Did God Create Evil and Suffering?

One of the most appealing aspects of Young Earth Creationism is, it offers a simple, trouble-free view of God. “God made everything perfect. It was just us HUMANS who messed everything up. It’s all OUR fault.”pentagram_ nzhamstar

Reader Daniel, a Christian, asked:

“I have to say you have a very interesting take on the Bible then. If Adam and Eve were real people and did not do the original sin like you suggest then where did death and suffering come from? Surely God did not create via suffering, that would be an affront to his glory.

My reply:

“Surely God did not create via suffering, that would be an affront to his glory” is not a belief or position that is given anywhere in scripture.

If you disagree, then show me.

When Job asks God for an explanation for his own suffering, “you sinned” or “humans sinned” was never part of the answer at all.

In fact… God offers the ferocity of nature as a challenge to Job’s search for an explanation: “Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook?” (Job 41:1)

Not only that, God denounces Job’s friends for telling Job it was Job’s fault!

I  invite you to reconsider the position you have espoused, because I don’t believe you can show it’s Biblical.

Remember: Even the beautiful Garden of Eden was staffed with a vile serpent from the word go. This serpent being Lucifer, the 2nd most powerful and #1 most evil, furious and jealous creature in the cosmos (!) Yet God gave Adam and Eve no advance warning about him.

Surely Lucifer’s agenda was more dangerous overall than physical death, cancer, bacteria, earthquakes etc. And he’s right there at the beginning of the story.

Why should we think death before the fall was impossible… yet accept that the devil himself is free to roam the earth?

Compared to the wheels set in motion before modern man arrived, issues like physical death pale in comparison.

We should all consider more deeply what or how God is willing to create.

 

123 Responses

  1. Rude Cherub says:

    Again this is based on fundamental misunderstandings.

    Job also clearly indicates the sons of God sang for joy during creation, however too many fall into the mistake of thinking the sons of god are angels, when the term is never used to describe angels but always humanity, and the firstborn son of God was Jacob/Israel.

    The serpent is a type of Satan, but again Lucifer is a thing of myth, Lucifer is transliteration of the bright morning star, and this is always a divine title of Jesus, the King of Tyre is but a type of Satan who aspires to be God, and is therefore a counterfeit bright morning star.
    The serpent in the garden is a beast of the field, which we know from Jonah can possess hands and don sackcloth and ashes and repent. The Serpent walks and talks, the Serpent is a man.

    The reality is that we don’t need a young earth to lay the blame of sin on human free choice, it was always so, because we all existed before physical creation and thus did know “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
    There is no excuse because we did know and we willingly chose – actively create by choice this world.

    • David Blanchard says:

      I really enjoyed your comments and you should note that your concept that we all existed before physical creation is the truth and follows a very Mormon/LDS view point about our origins.

      • Charles Bosomworth aka Rude Cherub says:

        Then in this regard Mormonism is not against the truth. However how could this be possibly true (Rom 1:20) “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
        unless the “things that are made” did not exist from the creation of the world.

    • richard rapier says:

      that is not true. the reference of the bene elohim…sons of god is the same in the reference you gave and in job of the angels presenting themselves before god. watering down the biblical truths to your palate is blasphemous and cowardly. Let the stories speak for themselves.

      • Charles Bosomworth says:

        No, it is absolutely true. I’m sorry if the truth conflicts with the tradition of men, but the bene elohim are absolutely the sons of God – the children of God, ie Israel, whom God’s first born is Jacob.
        Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the LORD says: Israel is my firstborn son, Ex 4:22
        Angels are not sons of God, but servants of the Sons of God, how can they be both?
        Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father”? Or again, “I will be his Father, and he will be my Son”?
        Heb 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
        This is the simplest test, the assertion the sons of God are angels fails in every sense.
        Rom 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.

    • Roger Drake says:

      Rude, I advise you to abandon your false theories and myths and stick to the simple facts. Unless you are born again YOU WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life” Whether Lucifer is a myth or the serpent is a man are code words for You don’t have a clue what the truth of God’s word really is.

  2. David C. Moorman says:

    Before earth was even Created there was “war in Heaven” (Rev. 12:7) over the character and nature of God and His government. Had God tried to ‘force stop’ the problem of sin that Satan’s rebellion caused His love would forever have been questioned by the 2/3’s of the heavenly host that did not rebel.

    All the answers of God’s true nature and true character were answered at the cross when ultimate love took the punishment mankind deserved by Jesus Christ. He died the second death so no one would have to. Sadly, people make choices that will lead them to dying the second death.

    Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. “With His stripes we are healed.” – Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 25

    • richard rapier says:

      breaking the law of G-d carried the death penalty. Yeshua substituted his life for ours, But he requires that we live obedient lives before him. The woman caught in adultery was pardoned of the death penalty but was warned to cease from breaking the commandments

    • Charles Bosomworth says:

      Nope their wasn’t a war in “heaven” before creation. That’s just myth – and one that is over sold.
      Heaven in this case is the realm of spirit, which is not the highest or third heaven. ie the abode of God. It is from this second heaven where all spiritual forces play, such as lying spirits etc. It was from here that Satan fell, ie was defeated, as Jesus witnessed during his ministry. There is nothing in Revelation that places this event before creation. Sin enters by one man, Adam, any other teaching is dualistic, and deifies the devil into a anti-god – giving Satan power in and of himself, which is not the case.
      God alone is ALL power. God ceded to Adam the power to choose, from this choice arose sin and evil and evils power comes from man and man alone.

      • Roger Drake says:

        LOVE IT! THERE WAS NO WAR IN HEAVEN. WELL, CHARLES, WHEN SATAN REBELLED AGAINST GOD AND GOD THREW HIM OUT OF HEAVEN MAYBE NOT A LONG PROTRACTED BATTLE BUT SATAN WAS DEFEATED. I KNOW SO MUCH IS “MYTH” IN GOD’S WORD WHEN EDUCATED MAN CAN NOT ACCEPT THE WORDS OF THE INSPIRED TEXT IT MUST BE MYTH. IF MAN Cannot comprehend it then it must be a myth. Isn’t that one of the definitions of ignorance.

        • Charles Bosomworth says:

          Which heaven Roger?

          The Bible refers to the heavens ( plural ) and the Earth.

          There are three heavens, Paul testifies this, having visited the third heaven.
          It is the third or highest heaven where the angels behold the face of God.
          However the second heaven, the world of spirits, and the Prince of the air – is a different state.
          The first heaven is physical – the physical air, the stars and space.

          There was no war in the highest heaven. Satan is not a fallen angel of God, angels of God do not fall – ALL are ministers to the heirs of salvation.
          Angels that sin are evil spirits, and have always been evil spirits.

          • Roger Drake says:

            Charles, Double talk. You said there was no war in heaven and I was just saying Lucifer (Satan) got thrown down to the earth. Maybe it’s not called a war- who cares- it is no myth Satan and his angels got thrown out of heaven too- they fell. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It matters not which heavens were effected. It’s not myth similar to the faith based evolutionary theory. “angels of God do not fall” The word says Lucifer took one third of the angels with him- what would you call it if that was not a fall? The remaining two thirds of the angels are ministering spirits to those who are the heirs of salvation- that’s not hard to understand. Where are you getting your theology? I’d advise you to allow the Holy Spirit to teach you what the truth is and not your local “biblical scholar”

            • Charles Bosomworth says:

              Not double talk. First up God is everywhere, even in Hell. (Ps 139:8) So all things are in God’s presence. However not all things behold God’s face ie abide with him.
              The adversary fell from the spiritual realm ie the second heaven, not from the abode of God, Paradise, the highest heaven.
              The myth is that this second heaven is the same heaven as where the Angels of God see God’s face, where Paul visited. ie some these Angels of God rebelled.

              The problem is the myth that angel always refers to an angel of God. That Satan was an Angel of God, that Satan’s Angels were once Angels of God.
              That God is so careless and so impotent, that such a rebellion of his own took place.
              This is a dangerous teaching. As 2 Peter notes “2:10 Such punishment is specially reserved for those who indulge the corrupt desires of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and self-willed, these men are unafraid to slander angelic majesties. 11 Yet not even angels, though greater in strength and power, dare to bring such slanderous charges against them before the Lord.

              The slander being the Angels of God, beings who behold God’s face, of the Highest Heaven, sin.
              Such nonsense is found in the and now popular psuedegraphical “Book of Enoch”

              Angel comes from Angelos in Greek, it literally means messenger, and our English word Angel is only used when the context suggests a spiritual being from God. A literal translation would just be messenger.
              The same occurs in Hebrew, Angel again is literal messenger, ( Heb. Malak ) with the same convention applied.
              So for example we read in Acts when Peter is released by a Messenger of God from Prison, he returns and knocks on the door of the house. The reaction inside is that Peter’s ghost has visited them. However the word ghost here is Angelos, some translations read Peter’s Angel. Acts 12:15
              Point is Angel in the bible is used as a generic label for a spirit, but one with a purpose ie a messenger, and clearly angel does not always mean a spirit from God – a glorious one (doxas) although Satan may disguise himself as glorious, an angel of light – because God makes his Angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
              Satan’s messengers were Satan’s messengers, not God’s messengers. They were at war in the spiritual realm. Which is the normal state of affairs.
              Go to Daniel 10, here Daniel uses the term Prince to describe a specific kind of Angels/Messengers of the Nations that fight together in the second heaven-the-spirit-realm.
              Paul refers to this kind of conflict saying “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” Eph 6:12

              So no Angels of God do not fall. That is slander. Evil Spirits ie Angels of the Adversary did fall. Indeed Jude 1:6 says And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
              An example of such an Angel is seen in 2 Chronicles 18:21, an angel that leaves the second heaven ( its estate ) and becomes a lying spirit on Earth.
              This angel was not, nor ever was, an Angel of God. However acted with God’s permission, because God has ALL authority. Hence the Adversary had to obtain permission to assault Job.

