We can only hope that the narratives regarding the apparition of animals on Earth are much more coherent. Let’s check on that also:
“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. 22 God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 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; 20-25 NRSV)
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The text doesn’t account for the animals which live in freshwater but only for the animals from the seas. This is another omission in the description of creation by the book of Genesis. There are also other observations which are solid reasons to reject the idea that these texts are the result of an inspiration from God.
The texts are telling us that God created from the beginning three main branches of land, animals, cattle, creeping things, and wild animals. For the writers of the book of Genesis, it is obvious that cattle were not the same as wild cattle because if they were they would have been included in the same category. At the same time, domesticated cattle were initially the same species as wild cattle. Cattle were in the beginnings wild animals, but in the intention of the author of this text of Genesis, all domesticated cattle, big and small, would have been created already domesticated by God, they wouldn’t have been wild animals submitted to a process of domestication by humankind.
How about domesticated dogs or poultry which are not cattle and which are mentioned under the category of wild animals? Either all domestic animals come from wild animals of the same kinds and had been submitted to a similar process of domestication by man, cattle included, or all domestic animals had been created domesticated from the beginning by God, dogs or poultry as well. This is an inconsistency. There isn’t any reason why some domestic animals would have been created already domesticated and other domestic animals would have been created initially wild. We know that all domestic animals were domesticated from wild animals by man, they weren’t created domestic by God.
The problem is that Genesis says that from all domestic animals existent on Earth God created only cattle to be domestic, all others being domesticated by man. Taking into consideration their utility for human beings, other domestic animals, for example, horses or poultry, were as important as cattle for human life, hence they would have been created domestic by God as well if He had created some animals already domesticated.
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In point of fact, the text refers to domesticated animals which are cattle and to wild cattle as being two separate kinds of animals created by God. Domesticated cattle and wild cattle aren’t two different categories of species of animals; the former derive from the wild cattle by domestication. The Bible is again wrong when it presents the same kinds of animals as being different kinds.
Human beings were destined, from the beginning, to eat plants, vegetables, and fruits, and not products coming from cattle. Why keep cattle if they were not used for human consumption? Cattle need human work and effort in order to be raised. If humans ate only plants this effort was useless. After their creation, human beings were destined to eat only green plants and no animal products such as milk, eggs, or meat. If big cattle were used only for work and not for food why would small cattle like sheep or goats have been kept knowing that they cannot work? According to the book of Genesis God created all domestic cattle from the beginning, not just ones which could have been used for work. Actually, not God, but man transformed animals through domestication and that was a process guided by the evolution of human societies.
Even if cattle were not used for food, but only for work, the idea that some animals were genetically created as domestic animals and others as wild animals, like different species or categories, is strange. From the point of view of genetics, domestic animals in the same species are identical to wild animals and it is hard to believe that God created some individual animals already domesticated as far as domestication is linked with behaviour induced in animals by humankind. The book of Genesis tells us that God created kinds of domestic animals, but domestication of animals focuses on individuals, not on entire kinds of animals, hence there are wild cattle and also domestic cattle. For every domestic animal a correspondent in a wild animal can be found. Wild cattle are larger members of a scientific grouping that also includes antelope, goats, and sheep.
There wasn’t any reason for God to create domestic sheep in a world where they were purposeless.
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Throwing cattle alreadyd omesticated into a wild world even before the creation of humankind probably wasn’t God’s intention, but that would have happened if the story of the creation is exact. Again, we are confronted with a reversed order of creation and that is sheep before sheep keepers. Domestic cattle without human beings to take care of them couldn’t have been a real possibility. We have to take into consideration that the first human beings were placed by God in the Garden of Eden to till the ground and not to be sheep keepers.
Domesticated sheep and goats before the creation of humankind would have been victims of the carnivorous wild animals. If animals were created in pairs being destined to multiply, one pair of all domestic animals would have been eaten by the carnivorous animals created at the same time. Even the principle of creation of animals in pairs maintained by the book of Genesis is senseless, because in such a situation the carnivorous animals would have destroyed the only two existing herbivorous animals of each kind, bringing them to extinction. The same situation is also described after the Flood when two of all kinds of herbivorous animals would have descended from Noah’s ark together with carnivorous animals. Only after the Flood was the consumption of meat allowed by God, according to the book of Genesis. In reality, there always were carnivorous animals which ate meat, if all animals had been created by God as the book of Genesis states.
