The other day I was discussing Matthew Halteman’s booklet Compassionate Eating as Care for Creation in one of my classes. (Published by HSUS, it is a helpful, concise resource exploring the ethics of eating from a Christian perspective. If you’re interested, you can download the PDF from HSUS by clicking here.)
At one point Halteman talks about compassionate eating as being a “way to live in faithful anticipation of the once and future ‘peaceable kingdom’” (5)
“Once … peaceable kingdom”? What’s he talking about?
Eden, of course.
The problem is that earth history provides no evidence of an Edenic paradise. Quite to the contrary, as far back as we can go in the fossil record, we find, er, fossils, i.e. the left-over remnants of dead stuff. Some time ago I gave the following example: “T-Rex dung as a problem for Christians“. As I note in that article, triceratops frill has been found in fossilized T-rex scat. And no, Adam and Eve didn’t live before or concurrently with dinosaurs. If they lived at all, it was seventy million years after that triceratops was a meal for T-rex.
So here’s the problem: there was no peaceable kingdom in the past. And in that case isn’t it misleading at best (and deceptive at worst) to keep speaking as if there was?