Was there death before the Fall?

You keep using evil nature as if it’s a specific process like a young earth creationist. It’s all evolutionary byproducts.

Take some of the sins that bother us the most.

Murder. Animals killing animals happens all day everyday. Even some plants and fungi kills animals. Emotions are also seen in a wide range of animals. If I find a stray dog and I’m mean to it , that dog will potentially attack me. If I jump into a lions den I potentially be eaten. If I go up to strangers and harass them and threaten them I may come across someone who kills me. There are a few main murders we see within our species against itself.

  1. Over resources. We routinely see this. Someone robs a house and kills them for their resources. We see similar things in animals over territories.

  2. We murder out of fear and hatred. Anger is normal. Even bees warn you when they think you are a threat. Cats hiss at things they don’t like. Anger is not evil. But we can sin in our anger. We can choose to jab a spear through our brother because of not being as favored by God as him. But that does not mean our anger was “created” as a way to murder innocent people.

Rape. Sex is normal. Seeing others you are attracted to is normal. Being attracted to someone that’s not attracted to you is normal. As we evolved, we have learned to look beyond our instincts and biological drives such as procreation. As Christians, most of us has a standard that sex is reserved for marriage. As a species we tend to all agree that forcing yourself on another is evil. So just because sex and romance is normal drives in our species does not mean they were created so that we force ourselves on others.

So let’s try this. Pick one specific sin and let’s see if that sin is the drive of creation, or a byproduct of free will able
To abuse it.

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So… you are making a strawman of Christianity the same way creationists make a strawman of evolution.

The majority of Christianity accepts evolution. So your understanding of Christianity is apparently on par with the creationists understanding of evolution.

Are you really? Creationists say the same thing of evolution but what they say about evolution shows no effort to understand. How are you any different?

No need. They already did this without my help. They were divided already and the practice of sacrifice was already in decline at the time of Jesus.

Yes. Real people not golems animated by necromancy.

Yes. Self destructive habits.

No. These are learned, imitating the bad habits of others. Regard for other people is also learned, of course.

For example, it is perfectly natural, moral, and correct that infants are completely selfish. You only need regard for others when you gain the power to affect the well being of others.

I do believe Adam and Eve were real people, though plenty of others who adhere to EC don’t believe that – and I realize there is a lot of symbolism in the story. I think the story demonstrates how sin separates humans from fellowship with God, so it helps to explain why people need a savior in Jesus.

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I don’t have a big problem because the Bible is not 100% consistent and even if it was, we could never translate it or even interpret it perfectly. We all never know with certainty all the things God does or does not agree with. Inerrany is irrelevant. The point of scripture and the only real clear statement on it in the Bible is that it makes us wise for salvation and equips us to do good works. Jesus summed up all the rules and laws as did the Old Testament: do unto others as you would have them to do you. I honestly don’t need much else. We like to over complicate things. I use this principle in conjunction with attempting to listen to the Holy Spirit as I read scripture. An infallible list of approved vs disapproved behaviors is meaningless to me.

If you are looking for historical proof of the resurrection I cannot provide that. My beliefs are grounded in personal experience while reading Christian scripture (mainly the words of Jesus).

I can only tell you based on the Gospels and Paul’s contemporary primary data (by his own autobiographical statements he co-existed with original disciples, met them, spoke with them), Jesus’ earliest followers believed he rose from the dead. Paul also clearly claims to have had a real experience with Jesus. 1 Galatians attests to this and even though Luke has 3 different variations on Paul’s story, the gist of them is confirmed by this. Paul had an experience in which he believed he encountered Jesus. They may all have had an ecstatic religious experience or strong visions, but they did not make these stories up. Paul changed his whole life based on it and there is no indication it was profitable for him. Also, If you look at crucifixion in the ancient world, Jewish thoughts and the idea that Jews lived under Roman occupation, inventing a crucified Messiah or Son of God just was not very plausible. Even Peter scoffs at Jesus in the Gospel of Mark when he tells him he was going to die. They were looking for a Messiah who would bring liberation from Roman bondage and restore Israel to its rightful place, not a rabble-rouse and flouter of convention from Galilee who told them that to live they must die, to find themselves they must lose themselves and was crucified by Rome. Suffering Servant expectations are minimal in the Old Testament. The death of Jesus was a brute fact and that belief in him only increased rapidly after his death tells me what the earliest followers of Jesus genuinely believed he rose from the dead. Historically, I can go no further than their belief. There is no historically proving a man rose from the dead 2,000 years ago based on 4 accounts, most of which if not all are literarily dependent on one of them, written 40 years after his death.