Did God create cattle only to become the object of sacrifices for religious rituals? In this case animals for sacrifices would have been created even before Adam and Eve’s sins, but sacrifices were set in place in order to redeem sins. Did God know that Adam and Eve would have needed animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sins even before their Fall? If cattle which couldn’t have been eaten by humankind before the Flood, and some which couldn’t have been used for work, had been created only for religious sacrifices, God would have known for sure even before the creation of humankind that Adam and Eve would become sinners. Humankind didn’t stand a chance; they were doomed from the beginning to fail. What would that say about God? He had known beforehand that Adam and Eve would disobey Him but He created them in spite of the unending human suffering and death which would have been determined by their unavoidable sins.
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The idea of free will becomes a joke if God knew before the creation of human beings that they surely would fall from grace. The creation for religious sacrifices of sheep and goats before humankind would be a sign that Adam and Eve had been doomed to fail before their creation.
The creation of some animals already domesticated is another contradiction from the book of Genesis. Domestication came through a long process of adaptation of some animals to human activities. Domestication is not genetically born but is a set of characteristics of an animal’s comportment. In other words, biologically, animals don’t separate each other in domestic and wild. They have the same genes if they are from the same species. Domestication is a way of treating and training the animals and is not a natural determination. For domestication two factors are needed and not only one. Those two factors are animals and human beings who care for them. Even a cat or a dog will become wild again, if it is left in the wilderness without the presence of man.
How could some animals already be domesticated, from the beginning of their existence on Earth, in the absence of humans? To me, that is very unlikely because domestic animals, cattle included, need a lot of care and attention from their keepers, but they would have been created before the creation of humankind according to Genesis chapter 1. At the same time it probably was impossible for humankind to take care of all domestic animals on Earth while they were living in the Garden of Eden. A domestic animal which is not cared for becomes wild and this would have been the case of the cattle created by God on the sixth day before the creation of humankind.
In order for the picture to be complete we are informed by the book of Genesis that even if human beings weren’t allowed to eat meat until the Flood they killed animals as an offering to God.
“3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4; 3-5 NRSV)
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“Fat portions” is an expression which brings about the idea of food. Why did they kill animals if they didn’t eat them? They could kill animals for their skins but wild animals would have been an easier source and they wouldn’t have needed to raise them in numerous flocks. Nevertheless, the text speaks about “fat portions” of the firstlings. Abel offered meat to God and not skin. It is hard to understand why Abel used meat as an offering to God if he didn’t eat meat. If the main product of his flock wasn’t meat but skins, why did he offer meat? What made him believe that God would “consume” meat symbolically if he didn’t do it? What interest could have God found in animal meat, an object which was prohibited for human and animal consumption? Moreover, in the O.T., a part of the flesh of an animal which was sacrificed was usually eaten by the priests. In the N.T. also, Jesus, who was the Lamb of God, symbolically asked His disciples to eat His flesh and to drink His blood. The eating of the meat of the sacrificed animals was a kind of transposition of the sinners in the situation of the animals, but the eating of animal flesh wouldn’t have been permitted before the Flood hence the entire symbolism of the sacrifice was in doubt. It is rather more probable that the sacrifices made by Abel and Cain are pure invention introduced in the texts of the Scripture only after animal sacrifices became usual for the Jewish people.
In the book of Genesis, God appreciated Abel’s offering even if consummation of meat was prohibited at the time and even if He spoke negatively about the violence in the world. This is a contradiction because killing animals would have contributed to a violent world even if those killings had a religious purpose. Even if God didn’t accept violence He was, nevertheless, more open to Abel’s animal sacrifice than to Cain’s non-violent offering. The proper sacrifice would have been the one made by Cain because he would have sacrificed the only product acceptable for food, which was plants.
Only after the Flood were human beings allowed to eat meat, but Abel would have sacrificed an animal before the Flood and offered to God the “fat portions” from it. Abel didn’t see meat as something unclean which must be avoided but as something worthy to be offered to God. In the real world, this doesn’t make sense. Sacrifices were a kind of food for God and He couldn’t “have eaten” a food which was prohibited to humankind if He didn’t want to give a bad example to human beings, in respect to violence and killings.
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“6 Say to the rebellious house,* to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: O house of Israel, let there be an end to all your abominations 7 in admitting foreigners, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, to be in my sanctuary, profaning my temple when you offer to me my food, the fat and the blood. You* have broken my covenant with all your abominations.” (Ezekiel 44; 6-7 NRSV)
In Ezekiel God speaks about His food but before the Flood meat was an unacceptable kind of food. How could God have accepted animal meat as food if He didn’t allow it for consumption? The story of Cain and Abel is pure fantasy and probably was demanded by the need of the writers to base the rituals of sacrifices on a much older foundation. In this regard, the book of Genesis contains a contradiction between the prohibition of eating meat before the Flood and bringing meat as a sacrifice to God by Abel.
