By Bob Barney
The Plain Truth
Over the years that I have spent studying the words of God which we of course find in the Bible, I have come to see a plethora of ideas scholars embrace about the Bible that just simply are not true. The Rapture for example is one of them. There is not one single reference in the Bible that shows people are raptured before the great tribulation, NOT A ONE. The Bible however is very clear that we all rise from the dead when Jesus returns and not one second before. The same mistaken dogma has led most people to believe that we either go to heaven or hell when we die; absolutely not true. We all die, yes, but Christian and sinner alike go to the grave UNTIL Christ returns.
Another subject that everyone universally believes in is that there was no death in the garden of Eden.
They love the quote of 1 Cor 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 that there was no death that occurred at all. Believe it or not, the meaning of this Bible verse only applies to humans, not animals. Before we dig into more scripture, let's 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? Same thing with mosquito's, lice, ticks and fleas? What happens when a species such as deer's population explodes due to man's misguided laws of banning hunting in America? We see an out-of-control dangerous response as well with the ticks they carry, of which many cause untold human misery and death. Look at Lyme disease alone, in its 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,”. This does however present a logistical problem. Oops. We understand the words “fruitful” and “multiply.” It means two made four that made eight that made two hundred and forty 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. We need to use our noggin that God gave us. His words say what they mean and mean what they say.
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 do some animals, including humans. have both carnivorous teeth and herbivore molars – thus making them omnivores? Did God plan for Adam to sin with what he chose to ingest 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 as day, made by God to digest certain foods. God intended these animals to live a life to match their teeth, their guts and their instincts.
On a side note, one that 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 and that just cannot be true. God made Eve into a baby factory. She was probably the most fertile of all women! Why? 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 more sense to me. Regarding foods they may have chosen to eat, it is possible they may not have consumed meat in that time but that doesn't change the fact that they were permitted to.
This leads us to the possibility 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 concept. 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. 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 kill 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--specifically 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"~ 1 Cor 15:22.
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: