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Is animal death inherently evil?

Discussion in 'Science' started by Mercury, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    This has come up in a number of other discussions, and I think it deserves its own topic. While it is not really a science issue, my impression is that this forum is mainly for the creation debate (which is why it is hidden), so I don't think it's too off-topic here.

    I would be interested in reading a young-earth defense of the idea that animal death is evil and so would not happen in a creation that was declared by God to be "very good". In particular, I'd like to see a verse-by-verse exegesis that shows how such a position is consistent with the various passages that directly or indirectly deal with the issue. Some of these verses are:</font>I've never read an explanation that dealt with all these verses. Generally, such explanations only deal with Genesis and Romans. Further, the explanations of Romans usually lead to one of two errors: (1) ignoring how Paul says sin is passed down from Adam or claiming that animals somehow inherit a sin nature from Adam too; or (2) placing animals on the same level as humans as recipients of Jesus' salvific gift, due to the way Paul links the first and second Adam. If there is an interpretation that avoids these errors and can also account for the other Scripture passages listed, I'd love to read it.

    I've explained my own view on the issue in the following posts:
    </font>Anyway, there's a few young-earth creationists here that claim they'd like to focus on the Bible rather than science. This topic gives them a chance to do just that.
  2. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    Oh, and in case it doesn't go without saying, I'd really appreciate it if people responded in their own words after studying the Bible on this issue themselves, rather than just copy-and-pasting long articles from extra-biblical sources.
  3. Travelsong

    Travelsong Guest

    One of the things that's always boggled me: we as Christians stress salvation or damnation in terms of spiritual life and death. Physical death is really meaningless when one understands the life we have been given in Christ. Yet when we talk about the idea of animals dying before sin, YErs go bananas and often claim Christ's atoning work on the cross is rendered void if fish, birds and creeping things of the earth died prior to Adam. Just what and who did Jesus suffer and conquer death for?
  4. Gup20

    Gup20 New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    I will respond to your inquiry.

    First lets look exegetically at the Biblical verses you have provided (and others).

    Gen 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
    1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

    This form of life is the Hebrew nephesh chayyah. Plant life is never referred to with this term.

    Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    Again we see here nephesh chayyah life. This "life" is soulish life. It is different from the plants. I have heard Dr. Jason Lisle say that plants are simply biological machines - they are not alive in the Biblical sense of life - so they cannot die as something with nephesh chayyah life can.

    Now we see God set up a CLEAR chain of authority in Genesis. Animals and man are separate kinds... and on separate levels of authority.

    Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
    27 So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

    God --&gt; Man ---&gt; animals. Now look at what God says about this authority structure in the verses you referenced, Mercury:

    Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
    30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.

    Here again we see nephesh chayyah life. God sets up the authority structure and tells each what their roles are.

    He says plants are for food... animals are the life of creation, and people are the stewards of that life (of nephesh chayyah life), and of the whole earth.

    But man sinned and fell short of the glory of God. He was unable to faithfully represent God to this creation and he introduced the first nephesh chayyah death by that sin into a perfect world. Lets look at what it means to have authority or dominion:

    Mat 8:5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
    6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
    7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
    8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
    9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this [man], Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth [it].
    13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, [so] be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

    Rom 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

    We are connected to the rest of creation, as it is to us because of our role of stewards on the earth. We had the authority and dominion over it.

    Lets look at the first real death on earth:

    Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
    Gen 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    Then after Adam sinned:

    Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.

    Here we see the FIRST death of a nephesh chayyah creature recorded in scripture. Killed as a sacrifice for Adam & Eve's sin. The blood of that animal shed to pay the penalty for Adam & Eve's sin. Remember the only recompense for sin is death. Now we are all fully aware of the animal sacrifices in the old testament. The notion being that an animal death can atone for human sin. Clearly if "the wages of sin is death" ... and animal (nephesh chayyah creature) death is acceptable (as God demonstrated in Genesis 3:21) as a substitute. So then, in the eyes of God the life of the nephesh chayyah variety - soulish life - in animals is precious enough to make such an atonement, then calling their death in the absence of sin "very good" would be exegetically and logically outside of God's nature and character.

    Lets look at more scripture which will confirm this:

    Gen 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
    12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.

    Here we see God's reasoning for the flood. We see that a corruption of the design is coming into play. We see that animals have turned violent with the introduction of sin and death (death being a "corruption" of the design). God decides to wipe out all life with a flood. At the departure of Adam and all the animals from the Ark following the flood, God makes a new covenant with man - and with all nephesh chayyah life:

    Gen 9:3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    If we continue to verse 4, however, we see God mentioning nephesh chayyah life again:

    Gen 9:4 But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

    So God says the soulish life is in the blood. Plants do not have this kind of blood. Only animals and people do. The chapter continues with God's covenant to all nephesh chayyah life:

    Gen 9:9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;
    10 And with every living creature that [is] with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth.
    11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

    Lets move on to the other scriptures you have listed.

    The Job and Psalms references are both referencing Poetic writing. Extreme care should be taken in an exegesis as the meaning is not literally stated. For example, Job 38 says:
    Job 38:28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
    Job 38:29 Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?