Another exaggeration of the book of Genesis is the domination of human beings on the animal world. The fear and dread of humans doesn’t rest “on every animal of the earth and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground and on all the fish of the sea”. They weren’t “delivered into the hands” of humans, contrary to what the book of Genesis says. Are lions, leopards, or other land predators fearful of human beings? In the wilderness, they attack humans when they have the occasion to do so. Are sharks fearful of man? The predator animals including sharks use human beings as food when they find the occasion to do that.
“2 The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9; 2-3 NRSV)
Another strange aspect of the creation of animals is the creation by God of abhorrent animals. Those animals wouldn’t have been needed for the completion of an ecosystem because such biological structure doesn’t have any place in the context of the biblical narratives.
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After all, in the book of Genesis all animals would have been herbivores. This is the biblical text:
3 You shall not eat any abhorrent thing. 4 These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, 5 the deer, the gazelle, the roebuck, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope, and the mountain-sheep. 6 Any animal that divides the hoof and has the hoof cloven in two, and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat. 7 Yet of those that chew the cud or have the hoof cloven you shall not eat these: the camel, the hare, and the rock-badger, because they chew the cud but do not divide the hoof; they are unclean for you. 8 And the pig, because it divides the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. You shall not eat their meat, and you shall not touch their carcasses. (Deuteronomy 14; 3-8 NRSV)
Why did God create things which are abhorrent? It is much more understandable to believe that they were not created directly by God, but they are a by-product of the evolution of nature. The contradiction is that God said all that He created was good, but in Deuteronomy some animals created by Him are considered to be abhorrent things.
According to the book of Genesis the first shepherd on Earth was Abel:
“2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.” (Genesis 4: 2 NRSV)
In many versions of the Bible cattle is translated as livestock. For example, in the New International Version, New Living Translation, English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, International Standard Version, and World English Bible, we find this understanding. At the same time, sheep and other cattle needed a shepherd; they couldn’t be without human guidance. At least 18 years had to pass before the domestic animals would have got a shepherd, until Abel would have been able to take care of them. Domestic animals, the cattle without shepherds, cannot be a correct statement because they were domesticated to be under the supervision of human beings. If no humans took care of domestic animals they would become wild, taking care of themselves, and only then if they hadn’t been entirely destroyed by predators.
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Abel would have had to domesticate some animals again in order to become a shepherd, if all domestic cattle created by God weren’t alive any more. In this way, the creation of cattle by God would have been purposeless if this narrative was real.
Why would the work division between cultivators of land and shepherds have become necessary immediately after Adam’s Fall? Abel was a bachelor, having as a family his father, mother, and brother. He didn’t need an entire flock only for his clothes and his family garments. Cain had to work the land but Abel raised animals. Abel couldn’t have given animals for work to Cain because he raised sheep, not big cattle, as he was a shepherd. In that particular context sheep were useful only for skin but what happened to their meat after the killing? Abel offered some of their meat to God. He would have thrown the rest of the meat at the bin. He had offered to God what he normally threw in the bin. How many skins were needed for the garments of five people? Not enough to justify the keeping of a herd of animals. The proportion between the very small population on Earth at that time and the need for keeping a herd of animals in order to respond to the needs of that small population is not right.
Would it be reasonable to believe that Abel and Cain were separated by their occupations in two main divisions of human activities instead of working as a family together with their father and mother, taking care of their entire work? Humans always associated in groups – they didn’t work and live as isolated individuals. If they were working as a group there isn’t enough grounds to believe that Abel and Cain would have initiated the first big division of work of humankind as the book of Genesis seems to declare. Those divisions started when entire families would have become dedicated to one activity more than to another. In one small family of four or so people the presence of two branches of human activities, well defined therefore relatively separated, with only one member of the family to be responsible for it, is something illogical.
The book of Genesis tells us that all animals had been destined to eat vegetation, but we know that some animals are predators, they eat only meat. From the way in which animals are constructed we can see that some of them are built to be predators and others are structured to defend themselves from such predators.
