Evolution, the origin of death and its conflict with God's morality, the problem of imperfection


I am sure someone has, but what does that mean for me? Nothing as the Allah of the quran doesn’t exist. The commands came from Muhammad.

Says who?

You just crossed over from wanting to know about natural evil to moral evil.

As Mervin said, it is used against Christianity all of the time. Nothing new here. And I don’t believe apologetics converts anyone or defends Christianity. To me it is preaching to the choir. Not to say that sometimes interesting things are said I just don’t find it convincing.

(George Brooks) #42


I think it is well to remind folks that if “Death” came to all of us via Adam & Eve:

  1. A “plain reading” would tell us that Adam and Eve should have died that day. The fact they didn’t means
    we have to somehow find the correct interpretation of the Hebrew:

Gen 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

17 “ū·mê·‘êṣ, had·da·‘aṯ ṭō·wḇ wā·rā‘, lō ṯō·ḵal mim·men·nū; kî, bə·yō·wm ’ă·ḵā·lə·ḵā mim·men·nū mō·wṯ tā·mūṯ.”



As you can see (above) I provide the Hebrew text in the reverse word order as it would be in reading Right-to-Left. And then I provide the more conventional sequence, for English readers to read the English left to right.

Is it my imagination? Or doesn’t the translated English take on a certain “test my meaning” stance?

“… in the day thereof that you eat, surely, you WILL die.” < Doesn’t this remind you a little of Bill Clinton’s original position about the affair with the intern?: “I am not having an affair with that woman.” Right… he stated categorically, that he was not having one - - how could he, he was standing in front of a podium speaking to the press! Certainly nobody would be so foolish as to think he could be so bold as to engage in a liaison right in front of the cameras!

Yes, I’m being mildly sarcastic. But even with a more realistic interpretation, Bill could easily be saying that he IS NOT having an affair, because he complied with Hillary’s request YESTERDAY to end the relationship! Follow my meaning here?

The Hebrew says: “surely, you WILL die”. And the qualifying phrase, “in the day thereof”, is not a reference to the time of death, but a reference to the day when the outcome will be SET! On THAT day, you will be put on a path to someday die !!!


Does anyone doubt this interpretation? How could one? For, we know for a fact he did not die, nor did Eve, on that very day. So the meaning we think it intended to mean, must not be the correct interpretation. It’s not like one writer write what Yahweh said … and then somebody else wrote the ending. These texts were all part of the overall narrative the writer had in mind.

But how does this sentence support the idea that there was no death in Eden UNTIL THE SIN!?!?!

How would anyone know? Not only did nobody die that day, but Adam lived an abnormally long life!.. over 900 years!

Genesis 5:5-8
And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:
And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:
And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.

As you can see from the illustration, even Adam doesn’t live long enough to see “death” - - with the crucial exception of Cain killing Abel. But this isn’t natural death, right? Nobody would ever suggest that if there hadn’t been “The Fall” - - that nobody would ever murder another? Death, in this case, is natural death, right?

It seems to me the only reason we have this strange idea that the Earth was instantly corrupted by the First Sin… is because the Church Fathers looked around and said: “look at how corrupt the material world is!”
But it’s not like we have anything to compare it to, right? Nobody got a look at the inside of Eden when that flaming sword was guarding the gate!

So, @jdd8910 , how do we fairly arrive at this conclusion that something strange entered the Universe because of the sin? If anything, I have to wonder if that fruit was a good luck charm for Adam! Living to 930 years is a pretty lucky run!

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #43

I think I agree with @jdd8910

For something to be real it must be true. If something is true it must be real. That is true of science, philosophy, and science. The multiverse is not real because it cannot be proven to be true by the scientific Standard of Truth.

The Quran is not the word of God because it is not meet the theological Standard of truth.

Jesus Christ is the Logos, the Word of God, because He does meet the Standard of Truth


Be careful of what you wish for. He appears to be laying the ground work for an argument against God.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #45

The question is not a question of what one wants. It is a question of Truth.

One cannot make an argument for God, unless that argument can be falsified, that is proven to be false.

God is not afraid of criticism and neither am I.

What I have seen is non-believers denying that there is Truth so they can justify saying that there is no God.

