i know i have given some very defensive arguments in support of my world view in the last little while…i thought that as a person who is genuinely ecclectic, i would throw out some rather direct questions that I have not found satisfactory answers to from my own world view.
I dont tend to have a problem with the age of stuff…i recongnise that satan has corrupted not only what we see, but how we interprete what we see. I suppose its easy to take that position because its not part of me directly…however, some of the following questions one cannot separate from ones self.
Caveat…some of the following might be a bit gross…i apologise if they are and i beg that you allow them to be what they are (i am not trying to be politically correct in hiding some problems in my world view…these are also questions atheism throws at us and they most certainly like to “hit right between the eyes”)
if there was no death before sin, how the heck did God make sure an ant wasnt accidently stepped on and killed by Adam, Eve, or another large animal in the garden of eden?
Is the biocycle one of death? How ould YEC answer the question did leaves fall off trees down to the ground, rot, and fertilise the earth?
Did Adam, Eve, and all the animals have bumholes…did they poop, or is that a result of the corruption of sin? How does a YEC answer such a dilemma? Can a YEC honestly make the seemingly ridiculous claim “no need to poo and wee in the garden of eden” in answer to such a question?
Hair and nails… most mammals have hair…isnt hair and fingernail growth related to dying cells? (i dont know, just heard something along these lines years ago as a child and havent thought about it until now). My understanding is that only the root of the hair is alive…everything above that is dead! IT would be pretty hard to support the claim there was no hair or fingernails in the garden of Eden.
How do we explain mucus? Was that something that we didnot produce in the garden of Eden? What about our sweath glands in our skin…surely exercise and hard work caused Adam and Eve to perspire?
When Adam and Eve got jiggy with each other in the Garden of Eden and a bit of mischief was the order of the hour, given that more sperm is produced than actually used, what happened to the unused sperm? did that simply end up out on the ground running down the female’s leg, or was it absorbed into her body as food…I mean what happened to it?
As another on these forums has posted, is eating produce of the field killing it? I mean its a bit hard to eat root type vegetables without pulling up the plant itself.
What about orange skins, garlic skins, or onion skins…i cant see myself ever eating an any of those. Did they eat the skin or throw it away for fertilising the ground. How do YEC support the claim that is not death?
What did termites eat? How can a tree full of termites survive?
how about snot…my nose gets pretty snotty when im in a dusty place…and there is nothing better the snotting out a nose full of the stuff…is dust sinful or a result of a corruption of sin? Why do we have snot that would not also be needed in the Garden of Eden? I mean, what about sneezing? we get a nose full of pollen and voila out it comes under plenty of pressure. What if, like sperm that pollen never ends up on the other sex of its own kind of plant…does it die in the Garden of Eden? What would be the purpose of such an event?
What about methane…i mean lets face it, we eat cabbage…we fart! obviously quite a deal of life in the biocycle also produces fart gas. Is that a result of sin? is it damaging to the environment because it stinks?
I know that to many of you here these questions might seem stupid I accept that. I really do understand that these are but simple examples of the big science based questions you guys have on these forums. I would be interested in hearing some better ones too. I also know that some of the above can be answered because of the corruption of sin…but i can see problems as well as some answers seem childish and many probably cant be answered theologically.
Adam, I’m curious what you think about these things. I understand that you would ask about them because they would all involve death of some kind, and death of any kind before the fall is assumed not to have occurred. But we see that it must have.
I have even heard the silly claim that mosquito bites couldn’t have itched because it was a perfect golden age.
Off the top of my head, If this view is true, the fall was actually necessary so that we could have the warning systems we need to protect us not only from danger but simple errors that would endanger us. Or the Lord had the world so wrapped in cotton that nothing interesting or challenging ever happened.
Simple questions are still questions that people come up with - and tend to lead to bigger questions that often don’t go away if left unaddressed. It’s good to know that you can at least imagine and anticipate how a lot of people react to these sorts of things, Adam - and rightly so, as an EC world view already has built-in answers (or dismissals) for a lot of this. You might get more traction putting such questions out there in forums where a lot of YECs hang out.
Trying to answer the no death before the fall question should be enough to convince any YEC there is a problem. Cell death is very much a part of what keeps us alive. It appears to be the way our body was designed.
“Scripture is abundantly clear—human and, by extension, animal death is the consequence of sin and did not exist before Adam and Eve’s decisive act of rebellion in the garden. If this is not true, then the entire gospel stands on shaky ground.”
by extension… the Gospel does not depend on an inerrant text
Of course, we are missing the point and message of the passage with these sorts of questions, but if we assume animals had sex and reproduced as they filled the earth in Genesis 1 in one day, how long would it take to be knee deep in bunny rabbits if none of them died?
This reminds me of a young Earth creationist on Hugh Ross’ radio show many years ago. His view was that the Earth did appear to be very old, but that like a faithful replication of an antique piece of furniture, there would be a mark hidden on the furniture to indicate it was a reproduction. Hugh Ross respected his view highly, and that’s all I can recall. Also, the YEC’s big issue was with death before the fall, which I can appreciate. But there are other ways to read what’s being said.
With the deceptive, God can show himself to be very deceptive. I was OEC before I came around to accept evolutionary creation, so it wasn’t an issue for me. If for some reason we find out the world was created with the appearance of age, it wouldn’t bother me in the least.
Yeah, that’s one of the silliest bits of “reasoning”. The first error is the “by extension” bit, which doesn’t logically proceed from what’s before; the bigger one is the last, because what it’s really saying is “If scripture doesn’t conform to my opinion, it’s not worth believing”.
