Creationists believe that, prior to Adam taking a bite out of the forbidden fruit, Lions, and all other predators including Tyrannosaurus Rex, ate plants. They believe this because they believe “there was no death before the fall”. When Adam took a bite of the forbidden fruit, the digestive systems of all predators spontaneously (or gradually?) changed to digest meat instead of plants. I doubt God punished creation by wilfully performing this feat, I suspect they’d rather argue for a supernatural chain reaction caused by a collapsing house of cards built on man’s obedience to God. Or something like that.
At the recent creationism seminar, I was curious about this “no death” thing. I’m still not sure what life is without death, or more specifically, how you can have birth and procreation without death… But yes, “go forth and multiply” never did include any advice on what to do about overpopulation. Anyway, I usually try to ask a question at the end of such seminars. The challenge is usually finding an interesting question, and then trying remain completely calm while asking it. That last bit is the hardest, I usually start to shake, hopefully not visibly. After asking, it generally takes a few minutes before my hand stops shaking. Why? Because I could disagree with just about every part of the seminar, and you know how hopeless a situation it is to ask a single measly question at the end. These guys are professionals… they make a living touting creationist warez.
I asked about death… What death was present prior to the original sin, and what wasn’t? Obviously the animals eat the plants, what about the plants then? Yea, silly question really. Their answers are quite predictable, I cannot think of one question that I could not also think of an answer they may give. In this case, they do not believe in common descent, so there’s no line-drawing problem. With any categorisation that separates plants and animals, the problem vanishes.
Found on creationontheweb.com, What do creationists mean by ‘no death before the Fall’? — it turns out when the Bible refers to death, it doesn’t refer to death as we know and define it. There is a Biblical definition of death. In the tradition of placing ourselves on a pedestal in all creation (with only the trinity above us, of course), death of anything other than vertebrates is perfectly fine. Before the original sin, plants existed to serve us and our fellow vertebrates. Pain and suffering isn’t pain and suffering if it isn’t the kind of pain and suffering that we know.
Did you know some tree species warn one another when giraffes et al are there to graze? I don’t have a link for this, I’m going by the authority of a game ranger from a private game reserve. Apparently they release pheromones that are carried downwind to warn other trees to prepare. These trees then secrete some substance that discourage animals from eating their leaves. (Whether it just tastes bad, or is poisonous, I don’t know.) But that isn’t pain, because plants don’t have brains like we do. In a perfect world, in a paradise as God created it, according to creationists, plants still die. (Sorry, I’m talking about the biological sense here, not in the Biblical sense. In the Biblical sense, according to creationists, plants can’t die because apparently they are not alive in the first place…) You must have a brain and a backbone, and experience emotion, for your life to be valuable in the “Bible-believers” (meaning Biblical literalists’) universe. I suppose birds and bats (which classifies as birds according to Biblical literalism, even though they are actually mammals) could eat insects prior to the original sin? Could mosquito’s drink human blood? (I hope not, I hate mosquito’s, they keep me awake at night.)
I think Pienk Zuit might have the potentially most interesting question, but even that has a relatively predictable answer:
Do you honestly believe there is a massive, worldwide conspiracy that runs across many unrelated branches of science, to interpret a huge volume of knowledge incorrectly just to be contrary to the literal interpretation of the first few chapters of the Bible?
On the day of the triffids, may the triffids eat creationists first, even before they eat the vegetarians. (Also, I now wonder if it might be ethically justifiable to eat people without backbones…?)