Is animal death a consequence of original sin?

Maybe you have never asked yourself this question, but then again, maybe you have. In any case it seems I thought some of you might find this question I was asked of interest:

“I have a question that I feel exposes my stupidity on something I should know lol; but I have to ask this. Let me explain. This past summer was baby sitting my 6 year old nephew a lot and he always enjoyed watching “Nature-Wildlife docs on YouTube. You know the kind that shows animals eating each other for food which is kind of what we all do lol. Has anyone in our little family here ever wondered, why? Why God made it this way?. I never really thought about this before since I was a little child and remember asking a Sunday school teacher in church this question. The answer I got back then was “because of original sin” and the “fall of man” in the Garden of Eden. And we know alot of other theories such as Darwin penned and so many others…Since converting to Islam I never, and many years prior, I never gave any consideration to this question or truly knew the answer. Feel like there is either a simple answer or a complex one. I have my theories. However I would like to expose my ignorance and just ask out of curiosity and see what if. Peace”

Now, I have thought about this issue over the years and I think it is valid to question in what sense is death a consequence of sin. For example, is plant death a consequence of sin? Is apoptosis (programmed cellular death that is essential for healthy growth in an organism) a consequence of sin? Is entropy a consequence of sin? To answer yes to any of these questions is to stray increasingly far from the biblical account. To answer yes to the last would land us in Gnosticism. I think, therefore, there is a case to be made for drawing the line a bit further back. As to where exactly, I am not sure the Bible gives us a definitive answer. But I think the kind of death the Bible is focussed on is untimely human death. Adam and Eve could have eaten from the Tree of Life, but instead ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and forfeited eternal life. I think its safe to say the forfeiting of eternal life is certainly a consequence of original sin. That at least draws some outer boundaries to possible answers. A benefit of this approach is that it does leave scope for harmonising pre-human dinosaur extinction with the Genesis account.

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