I believe Jesus was God incarnate. I’ve felt forgiveness and the love of God while reading his words. This transformative experience it what ultimately compels me to accept the story as true. On a deeper level, and this will probably seem like nonsensical wishy-washy thinking for many, but once you strip away all the fundamentalist baggage, every fiber of my being tells me the incarnation is too perfect to consider it imagined. It has to be true.



It is not a caricature from my neck of the woods.

Edited to add: pew-warmers often don’t know or subscribe to all of the ecumenical statements of their churches. I can tell you the RCC is fully open to endorsing evolution but a lot of Catholics still believe in A&E as opposed to evolution.


  • “Was there death before the Fall?”
    • I vote: “Yes”. Why? Let’s assume that you think “many Christians” believe that “spiritual death” was a “consequence of the Fall”, but that “physical death” was not a “consequence of the Fall.”
      • The notion that “physical death” was not a “consequence of the Fall” would herd said believers into at least two groups: The Spiritual-Death camp and the Physical-Death camp. IMO, it doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that “living things” are going to pile up quickly. More importantly, the Spiritual-Death Camp needs to explain why God put a “Tree of Life” in the Garden of Eden before the Fall and then kicked Adam and Eve out of the Garden to prevent them from eating its fruit.
      • Again, if living things didn’t die before the Fall and, after the Fall, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden to prevent them from eating the Tree’s fruit, what’s the use of putting the Tree in the Garden in the first place?
        • Which raises another question in my mind: If the purpose of banishing Adam and Eve was to put the Tree of Life beyond their reach, did some or all non-human living things get banished too? For what or whose sin? Adam and Eve’s? What a “petty meanie” God must be to banish mosquitos, fleas, and rats, for the sin of two humans!
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I assume that neck of the woods in the United States, which as a whole is a pretty strange country on a number of things. Yeah, I live here too.

But I believe in A&E. This is not opposed to evolution.

This probably needs unpacking since you obviously don’t mean God molded Adam from dust and then harvested one of his ribs to make Eve.

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Because you acknowledge that you’re an atheist, I’m curious. Are you–like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens–a Determinist and anti-Free Will?

Because you quote Paul, I also wonder: Are you an ex-Christian, or an atheistic dilettante specializing in Christianity or does your interest in theistic scriptures extend beyond the Bible?

Yeah… Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens… biology and philosophy with no awareness of the realities established in physics showing that physical determinism is dead. If you turn to atheists like Feynman and Hawking, who are physicists, and you find they are not determinists. To be a determinist these days you practically HAVE to believe in a spiritual side of things. Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens are simply poorly informed.

Of course, free will is another matter really. I think it is defensible but it is not an easy thing to do.

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Giving reasons why I think that according to the Bible, physical death started with the fall and why this is therefore incomparable with evolution is not a strawman

I’m here aren’t I? Maybe I could have phrased my questions better, but I am genuinely curious about how Christians reconcile their views with evolution. My approach was to make a statement and then invite criticism in the hopes I could dispel any false beliefs I hold

It just seems so strange that god would tell the Hebrews to make burnt offerings if he didn’t really think they are necessary and especially strange if god thought such actions were evil

So who were Adam and Eve then? Most evolution experts are highly skeptical that all humans today are descended from a single couple. If they weren’t the first humans and we all aren’t descended from them, what was their significance?

But all humans throughout history regardless of where they lived engage in self destructive habits. Doesn’t this suggest their origin is genetic and the result of evolution? Do you think human behaviour / morality is the result of evolution or do you only accept our bodies have evolved?

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Yes I subscribe to determinism and reject libertarian free will just like many Calvinists do.

I was brought up in a deeply religious christian family, but Christianity never made sense to me. Eventually I just accepted that I didn’t believe any of it was true

Christianity and the Bible certainty doesn’t equate eating meat with evil. Then why should burnt offerings be considered evil? Are you a vegetarian?

Adam and Eve were two homo sapiens God adopted and spoke to – giving them ideas which brought the human mind to life. “Divine breath” is the very meaning of the word "inspiration.

The genetic evidence tells us that 10,000 individuals is likely the smallest the human gene pool ever became. And that was likely between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago.

But our biological parents are often the least significant of our parents. For our genetic inheritance is not the most important inheritance we receive.

They were the first humans because our humanity is more than just a biological species and genetics. The ideas which gave birth to the human mind come to us by human communication to spread over the world much faster than biological descent.


Some aspect of human behavior and morality is evolved and a lot of it is not. A great deal of it is just some fashionable idea which became widely popular.

Indeed it is. I’m reading “Evolving in Monkey Town” right now and loving every page of it thus far. Really hits home with my former conservative ideology coming out of high school.

Yes but I meant as a package deal for them. Most pew-warmers don’t think 75% of the narrative is mythological and 25% is historical or claim to be able to decipher which is which. I’d suspect many of them would find that practice strange.


