Death and evolution

Hi all. science tells us that all life and many species came from evolution. Death is an integral part of the evolutionary process. Has death always existed in the world, did God create people and all living things from the beginning mortals? Does Scripture tell us about Adam’s spiritual death or physical death due to sin? If death has always existed, what to do with original sin? I will be very grateful for any help. It is very important for me. Thank you!


Hi Alexey,
Those are good questions and some of the biggest struggles for me when I was first working through this. I am now comfortable with the idea that Adam’s sin was an example of spiritual death – damaging the relationship between humans and God that Jesus brought restoration to. I think it can be easy to read into Genesis the idea of “original sin” since it’s become such a standard idea in many Christian traditions.

While there are a lot of factors to it, I always think about how unsustainable the material Earth would be if nothing ever died. It’s possible that God created the Garden of Eden like that with the expectation that it would only last a few days, but to me it just makes more sense that it’s always been that way and our hope is found in resurrection.


I’ve posted this in multiple places before, so regulars are familiar with it, but it addresses some of your concerns, I think:


You can’t compare chalk and cheese Alexey. Ancient Jewish allegory with science. They taste different and have different alimentary effects.

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Sin and science both reflect reality quite well.

If death hasn’t always existed in the world, then why did God put a “Tree of Life” in the Garden of Eden?


(Welcome, btw. :slightly_smiling_face:)


hi Terry. i don’t know how to feel about the story of Adam and Eve. as a real story or as a symbolic story


Well, Genesis 1 is quite a bit different than 2 & 3. My short answer is that I’m not too worried about it, one way or the other. That may not make scholars too happy, though. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Alexey. Does it feel like chalk? Or cheese?

@Klax knows how to make it opaque, in either case. :grin: And feelings are not to be trusted.

The most important part is Genesis 1:1. Physics also tells us that even time had a beginning, which is hard to get your head around. Some deny it though, but not based on science!


Not unless God waited until after the fall to create the majority of living things, which are specifically designed to live by consuming other organisms. That’s right you cannot consume other living organisms without them dying. Only a very small portion of the living organisms on the planet are capable of living only on sunlight and the byproducts of other living organisms.

God said they would die on the day they ate the fruit. The serpent said they would not die from eating the fruit. Who was telling the truth?

Indeed, and apparently he thinks there’s only one kind of chalk and one kind of cheese.

Does he really?

The idea of death being an integral part of evolution to me seems to be an idea advanced by YEC groups to try to bias the thought process against evolution, and they have been so successful, even those in evolution accept it. It is a part of corporal life, but not really something key to evolution. It is far more correct to say that life and its propagation is what is necessary to evolutionary theory. How an organism dies is immaterial, as evolution depends on how it lives.


Differences in reproductive output are integral to evolution, and death is often an important part of that. But it is true that YEC pictures of evolution and most other popular presentations of natural selection are big on “nature red in tooth and claw” [which ironically is a pre-Origin of Species quote from Tennyson], neglecting the important roles of cooperation and ordinary components of life. These misconceptions often connect to the false picture of evolution as Progress, which in turn is used to justify supposedly evolutionary social agendas that claim to be improving humanity.


thanks for the answer Phil. I accept evolution, I just care whether physical death was originally created by God or entered the world through sin. in the light of evolution, it is hardly possible to accept Genesis as a literal story, so I wonder if God created death from the very beginning

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I think it’s clear that he did, as I noted above and explained (briefly :slightly_smiling_face:) in the context.


Psalm 104 is a creation Psalm, and it praises God for providing prey for lions. That contradicts the notion that death in itself is evil and the result of sin.

thanks for the answer, Laura. I generally agree with your message. but I don’t understand a little, if death was part of God’s good creation, then why did Christ need to die? after all, the scripture says that Christ defeated the last enemy in the face of death. Thank you!


Increase in complexity as in biodiversity, cultural pluralism, eusociality are objective measures of Progress.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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