One Possible Reason For Animal Death Pre-Fall

I had a terrible time finding any good answers to this objection I had back as an On-the-fence Creationist. It frustrated and bothered me to no end. I pushed OECs back into corners often times not because I wanted to refute them, but because I wanted answers and I wasn’t getting any that satisfied me. God helped me get over the trouble of this through the power of His Holy Spirit. I thought of Proverbs 3:5 where The Bible says to "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding". I just through up my hands and said "I don't know why You let all that suffering and disease happen before the fall, but all the evidence points toward Day-Age Old Earth Creationism and I can't go against this stream of powerful, scientific and scriptural evidence, so I'll just trust that You had good reasons for permitting suffering pre-fall just like You have good reasons to allowing to happen to human beings AFTER the fall."

I had a theory that demons might have been behind it, but the more I studied the other creation accounts of The Bible (such as Psalm 104, which in 1 verse talks about God providing the lions with their prey) the more I began to seriously doubt that that was the case. 1 thing that I found to be a very good possibility: one of the possible reasons God permitted carnivorous activity and animal death pre-fall comes from Hugh Ross in “More Than A Theory”.

“Why Did God Create Hominids?
The Bible does not mention any of the hominids that preceded humanity. The omission is consistent with the biblical practice of avoiding references to natural phenomena that only some readers over the centuries would find familiar. Scripture does address human responsibility for the natural realm (See Genesis 1:28-30) however, and warns of the negative impact of human sin upon other creatures (Genesis 3:17, Genesis 9:2). Because God gave soulish animals (birds and mammals) the desire to interact with humans, the evil that people manifested could have had a devastating impact. According to Genesis 9:2, God took protective action “The fear of dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air.” From a biblical perspective, God possesses complete knowledge of the future. He knew before creating any hominids that future humans would rebel against His authority and become incredibly selfish and dangerously harmful both to each other and to the environment. The many bird and mammal species driven to extinction sadly testifies to such abuse. Of the 15,000 to 20,000 bird species present at the time of humanity’s origin, only about 9,000 remain. Of about 8,000 land mammal species, only about 4,000 are left. Humans have devastated the very creatures God supplied to improve humanity’s quality of life. Perhaps this impact would have been even worse had God not created a series of progressively more advanced hominids. Large bodied mammal extinctions studies support this premise. In Africa, where several hominid species predate humanity, the extinctions for large mammals during the human occupation period is 14%. In North and South America and Austrailia, where no such hominids preceded humans, the extinction rate for mammals stands at 73%, 79%, and 80% respectively. In such places as Africa, the fossil record reveals a sequence of hominids that spanned several million years, with each successive species slightly more capable of hunting birds and mammals than the previous. This increasing exposure to gradually improved predation skills may have allowed birds and mammals to adapt step-by-step to the shock of a sinful super predator.”

So ONE (out of many possible reasons) God allowed animal suffering pre-fall is for them to learn how to survive against human beings! If they hadn’t, more species probably would have gone extinct than what the current statistics show.

Moreover, All physical life suffers to some degree and eventually dies. But, from a Christian perspective, there is a profound difference between the physical death of a spiritual creature (a human) and the death of any other form of physical life. For the former, pain is greatly intensified by the awareness & anticipation of future agony — physical, spiritual, or both. But, the future is neither anticipated nor worried about by the latter.

Moreover, animals suffer a lot less than human beings by virtue of not living quite as long (although there are SOME that live LONGER than human beings e.g sea turtles). Cats and Dogs for example only live a maximum of 20 years and thus only have a decade or 2 to suffer compared to an entire century of suffering we human beings have to endure. Remember what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, about human suffering in this life being merely a “slight, momentary affliction” in comparison to all eternity. But anyway, if human suffering within 70-100 years of living is just an infinitesimally small moment when compared to all eternity, how much less of a speck of time is 2 decades when compared to eternity?

SCRIPTURAL OBJECTIONS:

Some people say The Bible prohibits anything dying before the fall. They get this from Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. The problem is is that both of those passages are talking about HUMAN death and human death alone. In order to make it apply to other creatures, you have to READ THAT INTO THE TEXT.

