OK - some clarity there. The Jonah example, by mentioning compassion on “much cattle,” implicitly suggests that the judgement God had in mind for Nineveh was “total”, and so would not have targeted sinful man exclusively.
That is true, and there are many such examples, from the flood to Jesus’s sending of the demons into the herd of swine. That mankind’s “realm” (which, at the point of Genesis 4 is, in our terms, the cosmos as “earth”, rather than “the universe”) becomes involved in the ongoing judgements of God for human sin is not in doubt to me.
The question is whether nature, in itself, has changed at all, or simply God’s providential administration of it as a still “good” and obedient creation (1 Tim 4:4). My key passages here are the covenant blessings and curses of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, which show clearly that God remains sovereign over nature, which obeys him completely either to bless or to curse.
For one example, God either sends or withdraws wild beasts from the land according to Israel’s faithfulness. If they attack Israelite villages, no doubt they will kill or be killed - hard luck for them and sinful Hebrews. But God regards that, in the text, instrumentally, and they remain fierce beasts whether ravaging Israelites or safely tucked away in the wilderness. There is no evidence in Scripture that they were created as tame beasts.
And so in the case of Jonah, it would seem that, “collateral damage” aside, the cattle would have been destroyed because they represented the sinful Ninevites’ livelihood and wealth, just as the buildings did. God’s thinking appears to be, “I’d rather spare both men and cattle, all my creatures, but if I need to destroy animals to judge men justly, then so be it.” There is no evidence in Scripture that cattle were not slain by natural phenomena before the fall, unless one eliminates the evidence by denying that there was any significant time before the fall, and that any physical evidence found simply must therefore post-date Eden.
To restate your diagram as a kind of syllogism, your argument seems to be
- Death came into the “kosmos” through one man in Romans 5.
- Animals die.
- Ergo “kosmos” in Romans 5 refers to “creation generally.”
But that does not follow, if (as the context suggests), “kosmos” refers to the world of Adam’s race, who unlike the world’s animals ought to have been exempt from death because of their calling into the garden, in which they could access the tree of life.
And we know that is the intent because the passage, having said that death came into the world through one man, goes on to say, “and so death came to all men (pantas anthropous) because all sinned.” To spell it out, the context is limited to mankind because “anthropous” defines the scope of the death intended, whereas Paul could, had he wished, simply said, “death came to all.” That understanding is confirmed by the fact that the whole argument of Ch 5 thereafter deals with the answer to human death through the forgiveness of human sin and condemnation through the man, Jesus Christ.
What that means for the creation generally is a separate matter to do with the transformation of the “whole kosmos” rather than its redemption.