    We should not take this to literally mean that rain has sexual reproduction because this is a poetic text. The exegesis of the Job verses then are of God's provision and mercy. Poetry is, by it's nature, non-literal symbolism. Moreover, Job and Psalms were written in a current perspective of sin and death having already affected the world.

    Isa 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
    7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

    These two verses are describing us - Christians. Those who are "in Christ". The chapter starts:
    Isa 11:1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

    Of course the literal genealogies of Genesis play a large role in establishing the lineage of Jesus from Adam, and as a descendant of David. Clearly, Jesus coming to pay the recompense for our sin. Jesus our redeemer is paying the full penalty for sin and the result is that the wolf and lamb can once again live in harmony without eating each other. Again, this demonstrates that this is the intended pre-sin design. It further demonstrates this is "God's best" and what God considers "good". If this is a result of having the full penalty for sin paid, then we can assume that it is similar to pre-sin conditions.

    Next you have Isaiah 25 listed.

    Isa 25:6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
    7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
    8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken [it].

    Here I am assuming you are talking about the phrase "fat things full of marrow" - asking why would God kill some animal for a feast to celebrate the end of death. First of all, the Hebrew word for "fat things" is shemen which is
    the Hebrew word for olive oil:

    Exd 27:20 And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always.

    The oil here is shemen. Secondly, if we look at the word for marrow it is the Hebrew Word machah. This word translates as "to wipe out, blot out, or obliterate". It makes no real sense in the context of food. Thirdly, we need to look at the context - wine on the lees is a phrase both before and after. Both times it is the word shemer is used, and it literally means "lees" or "dregs". Shemer and shemen are very closely related. Remember that shemen is olive oil. A clue in Exodus 27:20 finally made the link for me - it says "pure" oil "beaten". I went to look up how olive oil is made:


    Olive oil is made by crushing or beating the olives into a fine paste and then pressing the oil out of that. I also took a closer look at shemer - wine on the lees. Dictionary.com defines lees: Sediment settling during fermentation, especially in wine; dregs. Dregs is defined: The sediment in a liquid; lees. So pure oil has no sediment or chunks... its been worked so that all trace of impurities have been wiped out.

    So it's more than extremely clear now that - with a proper exegesis of the scripture - we can see this is referring exclusively to plant/food - specifically wine on the lees and olive oil. There is nothing whatsoever exegetically to link this verse to any animal products.

    Romans 5 (and all of Romans actually) is one of my favorite passages. It is literally "the good news".

    Contextually it is all about the redemption of human beings through Jesus Christ. The clear context of the text is human redemption. However, Romans 5:12 does link man's redemption to the redemption of all life on earth. It says:

    Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    By one man, sin entered the world. By that one man's sin death entered the world. It doesn't say 'entered mankind'. It says "the world". This verse links what happens to us - the rightful stewards of this world - to what happens to the world. It's clear from descriptions of death being defeated (in passages such as Isaiah 11, for example) that the end of death will mark remarkable changes in animals as well - such as wolves and lambs dwelling together and lions eating straw instead of meat (see this remarkable article: http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v22/i2/lion.asp ).

    Your next passage is 1 Timothy 4:
    1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
    4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

    The Greek word for meats in verse 3 is broma. It translates that which is eaten, food. It is not specifically animal meat. The focus is, however, not on the type of food that is being eaten, but on the manner in which it is eaten. It states that it should be received with thanksgiving in both verses 3 and 4. The word for creature in verse 4 is ktisma. It is translated to mean thing founded, thing created. It also does not specifically mean animals, while it may include them; it also includes plants, people, and everything else. A quick look at Romans 14 may give additional insight here:

    Rom 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, [but] not to doubtful disputations.
    2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
    3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
    4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.
    5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
    6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth [it] unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard [it]. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.


    1Cr 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that [there is] none other God but one.
    1Cr 8:8 But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.
    1Cr 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

    Didn't Jesus say it wasn't that which a person ate that defiled him, but what he says?

    I truly appreciate the opportunity, thanks.
  5. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    Thanks for responding, Gup.

    When it comes to your interpretation of the Genesis 1-2 passages, we just have different approaches. Your interpretation is a possibility, and so is mine, but it is only through reading the rest of the Bible or looking to creation that we can discover which one is closer to the truth.

    Right. Biblically, plants don't die the same as animals do, and animals don't die the same as people do. Each of the three is in a different category. Each type of organism dies, but the death of the different types is not biblically or morally of the same worth.

    A problem for this reading is that sea creatures are conspicuously absent from the description of life. Does this mean fish and whales aren't "the life of creation"? I think it just means they aren't the focus here because sea creatures don't eat land-based plants. The focus of these verses is to give the land plants created on day 3 a purpose -- to feed land animals and humans -- and not to limit what animals and humans can eat. If the latter were the purpose, a food source for fish would also be mentioned.

    Are you implying that the death God warned Adam about that would happen "in the day that thou eatest thereof" was the death of an animal? Doesn't God clearly say that it was Adam that would die?

