How can we explain the birth defect before the fall of adam


(Jesus christ (is my savior)) #1

So i’ve been wondering how can we explain the birth defect in aniamls and humans before the fall of adam… i do believe in an historical adam who lived around 6.000 years ago…
I believe that God separeted us(humans)…from the animal’s kingdom when he said in genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. …King jame bible
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I interpret this verse as the moment when God gave us soul and separeted from the human 6.000 years ago… i believe that aniamals has spirit(life) but not soul…ecclesiastes 12:7…and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it…

Ok i said what i believed now my question how can we explaim some fossils founds that dates millions of years ago that have birth defect? Isnt it an argument agianst I.D and theism … why would God allow animals to be born with birth defect before the fall of adam?

Ps i believe in an old earth and that there were humans before adam but they didnt have soul …sorry for my awful grammar english is my second language …


(Brad Kramer) #2

@felizz_happy thanks for your question! I would agree with you that God has given humans special and unique capacities and roles that make us distinct from the animals. However, that doesn’t mean that he accomplished this in one supernatural instant. He could have given us these capacities through a gradual process like evolution.

At BioLogos, we think the evidence is overwhelming that death and decay have existed from the beginning of the universe (and life itself). The natural laws of the universe depend on decay. The whole earth was never a deathless paradise.

Your question about birth defects is interesting. So, it’s ok for God to allow death before the “Fall”, but not ok for there to be birth defects? Birth defects are part of the natural order—living things pass on DNA to their descendants, and some of them have mutated DNA that leads to physical/mental problems. You are asking whether these defects are hard to explain by theists. Perhaps…but only in the sense that all evil and suffering are hard to explain. Why does God allow birth defects today—many of which lead to incredible pain and suffering? Perhaps you can say that birth defects happen because of Adam’s sin, but God still has the power to stop them, and he still created a world in which such things are possible.

It seems we are very quick to apply our standards of perfect and imperfect to God’s actions. Then we envision a “perfect” world before the Fall, and an imperfect world after the Fall. But this is neither the story of natural history nor the story of the Bible. Natural History has no record of a time when death did not exist (surely that has to count for something), and the Bible is much more interested in the solution to death than the origin. In fact, the story of the Bible is how God is preparing a new creation that will be perfect (“heaven” or “the kingdom” or “new Jerusalem”, etc.). This creation is somehow a necessary stepping stone to this new and more perfect creation, which we have glimpsed through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The death and suffering in this creation will all somehow become eternally meaningful when the new creation is revealed. I believe that humans have the unique ability to sense the new creation “underneath” the existing creation (perhaps that is part of what it means to have a “soul”). We know intuitively that death is not the end of us; that we are eternal beings. We know that our temporal existence is a small thing compared to eternal glory. And we give thanks to Christ who has shown us the path to entering the kingdom and participating in God’s work of new creation.

Thanks again for your question. Feel free to continue the conversation. I hope others can jump in.


(Christy Hemphill) #3

I think the sticky part is if you see God’s sovereignty in creation as very deterministic (God very intentionally causes and controls everything), then you have to come up with an explanation of how a good and perfect and loving God could intentionally inflict pain and suffering and imperfection on his creation. So one explanation that tries to maintain God’s character is that it is a punishment for sinfulness or the result of evil entering the world and corrupting what was good. I think that explanation falls short in a number of ways, one of them being the evidence from natural history of death and sickness from time immemorial.

But on the other hand, if we call destructive disasters and pain and sickness a “natural” part of God’s good creation, it is also troubling. Most people don’t want to say that breast cancer or Tay-Sachs are God’s creation. But, either God designed a creation with a lot that we consider evil in it, or he set in motion a creation in which destructive things developed and he either couldn’t or chose not to stop them. That pretty much sums up the classic problem of evil.

The Bible doesn’t answer the “why” question on this one. It tells us it won’t be forever and perfection is coming.


