How can some animals do some wrong actions?

Acting badly is not natural. God is holy, His creations cannot be even a little morally bad because of natural selection alone. Natural selection can’t produce moral wrongdoing. Moral wrongdoing has to do with having a knowledge of morality and despite knowing better, still doing something wrong. Since this is the case and since @John_Bauer you have told me that some animals can engage in slightly morally wrong actions (Intelligent animals, right and wrong, and heaven), how come moral wrongdoing started in some animals?
My notes: I saw your replies to my previous questions mr John_Bauer and thank you for them but now I have a new question if you want to answer.

For me I think the whole premise is wrong. Morality, as in righteousness versus sin , is something where Godndeaws a land in the line for a species. So far we only seem to see that line drawn in the sand for two things. Humans and angels. We don’t see any reason to know if God drew a line in the sand for animals.

God being holy is not a shield to silence free will. God did not make humans evil. Free will allows us to make that choice. Animals have free will just like humans do. Because so many species are so unique I think it’s easier to ask why does this animal do this or that. Why does a cat play with its food before killing it? It’s not because it’s evil. It’s because it’s learning how to hunt.

Why does a snake bite a human? It’s not because it hates people or anything. It’s scared and bites.

With dogs I don’t know enough. I’m sure animal behavioral biologist have something out. But often dogs seem to understand they disappointed a person. A dog will choose to chew on shoes while you’re gone and when you get back, before you even know it, they act ashamed or scared. They did not chew it to be evil. They chew because it’s a nervous trait or a playful trait. I don’t think we can say they do it to punish us.

Natural selection is not something with personhood though. It’s a byproduct of many things coming together.


Good vs. evil is not the same as right vs. wrong.

Plants and animals know right from wrong. Even an ameba will move away from danger or move towards food. These are basic instincts all life has to survive or to build community. These creatures do not know how to be evil.

Communities build morality codes based on good vs. evil. They are flexible. Morality is all about personal choices and what people expect. Most of these center on how humans treat each other. Selfishness is part of our animal instinct. To dominate in a group, we often fight like animals. But humans take it to another level. We lie, steal, and cheat to deliberately harming family and friends to gain what we want. At some point, our code calls those acts evil because we should know better. Continuing to act that way brings punishment from the community.

A community can act in ways that make their neighbors start referring to them as evil. Sometimes they even enjoy being called evil. Sometimes they reject the name of evil and say what they are doing is good. They no longer understand that their actions destroy community, not build it up.

Again, all about choice. God chooses to be good. He asks us to make the same choice. Doing so recreates our animal selfishness into God’s image, one choice at a time.

I never really thought of animals as being capable of sin. I think we just project our own feelings back onto them. We are higher up ontologically speaking but are we on a hill or a ladder? If it is a ladder we might be completely distinct. If on a hill that is the result of a continuous evolutionary process, it would be hard to dismiss all potential animal morality out of hand. There would be morality in a more limited capacity.

Interesting question but I never thought my cat was evil for killing a bird it didn’t eat or leaving a mouse at my doorstep.

Just to throw a few thoughts out there. I think the traditional Christian understanding is that death came from Adam and Eve via Romans. Of course, for those aware of modern science, this is now spiritual human death or God bestowed a soul on an anatomically modern human in a Garden somewhere who would not die. Because we know from the fossil record this idyllic scene is simply not true. Animals have been dying for millions of years. Kind of hard to attribute a “fall” to some single-celled organism billions of years ago. But many modern Christians are open to the idea that biological death occurred long before any potential first humans so the question of animal morality is interesting, even if insolvable.


Some studies have definitely shown that animals have a sense of morality. But humans alone are accountable for their own actions.

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Accountable how to whom? Even worms compete for resources, flies show aggression to each other. Higher animals submit to dominance they cannot overpower. They crawl. They roll on their backs. Expose their throats. Groom their superiors. Make open handed gestures. Beg. We approach the whole issue the wrong way round. How does our shared intentionality level awareness make our animal morality more complex?

I can certainty understand how lacking belief in a God and heavenly Father who can actually personally intervene into time and place, timing and placing and to whom we are responsible would give rise to your question.

Humans are first held accountable to their parents, then to society. And to God, if we are religious. We have laws, courts, and the like.

Yeahhhhh. Even crocodiles rear their young. What was ‘society’ 20,000 years ago?

If you have a point, please state it clearly.

I reject that premise, which means we have to address that before we can move on to the rest of your argument. As I said to you previously, "The precursors of human morality can be traced through primate sociality and the behaviors of other social animals (our evolutionary kin). For a rudimentary introduction, see ‘Evolution of morality’ at Wikipedia for an introduction to this subject.

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Sorry. I just don’t get accountability as distinctly human or even meaningful.

What exactly is the issue with my premise?

The issue with your premise is that I don’t accept it, and an argument cannot proceed if there is a disputed premise. That needs to be addressed before progress can be made.

The reason why I reject your premise is because it simply begs the question against my position by assuming in advance that it’s false. My position is that morality is natural, that “the precursors of human morality can be traced through primate sociality and the behaviors of other social animals (our evolutionary kin).” Due to how you’ve set up the discussion, my position is dismissed as false from the start. You begin with the claim, “Acting badly is not natural.”

Obviously, I dispute that premise. So, before we can proceed, that premise must first be addressed.

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What I say is perfectly clear. Acting badly can’t be natural, and humans acting badly are sinning. You know what this means. Simple.

What does that mean? And what’s not natural about human nature?

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I don’t know if the question of God’s goodness is tangential to the OP, but it seems to me that if one can once settle on the conviction of the infinite benevolence of the Divine, that all the lower questions about the goodness of creation would become merely corollary.

As I continue reading through George Macdonald’s unspoken sermon series, I stumbled across these thoughts. The following are extended quotations from that.

From “The Voice of Job” - unspoken sermon by George Macdonald:

To deny the existence of God may, paradoxical as the statement will at first seem to some, involve less unbelief than the smallest yielding to doubt of his goodness. I say yielding; for a man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to rouse the honest. … To acknowledge is not to be sure of God. One greate point in the poem is–that when Job hears the voice of God, though it utters no word of explanation, it is enough to him to hear it: he knows that God is, and that he hears the cry of his creature. … he needs no more to reconcile seeming contradictions, and the worst ills of outer life become endurable. …God settled everything for him when, by answering him out of the whirlwind, he showed him that he had not forsaken him.

Even though I have not yet finished reading that particular sermon, I have already caught, and appreciated Macdonald’s theme, I think.

Once we begin to let go of our conviction of God’s goodness - then nothing we find here in creation, however apparently mixed with all that we may call desirable will ever be enough to satisfy our resultingly entrenched questions and doubts about so much of the remainder of creation that confounds us. However; If one embraces God’s goodness, all other suffering, confusion (on our part), and even tortured life experiences … death itself - even while it all may remain inexplicable to us, yet we can trust it will all have its place in an ultimate benevolent context. We can finally fall back with Job on …

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust him.”

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