By Bob Barney
The Plain Truth
Over the years that I have spent studying the words of God, which we find in the Bible, I have come to see many ideas that scholars believe about the Bible that just simply aren't true. The Rapture, for example is one of them. There is not a single reference in the Bible that shows people are raptured before the great tribulation, the Bible is clear that we all rise from the dead when Jesus returns, not one second before. The same mistaken dogma lead most people in believing that we either go to heaven or hell when we die. Not true. We all die; Christian and sinner alike go to the grave UNTIL Christ returns. A subject that everyone universally believes is that there was no death in the garden of Eden. They love the quote 1 Corinthians 15:21 (For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. KJV).
Many Christians believe that all the animals in Eden were vegetarians, and there was no death . Believe it or not, the meaning of this Bible verse only applies to humans, not animals. Before I go to Bible verses lets examine some flaws in the idea that there was no death of animals in Eden. If rats and mice had no natural enemies, how were their populations controlled. Of misquotes, lice, ticks and fleas? I mean we see well today with man's misguided laws banning hunting in America, we have seen an explosion of the deer population, along with the ticks they carry, many of which cause untold human misery and death. Lyme disease (in 19 forms) is a killer.
You may reply, “God controlled their populations, and they did not bare offspring, more than two per couple.” Sounds like a Communist Chinese population control scheme destined to fail, but the Bible clearly states that God said to all animals, “Be fruitful and multiply,” and to reproduce “after their own kind,” which gives us a logistical problem. Oops. We understand the words “fruitful” and “multiply.” It means two made Four that made 8 that made 240 and so on! With no death, we have a bunch of rats eating the corn! If there were one of every species of animal in Eden, there would be at least 12-15 million pairs of animals. If each healthy, adult pair had an average of just one offspring per year, there would be at least several billion offspring after just 12 years! And in 50 years, there would be over 30 trillion! And in 1000 years.......... You get the idea. So, did Adam have to fail, in order to bring reproduction to a halt in just a few years? I think not. Even if we factor in war, death, disease, abortion, and accidents, we humans have been able to produce some 6 billion people in less than 6,000 years.
The physiology of humans and animals have not changed since creation. If wolves were to eat Straw, as some believe ( and yes there is a quote that the lion will eat straw) why did God give them teeth to rip into flesh. Also, why are some animals (including humans) have both carnivouous teeth and herbivore molars – thus making them omnivores? Did God plan for Adam to sin, and thus just played a game with the first couple, knowing they had to sin? I think not. The teeth do not lie. The digestion systems of meat eating lions, and grass eating cows are plain. God intended these animals to live a life to match their teeth, their guts and their instincts.
On a side note, one the most people do not realize, Adam and Eve's time in the garden was very short. We know this because God also commanded that they be "fruitful, and multiply." I have read some 'scholars' make the claim that Adam and Eve could have been in the garden for years before the fall. That cannot be true. God made Eve into a baby factory. She was probably the most fertile of all women, because she was made perfect, in order to bare children. Realizing this, we see that the time in the garden could not have been more than 9 months, as she bore her first child after being thrown out of garden! Some early apocryphal books claim the time spent in the garden was merely a week! That makes sense to me. So they may not have consumed meat in that time, although they were permitted to.
This leads us to the possibly that the death that Adam brought to the world was HUMAN DEATH, not animal death, and that is exactly what Paul meant. This is not new. Catholic Saint Thomas Aquinas disagreed with those who hold that in Paradise animals were all tame and herbivorous and he notes that only human nature changed as a result of human sin and not the nature of animals. Thus there were carnivorous animals on the earth and brought into the Garden of Eden to see what Adam would name them. He writes:
“In the opinion of some, those animals which now are fierce and kill others, would, in that state, have been tame, not only in regard to man, but also in regard to other animals. But this is quite unreasonable. For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, would then have lived on herbs, as the lion and falcon.b Nor does Bede's gloss on Genesis 1:30, say that trees and herbs were given as food to all animals and birds, but to some. Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals [Summa Theologiae I:96:1 ad 2].
Aquinas held that it was not all death that entered the world through man's sin, but human death. In his view, animals could and did kill and eat each other before the Fall. I believe he was right. Note that he spoke in terms of human death and resurrection--of death and resurrection coming to those who are "in Adam" and "in Christ" ("For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive"). The Christian faith does not envision animals fitting those descriptions.
The Apostle Paul also seems to be speaking of human death entering the world.
The same is true of the parallel passage in Romans: “Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned” [Rom. 5:12].
The Millennium Will Be a Return to Eden: