Old Yeller in Paradise


#1

“Yeller, you’ve been so good to the family but you’re sick now so we’re gonna blow your damn brains out!”

The Horror of Disney’s Old YellerThis thread is for Catholic Darwinists to flesh out their belief that the terrestrial Paradise where Adam and Eve dwelt before the Fall is actually nothing more that a metaphor describing the world we now inhabit.

It strikes me as exceedingly odd that Catholic Darwinists believe that animal death is not something appalling, and that animal death is not a result of the sin of Adam.

Is it not normal for children to experience intense grief if their beloved pets die violent deaths? How do Catholic Darwinists reconcile a belief in an all holy and all loving God with the idea that animals got sick and died before the Fall? If God declared animal death in Paradise to be good, isn’t it more than a little silly for us to experience sorrow and pain for something that is intrinsically good?


#2

[quote=Matt16_18]…How do Catholic Darwinists reconcile a belief in an all holy and all loving God with the idea that animals got sick and died before the Fall? If God declared animal death in Paradise to be good, isn’t it more than a little silly for us to experience sorrow and pain for something that is intrinsically good?
[/quote]

We reconcile our beliefs according to the Catholic doctrine concerning death, wherein it may be viewed, in some cases, as God’s providential means of bringing about his will in the created order. Physical death was the very means he used (through Christ’s sacrifice) to redeem his fallen creation, which has been ethically and relationally alientated from it’s Creator. So, no, it’s not “silly” to experience sorrow in the face of the spiritual/physical death of humans, and in light of that dimension of creaturely death directly caused by the spiritual rebellion of human beings from the will of God. But normal, natural death in God’s material creation is no cause for concern (did you shed any tears over that steak you ate last week?). Rather, it reflects God’s good intention for his creatures (insects were not intended to live forever, yes?), some of which provide a foodsource for other of his creatures, including man. This is how the Creator made the world in the beginning, and the present material world still reflects his plan, however imperfectly.

Great title for the thread, by the way! (however misguided).

God bless,
Don


#3

Who saw Old Yeller?
Who cried when Old Yeller got shot at the end?
Nobody cried when Old Yeller got shot?
I’m sure.
I cried my eyes out.
Yeah.

Bill Murray – Stripes

[quote=Donald45] So, no, it’s not “silly” to experience sorrow in the face of the spiritual/physical death of humans, and in light of that dimension of creaturely death directly caused by the spiritual rebellion of human beings from the will of God. But normal, natural death in God’s material creation is no cause for concern (did you shed any tears over that steak you ate last week?).

[/quote]

I am not talking about the grief we feel over the death of a human being. My point is about the grief we feel over the loss of a beloved pet. Surely if we feel grief about what is intrinsically good in God’ eyes (the death of our pets), then we are being silly fools. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
Luke 12:6

Are we being silly fools for feeling grief over the loss of a beloved pet?

Will we continue to see animals die when the creation is set free once again from the bondage of decay?


#4

You seem to have an overly sentimental, somewhat anthropomorphic view of animals (lots of Disney movies as a kid?:smiley: ). It’s interesting to observe how farmers and hunters tend to have a much more natural view of animal death than do folks in the suburbs; they don’t view it quite so emotionally or idealistically. My point is that one’s subjective responses to the concept of animal death say absolutely nothing about the objective “goodness” of its existence in creation. Every pet I’ve ever had has died, and I feel the loss as a creature connected to other creatures, but I am aware that this is how the natural world works and that, without animal death, the earth would be a chaotic disaster (how would this situation be a “paradise”?). In this sense (and taking into account the food requirements of many creatures), death can properly be seen as a necessary element in God’s material world.

I see no problem whatsoever with the presence of natural plant/animal death in “the new earth” following Christ’s return. The alternative is countless species of flora and fauna who, per God’s command, are “fruitful and multiply,” but who live forever. This is a practical nightmare of unsustainable proportions.


#5

[quote=Donald45]It’s interesting to observe how farmers and hunters tend to have a much more natural view of animal death than do folks in the suburbs; they don’t view it quite so emotionally or idealistically.
[/quote]

I did a lot of hunting when I was younger, and I have seen grown men cry when their favorite hunting dog was killed.

Old Yeller, if you recall, takes place in a rural setting.

My point is that one’s subjective responses to the concept of animal death say absolutely nothing about the objective “goodness” of its existence in creation.

You are arguing that the death of pets is intrinsically good. Our subjective response to the death of a beloved pet should be joy, not grief, if our emotions are in harmony with that goodness.

… without animal death, the earth would be a chaotic disaster (how would this situation be a “paradise”?

This earth is the fallen world where man suffers along with the animals. It is certainly not the paradise where Adam and Eve dwelt before the Fall.

