Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Death Cometh Before the Fall

One of the exegetically weakest points held by fundamentalists is that there was no death of animals prior to the fall. Old-earthers, who believe God used dead animals to prepare the bio-deposits essential for human life are, according to fundamentalism, disparaging God’s creation, which He called very good, imbuing it with evil and cruelty prior to the fall.

There are many things wrong with this argument, not the least of which it is not taught in scripture.

It also assumes animal death is necessarily evil and cruel, which is not taught anywhere in scripture (and of which there are many counter-examples).

It also assumes there was no evil or sin present before the fall, which is contrary to scripture. Satan was already on earth prior to the fall, so sin and evil were already present (obviously) when the woman was deceived.

It means that if Adam, prior to the fall, stepped on an ant, the ant survived. Did the ant receive all the attendant injury associated with being crushed, but survived and recovered? Or were ants, prior to the fall, indestructible?

It is unrelated to this argument, but one can easily argue that Adam and Eve would have suffered physical death even without the fall. After all, they were to die the day they partook of the forbidden fruit, yet they lived (physically) far beyond that day (unless, *gasp*, day does not mean 24 hours.) So the death they died, and the death that entered the world through Adam, was not physical but spiritual. No where does the Bible teach that Adam would have lived (physically) forever, let alone the animals. Scripture is silent on the matter.

Finally, while God called His creation very good, He does not call it perfect. In one sense, it is, of course, perfect—in that it is exactly as God intended. But certainly it is not perfect in the sense that, even before the fall, the earth was corrupted by the sin and presence of Satan. And it probably was not perfect in the sense that, although it was paradise, it was not as wonderful as God could possibly have made it, for we are told of a better creation at the end of the age (Rev 21-22).

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