One of the more common arguments I hear from non-scientists attempting to discredit the Genesis account is what I call the “sharp teeth” argument. This argument states that “the Bible cannot be factual on Genesis, because it says there was no death in the Garden of Eden. If there was no death, what did carnivores eat?” When a Creationist answers this question by stating plant material, the response is often a derisive laugh and the question: “Then why do they have sharp teeth?” That is the question I will attempt to answer in this article and discuss the implications of the answer.
On the face of it, I will be the first to admit that certain creatures appear designed to eat meat, such as that toothy-grinned crocodilian in the image above. Those fearsome jaws or the fearsome canines of a tiger simply scream carnivore to the modern viewer. However, to Adam in the Garden of Eden, these creatures would have been no more frightening than a rabbit or kitten. It was not until man sinned that carnivores began to actively hunt other creatures.
If this is so, then why do these animals appear designed to kill and eat other animals? The first possible answer is that these carnivorous creatures were designed to eat meat from the beginning but were held back from doing so until after the fall. In other words, knowing man would fall, God could have designed creatures such as Allosaurus and the Great White Shark to eat meat and kept that desire in check until after the fall. As Creator, He certainly had the power to do so. However, before settling on that as an answer, let us examine the other alternative.
The second option is that God did originally design all animals to eat plants. This would require creatures with sharp teeth to have eaten plant material at some point. There is a precedent for this. Fruit bats have sharp pointy teeth that would appear to be designed for a carnivore as seen below. Yet, as their name implies, they eat fruit.
As you can see, the fruit bat above has obviously pointed teeth, yet their diet is exclusively fruit. It is not impossible then that creatures such as the Great White Shark were originally designed to use their teeth to slice through the thick husk of a coconut or the thick hull of a mangrove seed pod that fell into the ocean. Nor is it a stretch to say that Tyrannosaurus rex was meant to use its sharp teeth and powerful jaws to tear whole limbs from the succulent tops of conifer and palm trees.
I believe it is a combination of both ideas. There can be no doubt that God knew man would sin. He is omniscient, knowing all. It is likely, therefore, that certain creatures were designed for the carnivorous role they play in today’s world. However, they could not have eaten meat before the fall. The Bible makes it very clear that death only came after sin and meat require the death of an animal. It is unreasonable to expect that these carnivorous creatures did not eat before the fall. Therefore, they must have eaten plants in the time between Creation and the fall.
However, these answers all are reliant on one very important point. I did something back in paragraph two that you probably read right over. I made an assumption. That assumption was that the Genesis account of Creation is true. The fact that most of you probably read right over it illustrates how simple it is for a crafty writer or debater to slip an assumption into their statement and then build an entire argument based on it, which is what I just did. Assumptions are not necessarily a bad thing, but it is well to be aware of them upfront.
The reason I point out assumptions here is that one of evolutionist’s regularly used assumptions and claim them as fact. Their whole worldview is based on the Bible not being true, which is an assumption. However, they loudly trumpet that it is fact. This also goes for a lot of their other ideas, such as radiometric dating. However, they refuse to acknowledge these assumptions. They also assume that conditions in the past were very different than what they are now. This is unprovable since science only operates in the present.
With that all out of the way, what are the implications of the fact that sharp-toothed animals once ate grass? The most obvious one is that there is generally more to a question than what meets the eye. Just because an animal has sharp teeth, it is unwise to assume it eats meat. The second is that in the Garden of Eden, reproduction rates, particularly for rodents and other fast breeders would have been much lower. Otherwise, they would have simply outstripped their food supply as they would have had no predators in the Garden. The third is to carefully evaluate what you read and listen to for hidden assumptions and assess such assumptions carefully.