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The well-known television naturalist; Sir David Attenborough consistently pushes evolution in his nature programs. When asked why he does not believe in God even though he spends a lot of time examining the beauty and diversity of nature? He replied:

When Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things.

‘But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that’s going to make him blind.

‘And [I ask them], “Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all- merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball? Because that doesn’t seem to me to coincide with a God who’s full of mercy.[1]

What did God really create?

The answer lies in what did God really create? For this we need to go back to Genesis chapter one verses 29-31:

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

So, the conditions that operated in the Garden of Eden? Verses 29 and 30 tell us.

  1. Adam and Eve and the animals all ate what the garden produced; fruit, nuts and vegetables. In short, they were vegetarians.
  2. There was no disease, suffering or death; no cancer, no body parts wearing out, and no aging for either the animals or mankind because God said that all of His creation was very good.

Isaiah 11:6-9, speaks about the conditions under the future millennium reign of Christ, which would reflect the conditions God had created in the Garden of Eden with no carnivores. Peter (Acts 3:21) states that Jesus will restore everything (back to the conditions of Eden is presumed) when he returns.

So, it was never Gods desire to have creatures that bite and kill. Clearly, this happened when God cursed the ground[2] and Paul tells us that this covered all creation and not only the ground.[3] And this curse introduced death.[4] As well, after the Fall which was brought about by Adam and Eve’s refusal to obey God’s instruction not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, some animals became carnivorous.[5]

The question arises, that clearly some creatures were designed to kill; consider crocodiles, lions, Tyrannosaurus Rex and venomous snakes for example, they seem to be almost perfectly designed killers, so how could have they lived alongside each other in the Garden of Eden and have been herbivores? 

  • There are some possibilities, all of which could have operated:The killer creatures of today were not designed for that purpose but rather changed into what they are now due to the fall and their need to survive. This could have come about by natural selection—the ones with the biggest teeth, stronger jaws etc would have been able to out kill the others and so this feature would have been an advantage to them. They would be more vigorous and reproduce more and pass on these features to their offspring. In other words; they would have out bred their competitors.Think of the great variety of dogs that there are now; from a Great Dane to a Chihuahua and we know they all came from a common ancestor wolf. Although this did not come about through natural selection but rather breeders taking advantage of the great amount of genetic diversity present in the original creatures, but natural selection can produce such a result. This is not evolution for selection is on the basis of what is/was already present—no new genes have been created.
  • The nutrition carnivores require such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins etc, can be found in vegetation, so most, if not all, could live happily on a vegetarian diet.Georges and Margaret Westbeau, raised a young lion on mixed grains and grass; they could not get her to eat meat (see picture). She lived happily for many years before dying of viral pneumonia. Most dinosaurs were vegetarians including the iconic therapods (a T Rex is pictured).[6] Even an alligator can happily eat watermelons.
  • A function which was designed for one purpose could have been used for another after the Fall. For example, pandas have strong sharp teeth and claws for ripping apart bamboo. But they could equally be used for killing other animals. A knife designed for cutting lino was used to cause a plane full of passengers to crash into one of the Twin Towers in New York killing 3,000 people in 2001. Similarly, little grubs that once may have originally lived in harmony with humans now attack their host.
  • Without creating new creatures, God could have redesigned them after the Fall, by adding new information into their DNA. Just as thorns and thistles were generated from otherwise beneficial plants, so could have bone-crushing jaws or fangs been generated in some animals.
  • Since God knows everything, and He knew that Adam and Eve would act against Him and what His response would be, he could have designed in certain features such as venom in the glands of snakes, spiders, scorpions, box jellyfish, toads and bees etc, and simply switched them on at the Fall.
  • At conception, the mother’s egg is fertilised by the father’s sperm to form a zygote. The embryo is formed by the zygote cell continually doubling. As the doubling proceeds, there is a full set of genes in each cell but to form a backbone for example, only the relevant genes are switched on. The same is true when other parts of the embryo are being formed.The Bible appears not to regard insects and other invertebrates as ‘living’ in the same sense as humans and vertebrate animals. Jonathan Sarfati explains this clearly from the Hebrew.[7] Therefore, the prefill diet of animals did not necessarily exclude invertebrates.

Conclusion

Now back to David Attenborough’s original answer to the question of why he does not believe in God. He mentions a worm eating out the eye of a child in Africa. He is factually wrong here as well, when he states that the worm can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball. If he is referring to the ‘Eye Worm of Africa’ it cannot even complete its life cycle in the child’s eye, it is transferred by the bite of the Horse Fly or Deer Fly and only in rare cases does blindness result. According to the Disease Database; this malady is normally mild and painless.

Even though God is merciful and He demonstrated this at the cross; creation is not as God originally had it. It has been cursed because of man’s rebellion. But He has promised to return it to the splendour it was.

[1] https://creation.com/why-doesnt-sir-david-attenborough-give-credit-to-god.

[2] Genesis 3:17-18.

[3] Romans 8:20-21.

[4] Romans 5:12.

[5] Job 4:11; 9:26.

[6] Jonathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account, Creation Book Publishers, Georgia, USA, 2015, page 398-399.

[7] Jonathan Sarfati, The Genesis Account, Creation Book Publishers, Georgia, USA, 2015, page 369.

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