Carnivores in God's ceation


From Tyrannosaurus Rex to Panthera leo (lions) I just don’t see how carnivores that need to rend other animals to shreds and eat them alive could have been created by a loving, benevolent deity.

This is a show stopper for me.

Are there any meaningful apologetics for this?


I asked this question a while ago and someone answered this:

We have to stop trying to Anthropmorphize nature. Nature is nature, it is morally neutral, only the gift of the logos (i.e., image of God) confers quality and morality. Otherwise there is just quantity, even the word indifferent is inappropriate because it implies that good or bad can be applied to nature. Nature just is.

I hope it helps.


Thanks Pete, nice to see someone try to tackle this. It’s amazing, the time and energy I see people on this forum put forward debating transubstantiation, sola scriptura and other esoteric topics, yet something as simple as carnivores has everyone stumped.

The answer you pointed to doesn’t help me though. Just because other species don’t have a moral conscience (although that’s another debate) doesn’t mean they don’t experience pain and suffering.

An antelopes lack of self awareness in no way diminishes the pain felt as it’s being ripped apart by a big cat. We see many specialized predatory carnivores on this planet, the question is would a benevolent deity create these creatures.

Thanks again


Short summary of the Book of Job:

Job: God, I don’t understand you.

God: Well, at least you got that right.



Why not? Populations of these animals have to be kept down by some means, and other animals have to be fed somehow. It’s much more humane for the antelope to die quickly in the jaws of a lion than slowly and lingeringly (and in every bit as much or more pain) of either starvation or disease. And being that they have to die, as all creatures must, surely it’s most efficient to recycle them as food for other animals than not.

Sounds quite benevolent to me.


That does not answer the basic question: the existence of animals - in other words: beings with a nervous system. Plants have no nervous system, they do not experience pain. They simply exist for a while and then they die. An ecosystem consisting of such lower life-forms is sustainable and benign. The existence of animals in unneccesary.


The existence of animals in unneccesary.

That’s crazy. Without animals, there would be no Outback Steak House. What would I do with myself on Saturday night? :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


This is the Christian attitude towards other sentient beings that makes me want to become a Jain or Buddhist.

But back to my original question. The only answers so far are 1) animals don’t feel pain, nature is indifferent so who cares and 2) being eaten alive is better then dying to disease or starvation.

If that’s all there is to say about carnivores (present or prehistoric) then I can only conclude that there is no benevolent deity. Or if there is, He did not create them.


Why does the benevolence of a deity have to fit in with your limited understanding of that term?

Parents have children, knowing that those children will suffer at least at times in their lives, out of pure love - love for each other if nothing else. The fact that the child inevitably suffers doesn’t lessen their own benevolence towards the child, surely.


God has a history of being quite a killer too. I guess killing isn’t all that bad depending on the purpose. God even demanded that animals be killed in sacrifice to Him. In fact, God even gave His Son as a sacrifice to be killed.

I guess killing isn’t necessarily a bad thing according to God.


Hmm, well I didn’t expect an answer like that. So if I change my definition of benevolent from it’s literal meaning “to will good” to something that could include creating creatures whose sole means of survival means running down and eating other animals alive, then I would be in good company here at CAF?

I don’t follow your parent/child analogy. Parents are not omnipotent and have little control of how fate deals with their children.


Lovely. I guess that explains Lev:1-9 “And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for a holocaust, and a sweet savour to the Lord.”

Still, animal (or human) sacrifice does not answer the problem of having created predatory carnivores in the first place. For that matter, we may as well throw in bacteria, viruses, parasites and other deadly pathogens. These are all God’s creatures, right?


I like this response.

Beyond that, I don’t have a clear answer. But I would like to offer up some ideas to at least contribute something to the discussion.

Animals that are carnivorous are just part of natural law. What separates us from other animals is we have a spirit. My priest disagrees with me on this, but technically speaking, I think we are animals as well. Warm-blooded vertebrates that produce live young. Biologically, we are designed as omnivores. Vegetarians sometimes have problems with nutritional deficiencies because it can be difficult to get enough protein without eating meat. If there has to be a food chain, I want to be on top! Why does cooked meat and sashimi taste so good?

I could be wrong, but in the Old Testament God was pleased with animal sacrifices. Why? I don’t have a clue.

We have all seen pictures of a peaceful existence where the lion is laying with the lamb. I am not yet well-enough educated in my faith to point to scripture, but I think there may be something in scripture about this, I just don’t know where to look. Maybe someone else knows. I don’t think that depiction of peaceful co-existence would apply to Adam and Eve’s time, as animals are definitely eating other animals now. It would imply that not only Adam and Eve fell, but animals are paying the price for Original Sin too! Maybe all is set straight in Heaven. The lion lays with the lamb and animals are there and exist for our enjoyment, not food!

Also, there is probably some Church writings on the proper way to care for and treat animals, if not in scripture. Again I wouldn’t know where to look.

Hopefully, some other posters can address some of the points I made here, rather than relying on my befuddled brain.

Please don’t leave the Church over this! If you feel that strongly about it, go vegan! You can still be a Catholic!

Yours in Christ


Well, there are three choices. Animal, plant, or protista.

Of course we are animals and your priest is wrong to disagree.


This is a pretty good article on the subject, although not written by a Catholic.

You start from the premise that these things are “not good” but in fact, everything God created is good. You might not understand HOW it can be good, but it is.


Read the article. Food for thought!

I think part of the problem is living in a modern world where we are all “specialists” that pay other people to provide us with the essentials of life… food, clothing and shelter.

In the not so distant past, humans had no problem with killing and eating animals. It was part of everyday life and is called surviving!

To the OP, Just because plants don’t feel pain, does that make it morally right to kill them for food? Would it be ok to kill an animal for food if we anesthetized it first?

Being one of those modern humans I previousy mentioned, I prefer getting my meat in nicely wrapped packages at the supermarket. But I have no problem with hunter friends who kill, bleed and butcher a deer for food. Just not my cup of tea. We all pay someone else to do it. You gotta eat! As rocker Ted Nugent says, “You can’t grill it, till you kill it!” Sorry, just trying to inject some levity here!

I did a quick search on CAF and found many similar threads such as the morality of vegetarianism that you might want to check out for further enlightenment and discussion.

Yours in Christ


In that case we should eat humans too,so that we don’t die from diseases.
Or maybe we can eat those africans where they don’t have food,so that they don’t die from starvation?


Of course not - it’s contrary to the laws of nature to eat your own kind. Lions don’t eat each other, neither do sharks. For humans there are plenty of other animals out there that will happily eat us - bears, for example. We dont’ need to eat our own kind.

Besides which, unlike other animals, we have immortal souls. Our suffering serves a higher function, since we can unite it to Christ’s own sufferings. It actually has meaning and redemptive qualities. Other animals cannot do the same, nor does their suffering have this sort of value.


You are seriously making me laugh,LilyM.
Eat meat if you really want to,but making yourself to be a “noble-being” for it is way out of line.

Most common excuse I hear is that they can’t bear the temptation of the food etc.

But you are the first person I have ever seen making yourself all noble over it. (when in fact you are just satisfying yourself at the expense of the animals)

If you ask me,human is the most selfish kind of animals.


I never said that I’m noble for eating meat, CH. Nor anything like. You and I are noble because we’re created in God’s own image and likeness and because He suffered and died for us, no other reason.

By the way, I’m awfully sorry that you think so little of your own species. Might I ask why, if we’re all such terribly selfish drags to be around, you don’t rip off your clothes, go wallow in a sty with a couple of our equally-noble fellow animals the pigs and see if you don’t enjoy their company and their diet more than ours? :shrug:

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