I see no problem whatsoever with the presence of natural plant/animal death in “the new earth” following Christ’s return.

So … even after creation is restored, Travis might still have to blast Old Yeller if he gets infected with the hydrophobee. :frowning: I’ll bet St. Francis is bummed out that the new earth isn’t much different than the old earth.

What saint ever spoke about the new heavens and the new earth as a place tainted by death and decay? Not one that I am aware of. I am still waiting for you to supply the evidence that this is not a novel interpretation of scriptures. Show me a Church Father or a saint that believed what you believe!


#6

what about the Yearling, now there is a tearjerker. Or Dumbo, or Bambi, my childhood seems to be littered with memories of violent animal deaths, glad we never had pets, wait, my sister had a hampster, but she insisted on taking it to bed with her, poor thing suffocated. We lost another hampster in the heating vents. Same sister had a cat who had kittens, they got out of their box and somehow on the back stairs. Dad came in carrying something, did not see the kittens, then a wail “you killed Tiger”, he felt horrible.


#7

I will give you credit for this, you are the first Catholic that I have ever talked to that accepts the logical implications of believing that animal death was in the world before the Fall.

Let talk about the implications about animal death being intrinsically good, which it must be, if animal death was part of what God created before the Fall.

Most Catholics that I know accept without question that outlawing animal fights as sporting events is something pleasing to God. But if animal death is intrinsically good, don’t Catholics have to accept that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with enjoying the sport of watching viscous pit bulldogs fight to the death with an enraged bull?


#8

Matt << Let talk about the implications about animal death being intrinsically good, which it must be, if animal death was part of what God created before the Fall. >>

Not sure about locating the Terrestrial Paradise (or Garden of Eden) of Adam/Eve, but the “new heavens and new earth” I’m fairly certain won’t contain death: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Rev 21). We won’t be dying with immortal bodies after the resurrection, etc.

You say you aren’t a Catholic Darwinist but you basically agree with us Catholic Darwinists :o on a lot of things, that the earth/universe is old, that dinosaurs and millions of species of animals died before the rise of homo sapiens, that biological evolution (common descent) is OK as science, that at least parts of Genesis can be interpreted figuratively, that much of creationism or young-earth “creation science” is bunk, etc.

I’ve compiled a lot of your debates in here with myself and others, and hopefully will come up with an article on the subject of terrestrial paradises, Adam/Eve, and Catholic dogma of “no death before the Fall” etc. However there are probably more books I need to find by Catholic theologians on the subject. Too many evangelical books I have since it seems to be more of a theological problem for them.

Phil P


#9

So, what do you think about killing animals for food?

Being cruel to animals is immoral, but legitimate use of them is fine. I grew up on the farm, I never really batted an eye about killing chickens, deer, or whatever for food, if they were badly hurt and had to be put down, or if something was being a pest.

With pets, some people get overly attached to them because they start to attribute human traits to them. A dog’s natural instinct for pack life seems like love or friendship to humans or other things they do take on human characteristics. They also don’t ever backstab us, lie, steal, etc. because they aren’t capable. I like pets, but I don’t get overly attached to them because I realize they are animals. I also am of the opinion that animals don’t go to heaven-they have no immortal souls. I think all the happiness we receive from worldly creation (such as animals, or things that we collect) will be forgotten when we will experience the greatest joy of all-being in the full Presence of God Almighty.


#10

Why would God destroy his own creation when he declared it good?

In Isaiah: the lion will lie with the lamb, the wolf with the sheep, etc.

Also a friend of mine who is a Christian (methodist) is a vegitarain because she believes that in Eden meat was not eaten, only plant life that could regrow itself. If the Christian in Paradise is to be humble and praising God, why wouldn’t God’s creation (animals, plants, etc) be doing the same thing if the old order was restored and sin (death) was no more?

Thoughts.


#11

Donald45 has never suggested that human beings will not have immortal bodies after the appearance of the new creation. But he does accept that it is possible that in the new creation there will still be animals dying, and that is because Donald 45’s novel interpretation of scriptures has forced him to cede this point. He has boxed himself into this position because he believes that animals were suffering death before God created Adam.

Avoiding the snare that Donald45 has gotten himself entangled in is one of the challenges for Catholics that want to be apologists for evolution.

You say you aren’t a Catholic Darwinist but you basically agree with us Catholic Darwinists on a lot of things, that the earth/universe is old, that dinosaurs and millions of species of animals died before the rise of homo sapiens, that biological evolution (common descent) is OK as science, that at least parts of Genesis can be interpreted figuratively, that much of creationism or young-earth “creation science” is bunk, etc.