(Patrick ) #4

If you believe in an historical adam who lived around 6,000 years ago, then this adam had a genome that had a large number of genetic “defects” that lead to birth defects in himself and his decendents. If this adam lived outside of Africa, his genome had at least 1-2% Neanderthal DNA as well as 1-2% Denosovan DNA. Also his genome had the accumulation of his ancestor’s genes going back hundreds of thousands of years. If you have your genome sequenced, you can easily determine if you are a decendent from this historical adam (which I doubt since there was millions of people living across the world at this time). You can also see if you have certain genes from your Neanderthal ancestors which went extinct prior to your historical adam.


(Jesus christ (is my savior)) #5

When the fall of adam happened ? How many years ago? According to the bible’s geneology adam lived from 6000 ago to 12,000 no more… i tried to explain the birth defect before the fall of adam and the only explanation that came up with was that maybe some other animals were caused that to other animals… for example if i cow was bittten by a poisonous snake and that cow was was pregnant are there any probability that the cow give birth a baby cow with birth defect?
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says
He hath made every thing BEAUTIFUL (((PERFECT)))) in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

If God has made everything beautiful or** perfect***how can there be fossils before adam ever existed showing that there were imperfect animals


(Christy Hemphill) #6

The Bible says creation was good. It doesn’t say it was perfect. We have sort of superimposed that idea onto what the Bible actually says based on our own deductions.


(Jesus christ (is my savior)) #7

Did you read my example about the cow? Could that be possible? That a poisinous snake bit a cow that had baby and the cow gave birth a baby cow… with some defect due to the poison released by the snake?


(Patrick ) #8

If you are just beginning to learn science or have not yet been exposed to modern science, this may come as a surprise to you but what I describe below is true.

The world is over 4.5 billion years old and life has been on this planet for at least 3.5 billion years. Life emerged as bacteria, and then single cell entities. Life has diversified into millions of species of endless forms most beautiful. You are a member of the homo sapian species which is the only homonid species now living. Our species has been around the past 200,000 years and as a people we have been experiencing birth defects and death all of that time. There was never a first human nor a first human couple. From 12000 years ago to 6000 years ago there were millions of people spread over all the habitable land masses of the world. 200,000 years ago there were millions of several human species including Neanderthals, Denosivans and other human species all hunter/gathers who made stone tools to kill animals to eat them.


(Christy Hemphill) #9

@Patrick
Don’t be so condescending.
You are failing to grasp the context of the question.
Not everyone who uses the term “historical Adam” means they think the biblical Adam and Eve were literally the first homo sapiens on the planet, or that they reject common descent. (Go read Gregory’s posts on spiritual monogenesis.) The original question in this thread did not reject the validity of the fossil record or the ancient age of the earth. It was a theological question pertaining to the existence of evil before the fall. If your answer to the poster’s question is “that’s a stupid question, because evil isn’t a ‘problem’ and there is no Creator,” fine. Your opinion is duly noted, but it’s not that relevant to the discussion, and it’s not going to be very satisfying to someone who rejects your premises.


(Christy Hemphill) #10

I’m pretty sure mutations happen because something goes wrong when DNA replicates and forms gametes, not because of snake bites affecting two already complete organisms.

But in any case, you still have the problem of why poisonous snakes exist in a “perfect” creation? Why doesn’t everything live in harmony. Why would God imagine such a nasty form of predation? Even if there were no birth defects, there would be plenty of other forms of suffering, sickness, and death in nature before the sin of Adam. Why is “genetic” sickness more concerning than other kinds?


(Patrick ) #11

Of course I am failing to grasp the context of the question. I am a scientist not a theologian. What does the term “historical Adam” mean? An actual man who really lived on this planet at a certain place and time? Regarding the existence of evil before the fall, humans define what is evil. The definition of evil changes all the time. I think it is evil to teach kids things that we know are not true. Death and birth defects have been a fundamental part of life on this planet for over 3 billions years. You know that, I know that. It is time for this young person to know that also. At what point do you say, no there was no Noah’s Ark, no talking snake, no first human, what you have been told is not true?