If @jdd8910 thinks that he or she can prove that Life is evil, that does not really disprove God. That disproves us.

(Jay Johnson) #46

YHWY, pronounced Yee-Haa-Way in Hebrew, is the god of rodeo clowns. He takes the pain and suffering of the cowboy upon himself and transforms it into laughter. The theodicy is strong with that one. (I apologize for riffing on a simple typo, but what can I do? This is how God made me …)

I learned far more from the pain and adversity of my life than from the “good times.” The metaphor of God as metallurgist – refining his people as one refines silver – is a recurrent one in the Bible.

That is a non sequitur. A perfect creator can intentionally create an imperfect thing for a perfectly good reason.

The Christian hope isn’t “heaven,” but the consummation of God’s creative purpose in a “new heavens and earth.” In Christian theology, this world isn’t the best that God could do. See Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology.

Animals are conscious. They make choices. Your formula makes animals capable of evil, which is impossible. They are amoral, not immoral.

Not really. You’re placing an arbitrary boundary where none exists. Again, a perfect being can create an imperfect thing for a perfect reason. This is not a violation of logic or of God’s perfection. For example, Jim Stump makes the following observation:

“Perhaps the evolutionary struggle is the only way to develop moral beings like us. I’d suggest that moral maturity is a quality that can be developed only by making moral decisions. God can no more create morally mature creatures than he could create free persons who are incapable of sin. So to achieve moral maturity, agents must be involved in their own moral formation by making decisions with moral implications. But in order to have genuine moral decisions, there must be a challenging environment in which beings are subjected to the kinds of natural evils that force difficult decisions. When faced with such situations, will creatures opt for their own selfish preservation over doing what is right and good?”

(Jose D) #47

Why wouldn’t it apply to YHWH? And no, I didn’t cross from natural evil to moral evil. This is the definition of natural evil.
“Natural evil is evil for which “no non-divine agent can be held morally responsible for its occurrence.”[1] By contrast, moral evil is “caused by human activity.”[2] The existence of natural evil challenges belief in the omnibenevolence or the omnipotence of deities and the existence of deities including God.[3]”

Like @Relates said, It’s a question of truth. If Christianity is the truth, it should be able to withstand scrutiny.
The truth isn’t fragile, and up until now, Christianity has been able to hold up pretty well. I have’t gone easy on other belief systems, and even though I’m a Christian, I won’t go easy on Christianity either. If Christianity is really what The Creator wants for humanity, it will not shatter when faced against any argument. If this argument were to actually succeed, the most it could do is disprove our understanding of God, and maybe even Christianity. But of course, this would in no way disprove the existence of God.

(Jose D) #48

When I say conscious action I mean the action of a being who has consciousness/ spirit. The only beings who fit this category are God, humans, angels, and demons. So it seems like the premise still stands.

Yes, I understand that now.

That seems like a very interesting observation! However, I don’t see how it deals with the problem at hand:
“Let’s say that God created the first humans to specifically be evil beings. He would’ve had to create them with no sin, otherwise, that would make him unholy.” He would’ve had to create them perfectly sinless. That right there is an example of a necessary original perfection. You said that God can create imperfections for a perfect reason. I agree, that is actually part of the premises in my argument.

Now the reason why it seems to me that original animal death fits in here is because it was completely unnecessary in the beginning. If you disagree, I would like to know exactly what purpose (painful) animal death had before the fall.


What you said was

Sure looks like you are talking about moral evil.

And the source of our truth is the Bible and not some intellectual argument. That would make man the source of our truth. You want to throw out the only source of truth we have.

Why do you appear to think this argument is original with you? It has been around for a long time.

He has to create them sinless because they can’t sin before they are born. Being created sinless doesn’t mean you are going to stay in that state.

Well for animals created to eat meat that means another animal is going to have to die. Isn’t that a purpose?

(Jose D) #50

Well, then I guess I am, I might’ve gotten the two mixed up. But this is still a moral action, and it really doesn’t make any difference.

Well, that’s what we believe, but we don’t know that (it doesn’t mean that we can’t be sure). I say we don’t know because to know something is to have gained information on the subject (like how I consider that I know that I’m typing). We believe the Bible because its message has reached our hearts, not because we have somehow proven it to be true.

