. 2:14).
One of the most quoted biblical texts about Satan is the following:
“12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon;* 14 I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14; 12-15 NRSV)
Parallels are drawn to the passage in Isaiah 14; 4-17 that mentions the morning star that had “fallen from heaven” and was “cast down to the earth”. In verse 12 of this passage, the Hebrew word that referred to the morning star was translated into Latin as Lucifer. With the application to the devil of the morning star story, “Lucifer” was also applied to him as a proper name.
- 275 -
The Jewish Encyclopaedia states that the myth concerning the morning star was transferred to Satan by the first century before the Common Era, citing in support of this view the Life of Adam and Eve and the Slavonic Book of Enoch 29:4, 31:4, where Satan-Sataniel is described as having been one of the archangels.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, the quoted biblical passage refers more to the king of Babylon than to a spiritual power and that is obvious when reading the whole of chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah. Being in heaven before being cast down to the earth, Satan couldn’t have “laid the nations low” because he couldn’t influence the nations without God’s approval. Angels don’t “lay the nations low”, only a human king or God can do that.
Apparently, Satan’s functions in the Kingdom of God would have been linked with guarding God’s throne, not with leading nations on Earth. At the same time, metaphorically, the text of the Bible could have paralleled the king of Babylon with Day Star. Moreover, the king of Babylon would have been in a situation to “lay the nations low” and he probably did that. A powerful earthly king could have dreamt to become a kind of false god and to be like the Most High, and history recorded many rulers who behaved as gods over their nations or over other occupied nations.
If the Day Star is the same personage as Satan, not only did he say in his heart that he will ascend to heaven, but it was already in heaven if it had fallen from it.
Another passage worth quoting concerning Satan’s identity is found in Ezekiel. This time the quotation is extensive in order to comprise all relevant elements:
“11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me: 12 Mortal, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the signet of perfection,* full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire,* turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings.*On the day that you were created they were prepared. 4 With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you;* you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from among the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. So I brought out fire from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more for ever.” (Ezekiel 28; 11-19 NRSV)
- 276 -
The text looks like it points towards the king of Tyre. If the text refers to Satan, the serpent from the Garden of Eden, the description of Satan, in the book of Ezekiel, contradicts the depiction of the serpent, in the book of Genesis. Verse 13, from the book of Ezekiel chapter 28, speaks in such terms about the serpent, which categorically contradicts the book of Genesis; hence it isn’t about the same personage. In the Garden of Eden Satan would have taken the form of a serpent or hid behind such an animal, according to Genesis chapter 1, but in Ezekiel 28, in Eden, the garden of God, every precious stone was the devil’s covering.
If Satan was in the Garden of Eden, covered in precious stones, he was not a serpent, an animal, because no animals are covered in precious stones. A special angel covered in precious stones was a material creation, not only a spiritual power hiding behind an animal, in this case a serpent.
What trade could the serpent have done, as an animal, in the Garden of Eden? The serpent didn’t do any trade in the Garden of Eden and that place wouldn’t have been destined for trade. Satan also, if different from the serpent, wouldn’t have done any trade in the Garden of Eden and the king of Tyre who could have done plenty of trade, couldn’t have lived in the Garden.
The two descriptions of Eden and of Satan from Ezekiel and Genesis are incompatible with one another.
- 277 -
The idea of making trade in the Garden of Eden occupied by only two human beings, Adam and Eve, is an absurd one. Nothing is adding up in the story of Satan and of the Garden of Eden.
In the book of Ezekiel, Satan would have been destroyed in the sight of all who saw him, but in other texts of the Bible the devil will endure until the end of the world. Which one is true out of the two different visions about Satan? Probably nothing is true because serpents don’t talk and aren’t covered in precious stones, and Satan didn’t do any trade in the Garden of Eden. Ezekiel 28, 11-19, doesn’t refer to Satan but can metaphorically speak about a rich king who tried to suppress other neighbouring nations.
In Genesis chapter 3 and Ezekiel chapter 28, Satan was punished twice. In the former he was condemned to go onto the belly and to eat dust, and in the latter he was turned to ashes. Obviously the serpent from Genesis 3 and Satan from Ezekiel chapter 28 are two very different personages. Being consumed by the fire, the personage from the book of Ezekiel cannot be Satan because the devil will be thrown in the lake of fire at the end of the days, hence he has not been consumed by the fire yet. The proposition from Ezekiel chapter 28, verse 18, “so I brought out fire from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you”, speaks of a past event but Satan is still alive.