True (with the qualification that I don’t believe that animals were dying in the terrestrial paradise before man was created). :smiley:

Personally, I don’t see the big deal in simply accepting what the Fathers of the Church took for granted, i.e. the terrestrial Paradise still exists, and that Enoch and Elijah are waiting there to come back to earth as the “two witnesses” during the reign of the Antichrist.

As a Catholic, I believe by the supernatural gift of faith in the existence of Purgatory, Abraham’s bosom (the limbus patrum), Heaven and Hell. If a Catholic can accept as a matter of divine revelation that all these different places exist, why can’t he accept that the terrestrial Paradise still exists too? After all, scripture says Adam and Eve were kicked out of the terrestrial Paradise, and that the terrestrial Paradise is guarded by a cherubim with fiery revolving sword – scripture does not say the terrestrial Paradise was destroyed by Adam’s sin. The continuing existence of the terrestrial Paradise is even more explicitly attested to in scriptures than the existence of Purgatory.


#12

[quote=Mr. Bean]Why would God destroy his own creation when he declared it good?
[/quote]

:thumbsup: Good point.

Does God believe that animal death is intrinsically good?

Is animal death the consequence of Adam’s sin?

These are questions that must be addressed if one believes that animals were dying before man was created.


#13

That is what I believe. But if animals were dying before man was created, then a Catholic would have to accept that animal death is intrinsically good. That conclusion follows because God declared all of what he created to be good before he created his last thing - man. If animal death was in creation before Adam sinned, then animal death must be intrinsically good, since animal death would be part of what God created.

Which leads to the question, if animal death is intrinsically good, why is it immoral to enjoy watching animals die in fights to the death? If animal death is intrinsically good, then the proper emotional response to that good would be joy, not moral outrage.


#14

Just a thought to ponder… Jesus ate fish after his resurrection.


#15

[quote=Mr. Bean]Also a friend of mine who is a Christian (methodist) is a vegitarain because she believes that in Eden meat was not eaten, only plant life that could regrow itself.
[/quote]

I don’t know. Maybe meat was not eaten in Eden. But any particular plant, once eaten, can’t regrow itself. The tomato I eat today, is gone forever, just as is the cow that provided yesterday’s steak.

Of course, we can always grow more tomatoes, and more cows.

But I wonder. If there was no death in Eden, does that apply to plant death as well as to animal death? Does it apply to bacterial death? Didn’t Adam and Even need good bacteria in their intestines just as we do?


#16

You are arguing that the death of pets is intrinsically good. Our subjective response to the death of a beloved pet should be joy, not grief, if our emotions are in harmony with that goodness.

Wrong on so many levels.

First, we are Fallen, so our emotions are not in harmony with all goodness.

Secondly, morally speaking, no one is claiming that animal death is good or bad, just neutral.

But from a cosmic perspective, animal death is naturally good. Just like everything that exists is in its nature good, because it comes from God, who is ontological goodness and beauty itself.

Even St. Francis welcomed Sister Bodily Death, because it is naturally good. Humans were not meant to die, but death itself is still good and beautiful taken simply in and of itself, because it exists, and all that exists is good because it is of God.

Even Satan was created naturally good, and his nature and continued existence remain essentially good. It is his choices that are evil.

Only the chosen states-of-being Sin and Hell are truly evil, but they are only possible as internal functions of rational beings. As St. Augustine taught, Sin and Hell have no existence of themselves. They are merely the insubstantial ABSENCE of good.

The mere existence of death as a physical consequence of original sin is good even in man, because although the sin was bad and from man…the consequences come from God, and therefore are good and beautiful taken from an eternal ontological perspective.

And so if even human death, which wasn’t originally meant to be, is good and beautiful (although something that someday will be reversed and ended) then surely the death of animals could be good, or at least neutral.


#17

[quote=Mr. Bean]Why would God destroy his own creation when he declared it good?

In Isaiah: the lion will lie with the lamb, the wolf with the sheep, etc.

Also a friend of mine who is a Christian (methodist) is a vegitarain because she believes that in Eden meat was not eaten, only plant life that could regrow itself. If the Christian in Paradise is to be humble and praising God, why wouldn’t God’s creation (animals, plants, etc) be doing the same thing if the old order was restored and sin (death) was no more?

Thoughts.
[/quote]

This sounds right to me. Better than I’ve ever heard it explained.


#18

Show me a Church Father or a saint that believed what you believe!