I’ve never seen it be used much, I’ve just now realized all of its implications. As far as I know, this argument hasn’t been completely knocked down

Yes. I never said they had to stay like that, but they had to be created like that in the beginning.

I feel like you haven’t been following the discussion. What’s the purpose of creating animals that inflict pain on each other? And before you say ‘to be able to survive’, what’s the point of creating animals that strive to survive and feel anxious when being hunted down?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #51

First of all your definition of what Christianity is not correct, nor is your definition of what is evil.

If you are serious in this discussion go to academia.edu and read my paper entitled God and Freedom and then we can talk.

(Jose D) #52

Thank you. I will.

(Christy Hemphill) #53

Food for carnivores?
Job 38:41
Who provides food for the ravens
when their young cry out to God
and wander about in hunger?

What paradigm are we in, an evolutionary creationist one, or a YEC one? I agree that if we are in a paradigm where God poofed everything into being in a mature form and could have designed any ecosystem he wanted to, it seems to make intuitively more sense that such a poofed creation would be perfectly idyllic and free of preying and fear, just waiting for the humans who were present from Day 6 to sin. But in an evolutionary creationist paradigm, nothing is poofed ready-made into being. Everything evolves and develops based on pressure from the environment, and one of the main pressures is predator/prey relationships. It is one of the factors that drives natural selection, which is one of the mechanisms of evolution. Humans appear at the end of a long evolutionary process that depends on predation to work. There has to be death before the fall to get to the part of history where the fall happens. If you accept that evolution is indeed real, then you can’t imagine this idyllic world described by the YEC paradigm was ever part of the actual natural world. We need to decide which paradigm we are referring to when we are doing theology, because they aren’t compatible and you can’t just jump from one paradigm to the other without totally changing your presuppositions about how the world functions.


Which shows you don’t know what you are arguing about. Big difference. Moral evil only applies to people as the cause. God would be natural evil.

I believe the Bible to be true because it has reached my heart. You can’t prove it to be true using your own mind.

No argument has ever been completely knocked down to everyone’s satisfaction. But what else is new.

As Jay said.

And then there is this:

(George Brooks) #55

YECs probably endorses this definition.

I have personally resolved Theodicy issues to my own satisfaction… and I don’t think the above definition is a valid category.


I wish I could go back to being a YEC. But, there is no going back.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #57

Are you willing to reflect some more here about why you say this? What do you miss about it?


My world was neatly ordered.
It emotionally hurts, to think of God creating animals to rip each other open.
Was Adam a special creation and Eve made from his rip. Just questioning that makes me a heretic. I am new to this view, just in the last month.
What else in the Bible am I going to question? It scares me.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #59

For what it’s worth, everybody in the world (including YECs, ECs, …and the Pope) is already a heretic in somebody else’s eyes, --and so as such, you were already in good company; not that that says much! So it may more be a matter of deciding which heretical company you want to keep. (or which is the least heretical? --you can decide how you want to look at that.) Or to put it another way, there is no group or person that is deemed so universally pious that everybody agrees, “surely they are beyond being called heretical by anyone!” That person does not exist. If Jesus couldn’t escape being called a heretic by bunches of established religious leaders, no less, why do we think we will?

And understandably so. I’m not suggesting it shouldn’t scare you. But the fact that you are concerned about it at all says a lot. And would I be correct to guess this is because you are committed to Jesus and wanting to “get it right”? --the “it” being to have all the correct beliefs and understandings about everything the Bible teaches! If so, then take comfort in the sorts of people that Jesus expressed deep love for while he walked around Palestine. They (and this included even his hand-picked disciples!) weren’t the sorts who had all the proper educational pedigree and all their check marks in the “correct” political / religious columns.

That should be a great comfort not just for you, but for all of us here. Because all of us who want to be faithful to Christ know that there are things we don’t get right. As I see it, though, I’d rather identify (loosely) with groups that realize this about themselves than groups that are busy denying it. That’s my two cents on it anyway.

Hope something in there helps.
[I edited some of the above to improve clarity.]


Yes it does help greatly. Yes, I wish to follow Jesus. Thank you!