Death before the fall

How else does one arrive at a real Adam and Eve and ask a question about the type of death referenced in the garden without a concordist interpretation of scripture? You are taking details of a mythological narrative with clear parallels and similarities to other ANE stories and concordantly plucking out historical details while rejecting others. I mean:

Did God create the earth before the sun? Do you believe that? Did he create everything on 6 days? Did he literally do as specifically narrated, the things that Genesis one records him as? Or is it about form and function? Do you think Adam was able to pet lions? And others after him before the flood changed things?

Why does one get to simply pluck out history wherever they deem appropriate? What is your hermeneutic for distinguishing between story and history in the primeval section of Genesis?

That is just your opinion. For countless people, tens of millions of Christians who currently live, if not hundreds of millions, and the majority of now dead Christians thoughout Church history, the flood was clearly narrated as global and universal. Slavery was CLEARLY Biblical according to some. That God created the earth in 6 days was clearly not open to interpretation for hundreds of millions if not billions of Christians throughout history. That the earth was immutable and did not move clearly was correct and the new astronomy was false. The only thing that is clear is that Christians can’t agree on what is clearly taught in scripture. This is not due to a few fringe groups but huge populations of Christians past and present.

Once we accept accommodation we need to realize that ALL scripture is accommodated. Even when later scripture interprets past scripture after thousands of years of beliefs that were influenced by it, it’s all written though an accommodated lens.

So give me a plausible reason for thinking Adam and Eve are real people when the vast majority of the details they are surrounded by are rejected as having occurred in the fashion they did? Paul? No. Paul expressed an accommodated understanding of his sacred scripture. That he may have thought the details of Genesis were historical in some ancient sense does not imply they are anymore than a statement calling the earth immutable means it doesn’t actually move. I suspect the real reason is Augustine’s mistranslation that led to the doctrine of original sin. Even if original sin is being rejected by some, it’s clearly still has the church firmly in its clutches.

Accommodation applies to everything, including Biblical genealogies whose authors had no idea of how humanity actually started. Asking what is meant by death in early Genesis is the wrong question. It is, as I noted before, akin to asking what type of glass Cinderella’s slipper was made of? We can try to understand the point the story is narrating but it’s not expressing some magical change in the external world that happened at some point in the past.

Calling it a pure spiritual death also seems anachronistic. Can we better look at what it would have meant 3,000 years ago, not to us with highly developed conceptions of a soul? Not to mention Adam and Eve actually seem to “come of age” in some regard in the narrative. There are different ways of looking at the account t.

At any rate, I reject concordism fully. You are correct on that. I can certainly explain why if necessary. See Genesis 1-2 and compare what it says to modern science. See all of the incorrect scientific statements in the Bible. That is not my chief point here. I am commenting on the cherry-plucking, the artificial weaving between history and ancient myth, between factual detail and form and function. How does one pluck historical details out of these narratives in a way that is not artificial or assume a concordant reading of it which science tells us is inconsistent with scripture and it’s cosmogony? The primeval history in Genesis is interested in rearranging Mesopotamian mythological furniture to make theological points, not in narrating history.

For countless people, tens of millions of Christians who currently live, if not hundreds of millions, and the majority of now dead Christians throughout Church history, electrons were clearly narrated as playing dice and and protons as going to brothels.

See I can talk complete nonsense too.

I guess it is a product of the myth of the round earth concocted from pointing out a few ancient Greek scholars who argued that the earth was round. And yet what do we see in most artist depictions of the earth? The earth as a globe? Nope. Most people thought of the Earth exactly as the Bible describes it – as a flat table, no matter how many scholars guessed this to be wrong. And how many of the artist depictions of Noah’s flood show the earth as a round globe covered with water? NONE!

A lot is made of the fact that the Portuguese sailors were given a demonstration proving that the earth was round and so the crew of Columbus’ ships had no fear of falling of the edge of the earth. But… why did the sailors need such a demonstration? What does that tell us about what most people thought?

Try to put things into perspective. Education started with literacy. In 1820 world literacy reached an all time high of 12%. It is difficult to get estimates for much of world history because literacy varied so much. It was usually five times higher in cities, as much as 5%. And some cultures like the Jews greatly valued literacy so the average was much higher among them.

Your comparison is invalid on almost every level conceivable. The Church, with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, screwing up the Bible so badly would not be the same as the pre-scientific Church not understanding electrons.

Are you that little interested in continuity with the church over time? Maybe this is misreading you but on my end I get the impression of one man band exegesis. It takes a village.