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For example, were hedgehogs created by God? If the answer is yes, why did He create them with the potential to defend themselves against other animals if at the moment of their creation there wouldn’t have been any danger for them from predators because all animals were herbivores? If all animals were assigned for vegetal consumption what animal would have been interested in attacking a hedgehog as prey? No human would have attacked them either. No vegetarian animals would have eaten hedgehogs. However, hedgehogs are prepared to face a predator attack just because in the real world predators were always present. In the world of herbivores, described by the book of Genesis, such a natural protection wasn’t needed therefore wouldn’t have been created by God. If God had created the hedgehogs as they are He did that knowing that the created world contained predators from the beginning.
“Large owls, including the Eurasian eagle owl, commonly feed on hedgehogs. Several members of the Canidae family, including wild and domestic dogs, foxes, and jackals, may attack and eat a hedgehog. Indian gray mongooses are known predators of at least one species of hedgehog, the Indian hedgehog. Mustelidae, the family that includes ferrets and weasels, are known predators of hedgehogs.”
Even if hedgehogs have such armour they often fall prey to many predators, but nevertheless they can protect themselves against others. There wasn’t any reason for God to create such sophisticated defence for so many animals if no predators could attack them and eat them. There are many defence systems against predators which tell us that such predators did always exist.
“Throughout millions of years of evolution, animals have evolved numerous ways of defending themselves against predators. Obviously, being able to flee a predator is the choice of many prey animals we can consider. However, there are some often overlooked but interesting methods of defense which involve deception and chemistry. These include using toxic chemicals, camouflage and mimicry.”
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This protection is real and can have only two causes. Either they were created by God or by nature through evolution. Which is more likely? If God had allocated only the green plants as animal food until Noah’s Flood, theoretically there shouldn’t have been predators from the moment of creation until the Flood. If there were no predators no mechanisms against predators were needed. Notwithstanding, these mechanisms exist, which means that either God created animals with them and the Bible is wrong about the nature of food allocated to all animals and human beings, or they were not created by God but by nature.
Evolution tells us that predators evolved at the same time as herbivores and in connection with one another. Taking that into consideration one should notice that creationism doesn’t have a good answer for why the animals were equipped against predators, despite a lack of this kind of animal. The mechanisms of defence against predators are not only small adaptations to the environment, but they are involved in the structural constitutions of the animals concerned, defining what kinds of animals they are.
The reference to predators or carnivores includes plants, birds, land animals and marine animals. Who created them if all animals had to eat only green plants from the moment of their creation until the Flood, according to the book of Genesis? This is a big contradiction of the Bible. God would have created predators but would have allotted them vegetation as food. If God didn’t create predators but they evolved from herbivores after the Flood, that means new species were created through evolution, other than ones that were created by God.
Creation of animals had been done by God within the limits of kinds or species. However, an animal which is structured as herbivore, if it is transformed into a carnivore it becomes a member of a new species. Either God created all species of land animals on the sixth day as they are today, or many species evolved from what God created that day and became other species. If they evolved to be other species nature is also a creator beside God the Creator. Regarding animals’ existence on Earth, creation without evolution doesn’t make any sense.
The biological differences between herbivores and carnivores are huge.
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The dentition, the form of the maxillaries, the stomach, the size of the body, the whole structure is adapted, in the case of herbivores, in order to allow them to eat vegetation, and the same is also valid for carnivores, which eat meat. In spite of that, the narrative concerning the creation of animals, from Genesis, affirms that God created all animals to eat vegetation, and not meat, but this cannot be right, because today we have carnivore animals, which don’t eat vegetation, and on the other hand we have on Earth herbivorous animals which are not endowed to eat meat, so they cannot become carnivorous.
Even if sometimes herbivorous animals can accidentally eat a small quantity of meat, this cannot be their main source of nutrition and the differences between them and carnivorous animals remain determinant. Some herbivores can occasionally eat insects or carcases of death animals but this doesn’t change their main way of feeding. Herbivores aren’t endowed for the killing of other animals. The most important difference between herbivores and carnivores is that they occupy different places in the food chains; the former are prey and the latter are predators. There are also omnivore animals, which eat plants and meat as well, but the problem in relation with the book of Genesis is mainly the existence of the predators commencing in the sixth day of the creation.
In the sea and on land God created animals which can be described as monsters or beasts:
“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; 21 NRSV)
“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; 25 NRSV)
This kind of description is contradictory from the point of view of feeding only on plants, food ascribed to all animals immediately after their creation.
