If All Animals Were Created As Plant Eaters, Why Do Some Have Sharp Teeth? | The Institute for Creation Research

If All Animals Were Created As Plant Eaters, Why Do Some Have Sharp Teeth?

The Bible specifically teaches that in the original "very good" (Genesis 1:31) Earth, all of the animals were to be plant eaters (v.30). It wasn't until after Adam sinned and the curse of death was pronounced on all creation (Genesis 3:14-19) that things began to die. How is it then, that so many animals seem fully designed to be meat-eaters? Some produce deadly poisons, others have armored plates as elaborate defense mechanisms. If animals were created to live in harmony, what was the purpose?

Unfortunately, God doesn't give us all the details. All we can do is begin with what we do know and make reasonable inferences. I can think of several possibilities which are Biblically acceptable, but it may be that a combination of these or some other best reflects the truth.

The first is that God, in His foreknowledge, knew that soon things would change, and so He created animals with features they would need in the new economy. Or it may be that these features had some other more benign function originally.

The second option is that a great deal more potential for variation was placed in the original genome. At first the animals were designed to live a herbivores lifestyle, but adopted new habits in the more harsh world following the curse. Today, following many generations of variation, adaptation, and selection, animal groups have speciated so much that extensive variation is impossible.

Or it may be that something more sinister was involved. Remember the overall scenario. Lucifer, the highest in God's angelic hierarchy, had been defeated and cast out of heaven. His arrogant pride had been wounded. In his rage he may have set out to ruin God's beautiful creation, first recruiting Adam and Eve to follow him, and then after the curse proceeded to so distort "the image of God" in man that the perfect "seed of the woman" could not follow. Is it possible that this highly intelligent being performed breeding experiments, or genetic engineering on both mankind (Genesis 6:2-4 perhaps) and the animals, in his attempt to mock the true Creator/God and usurp His authority? Perhaps even the ancient legends of composite mixtures of beasts and half men/half beast have some basis in fact.

My preferred speculation follows. The Genesis 3 account of the curse speaks of the great changes which would follow, and each one requires a genetic change. Plants would grow "thorns and thistles" (v.18). The serpent would slither on his "belly" (v.14), cursed along with the rest of the animals. Eve's body style would be changed, making childbirth a laborious experience (v.16). Each of these changes requires a DNA alteration, and now instead of being "very good," "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain" (Romans 8:22) due to the presence of sin and its penalty - death.

I suspect that in His infinite wisdom, God completely changed creation, with all things dying and some animals quite vicious, from then on giving eloquent testimony to the awful consequences of sin. From then on, whenever Adam saw one of the animals kill another, he would have experienced remorse for what he had brought on creation.

And today, as we see the same thing, it should drive us back to our Creator's gracious provision for sin, and to expectantly look forward to the time when there "shall be no more death" (Revelation 21:4).

* Dr. John Morris is President of ICR.

Cite this article: John D. Morris, Ph.D. 1997. If All Animals Were Created As Plant Eaters, Why Do Some Have Sharp Teeth?. Acts & Facts. 26 (4).

The Latest
NEWS
Dolphins Learn Tricks from Peers to Catch Fish
Dolphins—like other cetaceans such as whales, wholphins, and porpoises—are highly intelligent marine mammals, capable of astonishing feats....

NEWS
Liberty and the Word of God
“And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts” (Psalm 119:45). July 4th is called Independence Day here in our country because on...

NEWS
Wandering Albatross: Wide Wings on the Winds
Wandering albatrosses have the largest wingspan of any living bird, so they live much of life soaring above the oceans. With their wings—and a lot...

NEWS
Inside July 2020 Acts & Facts
Where can we find hope during times of waiting? How has ICR reached a new global audience? How does evolution conflict with the Bible's teaching...

NEWS
Soft Dinosaur Eggs Deflate Bird-Dinosaur Evolution
A pair of new studies found that some dinosaurs, and possibly some marine reptiles, laid squishy eggs. One study discovered that many dinosaurs, like turtles...

ACTS & FACTS
Encouraging Notes During the Storm
Without a doubt, the global spread of COVID-19 has forced most of us to make major adjustments to our daily routines. Whether the stay-at-home mandates...

APOLOGETICS
God's Grassroots Provision
In times of calamity and crisis, it’s easy to question whether life makes sense—or, more accurately, how God is making ultimate sense of...

ACTS & FACTS
Why Do I Believe in Recent Creation?
A student recently asked what I believe about the age of the earth. I replied that at one time I felt absolutely certain that the world was billions...

ACTS & FACTS
Walton's Cosmic Temple Is a House of Cards
A series of books and videos by Dr. John Walton, an Old Testament theologian at Wheaton College, has made a huge splash in the evangelical community...

ACTS & FACTS
Evolution's Death Versus Jesus' Death
Cancer took the life of both my dad and a friend in the last several months. Death certainly injects misery into the joys of life. I know we must die,...