    I agree that this is the first inference to animal death in the Bible. However, it does not show one way or another whether animals died before this point. The way the death of the animal is glossed over, it hardly seems to have been the author's point.

    No, animals are not an acceptable substitute and they aren't precious enough to make atonement for sin. Only Jesus' death can do that. Animal sacrifice points toward this. This is one of the big errors that comes about by trying to force animal death starting with the Fall into the Bible. It diminishes the uniqueness of what Jesus did for us. No animal sacrifice can compare, and no animal sacrifice had any worth at all apart from Jesus' death. The value of what Jesus did is infinitely more than the value of what any animal death did, and that is why your last sentence quoted above fails.

    It doesn't say they turned violent: it says the earth was filled with violence. Earlier, in Genesis 6:5, it says that "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." That is why "the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart" (Genesis 6:6). Humans were sinful. It doesn't say that animals changed or animals became sinful or wicked. Are you suggesting from this passage that animals can sin? If so, how are animals saved?

    This is another main error of placing animal death on the same level as human death. It makes animal predation and violence into something sinful, in which case animals become moral agents. This is contradictory to Scripture and to the principle that humans share the image of God while animals do not.

    Regardless, even soulish life with blood (animals) can be eaten, and so can be killed. Doing so is not sinful or evil. Animals are not on the same level as humans.

    Yes. These verses show that God is the creator of rain, dew, ice and frost. That's why he asks these rhetorical questions to Job. In the same way, God takes credit for creating predators and providing them with prey. The fact that poetic language is used does not mean these passages are meaningless and can be lightly ignored. It is wrong to state that carnivorous beasts were created by sin or Satan instead of by God. Why would God take credit for animals such as the lion or the eagle if their awe-inspiring characteristics that he focuses on were actually due to sin or Satan?

    This is another main error of calling predation evil. It claims that many of the most impressive creatures we see in this world were not actually made by God, or at least not in their current form. Instead, God was the creator of more docile, domesticated creatures that only turned into the wonders that awe Job due to human sin. It short-circuits God's whole speech to Job by saying that Job (and humanity in general) was more responsible for some of these creatures than God!

    First, all Scripture, including Genesis and Romans, was written after sin and death had already affected the world. That's not the point. Psalm 104 is a creation psalm. It is a look at creation just as Genesis 1 is. Like Genesis 1, it claims that God created all the creatures of the earth and provides food for them. However, it provides a bit more detail in that it shows that carnivorous lions are one type of creature created by God, and prey for a lion is one way God provides food. You can't just dismiss this passage as "non-literal symbolism". (Here we see another YEC danger. Some YECs are so adamant that treating parts of Genesis as non-literal makes it meaningless that when they approach other passages that are non-literal, they treat them as meaningless too. Given how much symbolism and poetry there is in the Bible, this is a serious error.)

    Anyway, you need to deal honestly with what Psalm 104 and Job 38:39-41 say. Dismissing them as "non-literal symbolism" -- as if determining their genre determines their worth -- doesn't cut it.

    The problem, as we already discussed, is that contradictory images (if taken literally) of this harmony are given in Scripture. One passage says "No lion shall be there" (Isaiah 35:9) and another says "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb ... and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together" (Isaiah 11:6). If you take these verses literally, you create a contradiction. If you take them as symbolizing peace and security, then they are complementary images. It seems quite evident that lions are being used symbolically.

    As I've said earlier, your idea of the meat in this verse being something else is possible. However, it is far from extremely clear. Your interpretation depends on practically all translators of Scripture (including those responsible for every version I checked, including the Geneva, KJV, NIV, NASB, NLT, ESV, RSV, CEV, NKJV, ASV, YLT, HCSB) being incorrect in how they rendered Isaiah 25:6.

    I never claimed that 1 Timothy 4:3-5 referred to meat particularly (it is only in archaic translations that the word "meat" appears in this passage). It is talking about all sorts of food that some insisted on rejecting as food. As the parallel passages you quoted show, meat was at the centre of those debates. This passage claims that all these foods (including meat) "God hath created to be received with thanksgiving". You never dealt with this indication that animals were created to be received by humans as food. The passage certainly doesn't say that some kinds of food only became food due to human sinfulness.
  6. mareese

    mareese Guest

    I've never thought about it before in that respect Mercury, but have always assumed that any death of a living person or animal on earth originated from the sin of man. From the verses we see that God created man and animals as vegetarians.
    It would appear that the first physical death on earth would have been the first animal sacrifice after man sinned, with God using the skins of the animals as clothing.
    Perhaps preying on other animals occurred partly because of the changes to the earth, making food more scarce and harder to obtain. A much greater influence would have been that their nature's were also changed. Man and beast were designed originally to live in harmony. Man was to rule over the animals and care for them and the earth. Animals would naturally have preyed on man as food before sin had the creator not given them some type of special instincts to prevent them from doing so. As neither spiritual or physical death occurred until sin, the scriptures coordinate perfectly with the idea that in the beginning there was no predation.
  7. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    But Mareese, how do you line those thoughts up with the Bible?

