Let's take a look at the words used in the beginning, "In the beginning" from Genesis 1:1. No other religious text except this one claims to report the initiation of space, matter and time. And no other religious or other text reveals so far in advance to modern cosmological understanding the necessary components to make a cosmos in which life can exist that can be meaningfully recognized, explored, understood and appreciated. And no other text brings forth any rational explanation for the source of the cosmos better than "In the beginning God." We know that matter cannot form itself. That is the absolute lesson from the First Law of Thermodynamics. It states that matter is neither being created nor destroyed. That is — it is not now being created or destroyed under present processes. It means matter cannot spontaneously generate itself, it takes an outside source to derive it. So the claim of "God" as its source is wholly reasonable and functional when He says: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." and thereby initiated both space and matter. And who better to tell us how it came about than its inventor and creator!
Then with the establishment of "lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years" in verse 14, God shows the marking of time which completes the three components of a cosmos. When such a truthful opening statement is made what follows is understood to be just as credible. The Genesis narrative is a factually stated objective history and not a commentary with subjective terms. Go to this webpage to get a better grasp of the incredible accuracy conveyed in Genesis chapters 1-3:
After giving us the statement of God's origination of the cosmos, God elaborates by explaining the multi-step process to bring it into functional capacity. Each day marks off a fixed set of activities to prepare the cosmos for habitation and reveals a sequential basis of time progression. On day three, various plants are established to be ready for the creatures that are to be brought into existence. On day four, light is enhanced to provide the energy to drive the plants growth and reproduction which in turn supplies the energy for the animals, created on day five, that will consume the plants. Everything is logical and progressive. To apply these days as a long period is absurd because plants will not survive age-long days of darkness. In the process of making the animals God used the water-atmosphere-land sequence again. The water hosted the fish and other varied moving creatures who would eat the plants growing therein. The atmosphere hosted all manner of flying things who would eat from the plants upon the land and in the waters. So day five is completed.
And on the sixth day the other types of animals are brought forth, both domestic and non-domestic kinds. In all of this it is obvious that life is intended. Life is prepared for and sustained by the processes God established to provide for living things. Here in the text of Genesis chapters 1 and 2 there is no hint of death processes, just more and more life coming forth by God's design. And to supervise and oversee as stewards this vast domain, God makes man in His image. Since God's goal was not to make all the animals at once but to have them increase through procreation he used the phrase "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth." On day six, after making the numerous kinds of animals, He also made man as male and female to likewise increase by procreation. Nothing in this suggests anything but more and more life with ample provision already made for the words "be fruitful and multiply."
The premise that animals died before Adam and Eve were tempted, disobeyed and cursed simply has no merit in the text of Genesis chapters 1-2 itself. It comes from a disbelief in what God simply states and is so obvious. That death is not designed into the system — but introduced into the system. Genesis chapter 3 explains how this could come about and when it did occur.
Death before the Fall cannot be reconciled with the gospel message. The biblical message is clear. God created a perfect world (Genesis 1-2). Evil and death are a result of Satan and man's sin, a result of the Curse/Fall (Genesis 3). Death is an intruder into God's perfect creation and will be conquered by Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:16; Revelation 21:4-5). If death existed before sin, then death is not the judgment for sin. 1 by Brad Forlow, Ph.D.
1. Forlow, B. 2011. Genesis Under the Microscope. Acts & Facts. 40 (10): 5.