What happens when a wolf . . . or a bear--sometimes even a horse or an elephant--but lets say a lion lives in the wild on the outskirts of a village kills and eats a person; acquires a taste and predilection for preying on humans and continues to hunt and attack more?
For one thing, in general, we say that the predator is acting according to its nature. But it has gone too far, and usually even after one killing of a person, a posse is put together to track and put down the savage beast. . . .
Are we morally outraged at the creature's character? Do we take time to capture and reform it? No. There is no inclination to do that but instead everyone is eager to quick as possible find the killer and execute it so it can do no more harm. It is a wild animal acting according to its inherent nature, that's all, and must be dealt with in order to protect the people.
And we know that it inherited its killer instinct and predilection as a result of The Fall--the aftermath of the original rebellion against God.
How much greater is such an atrocity when the savage beast is a creature made in the image of God? It is one thing for an animal to act out in ways that violate and offend the original design of its Creator . . . but consider how vastly more egregious it is for Man--given the privilege and honor of bearing the image of God--to take that "image" meant as a living temple for the divine Holy Spirit, and pervert and despoil it, using it as a temple for whoring, blasphemy, murder, deceit, thieving, and outright rebellion against the One Who so graciously provided it!
This story of the marauding, man-eating lion threatening the village is much like the story of the present creation.
The world is the village, and "in the wild, on the outskirts" is the "principalities . . . powers . . . the rulers of the darkness . . . spiritual wickedness in high places." God has deputized a posse (the angels) and sent His Son to capture and "put down" the "roaring lion" so that villagers can finally live in perfect peace.
Now, I notice that most people are not overly alarmed or concerned that all the day long and for centuries, wild animals have been attacking, killing and eating each other . . . by the millions and billions . . . according to their (fallen) natures. It bothers atheists and many pagans, but for the most part I don't hear "believers" complaining that God created such a world, where so much violence, suffering and death has occurred. "Believers" tend to have a bigger picture view of things and can understand that, while it is often difficult to watch, overall God has a Plan that will redeem all of creation and even the suffering and inequities of fallen, temporal life, will serve His ultimate will and purpose.
All day long . . . animals strive and fight and kill and die . . . and we are not too concerned that they apparently had their moment under the sun with no purpose of heaven meant for them. . . .
Yet, for some, they cannot imagine that God also created a swath of people for similar ends. Why shouldn't He have?
"Well, because people are different! We are made in the image of God!"
But I would say, indeed! How much more egregious is it that creatures made in the image of God should go about striving, fighting, killing and contravening God's original design! A greater punishment awaits those who bear the holy marking of Deity who desecrate, profane and would subvert God's commands!
And I've mentioned this observation before, but use it again because I find it powerfully convicting and backed up by scripture: Whether I personally, sentimentally like it or not, I see a Creator Who obviously has no problem creating millions and billions of creatures whose general experience, design and purpose . . . was to live, strive, fight and die . . . within the dark, sinful effects of The Fall.
Even if for no other reason, I could see at least one clear purpose for this being to exemplify what happens (to creation/creatures) when they rebel, reject and attempt to defy God's commands. What an example! An example that perhaps the Children of God could not have grasped or appreciated any other way. . . .
So, given that, whether I personally, emotionally like it or not, I see also a Creator who made even a portion of "image bearers" to likewise have but the design and purpose . . . to live, strive fight and die . . . and be consigned to eternal prison, as an eternal testament to the seriousness of such a crime.
"But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption . . . " 2 Peter 2:12
As time goes on, and the holy, sovereign character of God becomes ever more present and clear in my sight . . . I am likewise ever more astonished that anyone even thinks to question and imagine to disagree with God's infinite, perfect, righteous wisdom and decrees. . . .
Yet, many continue to complain and vehemently disagree, suggesting that if such were true, it would --notice, according to their personal sentiment--be "atrocious" . . . "unjust".
But with Paul, I say, "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid!"