That depends on your definition of “inerrant”. I know I’ve pointed out before that in the early church that concept had nothing to do with scientific or other ‘factual’ propositions in the scriptures, it expressed the truth that God’s word is like an arrow in the hands of a perfect archer: it always goes right where it’s aimed.
Indeed if the modern definition were explained to all the writers of scripture, most of them would have no idea why you would even think that was important.
Hi Terry i ahvent read all of the above references…i wasnt actually aware of them at Answers in Genesis…but that doesnt make any difference.
I note that following insufficient answer relating to the question “Do plants and leaves die”?
“Did plants die before the Fall of mankind?”
Before we can answer this question, we must consider the definition of die. We commonly use the word die to describe when plants, animals, or humans no longer function biologically. However, this is not the definition of the word die or death in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for die (or death), mût (or mavet or muwth), is used only in relation to the death of man or animals with the breath of life, not regarding plants.1 This usage indicates that plants are viewed differently from animals and humans.
When i read the story of Jonah and the whale, we see that after Jonah prophesied to the city of Ninevah, he withdrew to a hill overlooking the city and waited for God to dish out punishment. We read that God caused a vine to grow up over Jonah and shade him from the sun. During the night, a worm came and ate the base of the plant causing it to wither and “die”.
clearly in the story of Jonah, plants wither and die!
the trouble is, i think that when we ask what appear to be stupidly simple questions, it paves the way for the acceptance of stupid simple answers that have not been given enough time and thought. As they are simple questions…its not important to really think deeply about them.
I fully accept that these types of things lead to an ignoring of questions about more complex questions, however, the answers to these complex questions remain simple ones. I accept that this can be very problematic.
No i know that you guys will be thinking, Adam should listen to his own criticism of the answers given for the simple questions and again, i accept that statement. I am not trying to provide simple answers to stupid questions. I am presenting significant theological problems to those questions in my responses. However, i do not seem to be able to do the same with things like wasted sperm and pooping and sneezing!
The above is also the reason why i havent tended to take these questions to YEC forums…im not after redneck answers, I am seeking to find challenges to my theology and my world view. I cant get that from the safety of my own bed!
The most generalized conception of death is entropy. The drive to randomness is antithetical to complex organization. Our systems must be maintained at the expense of increased entropy globally. Increase in entropy is the one irreversible physical principle.
All this awkwardness about no death before the fall involves some level of incompatibility with entropy. Why does Adam need to eat, why is he even equipped with a digestive system? Because he needs energy to live and maintain homeostasis, and entropy is inherent to that. Why would ants be subject to being crushed? Because as living organisms they are complex, and crushing them irreversible destroys that organization. Why are plants green? Because they capture a spectrum of light to store energy. The familiar cycles of nature are adaptations to the physics and chemistry of the material universe.
Our physical reality and experience always involve entropy. Entropy is associated with the arrow of time itself. As such, it is in tension with eternity or everlasting life. If there was no death before the fall, nothing makes sense in terms of the world as we know it.
Note that “No death before the Fall” was not a major principle historically. Athenasius (the prominent defender of Christian orthodoxy against Arianism at Nicea and after) speculated that unfallen humans might have experienced something like a peaceful death in order to transition from earthly to heavenly existence. Although Calvin elsewhere supported a “no animal death before the fall”-type position, in his commentary on Genesis he argues that the giving of plants to animals for food does not rule out predation. Those are just two examples of theologians who definitely were not influenced by geological discoveries from the late 1600’s or after. “No death before the fall” is strongly promoted by many young-earth advocates because it’s difficult to reconcile with an old earth; however, as already discussed, it is also hard to reconcile with common sense.
Cell death also occurs in the process of normal embryonic development. For example, hands start out more paddle-like and then the cells between the fingers die. Most plants use dead cells for their water transport. Wood is mostly made of dead cells.
I believe that most young-earth advocates who have thought about such things would say that it’s no death of whole animals before the fall, rather than no individual cells dying. I know that at least one creation science organization has claimed that “no death before the fall” applies only to advanced mammals. That avoids the problem that elephants would have trouble avoiding stepping on or eating the occasional tiny insect. However, it is not based on the Bible, as neither “mammal” nor “advanced mammal” were categories recognized by the ancient Hebrews.
If I tell you “Don’t do that or you’ll ronfle!”, that doesn’t make sense. Likewise, the warning “you shall surely die” needs to be comprehensible - Adam and Eve need to have some concept of what “die” means. The Bible is much more concerned throughout with spiritual death than with physical death. Adam and Eve did not keel over upon eating the fruit, but they were in a state of sin and in need of salvation. Such considerations also support the idea that claims that there was no physical death before the Fall are probably incorrect.
One day when after I’d graduated but was still involved with campus ministry I dropped into the old science study room where our informal intelligent design club had hung out, and encountered a vigorous argument over how big the Garden if Eden (assuming it was real) would have been. The largest area proposed was about fifty thousand square kilometers – at least the largest where any remotely scientific argument was being put forth; there was a YEC guy who insisted that the Garden covered the entirety of Mesopotamia whom no one was paying any attention to because his only arguments were from Bible quotes.
I threw out a proposal just to stir things up, that there were two sizes, one the “personal area” where Adam and Eve lived and hung out with God, and the other the “demonstration area” that God had organized to illustrate what taking care of the Earth might look like.