A Question on Original Sin

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InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). The wage-giver is God (Deut. 32:39). Thus, death is not some disease which spreads uncontrollably and is curable by human methods. It is God's recompense for those who rebel against Him.

Now, to my question. Why do plants and animals die? Do they rebel against God? God is certainly just in taking life from plants and animals because He's the one who gives them life. But this is not quite in accord with how God operates in Rom. 6:23. Did plants and animals die before the Original Sin?

Please, help me out of this confusion.
 
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rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
Genesis 3:17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.

Romans 8:20-22 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Samuel,

That's an interesting question. One might be able to assume that, even without sin, plants would go through a life-and-death cycle. After all, God gave to Adam "every green plant for food," and that was before the fall into sin. Animals, on the other hand, might be a different story. The first death of an animal is presumed to be the one from which the skins came that covered Adam and Eve's nakedness after the fall. If that's the case, then it may well be that animals would've otherwise not tasted death.

Either way, as Bob rightly points out, the whole created order was subjected to futility in the fall.

I do wonder, though, about the assertion of God as the wage-giver of Romans 6:23. Recognizing God's sovereignty in all things, it seems to me that Romans 6:23 actually points to sin as wage-giver. The construction of the sentence suggests a contrast between two masters: sin and God. If one's master is sin, then he will receive his due wage (death) from that master. If one's master is God, then he will not receive a wage, but a free gift (eternal life) from that master.

Just my thoughts.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
Recognizing God's sovereignty in all things, it seems to me that Romans 6:23 actually points to sin as wage-giver. The construction of the sentence suggests a contrast between two masters: sin and God. If one's master is sin, then he will receive his due wage (death) from that master. If one's master is God, then he will not receive a wage, but a free gift (eternal life) from that master.

If what you propose is true, then must we not conclude that sin has forced animals to be its servants, despite their own will? I find this contrary to the Scriptures,

“Know ye not, that
to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;
whether of sin unto death,
or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)
 

raekwon

Puritan Board Junior
Recognizing God's sovereignty in all things, it seems to me that Romans 6:23 actually points to sin as wage-giver. The construction of the sentence suggests a contrast between two masters: sin and God. If one's master is sin, then he will receive his due wage (death) from that master. If one's master is God, then he will not receive a wage, but a free gift (eternal life) from that master.

If what you propose is true, then must we not conclude that sin has forced animals to be its servants, despite their own will? I find this contrary to the Scriptures,

“Know ye not, that
to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;
whether of sin unto death,
or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)

I don't know that the "death" that Romans 6 speaks of includes the death of animals (or plant life). Seems to me that it's speaking exclusively of the death of sinful men.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
If you do a search for "original sin", "the curse" and "animal death" in the PB archives you may well find more information.

Some Reformed people are Old Earth Creationists and some are Young Earth Creationists and these tend to take different views on animal death, the OECs believing that it occured before the Fall.

I'm not an OEC myself, as I see little to no evidence in Scripture to persuade me that the Days of Creation are meant to be taken metaphorically.

Sin hasn't forced animals to be its servants, as animals not being made in God's image are incapable of sin or righteousness.

Adam (representing Mankind generally) was God's Mediator on the Earth. As King he ruled over the Creation. As Priest he represented the Creation to God. As Prophet he represented God to the Creation.

When he sinned it was right that God should not leave the Creation unspoiled because of his sin. The Curse was an act of judgment upon his sin making his tasks more difficult and ultimately futile as concerns this life. It was also an act of grace and mercy in that God did not immediately cast Man into Hell but gave him a small foretaste of it by casting him out of Eden into a spoiled Creation, to lead him to faith and repentance.

When we see the Curse at work in the Creation it should remind us that God does not want us to set our hearts on this fundamentally spoiled world. It is because of Man's sin that nature has been spoiled.

There will one day be a New Heavens and a New Earth, which will presumably not be empty. What that will mean for animals it is probably profitless to speculate. We would first have to speculate on the nature of (different) animals. We know that they are not made in God's image. Do any of them have souls? If (some of them) have souls they would be very different from human souls, and appear to be terminated with the death of the animal.(Ecclesiastes 3:21)

We need not concern ourselves with the animals except to treat them with the respect that we are taught to treat them in the Bible. God the judge of all the Earth will do right by the animals, as He expects us to (e.g. Psalm 147:9; Proverbs 12:10), as with all His sentient creatures. (Genesis 18:25)

Don't expect to understand everything in theology or other disciplines to your complete intellectual satisfaction.

Animals aren't suffering - where they are - because they sinned, but because Man sinned. Sin is so awful that the innocent suffer because of the sins of others, although in the case of human beings, no-one is completely innocent but some are relatively "innocent".

Further speculations of this kind may be found in C.S.Lewis's "The Problem of Pain". Lewis points out - among other things - that it is a Q whether certain creatures "suffer" at all.

