And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
My 5-year-old goddaughter sees the world in a unique way. Her impression of how things work is often very different than the reality. For example, she loves animals. The zoo is her favorite place to go, and she has many books about animals and dozens of toy creatures. She once told her mother that she would never eat an animal because she loves them too much. Yet, she has eaten meat as long as she has been able to do so. The thing is, she believes that the chicken we eat is different than the chicken that runs around the barnyard. It is the same for ham and pigs, beef and cattle, turkey and turkeys. Although this idea of hers makes me chuckle, there was a time when mankind never would have thought of eating another living creature.
When God created all things, He was specific about the purpose of the objects and creatures He made. Adam, Eve, and the land animals needed to eat, but God did not let them figure out what would be nourishing or decide what they liked. He made certain vegetation for these to eat and certain vegetation for those to eat. In fact, that vegetation was created with the express purpose of providing nutrition. He makes a distinction between that vegetation and the creatures who would rely on it for food. We had herbs, seeds, and fruit as our food in that perfect place. There was harmony between man and the creatures of the Earth, and one would not have eaten the other. Even the animals themselves would not have eaten one another.
The fall of mankind has changed everything here. In this place, animals not only serve as companions and co-laborers, but they also serve as sustenance. In that place, they served as God’s handiwork for us to appreciate and live alongside in peace. Man was not afraid of the lion, and the lion had no reason to fear man. The portion of creation to which God granted life would not have taken that life from any others in that portion of creation. That was his creative harmony, and the promise is that Christ will return to restore that peace one day. Father, thank You for the picture of perfection and harmony that You have shown us will come to this place again.