#12

I haven’t read your other posts, so I’m not sure where you stand on the bible… but I think the “kid” is trying to reconcile his understanding of the bible (or what he had been taught about it) with what he is learning about science, namely genetic defects, disease, etc.

Your tossing out of the scriptures entirely seems to run against what this website is about.

My response to the “kid,” assuming he believes in the biblical Jesus as divine God/man/messiah, is that we agree that Jesus verifies the Genesis text. He didn’t refute it. He quoted from it, even as far back as Genesis 2. So Christians believe it is “true.”

However… Jesus often explained the OT text in a way that defied conventional understanding. Things had a more allegorical meaning. Jesus spoke in parables. So… maybe our belief in the specific time line of the creation account is wrong. Maybe it isn’t even a creation account, but instead a revelation account - maybe it’s just the order that God showed Moses the things he actually created.


(Christy Hemphill) #13

Pretty much. It means different things to different people, but generally, if people accept that the earth is old and life has evolved and they also say they believe in the historical Adam of the Bible, usually they are talking about some spiritual dimension of history, (when humans got souls, or became morally accountable to God, or entered a covenant relationship with God, or were granted the possibility of immortality, or something along those lines). They mean they think Genesis 1-2 is not just pure myth or allegory. It does not necessarily imply they believe this Adam is the biological ancestor of the entire human race or that they take everything the Bible says as literal history, though to make it more confusing, that is what some people mean.


(Patrick ) #14

This site is about harmonizing science with faith. Science seeks truth and discovers truth. If that truth conflicts with one’s interpretation of what an ancient books says well to harmonize the science obtained truth, the interpretation needs to reconsidered not the scientific truth.


(Patrick ) #15

Christy,
Doesn’t the truth matter? How about honesty? Can’t we agree that Genesis 1-2 is just a story written about 2500 years ago by a group of people who believed a lot of things that just isn’t true?
It is 2015, our collective knowledge of what is true and what is not true is vastly greater than 2500 years ago. Why do we have to go back 2500 years and check every scientific discovery in genetics, physics, geology against what these ancient people thought about them? Isn’t it time we teach our kids the truth about themselves, their life, their world?


#16

I don’t know if anyone is suggesting to toss out the scientific truth. Your approach seems to suggest we just throw the bible out… but reconciling faith with science means to reconcile it or find some kind of harmony with it, not throw one or the other out.


(Patrick ) #17

Start with the scientific truth, adjust your faith to align with the scientific truth. If this adjustment conflicts with your previous interpretation of a passage in an ancient text, find a better interpretation.


#18

It’s probably important to note that the scientific truth has not always been accurate. Science and faith are both rather fluid, I think.

I don’t disagree with you. I think that in the context of trying to answer scientific questions, you answer with science, not faith. So questions about disease and age of the earth should be answered with an understanding of scientific knowledge.


(Christy Hemphill) #19

Yes, truth and honesty matter. That’s why this website and discussion board exist. No, we can’t agree Genesis 1-2 is “just a story,” though I personally would agree it was composed by an ancient people who believed lots of things that were not true in the modern scientific or modern historical sense, so we shouldn’t treat Genesis like a literal history or a science textbook.

Is anyone in this discussion fact checking science with the Bible? No, they are saying, if it’s true that genetic defects are easily identifiable as a part of the history of life on earth, and we see them long before Christians believe God got involved with humans, then how do we harmonize that with our understanding of who God is and how he interacts with the world? Would it be easier intellectually in this case to just be an atheist or agnostic and not worry about it? Sure, probably. Most people I know are not Christians because they reasoned their way to it, or because it makes the most sense in every situation. And they don’t think scientific truth is the only kind of truth we need about ourselves, our lives, and our world.


(Patrick ) #20

Very clear and well stated. Thanks, I understand much better now.