              Again “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
              Is Satan and his Angels send to serve us a ministers? Of course not, because ALL ( Gods ) Angels are ministering spirits, not lying spirits, or tormenting or tempting spirits.

              There is no basis to read into the text that ALL angels are Ministering Spirits means Not all Angels are ministering spirits but rather only two thirds are – a third having fallen!

              I came to this understanding by reading the bible. By reading every verse via Strongs, that used Malak or Angelos. I don’t rely on anyone for theology but the Spirit of God – beginning when my gut – the pit of my back, shuddered at the notion that God’s holy Angels fell.

              • Roger Drake says:

                Charles, relax, what is your problem? There was a time when Lucifer, the son of the morning was cast out of heaven . and he took angels with him. This happened when pride came up in his mind that he would exalt his thrown above the thrown of God. Is 14:12-. There! that is the fact of the matter. Jude 1 says it all. Why are you arguing with yourself??There is no place where it says God lives in the second heaven. What is you’re point in all of your blithering. God is in control and you are not! AND YOU DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING. Day by day we listen to the spirit of God and learn from him. We grow by grace and listening and reading the word. James tells us to avoid arguments and confusing discussions. Your point means nothing so chill. Have a nice day.

                • Stop your rudeness Roger or you will be banned immediately. Final warning.

                • Charles Bosomworth says:

                  Roger I do take issue with slandering Angelic Dignitaries.

                  “Lucifer” is part of this same mythology. The KJV translators erred in not translating the word hê·lêl literally as “morning star”. Further this is a properly a title of the Christ/Messiah, and not the Adversary.
                  “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16
                  However Satan does counterfeit the appearance of God. Which was the fundamental quality of pagan religion, where men tried to be as Christ. Man as God. This is the sin of Eden. Where in Egypt and Rome the Pharaoh and Emperor were proclaimed to be gods to be worshipped.
                  Thus the King of Babylon or Tyre is a “type of Satan”, an adversary to Gpd, who presumes to counterfeit – to be God.

                  The myth continues thus, that the bible describes the fall of a true Heavenly Dignitary, as opposed to a counterfeit god/king/man – is just that, a myth and one that serves the Zoroastrian idea of dualism.

                  You say God does not live in the second heaven!
                  “But, is it true? — God dwelleth on the earth! lo, the heavens, and the heavens of the heavens do not contain Thee, how much less this house which I have builded! 1 Kings 8:27

                  God who is Spirit, is not contained by the three heavens, any more than His Spirit was contained by the body of the man belonging to Jesus.
                  If you think God is remote from his creation, then again you are blinded by myth. God is intimate with his creation.
                  Isaiah 66:1
                  Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?

                  God is revealed fully in the Highest heaven, ie his face is seen, however God lives that is to say exists fully and without limit, everywhere. Even in hell.
                  PS 139
                  7Where can I go from Your Spirit?
                  Or where can I flee from Your presence?
                  8If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
                  If I make my bed in Hell (Sheol, the grave), behold, You are there.
                  9If I take the wings of the dawn,
                  If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
                  10Even there Your hand will lead me,
                  And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

                  Indeed Acts 17: 28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’

                  Further – Jer 23:23 Am I a God at hand, says the LORD, and not a God afar off?
                  24 Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill the heavens and earth? saith the LORD.

                  God fills the heavens and the earth. So God is as much in the second heaven, as God is absolutely and completely everywhere else.

                  Eph_4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

                  I certainly do not know everything, but I know enough by God’s grace, not to slander angelic majesties, and that everything, spiritual and physical, is contained within the person of God.

                  What is good comes from God.
                  What is evil comes from Man through sin. Job 14:4 Who giveth a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
                  Jas 1:15 afterward the desire having conceived, doth give birth to sin, and the sin having been perfected, doth bring forth death.

                  What I find confusing is that you cling to myth rather than what the bible describes clearly.
                  I don’t know what you mean in regard to James. I do know however Paul tells Titus
                  13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sternly, so that they will be sound in the faith, 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of men who have rejected the truth.

  3. Edward Tigchelaar says:

    In the creation story “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”. (Genesis 1:31). If God called it “very good” it means “perfect” and sin had not entered into his creation. It was through the disobedience of both Adam and Eve that sin and suffering entered into a perfect creation.

    • Good is not perfect. Check any dictionary.

      • Jonathan says:

        Ummm have you checked a dictionary?
        Good=that which is morally right; righteousness
        Good in thay context is used as an absolute term, not like how it’s used these days as a term to describe our opinion of something as say a 6-8 on a scale of 1-10.

      • David C. Moorman says:

        It is certain the word ‘towb’ doesn’t mean perfect, yet in terms of referring to a perfect, infinite Creator the inference that His law is perfect it seems odd that someone would challenge the notion of what God felt about His work of His own hands.

        The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD [is] sure, making wise the simple. – Psalm 19:7 KJV

        So again, if David says His law is perfect we might simply infer our Great Creator God of the Universe was simply being modest of His own assessment of His work.

        • Strictly speaking the mosaic law was not perfect either. Jesus made new pronouncements about marriage for example and the book of Hebrews is all about the inadequacies of the law.

          This is no small point. The Kingdom itself is about progressive improvement from an imperfect state.

          • David C. Moorman says:

            The Law needed to be fulfilled in Christ and perfectly explained. The Ten Commandments and the Mosaic law were designed for true believers to ask “why” not to follow with blind obedience.

            Remember the best “law keepers” of the law managed to hang Christ on a tree.

          • Roger Drake says:

            Perry, You’re straining at a gnat again. Whether Adam was able to control his tongue was not important. You’re jumping to conclusions. This thread, unless I missed it, was not referring to the Mosaic law. Ps 19 is not referring to the Mosaic law either. Let’s remember God (Jesus) does not change Heb 13″8. What is the kingdom of God Perry? The only progression there is that God is working on us daily so we can conform more to the kingdom of God and the image of Christ. Conform to the perfect law of liberty.

            • I believe the original question was, when God said it was “good” in Genesis 1:31, did he mean “perfect”? I’m not seeing a good case for perfect.

              • Roger Drake says:

                Perry I think you are the one who must define the word “perfect” Was everything designed originally to work perfectly forever? It was good. If it wasn’t designed good and some day was going to break down then I would have to say God is not really God but something else.

                • Is it my job to define your term?

                  “Perfect” is not in the Biblical vocabulary that describes creation before the fall. Perfect is a YEC word. The Biblical text says “good”.

                  Look at every single instance of Genesis 1:31 across all these translations:

                  http://biblehub.com/genesis/1-31.htm

                  None of them say “perfect.” They *all* say “good.”

                  What does the Hebrew say?

                  https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H2896&t=KJV

                  “towb”

                  good, pleasant, agreeable

                  pleasant, agreeable (to the senses)

                  pleasant (to the higher nature)

                  good, excellent (of its kind)

                  good, rich, valuable in estimation

                  good, appropriate, becoming

                  better (comparative)

                  glad, happy, prosperous (of man’s sensuous nature)

                  good understanding (of man’s intellectual nature)

                  good, kind, benign

                  good, right (ethical)
                  n m

                  a good thing, benefit, welfare

                  welfare, prosperity, happiness

                  good things (collective)

                  good, benefit

                  moral good
                  n f

                  welfare, benefit, good things

                  welfare, prosperity, happiness

                  good things (collective)

                  bounty

                  The idea of perfect is not found in Genesis 1, or anywhere.

                  I respectfully observe that YECs have inserted their own extrabiblical interpretation and are changing the meaning of the Biblical text. Thus preventing them from accepting truths that plain, common-sense observation easily teaches us.

                  There was no “perfect” earth. There was a good earth with a savage enemy poised to pounce from the very start.

                  That is what the Bible teaches us.

                  To answer your question, no, everything was not designed originally to work perfectly forever. If you think God doesn’t have the right or capacity to make finite things with finite lifespans, I also respectfully submit to you that you did not get this idea in scripture, and in fact you are teaching the opposite of what we find in scripture.

                  Please support your assertion that God can only make things that last forever with scripture.

                  This is not just polemics. I am quite serious about this. I believe YEC is making a serious exegetical error – which is can be proven wrong with basic facts that anyone can understand. This has dramatically undercut the credibility of Christianity among educated people. I expect YECs to define their terms, defend their assertions, and come forward with scripture that backs their views.

                  • Roger Drake says:

                    polemic, a good, maybe perfect word Perry. So when the challenge goes out someone who is pettyfogging on some obtuse point will always be brought back to reality in love of course. I meant no disrespect to the 14 paragraph brother
                    Hugh Ross is another one that strains at the gnat. He fails to see other alternatives to creation than just his highly restrictive view of how creation took place not based on the Bible. It is perfectly logical that the universe could appear to be very old and yet only created very recently. Consider the garden and Adam, all created with age built in. I don’t know how God did it but it is fact not myth.
                    It is a serious logical flaw to assume an “educated” person knows more than any spirit filled person who listens to the God of the bible. My God is much bigger than all the simple minds who must have their evolutionary religious theories. Remember, God is above our ways and our understanding. And he takes the simple things to confound the “wise” or those who call themselves wise. Perfect is found all over in the Bible (II Sam 22:31,33. Complete, full without blemish, He makes my way perfect. Good is similar, beautiful, best, cheerful most pleasant. I was simply commenting on the confusion this other “good” commenter was engaged in. Perry “everything was not designed originally to last forever” is pure speculation. You certainly don’t know that.
                    There is much thought that the glorified body was designed to last forever and many believe Adam originally had some type of a glorified body but he sinned. Consider respectfully also that Elijah and Enoch are today more than 2500 years old and they are still alive (in heaven- oh my did I step in it again) with no glorified body. Neither does the YEC know how it all happened but we suggest God did it and it was very good. “there was no perfect earth” Again speculation. God created them before the curse, the fall. You do not know what the original earth really was. The YEC have a very valid opinion how it could have happened. What do the evolutionist have?? Faith, religion and theory! “One Christian evolutionist (phD) said about the 6 day creation- it could not have taken only 6 days- it must have been longer! I guess, if your God is not much bigger than yourself than yes it would have taken many millions of years. Well, I present my 14 paragraphs so I can be intellectual like my 14 paragraph brother.

      • Bart Nielsen says:

        I would like to suggest that perhaps an English dictionary is not the best way to determine the precise meaning of Hebrew words. Especially when it is not just “towb,” but “meod towb.”

        When you place Gen. 1:31 in the context of Gen. 1:29-30 that immediately precedes it, it is clear that both animals and people were vegetarian before the Fall, which would naturally follow if there was no death before the Fall.

        I think the onus is on you to exegete death, suffering, depredation, tumors, starvation and 90% extinction rates from that which God calls “very good,” rather than just make a bald assertion that good does not equal perfect.

        Francis Schaeffer on Gen. 1:31: “Verse 31 sums up the whole of God’s judgment . . . . This is not a relative judgment, but a judgment of the holy God who has a character and whose character is the law of the universe. His conclusion: Every step and every sphere of creation, and the whole thing put together—man himself and his total environment, the heavens and the earth—conforms to myself. Everything at each of the various levels of creation fulfills the purpose of its creation. . . . Thus we find a doxology in all of creation—everything glorifying to God on its own level. . . . Each thing stands in proper relationship to God and speaks of what God is. And because each thing is functioning in the total context of what God is (God’s being there as the Creator) and because each is functioning perfectly on the level for which it was made, all things are fulfilled on their own level—the machine, the animal, and man himself.”

        C.F. Keil on Gen. 1:31 “God saw His work, and behold it was all very good; i.e., everything perfect in its kind, so that every creature might reach the goal appointed by the Creator, and accomplish the purpose of its existence. By the application of the term “good” to everything that God made, and the repetition of the word “very” at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted that the six days’ work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, which had already forced its way into it.”

        I think it is a tenuous proposition to equate God’s creative work with suffering, death, millions of years of evolutionary dead ends and all sorts of disease. I Cor. 15:26 refers to death as an enemy. Is God really telling us that His creative process is an enemy?

        If death really is God’s creative act, why do we always experience it as something to be feared, sorrowed over and unwelcome?

        • Strongs commentary from the BlueLetterBible.org interlinear:

          good, pleasant, agreeable

          pleasant, agreeable (to the senses)

          pleasant (to the higher nature)

          good, excellent (of its kind)

          good, rich, valuable in estimation

          good, appropriate, becoming

          better (comparative)

          glad, happy, prosperous (of man’s sensuous nature)

          good understanding (of man’s intellectual nature)

          good, kind, benign

          good, right (ethical)
          n m

          a good thing, benefit, welfare

          welfare, prosperity, happiness

          good things (collective)

          good, benefit

          moral good
          n f

          welfare, benefit, good things

          welfare, prosperity, happiness

          good things (collective)

          bounty

          Strong’s Definitions [?](Strong’s Definitions Legend)
          טוֹב ṭôwb, tobe; from H2895; good (as an adjective) in the widest sense; used likewise as a noun, both in the masculine and the feminine, the singular and the plural (good, a good or good thing, a good man or woman; the good, goods or good things, good men or women), also as an adverb (well):—beautiful, best, better, bountiful, cheerful, at ease, × fair (word), (be in) favour, fine, glad, good (deed, -lier, -liest, -ly, -ness, -s), graciously, joyful, kindly, kindness, liketh (best), loving, merry, × most, pleasant, pleaseth, pleasure, precious, prosperity, ready, sweet, wealth, welfare, (be) well(-favoured).

          Death is not God’s creative act. You are confusing my position with Darwinism, where death is given credit for everything good. Death only destroys. The creativity of nature rises up against suffering, but it takes the kingdom of God to defeat it.

          • Bart Nielsen says:

            It remains in clear I Cor. 15:26 that death is an enemy. And the context makes clear that the form of death especially in view is physical death. In any model that calls for 4.5 billion years of earth history with life existing for 3.7 billion years, death is an integral part of the picture. How do you separate death from God’s creative acts in your model?

            • Is birth the same as death, or different?

              Is creation the same as destruction, or different?

              • Bart Nielsen says:

                No and no.

                The verses immediately preceding God’s pronouncement of His creation as “very good” make clear that the diet of both man and beast was vegetarian.

                • Bart,

                  If that logic is valid, then we would also have to conclude that no creature ate anything before humans were created, because by that way of thinking they didn’t have any food until God gave it to them in verse 29.

                  That does not make sense to me.

                  A broader way of reading it is that plants are the root of the food chain, green plants are the lifeline of nutrition on earth and all creatures benefit from green plants – which we know to be true on many levels.

            • Rude Cherub says:

              Very good in this context means perfect in the sense creation was fit for purpose, and in the physical world, physical death is fit for purpose, ergo good.
              Christ was not cursed for dying, but cursed for being hung on a tree, physical death is not the issue, if it were physical death, then faith is vain for all who have fallen asleep, the key phrase being Christ used sleep, ie altered consciousness, to describe physical death for the believer, while describing the physically living who did not believe as dead.

              Christ’s Kingdom is not of this world – victory over death on the cross hasn’t stopped physical death, it was always a victory over the spiritual death of the soul, for the soul than sins dies, ie endures a second death enabling us to die once in baptism in Christ, and be raised to new life.

              We know the death Paul speaks of is not physical death, because he frames it thus 1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
              The enemy is not physical death, but spiritual death, the second death, ie death of the soul.
              Soul death comes from sin – which is absent from creation until we choose to sin.

              This mistake is as old as the Disciples who looked to Christ to win a physical kingdom even as he was to Ascend. But the Kingdom of God is not of this world. Physical death is not the undefeated enemy, Christ could awaken a sleeper eg Lazarus with a word, rather it is the spiritual death of the soul – the just consequence of sin, and will remain until all things are one in Christ – which is the end of time.

              • “This mistake is as old as the Disciples who looked to Christ to win a physical kingdom even as he was to Ascend. But the Kingdom of God is not of this world.” –BRAVO.

              • Bart Nielsen says:

                That’s all wonderful except that I Cor. 15 is talking about death in all forms, and most emphatically physical death. Christ’s victory over death most certainly included physical death. That is why He was physically resurrected in the same body in which He had lived. Just as I Cor. 15 makes clear that our resurrection will be physical and our life eternal in that body.

                • Bart,

                  1 Corinthians 15 is not talking about animal death at all, and it’s clearly also not talking about immorality in this life here right now either. So you can’t use 1 Corinthians 15 as an argument that there’s no death before the fall. In fact verse 40

                  “But the beauty of the heavenly bodies is one kind. The beauty of the earthly bodies is another kind.”

                  reinforces the impression that immorality does not exist on earth as we know it now, and never has. And look at this:

                  46 The spiritual man did not come first. It was the physical man who came first; then came the spiritual. 47 The first man came from the dust of the earth. The second man came from heaven. 48 People belong to the earth. They are like the first man of earth. But those people who belong to heaven are like the man of heaven. 49 We were made like the man of earth. So we will also be made like the man of heaven.

                  (Please re-read that, these verses make a subtle and important point.)

                  The only place the Bible ever speaks of immortality on earth is in reference to the Tree of Life – which was never eaten from and then became impossible after Adam and Eve were banished from the garden.

