From what I learned in church the whole world "fell" after Adam sinned.

Now the typical question is why should everyone have to pay the price and is usually answered by we would have done the same if in Adams shoes.

However, I have a hard time applying that logic to the rest of the entire world.

Why should everything else in the world have to pay the consequences of humans?

For example why should our pets have to experience sickness and death and suffering?

Or sea creatures or even plants etc.?

Is this fair and just?


4 Answers 4


This is not a complete answer, but thought it would be good to point out nonetheless.

God had given Adam and Eve the dominion over the earth, the fish, birds...

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'" Gen 1:28 ESV

My understanding of the results of the fall are that man's actions caused a ripple effect down the hierarchy of the earth. God entrusted the earth to Adam & Eve, and when they fell, much was affected. This would include those things that they have dominion over, from my perspective.


Original Sin has nothing to do directly with Eve eating the fruit. Original Sin is an idea of a Catholic Bishop in the middle ages which he used to explain the source of evil behavior. It is a condition that Adam's descendants suffered from, that Adam and Eve did not. The idea is that the children were born without two of the virtues that God gave to Adam, and as a result they were unable to be "good." This is an RC idea and was adopted into the Church dogma. Only humans were born with "original sin." The loss of these virtues prevented humans from returning to Paradise to be with God. Christ has redeemed all mankind and created a path for man to re-enter Paradise.

The eating of the fruit was not considered to be a sin then, nor now, neither by catholics nor Torah followers.

  • Any disobedience of God is sin.
    – user4060
    Commented Jun 18, 2013 at 0:14

That's a loaded question... it is basically "the problem of evil"... let me give you my understanding:

The story of Adam and Eve is meant to be an illustration of a mystery we cannot comprehend - so the description that "due to their (our) sin, the world was created this way", is an approximation.

From theological (not philosophical) perspective - The world is a GIFT to man. How can such a terrible world be a gift? We trust and are told that it is.

Consider this:

"[3:22] Then the LORD God said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" [3:23] therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

Sounds pretty cruel does it not? :)

God casts us down so that we cannot be "like-Him", presumably "eternally happy" and live forever?

So either God is bad, or, if not, then this was a good thing for us. How could we understand this?

One possibility: We were given THIS world as a gift because only this world can help us reach salvation; unlike satan who lives forever with full knowledge - ie, does not grow, does not learn, cannot be saved.

We do learn / grow; this world is exactly the world needed to direct our learning to salvation. Perfect world for this goal. In other words, if we did have full knowledge, we would ask for this world, exactly as is.

So, "Is this fair and just?"

It is MORE then just fair and just, it is an unbelievable gift. It is beyond justice, it is mercy.

Not a very "satisfying" answer I am sure, nor a philosophically defensible one, but I think consistent with Catholic theology.

So, if we agree that the world is exactly as it is needed for our salvation, and a gift, how can we justify animal pain, for example.

I have never seen a truly satisfying answer to this. Most explanations go something like this:

We do know, that the world was created for us. Everything in it, is meant for us. The suffering of the world, is needed for our salvation. So in a terribly politically incorrect way, the world without man, is meaningless; so the suffering of the world, is inconsequential without man(1).

The entire universe was created just to teach man a lesson, so to speak...everything in it, is for this purpose. That is a mystery, it cannot be explained logically or philosophically. All we got, is the above logical explanation that falls short of total explanation, and we are left with "trust".

I have also seen a number of theologians try to explain it, by belittling animal pain (and there is some truth to this, see below (2)) but it is not a completely satisfying explanation and it is usually ended with "we must trust its good and just". See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU7sqi8iBBI for John Hare's view on this.

Is it therefore illogical, or contradictory as atheists often claim?

No. contradiction would require full knowledge and we recognize that we do not have it.

I highly recommend JPII's look at this question in http://www.amazon.ca/Man-Woman-Created-Them-ebook/dp/B005F1Q7EW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370717893&sr=8-1&keywords=theology+of+the+body

There are also lots of good (long) videos on Theology of the Body, for example, I recommend Fr. Thomas Loya, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkYXLV_8aJ4&list=WLF4AEF5D2356584FB

JPII's focus on the body and what is means to theology, is exactly the answer to your question.

(1)Note that the atheists claim the EXACT opposite - that the MAN is inconsequential to the world. That the world exists for its own sake, that we are just an accidental development. That the world was first, man a second thought at best. It is this flip that makes it impossible to reconcile the world with theology. It is a trick, designed to give us false information, so that our rational side, that is designed to recognize God, is confused.

(2)consider, what is true suffering?

Being in pain now? Or being aware of the long duration, or unending of the state of pain?

We know fairly well, even scientifically, that immediate pain, is bearable if we know it will end (consider laboring woman who is told its almost over, or root-canal work when the dentist tells you 2 more minutes and it's done).

Since animals and plants do not have such cognition, it is very hard to determine how much they are really suffering. I am not condoning animal cruelty! but its easy to anthropomorphize animal suffering.

Also consider the importance of "remembering", in a self reflective way. As anyone who had a little-too-much-to-drink can tell you, hearing that you had fun, or were in pain last night, is really meaningless, experientially. It is also hard to determine what and how the animals remember.

  • Thanks Greg, that does shed some light on my not understand how this works. It wasn't meant to be loaded, it was very sincere in trying to understand what seems like a mystery to me. Commented Jun 8, 2013 at 23:10
  • he he, I did not mean that it was "loaded" in any bad way, it is actually interesting. But I also realized that I did not answer your question exactly, will try to edit with more comments later on
    – Greg Bala
    Commented Jun 9, 2013 at 14:56

The curse of Original Sin was on the serpent, Eve, Adam, and the ground that Adam was to farm. There is no indication I recall in the Scripture that the animals or plants prior to the Fall were immortal.

Indeed, Adam and Eve were commanded to eat fruit, and God also designed both plants and animals for reproduction. Eating a fruit certainly kills it, the animals presumably had to eat too, and there's no need for animals to reproduce unless some of them are also dying.

So, then, the curse on humanity was in a sense to be like the animals -- painful childbirth, painful work, and mortality.

  • how does it follow that reproduction is only to replace the dying?
    – warren
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 13:03
  • 1
    @warren. Presumably reproduction without death results in overpopulation; but if humanity reproduced while immortal you'd still get overpopulation, so I'm not sure that solves anything.
    – Ryan Frame
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 17:46
  • @RyanFrame - or we'd find out the earth can sustain a lot more than we think it can :)
    – warren
    Commented Jun 10, 2013 at 19:50
  • @warren, regardless what the earth can sustain, it does have finite limits. Also, in Gen 1:29-30, both mankind and animals were given plants to eat, which like I said before, by necessity kills whatever part of the plant is eaten, thus necessitating reproduction. Again, death came to mankind in the Fall (Gen. 3:19, Rom. 5). There is no Scriptural basis for supposing that either plants or animals were immortal prior to the Fall, and plenty of reason to assume otherwise. Commented Jun 14, 2013 at 6:03
  • Genesis 1:29-30: Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. -- This implies that the animals were also permitted to eat from the tree of life, hence live forever. Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 21:54

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