Here's basically what YECs think Romans 5 says

Lets change Romans 5 to fit the AIG interpretation of "no death of animals or humans before sin".. Romans 5 would read something like:

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Rom 5:12, 14-21 NIV - Therefore, just as sin entered the world [of humans and animals] through one man, and death [of humans and animals] through sin, and in this way death came to all men [and animals], because all [humans and animals] sinned-- ... Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those [humans and animals] who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many [humans and animals] died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many [humans and animals]! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation [to humans and animals], but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification [to humans and animals]. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those [humans and animals] who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men [and animals], so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men [and animals]. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many [humans and animals] were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many [humans and animals] will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase [to humans and animals]. But where sin increased [in humans and animals], grace increased all the more [to humans and animals], so that, just as sin reigned in death [of humans and animals], so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life [to humans and animals] through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but animals are not moral agents. How can death be brought to all of the animals because all of the animals sinned? Animals have no sense of right and wrong. They're not moral agents. 

This is what Romans 5 really says. Romans 5:12 says "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned." 

Again "...death came to ALL MEN because ALL SINNED". Animals are not men and animals do not sin. The passage is clearly referring to human beings exclusively.
 

1 Corinthians 15, the only other chapter in The Bible that mentions Adam's sin bringing death, doesn't seem to address anything more than humanity either.  

And actually, I might be able to make a positive argument for carnivorous activity pre-fall. Psalm 104 is considered to be a creation psalm. A plain literal reading of Psalm 104 immediately tells you that the chapter is about the creation, not the flood of Noah. In fact, when you read Psalm 104, it's strikingly parallel to Genesis 1. It says:

" The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God." - Psalm 104:21

“All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground." – Psalm 104:27-30

If Psalm 104 is a poetic non-chronological version of Genesis 1, then clearly we have an obvious admission of Carnivorous activity before the fall! Now, some might object "This stuff takes place after The Fall". Well, even if that were true, this is still highly informative. The Young Earth Creationist typically considers carnivorous activity to be "evil" and therefore, they infer that God must have brought it about due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the curse, although when I read Genesis 3, I don't see God telling Adam and Eve that lions and tigers and bears will come into being or will change dramatically. I DO see God telling them that because they sinned against Him, whenever Adam tries to farm, sometimes the land will not produce food for him and he'll have to work much, much harder than before in order to bring about good crops, also He says that when he does try to do good farm work, sometimes the land will produce "thorns and thistles" for him. God doesn't say that thorns and thistles did not exist before and are coming into existence now that they sinned. God tells them that when Adam tries to farm, instead of getting food, he will sometimes get thorns and thistles. To Eve, he says that when she gives birth her pain will MULTIPLY, this indicates that childbirth was mildly uncomfortable before the fall, but perhaps no more painful than stubbing one's toe whereas after the fall, giving birth became EXCRUCIATING. But nowhere in the curses God is spouting that natural disasters and carnivorous activity would come into being. Again, one has to read that into the text or merely infer philosophically. But anyway, back to Psalm 104. The Young Earth Creationist typically considers carnivorous activity to be "evil". But Psalm 104 says that God provides them their food and that the Lions are provided their prey by God? Now, if we are to say that carnivorous activity is "evil" and if God is providing the carnivores with their food, are the YECs calling God evil? 

Moreover, the psalmist seems to have a different attitude toward carnivorous activity when he wrote Psalm 104. The first verse of Psalm 104 is giving praise to God as does the final verse of Psalm 104. And nowhere throughout the entire chapter does the Psalmist say something like "Oh how horrible it is that the lions prey on other animals! Oh how horrible it is! What evil and bloodshed we humans have brought into the world" or "How could You do such a thing, God?" No. In fact, He repeatedly praises God for ALL his creations, carnivores included. 

There are other passages in The Bible (other creation accounts) which talk about God providing for the carnivores.

"Can you hunt the prey for the lion, Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, [God speaking]" -  Job 38:39
 
 "Who prepares for the raven its nourishment, When its young cry to God, And wander about without food?" - Job 38:41