Science in Christian Perspective

Letter to the Editor


Early Carnivorous Activity?

Immanuel A. Magalit

101 Naranghita Street,Quezon City, 1102

From:PSCF 52 (September 2000): 214.

In his article on "Disease and Dying" (PSCF 51 [December 1999]: 226), Clarence Menninga quotes Henry Morris as having written that there was "nothing bad in that created world, no hunger, no struggle for existence, no suffering, and certainly no death of animal or human life anywhere in God's perfect creation ... no carnivorous activity at that time." In his article, Menninga shows, I think quite convincingly, that the existence of death and disease in the pre-fall world is not inconsistent with biblical teaching, that the "goodness" of creation need not be taken to exclude death and disease. But Menninga did not directly comment upon Morris's reference to carnivorous activity.

That carnivorous activity existed before the fall certainly cannot be doubted. The problem is that this seems to directly contradict the Genesis account. To humankind God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food" (Gen. 1:29-30). The word "only" does not occur in the passage, but it hardly seems possible to understand this prescribed diet as anything but purely vegetarian, especially in the light of the post-Flood instructions given to Noah: "Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything" (Gen. 9:3). It may simply be a lack of intelligence or education on my part (I am neither a scientist nor a theologian), but I cannot imagine any contortion of evangelical hermeneutics that will enable me to square the scientific evidence with the biblical account.