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Christian Scientific Society: Can predatory animals be seen as “evil”?

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The Christian Scientific Society

From David Snoke at the Christian Scientific Society:

On Friday night, Mike Keas and I debated whether and how much human sin could be seen as a reason for animal death. We agreed on many things, for example, that the age of the earth is billions of years, that animals died before Adam and Eve lived, that predatory animals are not “evil” in a moral sense, and that they glorify God. Much of the debate revolved around the interpretation of Romans 8:18-25. Mike feels that the “groaning,” “bondage,” and “corruption” in this passage clearly show a negative aspect placed on creation due to human sin. In his view, before people came along, predatory animals were not “evil” and in fact glorified God (in this, he differs from Dembski’s position in The End of Christianity), but Mike believes God would not have made them (at least, not in their present forms) if he had not looked into the future and seen that mankind would sin; God made them as instruments of judgment held in readiness (a phrase he liked from my book) for a sin he knew was coming. In my view, predatory animals have a secondary function as instruments of judgment on humans, but had humans never sinned, the predatory animals would have been pretty much the same as we know them, because they are good and impressive examples of God’s power, creativity, and balance. Romans 8 does have a negative tone to it, but in my view, this refers to the “increase” of pain and suffering due to human sin. Just as Eve’s pain in childbirth was “increased,” not created de novo, at the Fall, so this passage also speaks of a childbirth, of the human race moving into glory, with an increased pain due to sin. The birth to a glorious new state would still have happened had we not sinned, when the mandate to “fill the earth” was fulfilled. More.

The vid will be available in a month or so.

Note: The next meeting is April 6-7, at the Twentieth Century Club in Pittsburgh. “The theme will be “Quantum Mechanics”. So far, we have commitments from National Academy of Sciences member Bob Griffiths, Andrew Jordan of Rochester, Erica Carlson of Purdue, and Richard Jones of U. Conn. We will try to make sure that the talks are accessible to non-physicists; one new element we may add is targeted open discussions. More details will be coming soon.”

See also: Christian Scientific Society (2017) talks on human exceptionalism now online

3 Replies to “Christian Scientific Society: Can predatory animals be seen as “evil”?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    The vid will be available in a month or so.

    I’ll be looking forward to this. For some reason I find this topic compelling, even though the debate seems semi-ridiculous to me. Predatory animals exist (not to mention pain in childbirth!) because of human sin? My own provocative opinion: The universe does not revolve around humans, and these things exist for reasons other than our ancestors’ disobedience.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    This is just plain silly. No other word for it.

    Natural Law as enforced by Nature, and Natural Law as discovered empirically in the Old Testament, agree on the basics. Defend yourself, do what’s necessary to keep yourself and your family and tribe alive, and DON’T go any farther. Don’t attack things you aren’t going to eat, don’t attack tribes because you want their stuff. When you attack instead of defending, you will suffer and your tribe or empire will collapse.

    The Eden story is the Introductory Chapter to the topic, intended as advice for humans. It’s not advice for vultures or alligators.

  3. 3
    waynerossiter says:

    Hmm. Silly. Not necessarily. I think it is silly to argue over the morality of animal action. It is not immoral or sinful for a lion to eat males it did not sire. However, the more difficult question, it seems to me, is what to do with suffering, disease and death. Were there not mosquitoes prior to the fall? Was there not malaria? That is, the views advanced in the debate must account for human suffering, disease and death. What seems silly is to propose that God established an entire world already “fallen” as some preemptive strike against the humans who would sin, or that those humans were protected from that entire world until sin occurred.

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