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Sea monsters don’t eat green plants. Blue whales eat mostly krill. Fin whales eat krill, copepods, squid, and a variety of small schooling fish. Humpback whales, Bryde’s whales, and Minke whales prey mostly on krill and small schooling fish. Sharks, another kind of marine monster, surely don’t eat green plants. Sharks primarily feed on smaller fish but some species prey upon seals, sea lions, and other marine mammals. When God had created animals He ascribed them plants for food. Why would He have endowed some animals with the biological characteristics specific for eating plants and other animals with some very different characteristics proper for meat consumption, if from the creation until the Flood all animals ate vegetation? It is not important when the switch from eating plants to eating meat was really made, because in any case for a long period of time all animals ate plants according to the book of Genesis. The biblical text maintains that the licence for eating meat was done after the Flood. Before the Flood lions, panthers, wolves, hyenas, sharks and many other predators were condemned to eat green plants which was different to the kind of food for which they had been built.
Why would God have created two very different kinds of animals, knowing that for a rather long period of time all had to eat only vegetation? Why wouldn’t He have created only herbivores if He allocated only green plants as food for animals? Did God count on evolution of the species to such a degree that He planned for some herbivores to become carnivores? How and when was the switch made? Let’s consider for a moment that only after the Flood consumption of animal meat was allowed as the book of Genesis says. All animals were herbivores until the Flood. After the Flood, some herbivores would have evolved from what they were to develop strong jaws, another type of stomach and so on. Such an evolution, if possible, would have taken many millions of years. Let’s imagine that from a deer, through evolution emerged a hyena. It is very unlikely. The hyena has its ancestors in other similar animals, extinct in our days, but not necessarily in some herbivorous animals. In any case, the hyena is different to any herbivorous animal. If we believe that all vegetation would have disappeared after the Flood then all animals would have had to become carnivores, not only a number of them.
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If it is true that God finished His creation in six days, He would have created herbivores and carnivores from the beginning if He created animals according to their kinds. Herbivores and carnivores are two very different kinds of animals; they don’t switch suddenly from one to the other. If He created only herbivores but some of them became carnivores, through a process of transformation, after the Flood, this implies a profound and complex evolution. Six thousand years of animal evolution, even less if we consider the Flood, cannot explain such a transformation. Either God didn’t create animals according to their kinds as they are today and many of them are the product of evolution, or He created carnivores on the sixth day, giving them vegetation to eat, but that is absurd. Rather God created herbivores and carnivores from the beginnings through evolution and the book of Genesis is wrong in asserting that all animals were created at the same time on the sixth day and all ate green plants for a while. Evolution of species took a long period of time and wasn’t restricted to the time allocated by the book of Genesis for the creation of animals.
To eat only vegetation, for carnivores is impossible. They are not adapted for this way of feeding, for rumination of the cud, food regurgitated from the first stomach to the mouth and chewed again. The entire body structure of carnivores is constructed in such a way as to enable them to be predators, but such predators cannot feed with plants as their main food. There isn’t any rational reason why God would have created carnivores on the sixth day if they had to eat only vegetation. God created all animals after their kind and a kind means there are some important characteristics which give to a certain species its identity. Predators eat mainly meat and that is a radical difference from herbivores which eat plants.
Carnivores don’t come directly from herbivores which would have preyed on other animals after the Flood, because herbivores don’t prey on other animals. Were the plants scarce after the Flood? Even so, herbivores couldn’t hunt, kill, and eat another animal because they weren’t equipped with the biological tools for this purpose. The predators, according to the book of Genesis, ate meat immediately after the Flood and not only after a very long period of time – hundreds of thousands of years. God, as the book of Genesis presupposes, had created from the beginning, herbivores and carnivores, when He created every species with their own characteristics on the sixth day of creation.
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Small adaptations would probably be accepted by the creationists but not a profound structural modification of the animal.
Let’s say for the moment that all animals were herbivores until the Flood as their allotted food required them to be. What happened after that event? Who “told” animals that they must eat meat? What particular reason pushed the animals to quit vegetation as a food and to start eating meat? We know from the book of Genesis that after the Flood, humans were allowed to eat meat; was this authorisation given for the animals too? How was this authorisation transmitted to them and in what way would it have become effective if genetically there wasn’t any change? Is it possible that so many animals became predators after the Flood, following a decree from God? That change would have equated with a new creation similar to the one from the sixth day. The animals obviously don’t have consciousness and it is impossible that animal species would have been persuaded by God to change their behaviour. God has difficulties in convincing human beings to change their comportment but convincing an animal to change its alimentary habits would have been impossible. Other mechanisms would have been needed and the real engine for change couldn’t have been other than evolution.
How could a herbivorous animal be transformed into a carnivore overnight, without changing its whole body structure? The Bible doesn’t tell us that God recreated animals after the Flood, or that He created new animals. This possibility seems to be unrealistic, in the context of the Bible, and that is true because according to its texts the creation was completely finished in six days. Panthers and hyenas weren’t made after the Flood, but during the sixth day of creation. God could have miraculously changed entire species and could have transformed them into carnivorous animals, but that would have meant a new creation of the animal regnum about which the Bible doesn’t say anything at all, and which is unacceptable in the light of Genesis chapter 1. In the chapter 1 of the Bible it is written that God finished His creation on the sixth day and no other period of time is given for another creation in the biblical texts.
Someone could say that God did His creation in six days and after that, evolution took over and modified this creation in ways completely driven by nature.
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This combination between creationism and evolutionism doesn’t legitimise either of the two and increases the degree of ambiguity about the origins of animals on Earth. It was either creation or evolution in the Darwinian sense but if evolution took over God’s creation and modified it radically His declaration that the creation was very good doesn’t make any sense.
There are nevertheless some opinions that carnivores existed before the Flood. The following quote expresses such an idea:
“Actually, there is a hint in the Bible that there was pre-Flood carnivory, although I won’t be dogmatic about it. That is, when Cain was enraged that God (YHWH) rejected his sacrifice, God counseled him that “sin is crouching at the door” (Genesis 4: 7b). God pictures sin as ‘crouching’, but this means ‘ready to spring forth’. The same imagery is used in Genesis 49: 9, “he crouched as a lion”. Indeed, in Genesis 4: 7, the verb rōbets (רבץ) is masculine to agree with the implied wild beast, not feminine to agree with ‘sin’. So sin is like a lion waiting to pounce on Cain and consume him. Such imagery could indicate that animal predation had already started by this time. This time could be a little under 130 years after Creation—Eve regarded Seth as God’s replacement for Abel murdered by Cain (Genesis 4: 25), and Seth was born when Adam (and Eve) was 130 (Genesis 5: 3).”
In this view, the book of Genesis offers some hints that shortly after the creation certain animals were already predators. If such is the case, this is an argument to support the idea that God had created the predators from the beginning because it would have been impossible for some species to evolve radically in such a short period of time. If God created the predators and if He created the animals before the creation of humans, as the book of Genesis says, death entered into creation before Adam and Eve’s Fall and without any connection to that. Death is the natural creation of God and has nothing to do with Adam and Eve’s disobedience. One can safely maintain that death wasn’t triggered by the Fall of man, but death and suffering were on Earth from the moment of creation. The inconsistency within the biblical text is obvious. It is impossible to harmonise the existence of carnivorous animals before the Flood with the kind of food that the book of Genesis says God had ascribed to all animals, and that was green plants. Here we have the biblical texts:
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“29 God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” (Genesis 1; 29-31 NRSV)
What food was ascribed for the fish and other marine animals, according to the texts? To every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air God had given as food every green plant. How about the sharks or marine lions? Did they also eat green plants? How easily do they find such plants in the water? The following quotation gives an answer:
“Sea Lions are carnivorous which means that they love to consume meat. The main source of food for Sea Lions is fish and a very large amount of it! There are several types of fish that they will eat including herring, mackerel, pompano, salmon, and capelin. What they will have access to depend on where they live. They also enjoy consuming squid that is often found in the water. They are able to survive well in the water because they aren’t really picky about what they consume as long as it is plentiful and it contains meat.”
Sea lions never ate green plants. How about other fish and aquatic living creatures? Did they all eat green plants? It is obvious that something like that didn’t happen. Carnivorous fish ate other fish and most sharks and other marine predators also ate the flesh of other aquatic creatures. This isn’t a minor adaptation to their environment; this is the way in which they are built. All sharks, according to the book of Genesis, would have eaten green plants until the Flood and after that when meat consumption was allowed most of them became predators, with exactly the same body structure.
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This is pure fantasy because nature doesn’t work like that. Having the same kind of teeth, made for tearing flesh and not for eating green plants, sharks always ate the same kind of food, for which they were biologically fit.
To maintain that Adam and Eve’s disobedience brought death into the creation is false and shows that the story of Adam and Eve is only a myth and not a real fact. Before the creation of the Garden of Eden death was on Earth, generated by God’s creation, through nature, and not by human fault. This is God’s world, a reality in which death was a usual phenomenon and was not a cause of some mistakes made by humankind. In point of fact, even the eating of fruits means death and destruction for those particular vegetal elements. It is not an animal death but the idea is the same, the consumption of living creatures by other living creatures. To maintain that there was consumption of fruits before Adam and Eve’s Fall but not biological death is a naivety and a contradiction in terms. Green plants were also alive before being eaten by herbivorous and carnivorous plants and animals ate meat.
