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“So the LORD God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life’” (Genesis 3:14).
Consider the lion . . . its powerful jaws are well equipped for biting into its prey. Its stomach readily welcomes the fresh meat. But wait . . . the Bible says that God gave plants to all the animals to eat in the very beginning (Genesis 1:29–30). He declared His finished creation “very good” (Genesis 1:31). So, why does the lion appear to be so well designed to catch and digest a diet of meat? Why are snakes programmed to attack and kill animals? Why do some frogs have bright colors to warn attackers to stay away from their poison glands?
If God created everything “very good,” then why do so many animals appear designed to attack other animals, or to defend themselves from attacks?
God’s perfect universe changed when Adam disobeyed God. Adam ate the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.This sin affected the entire creation (Romans 8:22)—including the animals.
Some Christians believe that the harmful structures (such as sharp teeth or claws) had a different function before Adam disobeyed. For example, giant pandas use their sharp teeth and claws to eat mainly bamboo. Maybe cats originally used their teeth to chomp on vegetables. Or, perhaps, the original “very good” structures have been changed by mutations over time.
Others believe that many of the plants and animals were “redesigned” after the Fall. For example, the serpent changed with the Curse God placed on it (Genesis 3:14). Thorns and thistles began to grow; so perhaps God also changed some of the features in other animals as well. Perhaps, because He foreknew the Fall, God programmed the genes with information for these structures.
So, how did the animals change? The Bible simply doesn’t give us enough information to say for sure. It may be that some of the above ideas apply for some animals, but not for others. Scripture is clear, however, that the bad things we see in today’s world didn’t have a place in God’s original, perfect creation. They won’t have a place in the future, restored world either (Acts 3:21, Isaiah 11:6–9; 65:25).
It’s important to remember that the bad things are not something we should blame God for. They are the result of sin—Adam’s and ours (because we are descendants of Adam, and each of us sins as well). In fact, God provided a way for us to be free from the penalty of sin (eternal separation from Him). He sent Jesus Christ to die in the place of all those who receive His free gift of eternal life. And God will create a new heaven and earth for His children. There will be no more death, suffering, or other bad things.
Even though we are living in a world that is groaning under the weight of the curse of sin, we are still able to catch glimpses of what life may have been like before Adam disobeyed—when everything was perfect and God completely upheld His creation. For example:
Want to learn more? Read the entire Answers for Kids Student Handout Set online!