    That's one interpretation. But, there's problems with that interpretation, as I pointed out in the Genesis link in my first post and also in my reply to Gup. So, I'll ask you too: why aren't aquatic animals given a food source along with all the other animals? Did fish eat nothing before the Fall, or is Genesis 1:29-30 not listing all the permitted food sources?

    If you wouldn't argue from Genesis 2:16 that humans were only permitted to eat fruit from trees before the Fall, why do you insist that Genesis 1:29-30 means that humans and land animals were all vegetarians?

    First mention does not indicate first occurrence. The first mention of actual eating in the Bible is when Eve eats of the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:6), but that does not mean that neither Adam and Eve nor any animals ate anything else before that point. The text only tells us the details that are important to the story.

    The first mention of a miracle by Jesus is different in Matthew (healing the sick, 4:23), Mark (driving out an evil spirit, 1:25) and John (turning water into wine, 2:1-11). If we just went by first mention, then an equal case could be made for any of those miracles being the first. But, if we read John 2:11 ("This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee"), then it becomes evident that first mention is not nearly as important as a clear statement that something is first.

    There are no statements in the Bible that indicate that the animal skinned to provide clothing for Adam and Eve was the first beast ever killed.

    But this is problematic when we look at other Old Testament texts where God takes credit for the current natures of these animals. If lions were originally tame, then why does the psalmist describe many animals, including a lion roaring for its prey, and then say, "O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures" (Psalm 104:24). Was it God's wisdom that created the lion that roars for its prey, as the psalmist claims, or did this sort of fierce and majestic lion only come about due to sin and Satan's influence? Be careful here, because you don't want to attribute to sin and Satan what truly comes from God.

    Hosea prophecies that God "will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue" (Hosea 5:14). Is God saying that he will be like an animal corrupted and perverted by sin into preying on creatures, or is God saying that he will be like one of the most majestic and fierce creatures that he created?

    If man and beast were in perfect harmony, then why did God give humans dominion to rule over all other earthly creatures? Why were they told to "fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28)? That verse only makes sense if the earth was not yet filled by humans and not yet subdued by humans. This accords quite well with the idea that animals were not all tame and docile at creation.

    But you cannot support the first half of this sentence from Scripture. Genesis is silent about whether animals died before the Fall. The rest of Scripture is clear that carnivorous animals were created by God and that their predation can indeed be called "good" by God. Indeed, God pointed to some predators as examples of his handiwork. This cannot be reconciled with the idea that animal death is inherently evil.
  8. mareese

    mareese Guest

    Why would aquatic animals have no food source? I never saw a fish running through the woods hunting prey. When you consider that blood and oxygen define life in the Bible it extends food sources for aquatic life even more.

    None of your arguments are very decent ones. Lambs get all kinds of pests in their wool, yet a lamb is also use as a description.

    Maybe animals did eat each other before sin entered the picture. I tend to think not, but what difference would it make?
  9. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    I think they did have a food source. It just isn't listed in Genesis 1:29-30, because the point of those verses isn't to list all permitted food sources.

    Not much. Why is it the main argument YECs use?

    Anyway, thanks for the discussion. Have a good weekend, mareese.

    [ April 23, 2005, 01:51 AM: Message edited by: Mercury ]
  10. Gup20

    Gup20 New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    hrm -- it appears the post I made yesterday did not post. I will have to re-type it.
  11. Gup20

    Gup20 New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    Actually, I apologize for not including the sea creatures. The Bible does speak of sea creatures as having nephesh chayyah life:

    Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.

    The point is that the Bible doesn't ever speak of plants having nephesh chayyah life - which is soulish life. This puts animals and people on a different physical plane than plants. Basically, physical (and spiritual) death doesn't happen to plants. They are, in essence, biological machines which do not experience life and death in a Biblical sense. We can see from the Word this is true. Look at Cain and Abel's offering to God. Cain offered plants and his offering was rejected. Why? Because plants have no nephesh chayyah life and are therefore unacceptable substitutes for meeting the penalty of death in our place. While food may be important to us, and therefore Cain thought it was perhaps a fitting 'sacrifice' it did not fulfill the PURPOSE of of the sacrifice - to satisfy God's ultimate justice... that there be death as the penalty for sin. Since plants don't "die" nephesh chayyah, this was an unacceptable offering.

    Therefore the converse must be true - if animal death can atone for sin because they have nephesh chayyah life (soulish life) then their death bears enough significant attachment to death as a result of sin. See the two are connected through the definition of life - nephesh chayyah. The Bible does not record any mention of animal sin, yet we see the effects of sin (death and corruption) being attributed to the animals after sin entered the earth. Even though there is no mention of animal sin, an animal death can atone for human sin. So it would seem their fate is tied inseparably to ours.

    We see evidence of this in verses like Isaiah 11. When God finally does away with death in the earth - and it's talking about human death - nephesh chayyah style it has an effect on animals - the wolf plays with the lamb... the lion and the kid... children will play with poisonous snakes. Clearly doing away with human death (Which we all assume is the final result of Jesus' redemptive work) will also have an effect on the animals. Therefore isn't it naturally logical to see that the death that has come has also had an effect on the animals?

    Well the animals were an acceptable atonement, otherwise there would not have been animal sacrifices. The difference is that man hasn't stopped sinning, and death is now present in the earth. The difference with Jesus is that he is God. Jesus had to come to the earth and take on nephesh chayyah life so that he could pay the nephesh chayyah penalty (death) for sin. Because he was a man he could pay the nephesh chayyah penalty. Because he is God, he could pay an INFINITE penalty. That is the difference between the animal atonement and Jesus' atonement. The animal sacrifices were finite, while God is infinite and - well lets face it - you can't destroy God. He didn't sin, so He didn't deserve death. His death was an infinite substitute.

    Gen 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

    In contrast to Genesis 1 when God declared everything "very good" the earth was now corrupt and filled with violence. Dictionary.com defines "corrupt" as:

    VERB:To destroy; To ruin; To taint; To cause to become rotten; To change the original form of;
    ADJECTIVE: Containing errors or alterations

    We can see that to go from being 'very good' to being 'corrupt' requires that something change. Moreover, since we are an exegesis-loving bunch, lets look at the scripture:

    Gen 6:11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

    The word for corrupt is the VERB shachath (note that it is the verb form). It translates: to destroy, corrupt, go to ruin, decay. So we can see that an exegesis of the scripture does indeed say that it "became" corrupt and violent.

    What I am suggesting (and this seems to be consistent with all the scripture) is that both Man and beast have nephesh chayyah life. It was this nephesh chayyah life that came into jeopardy for Adam's sin. Death entered the world because of that sin and affected all nephesh chayyah life. This was a corruption to the original design which was declared "very good". When death is finally entirely removed from the earth, there will be a remarkable change in animal life as well as human life. For now, however, death is in the earth. BUT - there is hope. Because of Jesus' sacrifice that death is condemned to die with our mortal bodies (Romans 6). When this mortal body dies, the sin and death that goes with it is defeated and we who are in Christ get a new body unmarred by sin and death. We who are in Christ partake in the resurrection - why? Because we are partakers of Christ's infinite sacrifice.

    I would agree. God gave us permission after Noah's flood.

    Gen 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
    Gen 9:3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    Indeed even creationists have differing opinions on this issue. Some say God created them good and sin and death changed them. Some say God created them with these structures (for example meat eating teeth or defense attack structures like stingers) with a different purpose and they are now misused. For example, you see a bear. A bear has sharp teeth for tearing through flesh (as did the dinosaurs). Yet a bear's diet is primarily plants, nuts, berries, etc. It's only when the bear can't find those items that they become carnivorous typically. Yet the Bible says that all the animals were created plant eaters.

    Here is what I think. Now I am neither a scientist nor a theology scholar, but "have brain - will speak" has been my creed in the past and it seems to work for me ;) . I think that God created man with the ability to choose life or death. Think about this - God created the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and commanded Adam and Eve not to eat of it. God created Adam with a free moral agency - the ability to choose.

    Deu 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

    Had God not given Adam the ability or opportunity to CHOOSE to serve Him, then there is no element of choice. Then we are robots programed to worship God with no alternative. The absence of alternatives is NOT choice. It is NOT freedom. There is no free will if there is only one choice. God gave Adam and command, and the choice to obey that command, and the OPPORTUNITY to disobey that command - verifying the idea of human free choice.

    Now God is omnipotent. He knows everything. Time is not time to God... he knows time forward and backward. God surely knew before He created us that we would sin against Him, didn't he? Yet, for us to exist - and fulfill His purpose for our existence we need to be able to choose to serve Him. Now God surely God would have known all of this before he even created the earth or ANY of the life in it. Since God created all nephesh chayyah life connected (ie we are His stewards to the nephesh chayyah life on earth) in life or death, I think it makes sense that God created the animals with the ability to survive whether man chose life or chose death. Again, it's really the same concept of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If there is no opportunity to choose, there is no free will. If the animals can't adapt to an environment of sin and death - which would be not of their choosing but a result of Man's choice, they all die. So God in his infinite wisdom ... created animals with a 'plan B' for if/when man choose death instead of life.

    Incidentally, this is why we must CHOOSE to accept Christ and the gift of Salvation. Everyone isn't going to heaven simply because Jesus came and died for us all. Only those who accept Jesus will have eternal life. Why? Because of free moral agency.

    ... more to come later as I have time to respond to the rest of your post, Mercury.
  12. mareese

    mareese Guest

    Gup, the difference I see is that animals do NOT have a "soulish" existance. Man does, and it is reasonable and important to believe that animals did not kill man before the fall, but while it can still be reasonable, it's not as important to think that other forms of life were the same as man. Man was a special creation, set apart from animals by being created in God's image - with a soul.
    Animal sacrifice was NOT good enough to cover sin. It was a symbol of what was to come. You couldn't sacrifice an animal and be forgiven eternally. That is why Christ had to die for us.
    Also, sacrificing animals didn't start with the flood, it started with sin. Traditionally the meat of the animal sacrificed was consumed. Nothing points to a time when it was suddenly ok to consume the meat of them, although the scriptures do tell us when permission to consume "unclean" animals was given.
    Why were there shepherds and keepers of flocks if animal products weren't being used before the flood?
  13. Gup20

    Gup20 New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    Very good point Mareese. I didn't mean to imply that animals have the same kind of 'spirits' as man - that would be a spiritual matter. However, I was pointing to only the physical life. The physical life (soulish life) and the spirit life are, of course different. We are body soul and spirit.

    Again let me make clear I am not saying that animal death was an atonement for all sin. Only God could pay that infinate penalty. But we do see that animal sacrifice covered the sin of man finitely (which is why it had to be continually repeated) - be it symbolism of Jesus fine... but it was nephesh chayyah life being extinguished as a sacrifice for us.

    I do indeed believe that NO MAN enters the kingdom of God except by Jesus. I think that means that all the patriarchs of Judaism/christianity (David, Moses, etc) did not enter the kingdom of God until Jesus came. They were able to enter heaven after his death and resurrection becuse they "believed in Jesus" - Jesus being symbolized by their animal sacrifices. I was simply pointing out the connection between human life and animal life - wich is soulish, not spiritual. So when Romans 5:12 says Death entered the world by sin, we can see that applied to animal life as well as human life. With humans, of course, the death occured on all levels - body, soul, and spirit. As I do not believe animals have spirits, the death for them would be body/soul death.
  14. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    Yes, in this verse sea creatures are clearly mentioned. Just a few verses later when the land plants are given for food, sea creatures are conspicuously absent while all the other categories of animals are repeated. This is because Genesis 1:29-30 is not listing all permitted food sources, otherwise fish would also be given something to eat. As such, the entire foundation for believing the animals were originally vegetarian is removed. That could be the case, but Genesis doesn't explicitly or implicitly say so.

    We don't know. The text doesn't say. For all we know, it could have been because of Cain's attitude. Or, it could be because God had already told people the types of sacrifices that were permitted, and Cain did not follow these guidelines. In any case, all we can do is speculate.

    No, as Mareese also said, sacrifices only pointed to the ultimate sacrifice that was to come. They didn't pay the penalty for sin or satisfy God's ultimate justice on their own. Also, if you take a look at the sin offerings in the Old Testament, you will see that while the offering was generally an goat or a lamb, the poor could sacrifice a bird, and the very poor could sacrifice fine flour (see Leviticus 5:5-13). Flour comes from grain. This shows that even grain offerings could suffice under the right circumstances. There was nothing magical about nephesh chayyah animals.

    Gup, you keep repeating your opening argument without dealing with its problems.

    Problem #1: There is another passage that also uses this imagery even though it is describing a time when people still die. This shows that this imagery is not the result of human death being conquered:

    Isaiah 65:20, 25: "No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the young man shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. [...] The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain," says the LORD.

    Problem #2: There is another passage that uses contradictory imagery that also describes Paradise:

    Isaiah 35:9-10: No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.

    So, will the lion dwell with the fattened calf together, or will the lion not be found there? If you take the description of the lion literally, it's a contradiction. If the lion is being used symbolically to describe a scene of peace and security, both images make sense and are complementary. But, in that case, we can't use any of these passages to support the idea that the lion will literally change its diet, and it's even more specious to claim that lions before the Fall had a different diet. While Paradise/heaven/Zion are often described using Edenic imagery, nowhere does the Bible say that our ultimate destiny is merely to regain what we lost: there are strong hints that in the end we will receive much more than the original "very good" creation.

    Problem #3: You quoted the part about children playing with poisonous snakes. A very similar thing occurred in the past, so it also is not the result of death being swallowed up:

    Mark 16:15-18: And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

    There is doubt as to whether this passage is actually part of Mark. But, if you do believe it is (and I think you do), then you need to justify why you interpret "they will pick up serpents with their hands" differently than "children will play with poisonous snakes".

    That's like saying that baptism must save a person because otherwise we would not be commanded to be baptized. Something can point to a greater reality without replacing that greater reality (such as baptism which points to salvation, the Lord's Supper and Old Testament sacrifice which point to Jesus' crucifixion, and the Sabbath which points to God's rest).

    I have no argument with the first sentence, but the second remains unsupported. According to your own church's doctrinal statement, it was human spiritual death that resulted from Adam's sin! That is what Travelsong said earlier in this thread too. I think sin may have also brought about human physical death, although I'm unsure and I realize there's good arguments for limiting it to spiritual death (the two main ones being that Adam didn't physically die in the day that he disobeyed so Genesis 2:17 seems to refer to spiritual death, and believers still physically die after accepting what the second Adam has done for them, so Romans 5 must be talking about spiritual life and death).

    All of creation has been affected by humanity's sin, but I don't see any biblical reason to believe that it has affected carnivores more than herbivores or animals more than plants. So basically, there's no reason to say that the way it affected animals is by causing them to die or to start preying on each other.

