Is Animal Suffering a Consequence of Adam’s Sin?

This article is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Creation Answer Book (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012)
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I cannot persuade myself,” wrote Darwin, “that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created [the Ichneumonidae] parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.” This conundrum ultimately led Darwin to dispense with the notion of a Creator God. In reality, however, Adam—not the Almighty—bears responsibility for the origin of moral and natural evil in the world.

First, the Bible clearly teaches that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin” (Romans 5:12). As a result, the whole of creation was subjected to “frustration” and “decay” (see Romans 8:19–23; cf. Genesis 1:29–30; 9:1–4; Psalm 104:19–28).

Furthermore, the federal headship* of Adam (Romans 5:12–21; 1 Corinthians 15:20–26) extends beyond humanity to all of God’s creation. Even the ground was cursed as a direct result of Adam’s rebellion. Not only so, but the present curse and the promised redemption extend beyond the ground to the very animals that walk upon it (Isaiah 11:6–9; 65:25; Revelation 21–22).

Finally, far from dispensing with God as a result of contemplating such natural horrors as a parasitic wasp, human and animal suffering should have driven Darwin to contemplate the full consequences of alienation from God. Indeed, exposure to natural evil outside the comforts of the garden must surely have caused Adam to understand the full gravity of his fall from grace. Put another way, chaos outside the garden reflected the horror of Adam’s sin-sick soul.

Tragically, Darwin could only conceive of time as linear. Had he comprehended a God unbounded by time, his evolutionary hypothesis may never have taken root. Surely God could cause the effects of the fall to temporally precede their cause! As intelligent design* theorist Dr. William Dembski has well said, “Just as the death and resurrection of Christ is responsible for the salvation of repentant people throughout all time, so the fall of humanity in the garden of Eden is responsible for every natural evil throughout all time (future, present, past, and distant past preceding the fall).”

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God
to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration,
not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who
subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated
from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious
freedom of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as
in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not
only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the
Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as
sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Romans 8:19–23


For further study, see William A. Dembski, The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2009).

More Bible Answers with Hank

Will the Created Cosmos Be Resurrected or Annihilated?

How Can the Eternal Son of God Be the “Firstborn over All Creation”?

Will Adam and Eve Receive Brand-New Bodies in Eternity?

Do Naturalists Consider Chance the Singular Cause of Evolution?

Why Did Heliocentrism Triumph over Geocentrism?

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