Our entire scripture is preserved and some books absolutely were chosen over other books by these church members who apparently got things wrong. Some books were left out, some were argued extensively and with absolute certainty, not everyone agreed at the end of the day. Christianity is a historic faith so we are absolutely and unequivocally dependent on the Church before us for our Christianity. The Bible didn’t fall from heaven any more than did the meat wrapped in cellophane in my supermarket. Sola scripture is one of the most naive and intellectual bankrupt Christian doctrines there is. Completely disconnecting oneself from how most of the church before us believed the Bible is a slippery slope for many of us especially when most Christians consider themselves creedal in nature. I always have to check my intellectual pride at the door. The only reason I think the Bible is inspired is because the Church does and I met God through it. I rationalize God wanted a record of his incarnation but that is only after I believe it. Not before. There is no historical apologetics that gets you there. Only accepting some church tradition over other church traditions.

There is no biblical issue that we can discuss today that probably doesn’t have a million pages of ink already dedicated to it. The church goes on and we would be wise to understand that we are just another branch.


The only reason I think the Bible is the word of God is because I read it and yes because I met God through it. The opinion of some church means NOTHING to me. After all, they litter the earth, as numerous and varied as garbage.

Exactly, you are a one man exegetical band. You deride the church yet you are dependent on it for the Bible, the epistemic basis of your intellectual faith. The Bible is actually an anthology of works composed over thousands of years by individuals authors: Jews and Christians : the same Church you laugh at. It was written by Jews and Christians who wrote hundreds if not thousands of other potentially canonizable books over that time that didn’t make the cut. These specific books were persevered and selected by the Church over many others others and way beyond that an entire committee went into deciding the most accurate Greek version of the NT and translating it. It is unwise to saw off the branch of the tree you are sitting in and the Bible you claim was inspired most certainty refers to their being one body of Christ.

Read 1 Cor 12:12-30 slowly. Let what Paul is telling you about the Church, as you describe it littered over the earth like garbage, sink in.

12 For just as (A)the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, (B)so it is with Christ. 13 For (C)in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—(D)Jews or Greeks, slaves[a] or free—and (E)all were made to drink of one Spirit.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, (F)God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, (G)as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts,[b] yet one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty,24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it,25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, (H)all rejoice together.

27 Now (I)you are the body of Christ and individually (J)members of it. And (AI)God has appointed in the church first (AJ)apostles, second (AK)prophets, third teachers, then (AL)miracles, then (AM)gifts of healing, (AN)helping, (AO)administrating, and (AP)various kinds of tongues.

The Church first. It id the collection of all appointed by God.


Yes all of religious scripture is a collection of opinions by people with varied opinions about all sorts of things from reincarnation to human sacrifice – and so we pick and choose. I am reminded of a conversation in Harry Potter.

"“You’ll soon find out some wizarding families are much better than others, Potter. You don’t want to go making friends with the wrong sort. I can help you there.”
He held out his hand to shake Harry’s, but Harry didn’t take it.
“I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks,” he said coolly.”

Oh I do… but I read what Jesus is telling me first! :grinning:

Matthew 23:8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all brethren. 9 And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 Neither be called masters, for you have one master, the Christ.


God first.

And the fact that you say “church first” is real crux of it. For I am not saying that churches have no value. But no I do not think have any authority – only what people choose to give them.

People are always imagining themselves appointed by God, and even when they really are appointed by God, they imagine themselves appointed for far more than they really are. And thus an appointment to teaching them becomes lording it over them as it did with the Pharisees. An appointment to preach becomes burning heretics as it did with the Dominicans. An appointment to serve people becomes owning them. An appointment to inspire people becomes one of monetarily bleeding and sexually abusing them. For this reason people are turning away from God no longer believing God exists. But others like myself see this as only a reason to no longer believe in churches.

So what do I understand when I read Paul in the passage you mention? What I read about is something where the head of the body is Christ and not some collection of human officials who have appointed themselves the task of speaking for a God who apparently cannot speak for Himself. No I don’t believe them. God can speak for Himself and He says nothing when He has nothing to say. And all they stuff into the mouth of God was made up by themselves alone.

And what about all the things I say? No authority whatsoever. Not even any more importance than opinions on football. For I do not see any of this as being of greater importance than just another human hobby – babbling our guesses and conclusions about things we think about. We indulge our passions about these things while others indulge their passions about other things. I mean its not that I don’t have an education in theology and Biblical studies… I do. But I only have that because that I was interested in such things. I don’t know if there are any college classes on football by which one can be a football scholar, but there are for a few strategy games like chess and go.

1 Like

I don’t really understand the purpose of this thread. If the idea is to strive for greater scientific understanding, this seems like a fruitless way to proceed.