    So spiders were originally created to trap leaves with their webs? Doesn't a device like a web make a bit more sense for trapping food that moves faster than a plant? Or, did spiders just evolve the ability to spin webs to trap insects after the Fall?

    So basically, you're saying that God made life that was capable of evolving to survive in a changing environment? I believe that too, although I extend that further back as well. Life could adapt to changing conditions before we got here, and it could also adapt somewhat to the mess that human sinfulness has caused to the world. But, the adaptation takes considerable time, so when humans abuse their dominion over creation and aren't good stewards of this world, it has serious effects on creation.
  15. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    No, sometimes it was grains being extinguished and turned into fine flour as a sacrifice for sin (Leviticus 5:11-13). In any case, neither the grains nor the animals atoned for sin in and of themselves.

  16. mareese

    mareese Guest

    It hit me in your last post on here about spiders catching leaves in webs that I'd heard the exact same wording before.
    I'm quite positive I've read some of it on theology web before, although I do not recall the author.
    Who are you quoting Mercury?
  17. Deacon

    Deacon Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Aug 23, 2002
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    Interesting well-disciplined discussion;

    Here's my two cents worth.

    The phrase ”nephesh chayyah” occurs 15 times in the Hebrew Scriptures (*see below) and is translated by four basic phrases (living creature, life, living being, soul/alive).

    By itself the word “nephesh” can be simply translated as life, soul, creature, person, appetite, mind and self (me, my, myself, etc). The KJV actually uses 40 different words to translate this single Hebrew word (newer versions use even more). [“Nephesh” has a broad use throughout the Scriptures; fish are included in its meaning and it can even include the dead.]

    “Nephesh” comes from the root word, ”naphash”, which means to take breath or refresh oneself.

    When considering its root, I find verse 7 of Genesis 2 curious.
    Where some of the other creatures are defined as ‘breathing’ life, Genesis 2:7 clearly differentiates man from the other living, breathing animals.


    * Places where ”nephesh chayyah” is used.
    (All verses below are from the New American Standard Version Update).

    Genesis 1:20
    20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
    Genesis 1:24
    24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
    Genesis 1:30
    30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
    Genesis 2:7
    7 Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
    Genesis 2:19
    19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.
    Genesis 9:12
    12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations;
    Genesis 9:15
    15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.
    Genesis 9:16
    16 “When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
    Job 33:22
    22 “Then his soul draws near to the pit, And his life to those who bring death.
    Job 36:14
    14 “They die in youth, And their life perishes among the cult prostitutes.
    Psalm 30:3
    3 O Lord, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.
    Psalm 78:50
    50 He leveled a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, But gave over their life to the plague,
    Psalm 119:25
    25 My soul cleaves to the dust; Revive me according to Your word.
    Ezekiel 18:27
    27 “Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.
    Ezekiel 47:9
    9 “It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.

  18. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

    Dec 22, 2003
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    I've heard the example of spiders brought up a few places, but the specific example of spiders catching leaves I read [here]. It isn't a word-for-word quote, though.
  19. Gup20

    Gup20 New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    I appriciate that you brought this up. It is indeed important that we do not dismiss important scripture that may be written in symbolistic or non-literal formats. Condiser the following; if I said to you "He was a private in the army - and he was very green", this would be a non-literal statement. We would all infer that the private was not the color green. We would know that based upon our literal observation and what we know - things that are "new" are green. For example, when a flower or leaf is about to bloom, it comes from a green bud. We can then see the symbolism between being 'green' and being 'new' or unseasoned not yet on the vine long enough to turn ripe.

    I would submit that in order to understand poetic verse properly, we must have some kind of accompanying literal verse - or at the very least something literal that we can see and interpret with. One does not present new information in poetic verse. It would be confusing and misunderstood. So when we have any verses that seem to contradict each other, (barring a mistake in exegesis) we should use the literal one to interpret the non-literal one. The literal gives us initial understanding, while the non-literal can broaden that understanding (provided it fits within the framework established by the literal).

    So it should be well understood now, that a poetic rendering of scripture should never overturn literal straight forward text. The literal scripture should be used as the framework from which to interpret the non-literal - not the other way around.

    Well lets look at them shall we? Lets look to see if, in fact, a literal exegesis of these two scriptures might be contradiction.

    First, let me restate the claim: You claim that Isaiah 11 states that lions will be present after the return of christ (and the subsequent destruction of death) and that this is in contradiction to Isaiah 35 which states that lions will not be present at that time.

    We need only to look exegetically at Isaiah 35 to see where your error begins.

    Isa 35:9 No lion shall be there, nor [any] ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk [there]:

    At first glace this might seem to indicate what you claim... but if we look just one verse previous to this, we can gather some context for the statment that changes it's meaning a great deal:

    Isa 35:8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it [shall be] for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err [therein].

    So right off the bat we can see that No lion shall be there is speaking in direct reference to a highway shall be there, and not the whole of the earth.

    If I said, "I went to the street, but there were no road signs there" would it be logical to suggest that no road signs anywhere in the world existed? No, it would be a statement specific to the street I was talking about.

