Sin and Death "before" the Fall-the one area that prevents me to believe in "millions of years

Thank you for your reply.

Interesting. First I’ve heard of “millions of years of evolution” AFTER the fall. Explain further please

Dear Randy,
I explained this timeline in my post in separate thread.

I can see conceptually what you are getting at, I think. This idea of the “fall” can encompass not only mankind, but also in the entire cosmos and its physical and chemical laws.

One point where I see a difficulty in your line of reasoning, if you are suggesting there was no organic death in the garden, how does the nutrition situation work for Adam and Eve? They were eating from the garden, which would normally mean physical death of a plant, and then the breakdown of its components in digestion for use in the body.

Not that digestion is an important theme in Genesis, but I hope you can appreciate the thought experiment as it relates to this idea of “death.”

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Convince me there would be no death on the earth before sin actually convince me you understand the concept of life. Did your God create it?

I too had a very negative reaction to that “convince me” spiel.

But what if he simply asked this as a question like this…

Could there be death and destruction, on the earth, before sin?

Yes. Death (and destruction) is a part of life. It is part of how our body works. Cells die (destroyed by all kinds of interactions with the environment) and they get replaced by cells which divide and reproduce. Clearly there was eating things before sin, so all things we ate died as well. It is simply a fact of everyday life that death and destruction is everywhere around us and inside of us. Evolution simply teaches us something which is a perfectly logical extension of this fact, that without death there would no life because it is part of how life developed in the first place.

So marvin’s challenge is right on the money… you cannot convince us there would be no death on the earth before sin unless there was no life at all before sin… but that doesn’t make any sense because how could we sin when we were not even alive?

As for the 13.8 billions of years which the universe existed, and the 4.5 billion years that the earth and sun existed are all a matter of increasingly precise measurements of the physical data. The existence of death and sin has absolutely nothing to do with it.

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hi
thank you for your reply. You assumptions of course are already set and based in multiple changes in species evolving, dying, changing, etc. Mine is recent creation of Man, “and God breathed life” into “him”, a person, a man. So, yes Marvin (my name too!), God created man, to me. No mater how much I read, i cannot add the need for decent when its just so simple to believe in a supreme being.

It seems to me it is a choice between reading the Bible as a magical fantasy fairy tale comic book or reading the Bible has having something to say about real life. In magical fantasy fairy tale comic books life is just characters and pictures on a piece of paper and death need not have anything to do with them. But in real life, as I have explained, death is a part of what we (and all living things) are, inside and out and thus the idea that there would have to be sin before death is ludicrous and absurd. I have plenty of fantasy books, fairy tales, novels about magic, and my children have comic books (manga), and they are great fun and entertainment. But I think the Bible is more than just another one of these.

Furthermore, the Bible is quite clear that there is more than one kind of life and death, such as in Luke 9:60 when Jesus says “let the dead bury their own dead.” So the claim that the Bible says all death comes after sin is on very shaky ground. God said that on the day Adam or Eve ate of the fruit they would die. So unless God was speaking of a different kind of death then He lied as Satan claimed. So… which do you believe God or the devil? Because it is the devil who said that they would not die from eating the fruit while God said that they would. Me? I believe God. They did die on that day but of the same kind of death that Jesus spoke of in Luke 9:60, a spiritual death which comes with a separation from God.

But what then of the promise of resurrection we have with Jesus? What kind of death is undone by the cross? Well… to what kind of body are we resurrected? Paul answers that question in 1 Cor 15, saying it is a bodily resurrection to a spiritual body not a natural/physical body. This shows that the death of the perishable physical/natural body isn’t a result of sin at all but a part of nature, and the death undone by the cross is the same spiritual death which came to Adam and Eve on the day they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

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I deliberately asked if you believe in a God that created life, not man. Those who believe in a God that created life by definition believe in a dead God. Those who realise that he gave us a life beyond the physical replication part of it come a bit closer to the understanding of life beyond the materialistic one. My metaphysical description is “the ability to move matter and energy by will”

@Randy_Mueller Greetings Randy. I would like to suggest a different approach to your very good question. Admittedly, it’s outside the box and may not be comfortable for you, but I hope that you’ll consider it. Think about this exchange in John:

John 3:4 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

Very often, we focus upon the literal and miss the intent. Jesus, of course, was speaking of a need for all mankind to go through a spiritual rebirth. Nicodemus focused upon the literal meaning, but missed the intent.

When we look at the story of Adam and Eve, beyond the literal words, to the true meaning of the story, what do we see? We see a story of two people, created by God, untouched by the world outside, raised in a paradise, in daily fellowship with God, and only being subject to one rule. Given these idyllic conditions, will they sin? Of course. The point is that man, given free will by God, will sin. Every time.

People will respond, “But the Bible says that sin entered through one man…” Of course it does. But, again, what is the point of this? That every man will sin. If Adam did not sin (impossible) would I have sinned? Of course. We all would and do.

To dig to deeply into the granularity of this story can cause one to miss the point, as with Nicodemus. The point of the story is not that there was no death, or even no sin, but that man, God’s greatest creation, would always have a struggle with sin because of the free will granted by God. Because of this, we have a need for salvation, and God provided the second Adam as the antidote for the sins of the first.

