Was there evil before Adam sinned?

by terraly 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • terraly

    This question is specifically asked of JW-apologists, but anyone's response is greatly appreciated.

    Is all evil in the world the result of humankind's sin?

    The watchtower teaches that the earth is old (in agreement with science), but that humankind is young (6,000 years as of 1975). Since they wish to have an old earth however, it is necessary to say that each day of creation is longer than an actual day- various figures are given I believe.

    I believe I am correct in saying that the logical conclusion must be that animals existed for a long time prior to the events in the Garden of Eden and the sinning of human beings. There is at least one Awake article about this time period, explaining that animals back then only ate plants - and it was only humankind's sin which tainted the rest of creation and caused animals to start killing each other.

    There are huge problems with this. Two examples are the extremely efficient killing designs of many animals and the simple fact that the animal/plant classification is only a human invention. There are many species of bacteria which could not be classified as plant/animal (they produce their own food via photosynthesis, but they are animal-like in other ways, such as locomotion).

    Recognizing this, scientists have five kingdoms, but even then they acknowledge that these are just arbitrary classifications. Slime molds are a great example. In many ways they are like plants, in many ways they are like animals. Was the majestic slime mold fair prey prior to sin or not? Furthermore there are plants, such as the Venus Fly Trap, which kill animals in order to survive.

    That is all a bit of an aside however. My question is- is suffering, pain, and death evil or not?

    A lot of JW theology says that it is, that it arose only because of human sin. But if suffering and death are evil, then they should not have existed prior to humankind's fall into sin, and they should not exist in the New Order. However, I seem to recall that the society teaches that animals will continue to die after Armaggedon (only they will no longer eat each other). Furthermore, fossils clearly indicate animals diead prior to 6,000 years ago. From this it seems that death, for animals, is not intrinsically evil, and that it existed prior to sin, and will exist after the world is recreated perfect.

    How though will/did animals die? Will they all merely die quietly "in their sleep"? If we have abolished predator/prey relationships I should think that disease and parasites are also done away with. But prior to Adam's sin surely there were things like earthquakes and fires on the earth (very necessary if JW's agree with science's picture of creation minus evolution). Surely animals were caught and killed by such events and suffered great pain and anguish? Alternatively, did no animal ever fall off of something and suffer that way before dying?

    And yet evil was not in the world yet. Therefore this suffering cannot be evil...

    Have you ever watched an animal die in pain. Is this good? Is this beautiful? No, our instincts tell us that this is bad, that this suffering is evil. It is comforting to read in the Bible that it was only sin which brought such suffering into the world- but this is clearly an unsupportable position, and we must look elsewhere if we are to explain some of the evil and pain in the world.

  • TR


    Good points! To me, it shows that J.F. Rutherford was right when he said; "religion is a snare and a racket".(including WTS)

    Unless, one wants to make the case than only man applies to the evil/suffering/sin/death thing. But, here we go. It's a religious teaching. In the natural/scientific world, it doesn't make sense.


  • Pathofthorns

    This "all animals eating plants" theory is really hard to swallow and it is probably just one more stupid thing that we've been dogmatic on that we are now sweeping under the carpet.

    Genesis 4:7 which makes the statement of God to Cain "there is sin courching at the entrance, and for you is its craving" is an analogy to a wild animal stalking it's prey.

    Genesis 3:24 mentions "the flaming blade of a sword that was spinning continually" that blocked the entrance to the garden of Eden.

    Both these Scriptures raise questions about WT speculations.


  • willy_think

    one day while i was watching a TV nature program with my small neice , i saw a young caribou eating grass, we thought nothing of it but when the caribou was, seized by wolves it upset my neice. but i noticed that the wolves DID NOT kill the caribou thay only ate it death was just a thing that happens to anything that is eaten.
    in genesis the fruit eaten was called the fruit of knowledge of god and evil which could be said to represent the knowledge of the duelistic nature of creation. the "sin" was not in acquiring knowledge but in disobeying gods command. if we were to return to the garden and we did lose the "knowledge" how then could we discrininate between one kind of eating and another.
    if satan was "evil" to tempt eve then, evil exisited before the knowledge of evil. but if evil is a byproduct of knowledge, like death is a byproduct of eating then would it be necessary to change the behaivor of animals? or would the observer simply reconize the act of eating with out judgement?

