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How did the Creation change after the Fall?

Published: 17 November 2013 (GMT+10)
Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH 7278-yersinia-pestis
Scanning electron micrograph of the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, responsible for the bubonic plague.

Dacid K. asks,

“Please could you explain scientifically how rapid post fall restructuring of creation occurred to incorporate things like immune systems, changed biological structures to transfer to carnivorous diets, viruses and bacteria and host parasitic biological structures introduced at the macro and micro level.”

replies:

Dear Dacid,

Thanks for your question.

Our understanding is that immune systems existed prior to the Fall and that these became adapted to deal with some of the virulent germs which arose after sin entered the world. Indeed, our immune systems have clearly been designed to be able to adapt. Some bacteria and viruses are very beneficial and appear to have been created by God in the beginning. For example, bacteria are essential for decomposing organic matter, enabling old plant material to be recycled. They also help us digest our food. Viruses can increase plants’ tolerance to heat and drought,1 destroy cancer cells2 and help keep soil fertile. Just as bees carry pollen from flower to flower, viruses can transfer genes between bacteria, enabling them to perform their many useful functions. Harmful versions of these bacteria and viruses are probably degenerate (mutated) forms of originally benevolent designs.

There are examples of animals known today for being carnivorous but are quite capable of living without meat. (See for example the lion that wouldn’t eat meat and the bird of prey that’s not). In some cases, though, animals may not be able to survive today without meat, but this would be due to degeneration from their originally perfect state. Animals degenerate through a number of mechanisms, the most obvious being genetic mutations. Strange as it may seem at first sight, another way animals lose their ability to adapt is natural selection. See here.

As you point out, though, some animals have changed markedly due to the Fall. Some have become highly adapted to hunting and meat eating and others have sophisticated defence/attack structures. This cannot be explained entirely scientifically, as it arose, at least in part, supernaturally, due to God’s judgement upon sin (Genesis 3). Chapter 6 of the Creation Answers Book has some helpful comments on all this. You can read it online here.

References and notes

  1. Roosink, M.J., Beneficial microbes for agriculture, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, October 2008; noble.org/ag/research/microbes. Return to text.
  2. Kim, M., Biological view of viruses: creation vs evolution, J. Creation, 20(3):12–13, 2006; creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j20_3/j20_3_12–13.pdf. Return to text.

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