It takes a calloused conscience, or perhaps a cast iron constitution toward reality, to watch the effects of a lion successfully chasing down its prey. In the course of nature, why do some animals eat meat?
As a Christian, I attempt to view everything through the lens of Scripture and the detectable motives of God. That, by no means, results in figuring everything out, but from time-to-time, something strikes me as an epiphany. Upon reading this, undoubtedly some will conclude that I have suffered an acute bout of mental indigestion, and they may well be right.
In support of full disclosure, the following ideas are offered upon reflection from specific passages of Scripture, but are not intended as a declaration of confirmed truth. What I mean is that my proposal on “why carnivores” may well be correct, and could also be incomplete, but either way it should point toward a significant truth regarding the purpose of man—or, “why humans”.
The jolt of thought occurred recently while watching a documentary on Public Television about Zebras. One little colt was trying to stand on deformed legs and wasn’t having much success. Eventually the herd moved on, and…, well…, nature took its course. The next scenes showed buzzards, crows, coyotes, and lions doing what they were designed to do…cleaning up the mess.
That’s just nature. But why is it like that?
Ergo my reflections on what Scripture may reveal on this issue. To simplify a much larger topic, I will summarize my understanding from God’s word that in the Kingdom of God, carnivorous animals will return to their original design as non-violent, grass-eaters, where the lion will lay down with the lamb. The Bible tells us that without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sins. Along with numerous other references, it is sin that brought about the terminal and bloody nature of things. But again, why carnivores?
Here goes my epiphany. Perhaps God arranged for carnivores, as a temporary stop-gap measure, to clean up the resulting bio-mess of human rebellion.
This is how my available dots seem to connect. God created man for a purpose and among other things placed him in the garden of creation, tasking him with the responsibility to manage and care for it.
Man sinned. All have sinned.
As an animal lover, a hunter, a conservationist, and a reflective observer of nature (proto-scientist), I have noticed that everything–from wolves to eagles, maggots to lions—tends to prey upon the weak, vulnerable and infirmed. It is the flip side of the scientific observation we often hear phrased as the survival of the fittest.
It would appear that perhaps God caused carnivores to partially cover for what humans failed to do: care for nature in such a way that disease, weakness, and other infectious threats could gain no foothold and thereby prevent the creation from spiraling out of control into biological annihilation.
This is the cool part. Human design from the get-go was more than just being biological top dog, or glorified rose-sniffers. The God given responsibility for caring for creation came with the all the requisite resources for doing the job. That included the power to care for the little guy, the vulnerable, and those in need. Sin not only damaged us, it caused all of creation to groan in painful convulsion.
With no one faithful to the task of healing the hurting, disease and genetic perpetuation of weakness threatened all species. Enter the carnivore.
At least from a biological standpoint, carrion eaters do a crucial job of eliminating the threat of global, biological contamination and possible extermination. They appear as functional intermediaries whose violent natures serve as preventative safeguards to biological survival in a fallen world.
But such is only a temporary need. There is coming a time when faithful men and women will again take up the mantel of divinely appointed caretakers, complete with the awesome power to strengthen the weak and heal the sick.
The tree of life that stood untouched in the Garden of Eden will again be recognized in the great city of God, planted on either side of the miraculous waters flowing out from the Holy One. The faithful in Christ will be granted access to its fruit and also to its leaves—those supernatural leaves with divine medicinal quality, “which are for the healing of the nations”.
At that time, biblically faithful Christians will intervene for the young and heal all hurts. Violence was not God’s original purpose for dealing with weakness; it appears that healing was his delegated commission to man. In the absence of true healing, our world was headed for a dinosaur’s destiny.
At the return of Jesus, carnivores will no longer be needed, because finally humans will faithfully do what they were designed to do—be God’s fixers, helpers, and healers so that all creation can finally rest together in all its wondrous diversity under such gracious, Christ-imitated dominion.
By the Cross of Christ, blood for forgiveness and for complete healing was shed by our Lord and Savior. The way has been cleared and the internal transformation from human rebelliousness to faithfulness is showing fruit.
The day of the carnivore is numbered!
By the grace of God, healing has begun. And you are invited to be healed as well as to become a licensed practitioner of the Wellspring of Life.
What are you doing Today, as an intern of Grace, to ease the pain of all life around you?