Use Lewis with discretion. Although he had some good apologetic insights, he wasn't Reformed, and I believe that he may well have been a theistic evolutionist.

“Know ye not, that
to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey;
whether of sin unto death,
or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16)

Our Apostle didn't have animal death in view here. He wasn't addressing animals when he wrote the letter to the Romans. Even the higher animals can't read Greek, koine or otherwise:lol:
 
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puritan628

Puritan Board Freshman
Romans 8:20-22 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

I attempted to post a version of this passage this morning but was getting error messages.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
Animals aren't suffering - where they are - because they sinned, but because Man sinned. Sin is so awful that the innocent suffer because of the sins of others, although in the case of human beings, no-one is completely innocent but some are relatively "innocent".

What about God's sovereignty? Sin maybe awful, but it is under God's control.

If sin is the wage-giver of death, then it can only imply sin is a secondary means by which God brings about death. God is ultimately the rewarder of His creation (Deut. 32:39). HE gives life and HE takes life away. A good example of this we find in the book of Job. When Job heard that the Chaldeans had stolen his camels and killed his servants, Job said, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."
 
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kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
That's an interesting question. One might be able to assume that, even without sin, plants would go through a life-and-death cycle. After all, God gave to Adam "every green plant for food," and that was before the fall into sin. Animals, on the other hand, might be a different story. The first death of an animal is presumed to be the one from which the skins came that covered Adam and Eve's nakedness after the fall. If that's the case, then it may well be that animals would've otherwise not tasted death.

Rae, thanks for this - I never put that two and two together.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Animals aren't suffering - where they are - because they sinned, but because Man sinned. Sin is so awful that the innocent suffer because of the sins of others, although in the case of human beings, no-one is completely innocent but some are relatively "innocent".

What about God's sovereignty? Sin maybe awful, but it is under God's control.

If sin is the wage-giver of death, then it can only imply sin is a secondary means by which God brings about death. God is ultimately the rewarder of His creation (Deut. 32:39). HE gives life and HE takes life away. A good example of this we find in the book of Job. When Job heard that the Chaldeans had stolen his camels and killed his servants, Job said, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

I'm not sure I follow all of your reasoning. I'd advise you to read the above thread and other threads on the PB on this topic; also C.S. Lewis "The Problem of Pain"

God sovereignly imposed the Curse on creation. Many believe that that also included animal death; some don't.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:18-22, ESV)

The animals didn't become meat eaters and subject to death and disease because they were/are sinners, as is the case with Man. But the Creation was spoiled by God to teach Man a lesson - a number of lessons.

The Bible possibly doesn't reveal enough to us about the nature of animals and the nature of the New Heavens and New Earth, to tell us about, how much animals really suffer, whether animals need compensation for their suffering, whether they will receive it or whether they would or could appreciate it if they did receive it.

If you search hard enough you may find a theology book or something on the internet that deals in greater depth with animals, vegetables and minerals.

The Bible teaches in a number of places that God cares for the animals and that we should have a certain degree of respect for them too.

Death in the Bible and Man's experience fundamentally involves the idea and experience of separation.

(a) Separation of Man from God (spiritual death) leading to eternal death.

(b) Separation of Man from his fellow Man leading to murder and war.

(c) Separation of Man from himself leading to mental problems and suicide.

(d) Separation of Man from the Creation through the Curse leading to - among many other things - disease, old age and physical death.

I don't know if it is Schaeffer that expatiates on the above four points in one of his books (?)
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
Animals aren't suffering - where they are - because they sinned, but because Man sinned. Sin is so awful that the innocent suffer because of the sins of others, although in the case of human beings, no-one is completely innocent but some are relatively "innocent".

What about God's sovereignty? Sin maybe awful, but it is under God's control.

If sin is the wage-giver of death, then it can only imply sin is a secondary means by which God brings about death. God is ultimately the rewarder of His creation (Deut. 32:39). HE gives life and HE takes life away. A good example of this we find in the book of Job. When Job heard that the Chaldeans had stolen his camels and killed his servants, Job said, "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

I'm not sure I follow all of your reasoning. I'd advise you to read the above thread and other threads on the PB on this topic; also C.S. Lewis "The Problem of Pain"

God sovereignly imposed the Curse on creation. Many believe that that also included animal death; some don't.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:18-22, ESV)

The animals didn't become meat eaters and subject to death and disease because they were/are sinners, as is the case with Man. But the Creation was spoiled by God to teach Man a lesson - a number of lessons.

The Bible possibly doesn't reveal enough to us about the nature of animals and the nature of the New Heavens and New Earth, to tell us about, how much animals really suffer, whether animals need compensation for their suffering, whether they will receive it or whether they would or could appreciate it if they did receive it.

If you search hard enough you may find a theology book or something on the internet that deals in greater depth with animals, vegetables and minerals.