How about the animals, were they really good as the book of Genesis says that God would have declared? They were not, because some of them were carnivores, but they were asked to eat vegetation and that means that they would have been built in an unsuitable way for their living conditions. Either God wrongfully created some animals to be carnivores and asked them to eat plants, or some herbivorous animals transformed themselves for unknown reasons after Adam and Eve’s Fall or after the Flood, and became carnivores. The most realistic probability is that God didn’t directly create herbivores or carnivores but they emerged in parallel through the evolution of nature.
We ought to ask if radical evolution of created entities such as animals is possible in the biblical vision. What is the authentic relation between creation and evolution? Could species created by God have evolved in such a way that they would have become other animal species? What is the limit of the adaptation of animals to the environment? One limit is the sudden modification of an animal from herbivore to carnivore or the other way around, a phenomenon entailed by the book of Genesis when it describes a dietary change after the Flood.
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The Bible doesn’t speak about evolution of the species in numerous generations; it was about some animals, which being structured to eat plants started to eat meat after the Flood. As a general rule an individual animal won’t radically change his feeding habits in a short period of time. A dog can eat a bit of grass sometimes as a medicine for the wellbeing of his stomach, but the same dog won’t systematically exchange meat for grass even if he is starving.
When did some herbivores become carnivores, after Adam and Eve’s Fall or after the Flood? Adam and Eve’s Fall wouldn’t have had anything to do with dietary behaviour of animals in spite of what many commentators maintain for theological reasons. In the book of Genesis, the moment in which a change in dietary habits appeared would have been the aftermath of the Flood. The idea that Adam and Eve’s Fall would have had anything to do with meat consumption doesn’t have any biblical support. If meat consumption was related to Adam and Eve’s Fall the approval for it would have been given immediately after their Fall and not after the Flood.
In the Christian teachings is well established the principle that death entered into creation after the failure of first human beings. Nevertheless, if God had created animals according to their kinds He had also created carnivorous animals which are differentiated by important characteristics from herbivorous animals. Those carnivorous animals would have eaten meat before the creation of humankind because they had been created previous to human beings and they couldn’t wait to feed only after Adam and Eve’s Fall.
Animals ate according with their biological structure generated by their natural evolution. A universal Flood, if it was an historical reality, would have determined an ecological disaster, but it is only a legend and nothing has happened after the imaginary Flood. Nevertheless, even a universal Flood cannot explain the sudden transformation of some herbivores into carnivores. In my opinion herbivores and carnivores evolved in parallel in the context of the continuous balancing of the ecosystem. If God had directly created all species of animals of every kind, He made herbivores and carnivores as different kinds of animals and from the moment of their creation carnivores started to eat animal flesh.
There are also some opinions which maintain that in the Bible there are arguments which favour the idea that God created carnivores on the sixth day. The following quotation will present succinctly this opinion:
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“The book of Genesis describes the order of creation and the kind of creatures that God created. Many young earth creationists believe that God did not create carnivores, but that some animals evolved or mutated to become carnivorous after the fall of man. Genetically, this is impossible, and if God somehow caused it to happen, it is never mentioned in the Bible. God created at least some of the carnivores on the sixth day. Here is the relevant passage: Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts [chayah] of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. And God made the beasts [chayah] of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1: 24-25)”
The author of this comment uses the Hebrew word chayah in order to demonstrate that the Bible says that God would have created carnivore animals on the sixth day of creation. This word is used in the biblical texts most often to indicate animals which eat flesh:
“We can examine how the Hebrew word (chayah) is used in the rest of the Bible…… An examination of the Hebrew word chayah indicates that in the vast majority of uses, the word refers to animals that eat flesh. It seems likely that the creation account of Genesis is referring specifically to the carnivores, especially since a prominent herbivore (cattle) is specifically mentioned in the same verse. If chayah were meant to refer to herbivores, cattle could be left out, since they would be included in the chayah term.”
If God had created carnivores, He brought animal death into His creation before the creation of man. Death was in creation before Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God so the idea that Adam and Eve had to die because they sinned doesn’t have any support. Adam didn’t die because he had sinned but because he was mortal; death wasn’t a punishment for human disobedience to God but a natural thing for man who was created from dust.
