Many of you have told me how much you enjoy the brief answers I post to the frequent questions I get on my Facebook and Twitter pages. But many of you have also asked if I could offer somewhat more complete answers that are still easy to share with others. Thus, my intent in my blog is to interleave the articles on new reasons to believe from emerging scientific discoveries with easy-to-share answers to the most frequently asked questions I get on social media. This post is the first of such answers.

Q: Dr. Ross, I have a question about animal violence after horrific stories in the news lately of alligators killing or harming humans. First, do you believe animal violence to be a result of the Fall and something that will be removed if animals exist in Heaven? And, lastly, is there any reason that God couldn't have just created animals to be nonviolent? I can't imagine why animals couldn't have been created to just eat vegetation or not need to eat and get their energy from the sun or something like that. Thank you for your thoughts.

A: Carnivores and parasites are essential for reducing death, disease, and loss of quality of life for the herbivores. That is, given the laws of physics God has chosen for the universe, herbivores (as many field studies affirm) are much worse off in environments where carnivores and parasites do not exist. In my article "Thank God for Whales," I explain how the restoration of the sperm whale population in the oceans increased the population, average body size, and health of giant squid for whom their only predator was the sperm whale. For ecosystems in general I document and explain the essential benefits of carnivores and parasites in my book More Than a Theory.

Note, too, that carnivores kill their prey as quickly and efficiently as possible, which reduces the suffering experienced by their prey. Also, God designed the non-human predators so that they must be selective. They are not equipped to kill the robust and healthy members of their herbivore prey species. Out of necessity their prey are the sick, the injured, the aged, the unwary, and the young offspring of unwary parents. It is this selectivity that helps to enhance the health, robustness, and population of prey species.

For hundreds of millions of years, our planet has been packed with an exquisite balance of herbivores, carnivores, parasites, and detritivores. This abundant and delicate balance of diverse species has killed many animals and thus enriched Earth's crust with quadrillions of tons of valuable biodeposits—limestone, marble, coal, oil, natural gas, gypsum, etcThanks to this treasure chest of biodeposits, we humans have launched and sustained a global high-technology civilization. This civilization in turn has enabled a rapid fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20).

In the new creation, there will be no carnivores, parasites, death, disease, suffering, or decay as evil will no longer be possible. The impossibility of evil permits God to design the new creation with different dimensions and different laws of physics. It is those difference that will eliminate the possibility of death and decay. In my book Why the Universe Is the Way It Is I explain why the laws of physics and the space-time dimensions must be exactly the way they are for God to rapidly and efficiently eliminate evil and suffering while at the same time enhancing human freewill capability. Therefore, we have many reasons to thank God for creating carnivores in the present creation and for designing the carnivores to minimize the death and suffering of herbivores.

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Many of you have also asked if I could feature some of the testimonies, kudos, and critiques we receive from people who have been encouraged by Reasons to Believe. Where the testimony, kudos, or critique is brief, I will simply add it to the bottom of a Q&A post, like I am doing here. Where it is longer, I will make it a stand-alone blog post.

Testimony: I recently came to Christianity because I saw one of your videos on YouTube and it gave me a whole new view of things. This was great! It gave answers to some more of my questions. Look forward to learning more from you!

—Michael (Texas)

Subjects: Animals, Animal Death, Carnivores

Check out more from Reasons to Believe @ Reasons.org

About The Author

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. I also am eager to equip Christians to engage, rather than withdraw from or attack, educated non-Christians. One of the approaches I’ve developed, with the help of my RTB colleagues, is a biblical creation model that is testable, falsifiable, and predictive. I enjoy constructively integrating all 66 books of the Bible with all the science disciplines as a way to discover and apply deeper truths. 1 Peter 3:15–16 sets my ministry goal, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience." Hugh Ross launched his career at age seven when he went to the library to find out why stars are hot. Physics and astronomy captured his curiosity and never let go. At age seventeen he became the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or "quasars," some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe. Not all of Hugh's discoveries involved astrophysics. Prompted by curiosity, he studied the world’s religions and "holy books" and found only one book that proved scientifically and historically accurate: the Bible. Hugh started at religious "ground zero" and through scientific and historical reality-testing became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God! When he went on to describe for others his journey to faith in Jesus Christ, he was surprised to discover how many people believed or disbelieved without checking the evidence. Hugh's unshakable confidence that God's revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message. Wholeheartedly encouraged by family and friends, communicating that message as broadly and clearly as possible became his mission. Thus, in 1986, he founded science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe (RTB). He and his colleagues at RTB keep tabs on the frontiers of research to share with scientists and nonscientists alike the thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology. In this realm, he has written many books, including: The Fingerprint of God, The Creator and the Cosmos, Beyond the Cosmos, A Matter of Days, Creation as Science, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, and More Than a Theory. Between writing books and articles, recording podcasts, and taking interviews, Hugh travels the world challenging students and faculty, churches and professional groups, to consider what they believe and why. He presents a persuasive case for Christianity without applying pressure. Because he treats people's questions and comments with respect, he is in great demand as a speaker and as a talk-radio and television guest. Having grown up amid the splendor of Canada's mountains, wildlife, and waterways, Hugh loves the outdoors. Hiking, trail running, and photography are among his favorite recreational pursuits - in addition to stargazing. Hugh lives in Southern California with his wife, Kathy, and two sons.



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