The Bible teaches in a number of places that God cares for the animals and that we should have a certain degree of respect for them too.

Death in the Bible and Man's experience fundamentally involves the idea and experience of separation.

(a) Separation of Man from God (spiritual death) leading to eternal death.

(b) Separation of Man from his fellow Man leading to murder and war.

(c) Separation of Man from himself leading to mental problems and suicide.

(d) Separation of Man from the Creation through the Curse leading to - among many other things - disease, old age and physical death.

I don't know if it is Schaeffer that expatiates on the above four points in one of his books (?)

Richard,

My point is simply this: Is not God sovereign enough to prevent creatures from suffering because of others' sin? If one's sin is "so awful that the innocent suffer," where is God's sovereignty? It does not matter how hardened and powerful Pharaoh was, he could not lay one finger on God's elect because of God's providence! Sin's awfulness does not nullify God's sovereignty. The innocent suffer only if it's God's good pleasure - my question is, Why does God let the INNOCENT (e.g. animals) suffer? It cannot be chastisement because there is nothing to chastise for, is there? Is it righteous of God, or is there any good reason for which God would make His creation suffer, if it's not rebelling against His will? (I am pointing back to the moment in the history of Creation, when God, himself, declared "it was very good" in His sight.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
You may not find a full answer to all of your Qs in this life; in fact you won't find such an answer.

I would advise you to read other posts on this subject for a greater understanding and C.S. Lewis's book.

Some Christians believe that animal suffering follows from Man's Fall, both logically and chronologically. Some Christians apparently believe that it follows from Man's Fall only logically and not chronologically i.e. animal suffering existed before the Fall. Some believe that the Curse worked backwards - whatever that means. And some apparently say that animal suffering is not related to the Fall at all.

I would subcribe to the first view. God introduced various troubles to the Creation e.g. earthquakes, hurricanes, animals turned wild, to teach Man.

Why does God let the INNOCENT (e.g. animals) suffer? It cannot be chastisement because there is nothing to chastise for, is there?

God let lots of innocent beasts have their throats cut to teach His Old Covenant people about sin, its consequences and the atonement.

Suffice it to say, animal suffering, such as it is, although sometimes humans ascribe suffering to animals anthropopathically when it is not there (of course human beings are capable of much more suffering than animals in a similar situation) accords fully with God's goodness, even although we might not be able to fully explain how it does. God is incapable of moral evil.

The innocent suffer only if it's God's good pleasure

It is clearly God's will that animals suffer in His providence - e.g. if prey suffers at all as one would imagine it does - and it appears to be related to Man's Fall into sin.

It is not God's preceptive will that we impose wanton, cruel or unnecessary suffering on animals ourselves.You would have to look into God's Word to get a sense of what that means.

Is it righteous of God,

Of course it's righteous, although we might not have a full understanding of how it is righteous. But there may be better answers out there in theological tomes I'm not aware of.
 
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InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
You may not find a full answer to all of your Qs in this life; in fact you won't find such an answer.

I would advise you to read other posts on this subject for a greater understanding and C.S. Lewis's book.

Some Christians believe that animal suffering follows from Man's Fall, both logically and chronologically. Some Christians apparently believe that it follows from Man's Fall only logically and not chronologically i.e. animal suffering existed before the Fall. Some believe that the Curse worked backwards - whatever that means. And some apparently say that animal suffering is not related to the Fall at all.

I would subcribe to the first view. God introduced various troubles to the Creation e.g. earthquakes, hurricanes, animals turned wild, to teach Man.

Why does God let the INNOCENT (e.g. animals) suffer? It cannot be chastisement because there is nothing to chastise for, is there?

God let lots of innocent beasts have their throats cut to teach His Old Covenant people about sin, its consequences and the atonement.

Suffice it to say, animal suffering, such as it is, although sometimes humans ascribe suffering to animals anthropopathically when it is not there (of course human beings are capable of much more suffering than animals in a similar situation) accords fully with God's goodness, even although we might not be able to fully explain how it does. God is incapable of moral evil.

The innocent suffer only if it's God's good pleasure

It is clearly God's will that animals suffer in His providence - e.g. if prey suffers at all as one would imagine it does - and it appears to be related to Man's Fall into sin.

It is not God's preceptive will that we impose wanton, cruel or unnecessary suffering on animals ourselves.You would have to look into God's Word to get a sense of what that means.

Is it righteous of God,

Of course it's righteous, although we might not have a full understanding of how it is righteous. But there may be better answers out there in theological tomes I'm not aware of.

Thank you for your response! I wasn't really asking those questions expecting a full answer. I simply was curious of hearing your view on the suffering of animals. It's true we shouldn't ascribe our suffering to animals anthropopathically, as if animals suffered like we do. We really don't know if animals suffer at all! All we know is that God is good, and that is sufficient.
 
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