One may say that the text in Ezekiel addresses two different questions at the same time. One question would be the fate of the king of Tyre and the second one, Satan’s revolt. In my opinion the text can be taken as referring only to the king of Tyre because nothing in Ezekiel 28 is such that it cannot be connected to that king. The signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, covered by every precious stone, placed with an anointed cherub as guardian and walking among the stones of fire, could very well be a metaphorical description of the king of Tyre if he was a rich person.
In any case, the text from Ezekiel 28 brings forward a metaphor which doesn’t really say anything about Satan’s revolt against God. Another text of the Bible has to be quoted to complete the image of humankind’s Fall in connection with Satan’s fall:
- 278 -
“3 Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule* all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7 And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12; 3-9 NRSV)
As we can see, the text equates Satan with the serpent as being one and the same personage. Taking this observation into consideration, all contradictions between Genesis and the other biblical texts about Satan’s Fall are even better demonstrated. The description of Satan is very different between Genesis and Ezekiel, or between the former and the book of Revelation.
On the other side, if God is perfect in His character, as we are led to believe, what appearance of a fault or pretext could have been used by Satan against Him? What formal accusations could have been brought against Him by the devil in front of all the angels? God’s perfection should exclude and render derisory any accusation against Him. Either God is perfect, and that was obvious for the angels, or He is not perfect, having some apparent imperfections and Satan has used them. Nobody can revolt against perfection, because there is nothing to argue against it. If, nevertheless, someone would have done that, none would have followed and the contender would have remained alone. Not so with Satan’s revolt. He not only was followed by a third of the angels, but also the other two thirds remained with doubts and God would have considered it necessary to develop a very complex plan, in order to dispel their incertitude.
This is the understanding of many Christians. God had created man and woman, in order for Satan to have a stage on which he could demonstrate “in vivo” his theories about freedom and rights.
- 279 -
The earth was created as a laboratory for the devil’s works in which he was doomed to fail in his attempt to demonstrate a better order than God’s. The faithful angels couldn’t have imagined fully Satan’s promises for another type of government and they needed to see those propositions happening under their eyes on Earth. Without the social experiences made on Earth the faithful angels would have kept in their minds some of Satan’s words and the effects of his revolt would have reverberated forever in God’s Kingdom. Satan’s experiences on Earth would have had, as a result, the conclusion that total independence from God isn’t good because it leads to chaos and destruction.
In reality such demonstration couldn’t have been conclusive because democracy is proven to be better than any authoritarian system, the former bringing personal achievements for much more individual human beings than the latter. At the same time religion didn’t help too much in bringing peace and stability in the world and the name of God was used many times for justifying despicable atrocities. On the other side, mortal life and eternal life are two very different things and it is difficult to judge the value of an order based on eternal life after what happens in a mortal life. When changing the coordinates from eternal to mortal or from mortal to eternal, the mentalities of the conscious living beings would have changed radically.
The fundamental problem is the birth of evil in the world. God could have avoided the apparition of evil in His creation. Evil has a cause and cannot be reduced to one person or one angel. One third of all angels in the heavens followed the evil and rebelled against God. The cause of evil is considered to be pride, the effect of having beauty and personal power. Satan would have been proud and he would have forgotten his place in the creation, and he would have wanted to be like God. Nevertheless, this seems to be an inconsistent interpretation of the fight between good and evil in the Bible. God knows everything beforehand therefore He would have known Satan’s future before the development of the events. Satan’s revolt couldn’t have happened as a surprise for God if He really knows everything.
If God doesn’t know the future and He didn’t know ante factum that Satan would revolt against Him, He isn’t the Almighty presented by the doctrines and dogmas. God could have known at least that an excess of beauty and power can bring someone to pride.
- 280 -
The creation of Satan as a special angel, as a defender of God’s throne, couldn’t have had any reasonable motive because He didn’t need to be defended from anyone before the revolt. Either God doesn’t know the future and Satan’s revolt wasn’t predicted by Him, or He knows it and He willingly created Satan as a potential agent of evil. The reason could have been the realisation of a complex plan in which humankind also has a place. If God created Satan knowing his potential for evil He is the source of evil in the world.
Many possible scenarios can only try to make sense of an unbelievable story, that of the battle between good and evil from the Bible. It is hard to believe because it contains many illogical elements. One is the revolt of a creature against the Creator and the pretention of that creature to win such a battle against an infinite Reality. Another discrepancy just mentioned is the creation of Satan as a potential factor for the generation of evil. The entire story doesn’t make too much sense and can be inscribed in the mythological genre. If the battle between God and Satan is real, there are many components totally unknown to humankind; hence the Bible doesn’t present authentic revelation in this regard in order to make sense of the story of Adam and Eve.
- 281 -
 www.mythencyclopedia.com › Pr-Sa
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
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.