  • Francois

    Personally, I think that business that animals ate grass is just another of the logical dead ends that arise when you start attempting to make up a religion out of whole cloth.

    Basic to this conversation is the definition of evil. Here's mine: Evil is the unconscious or unintended transgression of the divine law, the Father's will. Evil is likewise the measure of the imperfectness of obedience to the Father's will.

    With this definition, your question to my mind becomes moot.

    (And animals never ate any grass, and the human race is vastly older than any six thousand years. Each time religion dares to trespass the precincts of science, religion slinks away with its tail between its legs, as the WTB&TS has done so many times. It will eventually do so again in the matter of the age of Man argument. Doesn't it strike you as odd how this organization of men can have been so wrong over the years and continute to have the gall to claim they speak for God?)

  • stephenw20

    I find this creation of man and existance of him and the sin on hell of a story.......

    but evil must have existed before.....Adam & Eve

    in Isaiah 14:12-14 ..it talks about "ORIGNIAL SIN"

    and the person responsible for it.........he werent human tho.........but still he was perfect...........which of course shoots the whole livingin paradise theory for the JWS

    if perfection in the spirit existed once, and in the flesh as well and it did not work out.......... what evidence is there it ever will or would........

    I I magine Lucifer must have felt a bit slighted by God when he created man to OVERSEE the earth........as it was his(lucifers) place to dwell and oversee...........


  • Moxy

    You will find very little written about this in recent publications. In fact, when the new Isaiah book was released last year, the first thing i wanted to see was the explanation for Is.11 with the animals lying down together. I was hoping that they would back off from a literal interpretation. And most of the explanation was _not_ literal. then this paragraph at the end. Judge for yourself:

    ip1 164

    In that restored Paradise, will Isaiah's prophecy have a further, perhaps literal, fulfillment? It seems reasonable to think so. The prophecy gives to all who will live under the Messiah's rule the same assurance that it gave to the returning Israelites; they and their children will not feel threatened by harm from any source--human or animal. Under the Messiah's Kingdom rule, all earth's inhabitants will enjoy peaceful conditions like those that Adam and Eve enjoyed in Eden. Of course, the Scriptures do not reveal every detail of what life was like in Eden--or of what it will be like in Paradise. We can be confident, thought, that under the wise and loving rule of the King Jesus Christ, everything will be just as it should be.


    I think that could mean anything...


  • patio34


    Genesis 1:30 states that green vegetation was given to ... every living creature on the earth.

    Dinasours predated humans on the earth by almost every scientific account.

    They were just as predatory as animals today. The predators did not eat green vegetation. Gen. 1:30 is wrong and part of a myth, as humans didn't know of dinasours' existence until recently, so the writer made up this fanciful nice way for the animals to exist that had nothing to do with reality.

    The violence in nature fits an evolution model better than creation.

    Welcome to the forum.


  • Farkel

    : There is at least one Awake article about this time period, explaining that animals back then only ate plants - and it was only humankind's sin which tainted the rest of creation and caused animals to start killing each other.

    Makes one wonder why "God" screwed up the animals, who did nothing at all wrong, huh?

    Doesn't it also bother any Bible literalists that God told the first lie in the Garden of Eden? Doesn't it also bother those same literalists that God invented the first weapon of war (the flaming sword)? How in the hell were Adam and Eve to even KNOW what a sword was back then?


  • apostate

    To Farkel

    I liked your comment about the the flaming sword.

    I am wondering what you mean by:

    "Doesn't it also bother any Bible literalists that God told the first lie in the Garden of Eden?"

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