                  There is no scriptural support for any kind of immortality in this present tense. These verses reinforce it:

                  50 I tell you this, brothers: Flesh and blood cannot have a part in the kingdom of God. A thing that will ruin cannot have a part in something that never ruins.

                  The Young Earth Creation tradition of earth being a perfect paradise where animals and humans are immortal is not supported by scripture. Neither is it supported by any kind of scientific evidence. It is only a tradition of men, a simplified and dare I say the children’s Sunday School flannelgraph board version of the story. It’s admittedly very attractive and simple. But it’s not from the Bible and it doesn’t stand up to close scrutiny.

                  Bart, I welcome disagreement. You are invited to provide evidence from the scriptures if you can find it.

                  • Bart Nielsen says:

                    Hi Perry,

                    I will accept your gracious invitation. First, let’s define some terms. That which you refer to as A Tradition of Men, a Simplified And Dare I Say The Children’s Sunday School Flannelgraph Board Version of The Story is what I would refer to as the plain sense of Scripture. Since I am always one to become endeared to creative nomenclature, and since the above designation is rather cumbersome to type out each time, shall we settle, then, upon calling my position “Flannelgraph Theology” (or simply “FT” for short)? Are you OK with that? *assumes he hears assent…* Good! For the record, I also have taught children’s Sunday School for many years, and yes, have even been known to use flannelgraphs. Child Evangelism Fellowship has some particularly good ones. If all this makes me seem simplistic and foolish, I’m fine with that. I will gladly play the fool role from I Cor. 4:10.

                    The first evidence from the Scriptures that supports Flannelgraph Theology is the Scriptures themselves. One rule of hermeneutics that is fairly well agreed upon in evangelical theology is, “When the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” Six 24 hour days for creation is the plain reading of the text. It is your understanding of earth history that requires a different reading of Genesis, most emphatically not the other way around.

                    Suppose that the animals did not eat anything at all until God told Adam what everyone’s diet would be. (I am reaching back here to your 4/14 3:55 a.m. post.) OK, so they fasted for something like one to 23 hours before their first meal. Do I think they had to wait to eat what they were designed to eat until God told Adam they were to all be vegetarian? No, but if that is the only possible interpretation of the verses at hand, it certainly isn’t impossible.

                    Now on to I Cor. 15. I would like to suggest that when seeking the meaning of the text if you know Greek, then consult the original text. If you don’t know Greek, then use a translation that most closely approximates the original Greek. In English, that would be the New American Standard Version. Now let’s look again at those verses and add in the surrounding context:

                    42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown [l]a perishable body, it is raised [m]an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

                    50 Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

                    Clearly this is talking about the first man, Adam (for so he is named) and Christ. Clearly physical death is under discussion here. Spiritual death is as well, but not to the exclusion of physical death. Animal death is not addressed one way or the other in this passage (BTW a claim that I never made).

                    Now if I can give a name to your theology, would you accept “Scientific Sublime” (SS for short)? For indeed your theology is informed by your understanding of the natural world, which you are confident is wholly supported by solid science; and indeed some of the interpretations you give to Scripture are sublime.

                    Here is an example of SS theology: Gen. 1:29-30 really just means that photosynthetic plants are at the bottom of the food chain (I paraphrase your words). OK, says the FT guy to the SS guy. What then do you make of Gen. 9:3-4:
                    “3 Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4 Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”
                    The FT guy says, hmm, before the Flood we were vegetarian. After the Flood we now eat meat.

                    Next question for the SS method. At what point does the Bible begin to give straightforward, factually history? Is the resurrection of Jesus in the physical body in which He lived a factual, historical event, or an allegory?

                    If you answered historical, then where is the cut-off in the Old Testament where we are talking about real people and real events? How do you support your position from the Scripture?

                    Thank you for considering my thoughts about your thoughts.

                    • Six 24 hour days is not the plain reading of the text, because “there was evening and morning, a ___ day” is repeated throughout, even though the sun and moon do not appear until day 4.

                      The standard YEC interpretation has many internal hermeneutic problems all by itself, before even considering science. Like the fact that Genesis 2:4 uses the word day to refer to all the days:

                      “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens”

                      “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown [l]a perishable body, it is raised [m]an imperishable body”

                      The human body as we know it was always perishable.

                      The 2nd Adam was given a resurrected body. Even the perfect lamb of God had a perishable body.

                      Does this not also reinforce my “SS” view?

                      Are you willing to defend the assertion that everyone on earth was vegetarian before Noah?

                      Genesis 1 is a straightforward factual history – told in poetry. But it’s told from a terrestrial point of view. See http://www.cosmicfingerprints.com/genesis1.

                    • Bart Nielsen says:

                      Replying to your 4/30 4:43pm comment:

                      You must not understand the meaning of the words of Scripture regarding the first three days. A day is one rotation of the earth about its axis. If the light God created on Day One was radiating from a location remote from Earth or at least was much more intense from one quadrant than another, the earth’s rotation would give an evening and a morning.

                      I can speak in one sentence of things that happened in my grandfather’s day and have myself and my hearer(s) understand that I am referring to a number of years in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the next breath I can speak of plans for the next morning and evening meaning a 24 hour day,and only the most obtuse and deliberately obfuscating individual would drag the conversation to a halt to quibble about my using the same word “day” in two different ways when the context makes the meaning clear in each case.
                      It reads like you do not believe Christ was resurrected in the same body in which He died.

                      It is not clear that no human ate meat before the Flood, for after all the earth was filled with violence and only Noah was found righteous in his generation. But very clearly anyone who was obedient to God’s commands from Adam to Noah was vegetarian. And the conditions that would have prevailed in the early post-Fall world would have made that possible.

                    • Bart,

                      How do you know that “evening and morning, one day” means a normal 24 hour day when there’s not even a sun and moon visible until “day” 4?

                  • Don Smith says:

                    “Surely God did not create via suffering, that would be an affront to his glory” is not a belief or position that is given anywhere in scripture. If you disagree, then show me.”
                    You could ask for it to be shown in reverse where God created by suffering.
                    What does good and evil ultimately mean if not the death of God and the end of everything he created? Adam’s sin resulted in the death of all the innocent, because it placed God on the cross at Calvary. The ground was cursed and God made coats of skin after the fall.
                    1 Corinthians 15 is also addressing a fallen world. There are 14 chapters before chapter 15. Chapter 15 must be read in relation and in context to them. Are the prophetic pronouncements made by Paul separate from the events of Revelation Chapter 2, do they cover the same ground:
                    Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
                    21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

                    “The Young Earth Creation tradition of earth being a perfect paradise where animals and humans are immortal is not supported by scripture. Neither is it supported by any kind of scientific evidence.
                    You would need to show that the creation had sin at the beginning of the creation. Following this kind of logic science doesn’t support eternal life. Are you arguing that the original created processes can be detected by the current state?
                    ___
                    As I understand it there was a time when sin entered:
                    Ezekiel 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
                    28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

                    Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
                    12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
                    12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

                    Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

                    There’s not even the mention that any of the fallen heaven host had ever died but would die at an appointed time:
                    Ezekiel 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
                    Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
                    While it could be provisional, and dependent upon actions like “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die”, I can’t see any Scripture that shows death before the fall of Genesis Chapter 3.

                    • “You could ask for it to be shown in reverse where God created by suffering.”

                      The death of Christ was necessary for the creative resurrection miracle to occur.

                      And we have an entire empirical world where we can all plainly see that the competition to survive keeps every creature pressing towards maximum performance.

                  • Bart Nielsen says:

                    No reply button on your May 20 2:47 pm comment,so here you go: It took you two and a half weeks to come up with that response to a thoughtful discussion?

                    The answer to your question is in the post you were responding to.

                    But you are not interested in discussion…only in ramming down your understanding of the speed of light down every one else’s throat.

                    • Bart,

                      My mother died two weeks ago today. I made an emergency trip 2 1/2 weeks ago to spend time with her before she passed. Then I had to be back for a meeting that was impossible to cancel. The day after her funeral I was on a plane to Dubai, for another trip that could not be cancelled.

                      I just got back home 48 hours ago. I made my reply to you from a hotel somewhere in the middle of the night.

                      Meanwhile I’ve got a business to run that is suffering from a lack of attention.

                      That is why it took 2 1/2 weeks. It often does, even when I don’t have things that drastic going on.

              • David C. Moorman says:

                “Physical death is not the undefeated enemy, Christ could awaken a sleeper eg Lazarus with a word, rather it is the spiritual death of the soul – the just consequence of sin, and will remain until all things are one in Christ – which is the end of time.”

                Man is created a “living soul”! We don’t have one, we are one. The Bible is clear on this and Rome took advantage of that belief and exploited that belief, pagan as it is, for moolah, scratch, ducats…

                then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

                Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. – Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV

                O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live [again]? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. – Job 14:13-15 KJV

                In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? – 1 Corinthians 15:52-55 KJV

                • Rude Cherub says:

                  The soul that sinneth dies. Ezekiel 18:20. You are confusing our spirit which comes from God and returns to God, as clearly stated in Ecclesiastes with our soul, which is mortal and subject to the second death. Spirit and soul are not the same.