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Adam and Eve’s mortality, in the context of the book of Genesis is proven by the reference to the tree of life. An immortal being wouldn’t have needed the tree of life in order to get immortality. Their punishment wasn’t their death but the interdiction of access to the tree of life which would have offered them the eternal life. It is not the same to say that one will die following his or her disobedience or to say that because he or she was disobedient he or she will not live forever. Death isn’t a punishment but a natural thing. This is another theology closer to the biblical account.
Adam and Eve didn’t die following their disobedience to God, they were only prevented from living forever in the Garden of Eden. They didn’t die the day they disobeyed God, neither physically or spiritually; they were not allowed to eat from the tree of life and live eternally. When would Adam and Eve have needed to eat from the tree of life in order to live forever, if they hadn’t disobeyed God? After a certain period of time, unspecified by the Bible, Adam and Eve would have needed to eat from the tree of life even if they had obeyed God’s command not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because of their sins they were condemned to live a mortal existence on Earth in conformity with their created nature.
God had created the world with death in it and death would have been present in the creation even if Adam and Eve had been obedient to Him. The presence of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden is an argument for this conclusion.
God created an evolving world. The natural world had its own evolution before the emergence of human beings on Earth. Herbivores and carnivores were the kinds of animals which emerged through evolution before the apparition of human beings.
Accepting for the sake of demonstration that the Flood was real, we may ask if after the Flood there would have been a shortage of vegetation. What was the cause which pushed herbivores to become carnivores? Why didn’t all herbivores become carnivores if the vegetation had grown extremely scarce? If the Flood had been real all vegetation found under water for several months would have disappeared because under water the light doesn’t go too far and photosynthesis cannot be realised. If it was such a drastic shortage of vegetation why weren’t all animals transformed into carnivores?
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How did large herbivores like some dinosaurs still find plants if the shortage was that dramatic? The continuity in the existence of so many large herbivores contradicts the idea of the reality of the Flood because after the Deluge most vegetation if not all would have disappeared from Earth with a lack of suitable conditions for photosynthesis under deep waters.
What was the criterion of differentiation between herbivores which wouldn’t have been transformed into carnivores, and animals which would have become carnivores after the Flood? No such criterion could have been in place if all animals had eaten green plants before the Flood. In reality herbivores and carnivores were generated by nature following a very long process of evolution and selection and they were integrated in a large system in which both of them had and still have a function to accomplish.
From the camp of young earth creationists comes the naive opinion that carnivores are as a matter of fact herbivores which changed their behaviour. Daniel Criswell, Ph. D writes:
“Although the origin of predation is poorly understood, it is incorrect to attribute to young-earth creation the assertion that predatory animals quickly and recently evolved the physical features necessary for predation. It is a common fallacy that carnivores evolved from a change in form and function. No physical evolution was required to change herbivores to predators--it was merely a change in behavior.”
The author of the text considers that a change in animal behaviour was enough to explain the important differences between the morphological structures of herbivores and carnivores. If only the behaviour is responsible for the differentiation between herbivores and carnivores, what would have triggered the change in behaviour? Was it an alleged scarceness in vegetation? Such a dilution had to affect all animals and not just some. Following a drastic reduction in vegetation all animals had to become carnivores, changing their behaviour, but they didn’t because they couldn’t. The differences between herbivores and carnivores are profound and determined by their biological structure, and their behaviour is influenced by these structural characteristics.
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Omnivorous animals can use their canine teeth either for tearing apart the flesh of another animal or the flesh of a fruit. At the same time, there are carnivores which don’t eat fruits. Lions, for example, will not replace a meal of meat with some apples, even if they are on the brink of starvation. In the wilderness lions’ behaviour can be carefully observed. Do they replace meat with vegetation when they are really hungry? They don’t. Lions and some felines do feed on grass, to clear out their system (vomit), but grass doesn’t get digested properly (which is why they vomit), since they have a carnivorous digestive tract. To digest plants, animals need to have a longer digestive tract, opposite to those which digest meat. The following quotation explains:
“Lions can’t eat fruits and vegetables. It is due to several reasons. 1: Eating is instinct behaviour which is predetermined by genes. If you try to feed fruits to one day old lion, it would not eat fruits. 2: Teeth of lion are built in such a way that it can’t eat grasses and vegetation. Lion’s teeth are pointed to capture and kill prey, they can’t crush vegetation. 3: Stomach of lion is unable to digest cellulose which is present in plants. For digestion of plants cattle have symbiotic organisms in stomach which are absent in lion. 4: Intestine of lion is too small to digest cellulose of plants, herbivores have much longer intestine.”
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