The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas states that there won’t even be animals after the Ressurection:

Since the renewal of the world will be for man’s sake it follows that it should be conformed to the renewal of man. Now by being renewed man will pass from the state of corruption to incorruptibility and to a state of everlasting rest, wherefore it is written (1 Corinthians 15:53): “This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality”; and consequently the world will be renewed in such a way as to throw off all corruption and remain for ever at rest. Therefore it will be impossible for anything to be the subject of that renewal, unless it be a subject of incorruption. Now such are the heavenly bodies, the elements, and man. For the heavenly bodies are by their very nature incorruptible both as to their whole and as to their part: the elements are corruptible as to their parts but incorruptible as a whole: while men are corruptible both in whole and in part, but this is on the part of their matter not on the part of their form, the rational soul to wit, which will remain incorrupt after the corruption of man. on the other hand, dumb animals, plants, and minerals, and all mixed bodies, are corruptible both in their whole and in their parts, both on the part of their matter which loses its form, and on the part of their form which does not remain actually; and thus they are in no way subjects of incorruption. Hence they will not remain in this renewal, but those things alone which we have mentioned above.

Clearly, theologians did not view animals as anything more than “mixed beings”; composites of the more basic matter. Now, obviously the view of there being four elements of earth, water, air, and fire, like the view that flies generated from the decay of meat, and the view that the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars) are made not of matter but pure light, etc, are quaint, and not good science, nor believed anymore.

BUT this passage is nevertheless telling. It provides evidence that the old theologians did not see animals as anything more than complex collections of inanimate matter, kept together by a fleeting mortal soul which was not conscious, merely the form that kept the matter together in an animal substance.

And that is similar to the view of those of us who believe animal death existed before the Fall and is not anything that should even be given special consideration:

The Universe is a seething sea of matter and energy, and sometimes they come together in more complex combinations, sometimes there are waves, but eventually they come crashing down onto the shore, and it doesn’t matter because nothing is actually destroyed, the basic matter is still there, and goes off to form other combinations. It is all good.

I may feel “grief” when my favorite vase breaks, but is that vase breaking a bad thing that would have not happened before the Fall? No, its just matter shifting from one form to another. Entropy is a good creation of God.

The passage above views even the human body as merely a collection of more basic matter, and says it will only remain because it is naturally united in that form and combination to something immortal and incorruptible: the human soul.


#19

Now, does that mean I believe that there will be no combinations of the basic matter (atoms, quarks, strings?) after the Second Coming, except the one naturally united to the immortal human soul (the human body)? No, not necessarily.

I believe that for human happiness (natural, not supernatural), there may indeed be eating, and drinking, and sleeping, and animals, and objects like vases, and houses and all that, even though midieval and patristic theologians definitely did not believe any of this would be. Because we have a more holistic view of creation nowadays.

But I admit that these things, this interplay of matter, if they do exist after the Second Coming, are not essential for human happiness or the perfection of creation. After the Ressurection, our primary and essential joy will be in God. And since these things are just particular combinations of matter that already exists, none are specifically necessary for the perfection of creation.

But I do believe that there may be “extras” so to speak, after the Last Judgement. I believe matter and energy may continue making combinations and shifting and changing.

May there be animals and plants? Sure. May they die if we want? Yeah. But may God preserve them in a certain form if we want? Also yes. And may I see both my dog when it was 2, when it was 4, and when it was dead, all at the same time, like three seperate dogs? Sure, because all those things are just particular combinations of matter God could re-form if we wanted. Particular arrangement of DNA, and properly arranged neurons for the memories.

These functions of matter are morally neutral, but ontologically good and beautiful because they exist and are of God. An animal is a pile of matter arranged in a certain way; its death is no worse than a clay design being mashed down and molded into something new, because they underlying matter still exists. Be a bit more transcendental when it comes to this particular aspect of Creation!

Matter shifts and seeths its forms. Only spirit is incorruptible. Everything else changes and that is good. And after the Second Coming, we may be able to automatically have it change into whatever we want. But animal and plant death is just a function of matter, no worse than wax melting down and being re-made into something new. Because nothing is actually destroyed, all the atoms etc. are still there.


#20

But if animal death is intrinsically good, don’t Catholics have to accept that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with enjoying the sport of watching viscous pit bulldogs fight to the death with an enraged bull?

No, we do believe it is wrong, but it is not because of the animal pain that it is wrong.

Animal pain is just a particular function of matter. Its just some electricity firing in some nerves and neurons. A bio-chemical interplay of matter. And there is no actual “suffering” involved in that pain, because animals do not have conscious, spiritual souls.

Animals in the wild are attacked and eat each other. No problem. And if there is a legitimate use for animal pain and death, we Catholics are fine with it.

The reason that enjoying animal cruelty is wrong, is because it stirs up inordinate passions in the humans that watch. It creates cruel dispositions towards humans, and creates disordered desire because of concupiscence, it degrades our soul with blood lust, when we should be trying to calm our passions, and cleave only to God, not created pleasures.


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