Animal death before the fall? Is death always evil?

(SeanO) #1

@Jolene_Laughlin posed the following in another thread: “In a similar vein, I found it interesting that Hugh Ross believes there was animal death prior to the fall and that this world was not created totally pain free from the start - that death was merciful and a good thing. That was his answer to one of my questions in the Q&A session he did here. I haven’t read his books where he expounds on this yet, and it kind of goes in the face of everything I’ve ever been taught, but the fact that the food chain is so handily and cleverly arranged and created, as is the capacity for pain, that it is one of those “Why” questions that has danced around in my head for a long time.”

Here is an article I thought was interesting entitled “Is death always evil?” that considers C. S. Lewis’ answers through his fictional story ‘Out of the Silent Planet’. Ransom, the main character, gets whisked away to Mars (Malacandra) and finds 3 species that have never experienced the fall. Death is part of the cycle of life on that planet even though they are unfallen. The full article gives a fuller synopsis and discusses at more length, but here is an excerpt.

Is death always evil? article

" Ransom eventually realizes that the three rational species are unfallen and live in unperturbed communion with Maleldil and with each other. Unlike human beings, they are not intrinsically “bent.” They have not inherited disordered desires and passions. Yet they are mortal. They die at their appointed time and do not fear it. Not only do they acknowledge and accept their personal mortality, but they also know that their races and planet will not endure forever. As a wise sorn tells Ransom: “But a world is not made to last for ever, much less a race; that is not Maleldil’s way.” In the postscript Ransom describes the funeral ceremony of the hrossa that he witnessed. It was time for three hrossa to go to Meldilorn, the island home of the Oyarsa, to die:

For in that world, except for some few whom the hnakra gets, no one dies before his time. All live out the full span allotted to their kind, and a death which is as predictable as a birth with us. The whole village has known has known that those three will die this year, this month; it was an easy guess that they would die even this week. And now they are off, to receive the last counsel of Oyarsa, to die, and to be by him ‘unbodied.’ The corpses, as corpses, will exist only for a few minutes: there are no coffins in Malacandra, no sextons, churchyards, or undertakers. The valley is solemn at their departure, but I see no signs of passionate grief. They do not doubt their immortality, and friends of the same generation are not torn apart. You leave the world, as you entered it, with the ‘men of your own years.’ Death is not preceded by dread nor followed by corruption."