        • Roger Drake says:

          Bart, you need to go back and look at the factual story again. We can agree that God’s original creation was perfect and the account also allows for the rebellion of Lucifer which caused the preadamic flood and destroyed what God had created. Rom 5:12 says by sin came death and there is no evidence that animals died before the curse. Either your theory of the age of the earth is wrong or the holy theory of evolution is wrong. There are many probable explanations why the universe looks older. Have a nice day

      • Bart Nielsen says:

        God’s very good creation can be understood in exactly the same context as Jesus being the “Good Shepherd.”

        So in Scripture that which is good can be and is perfect.

      • Bart Nielsen says:

        Jesus is the “Good Shepherd.” Good is used to describe that which is perfect in Scripture.

        • Bart Nielsen says:

          Also in James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no shadow of turning.”

          Here is another case where God’s handiwork is described as “good” and then right away also as “perfect.” Gen. 1:31 doesn’t merely describe God’s creation as “good” as each of its constituent parts were described, it describes them as “very good,” and this on the heels of a declaration of the plants of the earth being the named food source for man and beast.

          I think we ought to be able to agree at the very least that the plain reading of Gen. 1:31 implies a perfect world with no carnivory, disease or death. There obviously is disagreement here whether the plain reading is the correct reading, but it is hard to see death before the Fall being taught by the words of this verse.

          • I’m not seeing any evidence anywhere in scripture for “no death before the fall.” Where is it?

            • Bart Nielsen says:

              I’ll take your response as ceding the point that “good” and especially “very good” does not imply any defect and can be used of something that is perfect,especially when referring to God or His acts.

              As to the issue of no death before the Fall, I’m certain that I needn’t reproduce an enumeration of the many passages of Scripture that discuss death and its connection to Adam’s sin. A plain reading of these many texts link sin with death in a causal manner. These many texts do not include the adjectives “physical” or “spiritual.” If you insist upon reading these texts as always and only referring to spiritual death, then of course there is no evidence for no death before the Fall. All I can say in response is that the plain reading of Scripture unambiguously teaches that death is the result of sin: all death–no qualifiers are used to distinguish those forms of death caused by sin and those that are not. Anything else is eisegesis.

            • Bart Nielsen says:

              Speaking of “where is it? ” I replied to this and a few other comments and they don’t even show up as “your comment is awaiting moderation.” Sort of seems like you may prefer that we not have this dialogue.

            • Alex MacEachern says:

              Hi Perry.

              Read your book. Love it !

              In searching for as many answers as possible I seem to be
              coming up with more questions and mysteries than I started with.

              God created EVERYTHING. No? Does that include disease?

              I see a creation so remarkably perfect and complex and yet
              I also see devastation through cancer and many other maladies. Why so perfect then so imperfect?

              You can’t help but be discouraged.

              Yes I keep my eyes on Jesus but try to convince others.

              Alexanderm.

  4. Bart Nielsen says:

    Regarding the Garden being staffed with a serpent from the word go, the serpent does not turn up right away and there is no indication how much time elapsed between creation and Gen. 3. It appears that there was sufficient time for Adam and Eve to be accustomed to walking in the Garden with the Lord in the cool of the evening.

    • Rude Cherub says:

      Adam in the plural collective sense before day 6’s full incarnation of male and female was involved with creation, this process is reflected in his naming of the animals, as giving a name is creative and prophetic,

      • Bart Nielsen says:

        Precisely what does that mean???? At some point were humans not “fully incarnated as male and female?” Where can you show this in Scripture?

        It was “ha adam” (the man singular) who named the animals, not adam (no article meaning mankind) who named the animals.

        • Rude Cherub says:

          Well it means what is blatantly obvious. Adam ie collective mankind is created before any vegetation and animals, blatantly contradicting Genesis Chapter 1, ergo either the bible is self contradicting or describes the same from two different perspectives. For Chpt one to be true – and it is, Chapter two describes a non-physical incarnation of mankind as opposed to the physical male and female he made them, this Adam is a proto-state, evidenced by the experience of being in the presence of God, and participating with creation. Actual bodily incarnation didn’t come until male and female were created – this point brings the second chapter to the sixth day of the Genesis One narrative.
          Descent into the physical, ie knowing good and evil, ie becoming gods, as Christ testified , ye are gods, is signified by awareness of nakedness – self awareness. Until this point neither Adam or Eve were physically incarnate as we experience the state.
          Don’t be confused by the collective singular of Adam, this is an important biblical principal that many come together to be regarded as one spiritual being/force. We see this in Daniel when the collective spirits – ie Princes of the nations fight, later in the new testament we see the collective being Legion. And of course each believer is part of a greater single collective the church, the body of Christ.
          In a very real sense we were all the first man, Adam, and in a very real sense we all become the second Adam, partaking in his body and blood, even looking forward to becoming like him.

          • Bart Nielsen says:

            Genesis 2 does not do an exhaustive recapitulation of Genesis1,but rather gives a brief,not strictly chronological summary of the large scale creation event to frame the more intimate scale of man, his purpose in God’s creation,his relationship to woman,and his relationship to God.

            I would caution you that some of your later thoughts in your post trend toward Mormonism or pantheism.

            • Rude Cherub says:

              Pantheism?
              In biblical terms God is absolutely intimate with his creation, in him we live and breathe and have our being, the breathe of life is from God, and God is above all, through all, and in all believers. Indeed as David observes there is no where God’s Holy Spirit is not found, even in Sheol.

              Genesis 2 is true. Just as Ezekiel’s description of wheels within wheels is true. It is a exhaustive as intended. It clearly contradicts Genesis 1 if read in a very literal way. This either because the writer was too stupid to notice, or God is showing us something using physical terms to describe the spiritual reality.

              • Rude Cherub,

                From now on you must use your real full name on all posts.

              • Bart Nielsen says:

                In what way does Genesis 2 contradict Genesis 1? I have studied it and I do not see the contradiction.

                • Charles Bosomworth says:

                  Seriously? You haven’t read how in Chapter one God creates 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them.” on the sixth day?
                  Then in Chapter 2 5 “Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
                  Now call me picky, but in Chapter 1 God creates vegetation on day three, three “days” before he creates humanity. Yet in Chapter 2, Adam arrives before any vegetation.

                  Either this is a very dumb error, or a deliberate means of communicating truth. For Adam to have being before any life on earth means his existence was not physical as we are today.
                  The bible is clear that physical forms can be translated ie move seamlessly into spirit. Enoch, Elijah, Jesus transfigured and conversing with Elijah and Moses. Angels moving between the high heavens and earth as if on a ladder.

                  As such this Adam had both physicality while spirituality cohabiting with God, ie transcending both physical and spiritual realms. A similar state of being was experienced, albeit temporarily by the Apostle Paul who visited the third heaven.

                  • Bart Nielsen says:

                    The shrub of the field likely is a reference to weeds–the thorny things that came into prominence after the Fall. The herbs of the field are the plants that required the man to cultivate them, so Gen. 2:5 is anticipating both the intended purpose of man’s labor and the sad effects of the Curse which the man would soon visit upon Creation by his rebellion. So the answer to your false dichotomy is: neither.

                    Meanwhile your assertions of man’s preexistence place you as a standard issue Mormon. Is this your religious affiliation?

          • Bart Nielsen says:

            Wow.Just reread Rude Cherub’so post. Adam and Eve prexisted their incarnation?? And participated in creation prior to their incarnation? Could you point to any strain of Christian tradition that has ever found that in the Bible?

            When the plain reading of the Scriptures is abandoned there is no telling what sorts of error people will run after.

            • Charles Bosomworth says:

              When blind following after myths trumps reading the scriptures the ridiculous error’s people fall into would be comic if it were not tragic.

              When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Job 38:7 affirms the existence of the sons of God whilst creation was taking place.

              Adam actively participates in ongoing creation being existent before “Now no shrub had yet appeared on the eartha
              and no plant had yet sprung up” Gen 2:5, yet here without life God creates Adam (v7) more over God charges man with taking care of the “Garden”. God also permits Man the authority to name the animals, which is God’s gift of his power to man enabling freedom of choice.

              It takes a special kind of service to man-made tradition to sacrifice truth on the alter of superstition.

  5. Bart Nielsen says:

    Just wondering why some comments are demoderated and published quickly while others which contain no offensive language or insults are held, sometimes for weeks?

  6. shawn says:

    To Mention Job as any example doesn’t make sense since he lived after the fall when death, sin, & suffering had already happened & he wan’t asking about it’s existence, as I understand it, but his own. Also to say Satan was there from the word go is an assumption that he fell from grace before the sin of Adam & Eve but since God called all he had created Good it is viewed that Satan fell after Adam & Eve’s creation. I think the idea of suffering during this time need to be explained better & what I mean is was there the ability to fill pain? I believe so pain is necessary to know when one is straining the body & therefore helpful but to say God is at fault & created evil because suffering is possible is silly. people suffer due to the action of themselves or others but in the beginning God provided everything & told Adam & Eve to subdue & have dominion over everything. He told them not to eat from the tree of knowledge or even touch it. Eve knew this & went near it anyway & it was only then that the devil tempted her when she was where she knew not to be. Adam did also eat & then everything changed & the full extent of suffering was learned when two animals were killed in their place. The bible doesn’t say this directly but where else was they going to get animal skins for clothing Gen 3:21. in the end it is true that it was man who caused death to enter the world by their free will act of disobedience to God the true first sin. Everything could have still been ok in this world that was very different from the suffering one we know today. People had A 900 + year life span but man only grow in his sin until God only saw Noah as righteous. God didn’t hide the fact he was soon to judge the world by A flood & for over A century the world was warned but didn’t listen. After the flood we see the life span start to go down & people are lucky to get to A hundred. To go from A perfect world to A suffering world, which only suffers mostly due to the action of others, is truly the fault of sinful man not God.