One thing I see over and over on here is that people begin a priori assuming the Bible is infallible. Right there the mark has completely been missed. There’s no scientific basis for that assumption. What’s worse, in terms of inerrancy, that’s not even something that can ever be proven. Godel showed that 90 years ago because mathematically a system cannot prove itself recursively.

Ultimately, all creationists are the same. They all always make the Bible the tie-breaker or whatever. Secular scholars sort of make fun of Biblical archaeologists because they only look for whatever they believe proves the Bible. The Chicago statement is completely circular and useless in this context.

People want to discuss Adam and Eve and Baby Seth on the dinosaur and the reality of that but there’s no evidence that any of the patriarchs ever lived. The first five books of the Bible were authored shockingly late for your guys according to many secular scholars, circa 600 BC. Many of the minor prophets and wisdom books now are dated earlier than Genesis by many scholars. Just wiki date of the books of the Bible.

With the exception of several of Saint Paul’s epistles, it’s uncertain that any of the N.T. books claim the right author which is devastating in that how can something be inerrant if it has the wrong purported author? There’s very little evidence in a Christian context of any sort of eyewitness testimony by the writers of the New Testament.

That’s the point of faith instead of trying to claim eyewitnesses from 2,000 when nobody knows who wrote the four Gospels.

So while you guys are trying to split hairs about Original Sin, you might want to fundamentally recognize that there is little to no evidence for anything in the Torah actually happening in real life where humans walk and eat and sleep and breathe.

If you want to believe in Adam and Eve and Original Sin then have at it but I fail to see the point. Is it some how better to believe in ten thousand year old creation where, it’s hard for me to piece together with all of these conjectures, than to believe in YAC.

There’s another page where someone is trying to prove Joseph’s famine. Again, why? What does that accomplish? Since many secular scholars see no basis at all for the historicity of Genesis or Exodus, perhaps it would be better to start there. This idea of proving Christianity is a sign that someone might not actually believe with faith and so needs proof.

I am glad there are actually Christians who get vaccinated. I can’t get my mother to. But aside from vaccination, it is difficult for me to perceive any sort of true scientific method on here applied by anyone. The old age position is just one miracle further back. Conjecturing that maybe God did such and such with Adam and Eve in 7,000 BC, what does that advance?

There’s no scriptural evidence for any such thing related to Adam and Eve by definition so this is all just conjectured stuff that seems pointless since someone else can say, whatever else.

This isn’t an easy task for Christians of the born again sort to process without curtailing one’s intellect. Original Sin is a hard row to hoe because it’s tautological. A better approach might be to question the entire doctrine of Original Sin and see what that leads to. Is the cross possible without original sin? Most evangelicals would say no in my opinion. But there’s zero scientific about the doctrine and so faith in this context is no less mystical than with the YAC.

Let’s face it. Evangelicals believe in talking donkeys and pillars of salt and Joshua stopping the sun and fire from heaven and on and on. How does that tie in for a Christian historian? Ultimately, I gave up and moved on because I don’t have room for Balaam in my belief system. And I am sorry, any Christian physicist or historian who says that Balaam was a real donkey and it talked, I mean, everyone is laughing at you at that point.

Try defending the massacre at the Battle of Jericho for which there is zero evidence except the Bible. Once you rely on hocus-pocus then you are stuck with it. So why not go with the YAC positions since they seem truer to faith and they are much less so trying to prove things as opposed to accept what seems to be the literal language of the Bible.

I am not trying to be mean but I don’t think Christians understand just how much other scholars make fun of them. Any debate with a Christian about anything existent in the world or universe is pointless because of the Chicago Statement.

I sense this notion on here the people are seeking more respect from secular scholars and humans and that is never, ever coming because Christians do not truly engage in scientific inquiry. Instead, they try to find things to cram into their worldview so as not to upset it.

Normal people know that Pandora didn’t start suffering and it is a nice Greek bit of mythology somewhat close to Eden. Normal people know that we didn’t all come from Adam and Eve. Normal might not be a good word here but in most people’s world views, intelligent or not, there are no talking donkeys.

I see here and there these little archaeological findings, a town here or there and Christians are quick to claim that as proof of Jesus somehow when there’s no link there at all. Other folks in the Near East had maps.

But there is no Jericho. There’s zero evidence of the Exodus.These are matters of faith and if the places didn’t actual exist or the actions take place, then Jews and Theists don’t necessarily lose all faith. But Christians have this intricate framework literally where everything is dependent on everything so without Adam and Eve, there goes the doctrine of Hell.

So while I get the feeling that some sneer at the YAC, their belief system seems to be far more coherent than one where reality sort of fades in and out between miracles.