You rely on faith and feelings. Many do. Very interesting.

But we’re aren’t discussing killing where the primary purpose was for food. Instead we’re discussing the ritualized slaughter of animals as an offering to god. Why would god ask his followers to inflict pain and suffering on animals where he didn’t think it was necessary? Or do you think god doesn’t care about animal welfare? Do you think such actions are consistent with omnibenevolence?

Can you give an example of a feature that is essential to our humanity and which has no genetic basis?

Don’t you think emotions such as greed, jealousy, anger, hate etc have a genetic basis? And do you think that without these intense negative emotions, that there would be any evil in the world today? If god used evolution to give humans these negative emotions, isn’t he at least partly responsible for the evil that humans do?

Yes i agree that some are culturally acquired. But without the influence of culture, do you there are any morals that are central to the teachings of Christianity and which you think are important that they would lack?

Cool! Trivia: There are others, in addition to the Calvinists, who subscribe to determinism and reject free will. I’m a monergistic Christian, and a fan of Martin Luther, who exchanged views on free will with Erasmus. Unlike Sam Harris though, I think his claim that Luck plays a role in why he’s not vile Mr. X is ludicrous. . What is luck that all our swains commend her?

I won’t speak for others around here but in my case, reconciliation is easy/easier when I view Genesis 1 through 3 as an allegory for something like “Catastrophe Theory”. If the eventual death of humans in the Garden was not a possibility before the Fall, the placement of “the Tree of Life” in the Garden seems silly to me. There’s no need for it.

How many heterosexual couples does a 2nd-1st millennium Near Eastern author need to come up with a nonscientific version of human origins, written in a society that is resistant to the possibility that the Cosmos is infinite and eternal? That theoretical resistance would suggest to me that the author figured his story needed to start somewhere, so he picked Earth, and he figured all of humanity must have had a beginning on Earth, and two Most Recent Ancestors in Common is easier to describe than a bunch of couples spread over the known earth at the time.

In other words, I think the hypothetical skeptical evolution experts are surprisingly demanding of Genesis’ author. More so, since paleoanthropology is still trying to figure out when and where the earliest humans began to breed.

I totally accept that including the scientific details of our evolutionary origins in the bible was unnecessary considering its intended purpose and audience. However what really amazes me is that the mythological explanation of our origins in the Bible bears no resemblance to our scientific understanding. I would expect any divinely inspired creation myths to be consistent with science. Instead the bible tells us things like:

  • man was formed from dust and women from his rib
  • that all humans originated from a couple that lived in the Middle east
  • that pain during childbirth first started after the fall.
  • serpents crawl on their bellies as punishment from the Fall

Any science teacher could explain the basic concepts of our origins to 5 year olds using analogies and allegories that are both easy to understand and consistent with science. Why couldn’t god do the same?

I happen to think that a lot of things are more important than food, including helping people to overcome all types of self-destructive behavior. That is a purpose which is very much worthy of repurposing cultural traditions like animal sacrifices from the appeasement of imaginary gods. Yes it is consistent. You know, (hushed voice), I even think it is consistent with benevolence for trained people to cut into people with sharp knives in order to remove tumors and such.

Yes. words. All kinds of words for abstract concepts like justice, love, reason, logic, person, …

LOL Arms and legs are a product of evolution also and evil would be close to nonexistent without them. What has this got to do with the price beans in China? I think you are inserting some of your own premises here since these questions have NOTHING to do with what I said, as far as I can see.

I think you need to make more effort to connect this up with your question so we can expose whatever premises you are assuming in order to do this.

I don’t know. Morals has very little to do with why I believe in this stuff.

Im not sure what you mean here? Are you saying that without someone being taught these words in a language, that humans would be unable to devise a way to communicate these concepts to eachother or that they wouldnt be able to understand these concepts in the first place? I think the consensus among scientists is that the ability to speak, understand and hear language is genetic. There have been many documented cases where people who lack certain genes or have certain faulty genes also lack the ability to learn and use language like normal people do. Also monkeys can understand the concepts of fairness, reciprocation, they can solve logical puzzles, mothers will defend their young with their lives, they can empathize with the pain that other monkeys feel etc. Just imagine what they would be capable of if they had human level intelligence? I dont think they would be all that different from us in terms of moral behaviour

Your analogy isnt exactly relevant to what I said. There is a big difference between a person being unable to do something and not having the desire to do something. You’re treating them as the same. Here I’m just following the logical implications of your beliefs. Please answer the question… Do you think emotions such as greed, jealousy, anger, hate etc have a genetic basis and are the product of god-directed evolution? And do you think that without these intense negative emotions, that there would be far less (if any) evil and sin in the world today?

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