    • David C. Moorman says:

      “Also to say Satan was there from the word go is an assumption that he fell from grace before the sin of Adam & Eve but since God called all he had created Good it is viewed that Satan fell after Adam & Eve’s creation.”

      So what do you do with the “War in Heaven”? In understanding the plan of Salvation we can’t skip steps.

      And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. – Revelation 12:7-9 KJV

      • Charles Bosomworth says:

        Heaven is a type of the sky, the air, where the Prince of the air rules, ie an invisible spiritual realm, of the principalities and powers – it’s a part of creation over which we have control and responsibility. God’s heaven, the highest or third heaven isn’t. The war in this heaven/spiritual realm, takes place as Jesus describes during his mission. Luke 10:18. It isn’t something that occurs before we sinned.
        It’s the same kind of war that Michael fought as described in Daniel.
        This myth of Satan’s rebellion against God is deeply rooted, but it serves only to deflect responsibility from us, sin entered the world by one man, Adam, not by Satan falling after a war.

  7. Sam Roberts says:

    Well, this seems like as good a place as any to jump in…

    I am an artist. I create a sculpture. The sculpture casts a shadow.

    Did I create the shadow?

    If we’re being honest, then the only way I can be said to have created the shadow is indirectly. What I actually made was the sculpture. This is not a precise example.

    So, let’s make it more accurate.

    I am an engineer. I create a sculpture out of smart glass. The glass is linked to an AI. The sculpture, on its own, can choose to be transparent, opaque, or any number of states in between. I come in one morning to find it completely opaque.

    Did I create the shadow it casts? Who is responsible now?

    Let us also suppose that in choosing to be opaque all the time, my sculpture has corrupted its original programming. This programming spreads laterally via any available network and bootkits all of my other AI experiments.

    Am I the creator of that malware?

  8. Justin reyes says:

    A simple rebuttal to this is that the wages of sin is death.

    Death is very clearly the end result of sin. Similarly we see that the current world we inhabit is groaning for the return of the Lord to reestablish it.

    I see that as clear evidence that the physics and world we see are not at all like they were. Sin is far more destructive than I think we give credit. It is indeed root of all suffering. Not to say God can’t use what others intend for evil (see Joseph and job) but certainly being almighty enough to defeat evil and overcome is not the same as being it’s founder and cause.

    The Lord furthermore says there will be no suffering or death when He defeats sin and death once and for all and brings about a new heaven and earth. Until that time He is llongsuffering clearly towards sinful humanity

    Theologically, in light of that, I see no reason why death could possibly be a part of God’s design (including processes involving physical death)

    • So the capacity to die cannot be attributed to God, but the capacity to fall prey of sin can?

      Why is the latter any less “incriminating” of God (if I may use that term) than the former?

      • Sam Roberts says:

        Because God is omnipresent: God exists at every point in space and time simultaneously. This has a number of implications about His being, but the one that is most germane to this conversation is His eternal existence. True omnipresence means that such a being is homogenous (and thus unchangeable); and also eternal (and thus, cannot die). Man was created to be an image of God and thus, was created with immortality. Immortality is a shadow of eternal life, because immortality has a beginning, but no end. Eternal life has neither beginning nor end, and thus belongs to God alone. God, as God, cannot die. Death is not an attribute of God, and thus cannot be attributed to God.

        (There is an interesting side discussion we could have, here, regarding the implications of the Incarnation. Another time, perhaps.)

        Unlike death, the capacity of humanity to fall prey of sin, however, can be attributed to God without maligning His nature or His character. God did not want humanity to be automata; any choices an automaton makes are void of meaning.

        For an example of this, consider the Star Trek: TNG episode “True Q”, where Amanda Rogers, a half-human/half-Q, has fallen in love with Riker. In Act 4, she abducts Riker and professes her love for him. Riker, annoyed, says he has no feelings for her. So she, being omnipotent, gives him some. Riker immediately begins fawning over Amanda, but she finds no joy in it. Although she has the power to make him love her, she can’t lie to herself. The lie voids his affection of meaning. So she returns him to how he was.

        By the same token, God wants genuine love from humanity. If there were no option to reject God, there would be no way to test whether humans actually wanted a relationship with God or were simply prisoners of God’s will. That is the point of the Tree of Knowledge. It gives Adam and Eve the option to reject God and walk away.

        This is sin. Sin is rejection of the life that is found through a relationship with God. To reject God is to reject life; to reject God is to choose sin. To sin, therefore, is to choose death over life. Sin cannot be said to be God’s creation, therefore, as it is caused by rejecting God. God gave Adam and Eve the capacity and means to do so, though he did not compel them to and even warned them against it.

        (There is another interesting side conversation here, about simple good and complex good, and the more intimate relationship with God that is made possible through Jesus, the second Adam. Also for another time.)

        Finally, it is worth pointing out that although we rejected God and spurned His love, He continued to offer it anyway, promising that one day, the curse of sin would be lifted (Gen. 3:15).

        “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13
        “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Rom. 5:8

        • (1) “Death is not an attribute of God, and thus cannot be attributed to God.”

          (2) “Unlike death, the capacity of humanity to fall prey of sin, however, can be attributed to God without maligning His nature or His character.”

          #1 suggests that God can only be responsible for things that are his full direct attributes. By that logic, God would not be able to make anything that changes, since God does not change. God would not be able to make anything finite since God is infinite.

          I do not think that #1 flows from valid reasoning. God can make things very unlike himself.

          #2 – I agree that God has granted us freedom and that God did not create sin. However God still made things that have the CAPACITY for sin. And that is an imperfection. God Himself does not have the capacity to sin.

          So judging what God would or wouldn’t make based on his core attributes is shaky at best.

          I question the premise that God made the earth as any kind of “perfect” world at all. I have asked repeatedly to people in these threads for scriptural support for this and I find none. If you try to define “perfect” (feel free if you wish) I think you’ll find the definition elusive. Can you define a “perfect dog”? If a dog can only run 30 miles per hour, is that limitation an imperfection or not?

          Did God make immortal animals? And if that’s the case, does that mean they were all vegetarians? Where do you draw the line between animal and plant?

          Was it POSSIBLE for “immortal” animals to die (by getting smashed or cut in half) even though perhaps their bodies didn’t degrade with time?

          Did elephants never ever step on ants before the fall?

          Did no accidents ever happen before the fall?

          Were plants immortal before the fall?

          If not, why were animals immortal even though plants weren’t?

          Where is the scriptural support for immortal animals? I don’t find any.

          Rather it strikes me that YEC has constructed a particular theodicy that is easy to explain to children etc, and which is very satisfactory to most adults – but is quite at odds with empirical reality and begins to fall apart when you start to examine it in detail.

          • David C. Moorman says:

            “Rather it strikes me that YEC has constructed a particular theodicy that is easy to explain to children etc, and which is very satisfactory to most adults – but is quite at odds with empirical reality and begins to fall apart when you start to examine it in detail.” – As if anyone of us were around to then to observe or experience the reality that was written for us to accept. Accept by faith.

            Animals were the first “life” to be created, not man yet man was the “the crowning work of the Creator”

            “God created man in His own image. Here is no mystery. There is no ground for the supposition that man was evolved by slow degrees of development from the lower forms of animal or vegetable life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the level of man’s narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe that they degrade man and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. Though formed from the dust, Adam was “the son of God.”” – Ellen G White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pg. 45

            It’s obvious, from what the Bible tells us, that when Adam sinned “death” moved upon all living things.

            “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” – Romans 8:22 KJV

            I’d like to recommend a wonderful lecture by Professor turned Pastor Walter Veith from the lecture series “In the Stream of Time.” Kills Dawkins.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LyAngsMYuc

          • Sam Roberts says:

            Perry,

            YEC tenets are modern-day Aquinianism: grafting natural philosophy onto Scripture and equating the two. There is no science in the Bible. At its most accurate, the Bible is merely history. Trying to derive a scientific treatise from a historical record is a grave error.

            That being said, I think your objections stem from a confusion of terms.

            The first is your definition of perfection as being anything less than a 1:1 equivalency with God. This is not Biblical. The Bible defines perfection as sinlessness, not in being unlimited and infinite as God alone is. Nowhere is this more explicit than in Jesus’ sacrifice for us (1 Pet. 1:19; 2 Cor. 5:21). The concept of a pre-Fall Adam being perfect, yet finite, is one that has been held by Christians for millennia. Finiteness or limitation, Biblically speaking, is not a flaw in and of itself.