So ultimately, Death Before the Fall is something for which there is zero evidence and for which there will always be zero evidence so what’s the point in debating this? There’s nothing in the Bible to resolve this question. How do you change the format of the Garden story anyway, without destroying it. You can’t.

So yes, for secular people, animals died before the fall because eh, that’s what the fossil record shows and there’s virtually zero debate.

Soren Kierkegaard’s leap of faith doctrines seem to me to be a better way of dealing with lack of belief or faith then trying to prove different things like the YAC’ers but at least they are sticking with scripture. Jews believe that interpretation of scripture is more holy than the mere scriptures themselves and they have created exegeses about every aspect of the Torah and they believe in G_D. I think this is a better path and it’s ultimately the one that I took because it utilizes all forms of hermenutics instead of assuming the literal text is what it say. I also think the very notion of God being male cannot be supported any more than that of Goddess, which is the name I choose.

Goddess Bless

Nice job demolishing the Jewish and Christian scriptures. Give me a head’s up when you decide to take on the Qur’an and Islam in a Moslem Forum and the Baha’i scriptures and Baha’ism in a Baha’i forum.

Interesting first post. Some good content worth discussing but it definitely comes off as highly abrasive. I largely agree with most of what you said in regards to the Biblical criticism issues but before a fuller response I would like to know one thing. Who is Jesus to you?


1 Like

It’s only demolishing to concordism. I also sense a great amount of frustration in his post.

1 Like

In the Bible Balaam was a prophet. You are confused.

You are correct but I think that Balaam was actually throwing his voice to be the voice of the donkey so it all works out…

Did a donkey talk or not?

No, a donkey didn’t really talk. That was a funny touch that makes the point that an ass had more spiritual insight than Balaam. But if Balaam is no longer a donkey but a ventriloquist, who is Balaam trying to fool?

Thank you and you are correct about both points.

I am incredibly frustrated by a family member whom I need in my life who won’t vaccinate which brought me over here so I sent this person some arguments.

I monitor Covid deaths and Christian after Christian dying for no reason except … stupidity?

This is a calamity and Christians with common sense but also education have to start reeling in these poor unfortunates because if this continues with a quarter unvaccinated, it’s going to be shocking to the conscious. Covid is a horrible and scary death and nobody should go out that way, in fear. Thanks for understanding.

You mean secular scholars aren’t human? What species are they?

I means scholars and people in general who are not focused intently on Christian apologetics. Your basic college graduate from a decent university say…

Certainly not!

Why in the world would you think something like THAT?!?

This is not a science of religion thread or anything of the sort. This is a forum promoting the acceptance of evolution in the evangelical Christian community. (My particular interest is in exploring the impact on Christian theology from accepting evolution.) This thread is exploring the question of death before the fall, which makes it a theological inquiry because “the fall” is a theological notion with no place in science.

Where? There is a vast spectrum between treating the Bible as inerrant or infallible and treating it as nothing but fiction. It is part of the definition of Christianity that the Bible is taken as authoritative but that is nothing like the claim that it is infallible. I personally don’t see how anything in human language can conceivably be infallible or inerrant.

There is no objective scientific evidence that God exists. The vast majority of knowledge which human beings have are things for which they have no proof or evidence because proof and evidence is rare thing for a very small portion of the things they know. All that the lack of such proof and evidence means is that they have no reasonable basis for expecting other people to agree about such things. It certainly does not mean they are not true. It would be unreasonable to expect people to accept THAT because we have no more proof or evidence that they are not true. And expecting people to live their life only according to what they can prove is unreasonable to the point of being delusional.

Done. But irrelevant.

My mother won’t get vaccinated either. And guess what… she isn’t a Christian at all.

I am an evangelical and I don’t believe in any of the first three. Fire from heaven happens all the time, and the sun stops in the sky of Mercury too. LOL

Balaam may have had a conversation with His donkey. I have seen people have a conversation with a mailbox. Are you laughing at me for claiming to see such a thing, or laughing at the guy talking to a donkey or a mail box? I don’t see any reason to laugh at either.

Really? Who do get that from? Many of us are just scientists who have become evangelical Christians or visa versa. You got a problem with that?

You mean YEC, young earth creationism – those who call God a liar in everything He tells us from every bit of His creation… those who suggest that I am evil because I believe what God says rather than their half baked abuse of the Bible to attack science? To say I sneer at them would be putting it mildly.


You don’t come across as mean; you come across as rather ignorant of historic Christianity, and even evangelical Christianity. Try to judge a group by its best, rather than worst, proponents.


More than willing to put my knowledge up against yours anytime you want…

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

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.