For me, understanding the story in this way (based upon the point of the story vs. the literal narrative) puts the focus squarely where it should be, on me and my sin, and keeps me centered upon what’s really important about this story and in my life. I hope that helps.

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Dear Michael,
And many very often forget the literal when it is too unconformable to believe. Nicodemus understood the requirements that Jesus taught for redemption (Matt 5:44–48 and 5:21-26), but was an old man. How could this old Pharisee change his ways in the few years he had left? So, yes, his spirit had to reenter the womb, into a new life where he could repay his debts and learn to love his enemies as Jesus taught.
Best Wishes, Shawn

This doesn’t address sin before the fall, but it does address animal death before the fall – it has to do with why God created this universe in the first place:

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@Randy_Mueller Here’s a good resource on the topic:

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Well, Shawn, I do sincerely hope your spirit reentered your mother’s womb and you repaid your debts. Best Regards, Mike

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NO! There is a huge difference between physical life and spiritual life, and an even bigger difference between God and living things. God created physical life and since God is spirit, physical life has nothing whatsoever to do with Him. And even acknowledging this difference between spirit and physical, describing God as alive is not quite correct either – the correct description is life-giving. God is a life-giving spirit. There is a huge difference.

description of what?

Hurricanes?
Rock slides?
Stars?

ah… “will” the word in which you hide everything to make it all magical… hmmm…

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No, not yet!

Well, keep us posted! :slight_smile:

I would have hoped you can follow my thinking that it is my definition for “life”.

you contradict yourself within a sentence.
Tell me, if I create a computer virus, does it have nothing to do with me? If I build a Robot that can self replicate…?

Will is a property of a mind, you make it sound as if you are afraid of something, trying to ridicule it as magic.

In the sense that it has nothing to do with how your body or mind works, no, it has nothing to do with you. For example, it would be nonsensical to ask if the maker of a virus is a trojan or a worm, because the maker is not a computer virus.

Just because we have a word for something which we can insert into sentences doesn’t mean it actually exists out there as some kind of part or attachment to a thing. And just because something has a property doesn’t mean that is the only thing with that property.

My point was that I don’t think you actually explained anything. In fact, according to your added explanations, you are basically saying that only things with a mind are alive, which I certainly do not agree with. However, this definition of yours has some similarities to my own claim that the key nature of life is doing things for its own reasons (with no implications of a mind in my use of this word reasons, but rather with having to look for the explanations within rather than just the environment). This is not sufficient for a definition of life though because the same can be said of non-living phenomena.

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Ever considered that the maker has a higher complexity than what he makes?
What the virus has to do with me is that it executes my will.

My point was indeed that only those things with a will of their own are independent lives. Anything that fulfills the instructions of others are not their independent lives but part of the life of the ones who’s instructions they execute. You can construct machines that are capable of replication and self repairing and maintain homeostasis grow…

this is exactly my point that there are no “non-living phenomena” unless you deny the existence of a transcendent God that transcends all reality.

Laura’s comment (the first in the thread) had a good point which is often overlooked and generally not talked about. It should “convince you”.
When you have a finite resource, like the Earth’s, 2 systems of creation work:

  1. A static system where everything is created at once and there is no births or deaths.
  2. A dynamic system where there is births and deaths.

System 1 is like how the angels were created (not on Earth I know).
System 2 is like how animals, including humans, were created.

System 2 Comments:

  • Without death, God’s command to “go forth and multiply” would have created exponential growth, the ecosystem would have gone into crisis and everything would have starved. This method of creation doesn’t add up and should convince you death was needed.
  • With vaccinations, better sanitation and improved health care humanity has significantly reduced deaths before people have the chance to procreate which has resulted in exponential growth and the global population growing from 1 billion to 7.7 billion in around 200 years. This has similar results to the “go forth and multiply” command without deaths, but nowhere near as severe. This reductions in young deaths is to be celebrated but also raises the importance of birth control. I know this second point is not directly related, but I mention it due to its importance.

So, there are 2 systems of creation and God has now used both of them, one with the heavenly creatures and one with the earthly creatures. It is a trade-off. We have the celebration of new life and the variety that evolution brings - the angels can’t experience these in their domain. The heavenly creatures don’t experience the pain of death - we do.

Here is something else which is amazing about evolution and should be celebrated. It creates vastly different animal worlds depending on when in time you look. On the hot Pangea supercontinent you had dinosaurs, in the ice age world you had giant hairy mammals, and these are just 2 of the worlds you can explore through geology and the fossil record. I love exploring these ancient worlds as well as our current one.

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Welcome back
To experience the pain of death requires you to be a fallen being, wanting to exist under your own authority. If you are free of sin you do not suffer death because you exist not for yourself. Blessed are those who can still sing to God when they are put to death by other humans who are afraid of the authority of God because it would crush their empires.
It is a common mistake that people confuse death with an act of God’s punishment of humans. He does not say “If you eat from that tree I will kill you for your disobedience” but warns Adam and Eve of the logical consequence of their action of separating themselves from God that is the life everlasting. He gives us the chance to eat from the tree of life in Jesus, by giving up himself, like any loving father would do to let his children come back to him.