            Following on from this, the second confusion is the difference between accountability and authorship, which we have conflated in the term “responsible”. God can create something in a sinless or perfect state, give it boundaries of existence, and then endow it with free will. From that point, the decisions it makes are entirely its own. Even if they damage it or others. Even if those choices cause it to lose its sinless state. Neither God nor anyone else is accountable for our choices. We alone are. John MacArthur provides a decent anthology of Scripture verses and exegesis supporting this, here: http://www.gty.org/resources/articles/A189/is-god-responsible-for-evil

            If you hold to your definitions of “responsibility” and “perfection”, you are setting up a Straw Man. The Bible does not teach these things.

            As for “immortality”, this is not the same thing as “unkillable”. It simply means there is no pre-programmed termination date. Accidents could happen. Also, Genesis makes a distinction between creatures with blood and everything else (Gen. 9:4). Plants do not bleed. This made plants unacceptable as a sacrifice (Gen 4:4-5, which was intended to point out the necessity of Gen. 3:15’s prophecy coming true.). There may have been other differences as well.

            For example, active telomerase. It is well-known that as cells divide, the telomeres in our chromosomes shorten, leading to the DNA source code being corrupted, and thus aging. Telomeres are simple caps of a repeating sequence that could be lengthened ad infinitum, or simply replaced. Telomerase in our cells would replace these and prolong life, indefinitely. It has been shown to appear in cancerous cells (for example, HeLa cells), leading to cancer’s immortality. The fact that these cells are cancerous underscores that the production of active telomerase pulls nutrients from other parts of the cell that need it more; either active telomerase is a symptom of cancer, or… our bodies could produce active telomerase (and thus be functionally immortal), given the right nutrients.

            I’ll let that sink in for a bit, and while it does, it’s worth noting that telomerase only appears in animal cancers. Thus, only animals could, in theory, be immortal. 😉

            Finally, I have a question for you. How far down the path of Verificationism/Empiricism are you willing to travel? It seems to me that you are at odds with the Empiricists, simply because you assert that God is provable. Furthermore, simply saying something like “God is love” to an Empiricist is a waste of breath, because what they hear is, “[A failed hypothesis of cosmic origins involving a magic man in the sky] is [a biochemical reaction causing organisms to mate and produce children].” Which is nonsense.

            It is clear to me that you do not go that far. Where do you stop? Why do you stop there?

            • Finiteness or limitation, Biblically speaking, is not a flaw in and of itself.

              Then why is mortality a flaw in the sense that God could never be responsible for it? Does God owe every creature immortality?

              Finally, I have a question for you. How far down the path of Verificationism/Empiricism are you willing to travel? It seems to me that you are at odds with the Empiricists, simply because you assert that God is provable. Furthermore, simply saying something like “God is love” to an Empiricist is a waste of breath, because what they hear is, “[A failed hypothesis of cosmic origins involving a magic man in the sky] is [a biochemical reaction causing organisms to mate and produce children].” Which is nonsense. It is clear to me that you do not go that far. Where do you stop? Why do you stop there?

              God is not provable deductively. God can only be inferred.

              I follow the evidence where it leads. I’m not a materialist. But any theory that has implications for the material world should be consistent with material observations.

    • David C. Moorman says:

      Excellent Justin I concur.

    • Charles Bosomworth says:

      the wages of sin is death of the soul.

      The death in question, the relevant consequences of sin, isn’t physical death, as Jesus notes physical death is in his sight just sleeping – it’s not important, nor limiting to Jesus’ or his Kingdom, which is not of this world.
      We can by science defeat death in certain circumstances, do you think the wages of sin are so easily overcome that mere men can by tools of medicine are able to revive the soul that has died?
      Rather they revive the physical body. For it is appointed for man once to die – that death is not physical, for many have died twice, but spiritual. Only those who die and are raised with Christ and are born again into the spiritual Kingdom of God are born into eternal life.

  9. Bart Nielsen says:

    I’ve asked this in another way in a comment that has been in the queue for about a week, but do you believe Noah was a historical person and was the Flood a real,global year-long event that left evidence we can examine in the present?

    • Noah was real. I think “Historical Genesis” by Richard Fischer does an excellent job of proposing a historical model for this.

      • Bart Nielsen says:

        Can the position be summarized without going out and buying a book? I expect your position holds to some sort of local flood theory that requires dismissing the plain reading of the Scriptures.

        • If you’re not willing to buy the book, request it through your local library.

          The book does not discuss the flood. “Historical Genesis” by Fischer does a great job with that topic.

        • Bart,

          By the way, what’s the objection to buying the book?

          I spent far more money researching the book than I’ll probably ever make on royalties. Financially I don’t care, I’m a successful business guy, money wise it’s a non-issue.

          But I do question the wisdom of debating someone who won’t even read my book – when the book clearly lays out the evidence with references to all the literature. I wonder if I’m just wasting my time.

          Sometimes I find people won’t spend money on a book they disagree with, for reasons of conscience. They feel it would be wrong to give their money to someone on that ‘side’ of an issue. I find atheists can be the same way. Is that the issue? Or is it something else?

  10. Steven Taylor says:

    Romans 5:12 – Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.

    I Cor 15:21 – For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

    These verses make it abundantly clear that the entry point of death into the world was through Adam. And I think it confirms what any reader would take as the plain meaning in Genesis.

    • This is a misinterpretation of Romans 5. Death here is clearly not physical death.

      http://www.coffeehousetheology.com/who-is-adam/

      • Sam Roberts says:

        Oh, this is QUITE interesting.

        If physical death is not being referred to in Romans 5 (and by extension, Hebrews 9-10 as well), then…

        1. Why was there a sacrificial system in the OT at all? Couldn’t the Aaronic priesthood merely have had a “sacrificial zoo” for the animals, that didn’t require their death?

        2. Following on from that, why did JESUS have to die on the cross for our sins? If the kind of death Adam & Eve passed along to their children was merely spiritual death, then there should’ve been another way for Jesus to pay for our sin. He certainly begged for an alternate route in the Garden of Gethsemane, did he not?

        3. How does the removal of physical death as the consequence of sin convict us of our sin and hold us more accountable before God?

        4. How did this development in your personal theology draw YOU closer to God and help you come to terms with your grief over your brother’s loss of faith, and heal from the same?

        • 1. An innocent animal had to die for ceremonial purification. If all physical death on earth was a consequence of man’s sin, that would at least imply that the mere fact of all animals dying would pay for man’s sin. But that doesn’t solve anything. Man has to sacrifice an animal that BELONGS to him.

          It is more than clear from the context that Romans 5 is not talking about physical death. I again refer you to my article where I substitute “physical death” vs “spiritual death.” Only the latter makes sense.

          2. Jesus had to spiritually die by entering into man’s mortality and sin in order to save man. Question for you: If Jesus hadn’t been crucified, would he have been immortal without a resurrection? Did Jesus age, or not?

          3. We already have conviction of sin in our consciences by the work of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to also flagellate ourselves for the death of all animals too. That is not our fault and it is not our problem. I would think that if all animal death was man’s fault, scripture would actually come out and say that. It doesn’t. If you disagree then show me a scripture that directly supports your view.

          4. This insight – which comes simply from studying obvious verifiable facts of the physical world – exposes the faulty theodicy of YEC. There is no evidence, after all, of a perfect immortal earth in the past. Where are the fossils of vegetarian sharks and tigers? Man did not lose immortality at the fall. He never had it in the first place. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been a tree of life. God said “in the day that you eat of the fruit you will surely die” and God is not a liar. Man did not physically die that day. He spiritually died. He lost his spiritual authority to bring immorality and healing into the earth by being God’s agent of the Kingdom. He lost access to the tree of life. He lost his chance to expand the garden of Eden until it covered the earth. He got expelled from it instead. Why? To make sure the he could not achieve immortality.

          • Sam Roberts says:

            1. But why does the animal have to *die*? If I give the animal up, I have sacrificed it. If death is not a consequence of sin, then the animal’s blood should not be required of it in a sin or guilt offering, no? That’s certainly what the author of Hebrews thought in chapters 9-10.

            1.5 – If Romans 5 is about spiritual death, then how exactly does “creation groan and suffer” in Rom 8:18-22? The death and mortality of creation is hardly Adam’s fault, in that instance. And God is the author of evil and suffering, so… how is any of that Adam’s fault?

            2. This is only partially correct, and smacks of Docetism. What role does the Edenic suzerainty covenant (Gen. 2:16-17; Hos. 6:7) play in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, to you?

            3. See 1.5. If Adam was made responsible for the animals by his covenant with God, then yes, their fate is his responsibility. And thereby ours also. I furthermore don’t see how this perspective draws you closer to God by making you more accountable. It seems to me that it increases the distance between ourselves and God, rather.