    Back in Biblical times, people had to be weary of lions as they traveled the roads (animals used the roads too). The verse was simply alluding the changed nature of this "highway" - that it was a safe highway with no danger.

    I have given you all the evidence. Look it up for yourself if you don't believe me. I think it is abundantly clear that it is refering to olive oil. First it says wine on the less. Then it says fat things full of marrow. "Fat things" is the Hebrew word for olive oil. The Hebrew word for marrow means to obliterate, wipe out, make pure. This is exactly the way one might describe the process of purifying olive oil when you understand that process. Then it says wine on the lees well refined. It is as though the 3rd statement combind the first two. I would challenge you to find any meaning for the Hebrew word machah that translates to mean the marrow of an animal. The word simply doesn't have anything to do with that.

    One of the most prevelant plants on the planet is algea. Many, many species of aquatic life eat algea and plants.

    For the same reason one would argue that homosexuality is wrong - because God made Adam and Eve, and not Adam and Steve. The reason is - because God made them that way. He is the designer, he knows the specs better than anyone. You wouldn't question the kind of oil to put in your car... or the recommended octane level of the fuel would you? Those engineers recommened that for a reason - because that is what gives optimal performance while maximizing engine life.

    Romans 5:12 says death entered the world because of sin. I have linked the two together for you with a variety of Biblical evidences. Within that context and understanding, we can see that this would indeed indicate it was the first beast ever killed.

    Because it was God's mercy that allowed some to live while others died. It is a demonstration that God did not simply up and leave - saying "well this thing is broken, lets just throw it away". God provided a way for life to continue even in the presence of death. While the death of this situation is a result of evil, God has the wisdom and ability to turn it around and create life - making hope where there was none.

    Why does any master set someone to be steward of his house in his stead? So that there will be order and so that his house will thrive, even in his abcense. Subdue simply means to bring under authority, or submit to. God's saying "you're in charge! Take over management!".

    Actually, I think we have linked the first half to scripture. We have shown how God created things vegitarian, and called that behavior "very good". We saw how things became corrupted and violent. We saw how God rewarded that behavior with a flood and destroyed them (for that reason). We see how death entered the world because of Adam's sin (specifically Adam). We see how animals are effected by the extermination of death by becoming non-violent plant eaters (lions eating straw, etc). We see the first mention of animal death being a direct result of Adam's sin (he sinned, realized he was naked, and God clothed him) just as Romans 5:12 says that death is the result of sin. I think this forms a pretty complete summery of everything else the scripture has to say on the subject as well - and I think Mareese would agree that the scriptures coordinate perfectly with the idea that in the beginning there was no predation.

    The argument against Darwinian evolution is that God called all the days of creation very good. Darwinian evolution is based upon millions of years of pain and suffering - the survival of the fittest. It confers upon random chance an intelligent mechanism for direction for the creation of all life on earth in a progression from the fist living molecule to man. We submit that if God called the whole of "the beginning" (or creation) very good, this would not include millions of years of death and struggle - as God doesn't consider death and struggle 'very good'. Therefore by exegesis of scripture, Darwinian evolution is excluded from a possibility because it contradicts scripture.
  20. Gup20

    Gup20 New Member

    May 11, 2004
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    You should have kept reading - it also says "There will be a bodily resurrection of the dead — the believer to everlasting joy with the Lord and the unbeliever to judgment and eternal punishment. "

    BTW - my pastor's beliefs are closer to the gap theory and is probably more closely aligned with Hugh Ross' crowd than AiG. The views I present are my own. I think that's worth mentioning since I am also employed there (www.cfaith.com).

    For these two there are answers - first Genesis 2:17. There was INDEED the first physical death on that day - God killed an animal to make skins., Secondly, Romans 6 describes that through our acceptence of Christ's attonement, death is condemned to die with our physical bodies, and we are made alive IN CHRIST... not in ourselves. We recieve new bodies. It is not until death is swallowed up completely that people will stop dying.

    Spider experts will tell you that webbing is used for many differnt applications. For example, some spiders use it to cocoon in... some use it for laying eggs... some use it for transportation - one spider spins a hang glider and lets the wind carry it hundreds of miles. So there are many alternate uses to webs - and don't they look absolutely beautiful? How many humans come with 2x4 manufacturing plants built in? We can't build our own homes, but spiders can.

    Let me give you real world example: I have an iguana. Now I asked the pet store what I should fee the iguana, and he said that you feed them leafy plants like greens. I asked "well how about feeding it bugs - like crickets". The pet store person said something that makes total sense in light of Genesis. He said that I shouldn't feed the iguana bugs. He said that they don't typically eat them unless they get really really hungry. He said once I do feed them bugs, they get really agressive and will bite people. He said that they will also grow teeth like ridges in their mouth making their agression even more dangerous. He strongly advised against feeding the iguana bugs.

    For now, she sits there on her log content to sun herself and eat the leafy green vegatables I put in there. She's generally pretty happy and lets people hold her for the most part. I imagine this is probably what the dinosaurs were like before sin.