            4. Again, you are misunderstanding the covenant system of the OT and Patriarchal period, as well as the legal transference of responsibility. Man HAD immortality in Eden, thanks to access to the Tree of Life. He forfeited it when he violated the terms of the Edenic suzerainty covenant, and thus became mortal. Mortality is the curse of sin. This is attested time and again, clearly, throughout Scripture. If you want to assert otherwise, the burden of proof is not upon me. It is upon YOU, to show in Scripture that

            A) God created evil and suffering;
            B) Mortality is not part of the curse of sin;
            C) These two teachings were clearly understood by the ancient Hebrews and we post-Enlightenment Westerners mucked it up.

            As far as vegetarian tigers and sharks… what about pacu and piranha? 😉

            It seems to me that your entire enterprise, Perry, is an inversion of one of the basic rules of Biblical interpretation: interpret difficult passages in the light of clear ones. The Creation is about as difficult to understand as it gets, as no human being was present to witness it. Yet you are taking your perspective on this and using it to reinterpret passages that have been clearly understood for centuries. Passages which, I might add, have direct bearing upon soteriology, the most fundamental of Christian doctrines.

            I would caution you against this. Hebrews 13:17 makes it clear that anyone who teaches Scripture to the flock will be accountable for their souls. You are not just meddling about with your own beliefs. You will be called to account for everyone you teach this to. Matt. 18:6 further cautions you in this regard.

            We ARE responsible for those placed under us, Perry, whether animal or human. And we will be held accountable to God for their care.

            Your denial of this is distressing.

            • 1. Hebrews 9:22 “Without the shedding of blood there is no remissions of sins.” That’s why it’s not enough to just ‘lose’ the animal. I don’t know why this is so. But I don’t see why the sacrificial system ever equates to “man sinned therefore ALL animals die.” Clearly in scripture this is only true in a sacrificial context.

              2. Creation groans and suffers because man was put in charge of it and man is a bad steward because of his sin. Man is at war with nature ever since the fall. That is what Romans 8 is talking about.

              3. In Genesis 2:16-17 God is talking about spiritual death not physical death. This clear from what happens after man eats the fruit. He does not physically die “in the day that [he] eats of the fruit”

              4. Man did not ever have immortality, because he never ate of the tree of life.

              Evil and suffering do not necessarily go hand in hand. Nor the Bible teach that they do. Bears eating salmon is not evil. Bears have been eating salmon for millions of years. This has nothing to do with man or any mistake man made.

              There are many passages where men of God question God about suffering. Job, Esdras, the various prophets. Where in any of these passages does God say “If man hadn’t sinned the earth would be a perfect immortal paradise?”

              Here’s what God says to Esdras (Ezra) in the apocrypha:

              https://www.perrymarshall.com/articles/religion/esdras-and-evil/

              In Job God talks to him about Leviathan. Never suggests that Leviathan would be gentle if Job and his fellow men hadn’t sinned.

              Packs and piranhas are not vegetarians.

              Yes, I understand this is disturbing. I was raised YEC and I found it even more disturbing to find that verifiable science renders the likes of Ken Ham to be naive at best and liars at worst – pitting science against faith and forcing people to choose between the two, making up their own version of science, being willing to accept most any science interpretation as long as it’s theologically OK. (As we see with their speed of light arguments.)

              The more professional experience people have with science, the less likely they are to believe YEC. I reject YEC because I’m an Electrical Engineer and I can measure the speed of light. End of story, end of discussion. The universe is old without question.

              You warn me about twisting the scriptures. I likewise warn you about twisting empirical science. To misrepresent either is a lie. And that is sin. If doctrine forces you to believe things about the natural world that are manifestly false, I think you should reconsider your doctrine.

              So I invite you to consider that while YEC has been taught to you your whole life, the Bible does not actually teach YEC and if you search the scriptures you will look in vain for evidence that animals were created immortal.

              I think you will also look in vain for evidence that God cannot create suffering.

              I say it’s not an injustice. It’s just the natural order of things. If you disagree with it then take it up with God the way Job did.

              I invite you to re-evaluate your theology, in light of what nature clearly tells us. God wrote two books, the book of scripture and the book of scripture, and we should not need to turn a blind eye to nature in order to protect our theology.

              The earth is VERY old, one is hard pressed to find a geologist, astrophysicist or astronomer anywhere who thinks it’s young – aside from a very small percentage of hyper-conservative Americans from a very particular strand of evangelical Christianity.

              There is no conflict between old earth and scripture. It’s time for new wineskins.

              • Sam Roberts says:

                1. YES. BINGO on Heb. 9:22. Full marks. I don’t believe for a second that the implication of this is lost on you, though: the blood is required because the death is required… because sin is death. The curse of sin is execution, i.e. mortality. All sin is death, but not all death is sin; in the same way that all cognacs are brandys, but not all brandys are cognacs. 😉 Your theological error here is that you are trying to make the issue commutative, and it isn’t. There is a theological justification for accidental death in the Garden of Eden; but it is quite a jump from accidental death being possible, to the certainty of mortality. This jump is one that gets glossed over, but it is no small thing. In order for evolution to work, mortality must be in play; else the timeline gets grossly inflated.

                2. I think that’s a rather strained interpretation, actually, given Romans 5; but it’s understandable given YOUR interpretation of Romans 5. It seems to me that nature has nothing to groan about at all, under your view. Predators and mortality are built into the system, and function as designed. Why should man’s mismanagement of Earth’s biosphere and ecology be anything to groan about? Man is just a very efficient predator, and the rest of the Earth should be used to predatory behavior by now.

                3. This interpretation is justifiable only in Genesis 2. It is difficult to reconcile this “only spiritual death” perspective with God’s curse in 3:17-19. Particularly verse 19. It’s pretty clear there that Adam is being cursed with mortality, and it’s not just the Christians who teach that:

                http://www.sefaria.org/Sforno_on_Genesis.3.19?lang=en&layout=lines&sidebarLang=all

                4. Oh, but they DID have access to the Tree of Life, and were permitted to eat from it. Gen. 2:16-17, remember? The Tree of Life was in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:22-24). God gives them permission to eat from ANY tree in the Garden in verse 16, barring ONLY the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in verse 17. The ban does not extend to the Tree of Life. Therefore, they could eat from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, prior to the Fall; and thus were immortal prior to the Fall.

                5. Evil and suffering do not necessarily go hand in hand, true. However, it strikes me that your approach to suffering lies in the direction of Minimization (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimisation_(psychology)#Cognitive_distortion). Your theology of death and suffering is, by your own admission, a response to trauma, that of your grief over your brother’s loss of faith. This approach is always a trauma response; it was even Darwin’s, after losing his daughter. It is a defense mechanism triggered to establish a comfort zone or buffer between the one suffering and the point of trauma. However, while this does make you more comfortable in the short term, it does not lead to reconciliation and healing. As far as your relationship with God is concerned, this buffer creates distance between you and God; furthermore, it diminishes your understanding of the magnitude of what Christ accomplished on the cross, in that you are attempting to absolve yourself of responsibility apart from His sacrifice.

                6. There are just as many passages in the OT and NT that indicate mortality is the curse of sin. You have rejected most of these in this thread already. However, the burden is not upon me to disprove your question. That is called Proof by Assertion (or possibly Onus Probandi, depending on how we want to slice it). The burden is upon you to prove the three things (A, B, and C) I outlined in my previous post, as they are the things upon which your thesis rests. If you are right, then virtually everyone who has ever read or commented on these passages understood their salvation incorrectly. The phenomenal amount of hubris it takes to make that claim cannot be understated.

                7. True. Piranha are not herbivores. But Pacu… are. And are even called “vegetarian piranha”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacu#Aquaria

                8. That’s not why it’s disturbing. In fact, that isn’t even the word I used. I said “distressing”, and I find it so because you are questioning the certain things of God based on your dodgy personal view of the obscure things, and then TEACHING THEM TO BELIEVERS AS FACT. All with nothing more than a few well-placed questions, some sleight-of-hand fallacies, and very little in the way of positive Scripture reference to back it up.

                9. I find it easier to question science than Grace, given A) that science is a methodological system based entirely on doubt, and B) in 500 years science will have entirely new tenets anyway. With regard to the “book of nature”, though, I ask you to consider the following: I want you to imagine that you are an AI app on an iPhone. Using the “book of nature” at your disposal (the construction and design of the iPhone itself) and the scientific method, establish how long it took that iPhone to get made. Was it 5 years (http://www.wired.com/2008/01/ff-iphone/)? 24 hours (http://www.cnet.com/news/iphone-manufacturing-costs-revealed/)? or roughly four and a half SECONDS (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?_r=4&pagewanted=all)? Can you tell, based on the physical evidence contained in your iPhone alone?

                In order to answer that, wouldn’t you have to back up and determine whether the iPhone happened purely by accident, or whether it was purposefully designed? And at some point, you’d have to postulate a Designer, whom you’d have absolutely NO physical evidence for, neither within the iPhone nor iOS itself.

                My point is that if you are postulating a transcendent, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, omnidimensional being of any kind as the Creator of this universe, then for you to expect that being to be subservient to the laws of physics as we know them here, is like the app on that iPhone expecting Steve Jobs to be made of 1s and 0s and only capable of what iOS is capable of.

                You can’t have it both ways, Perry. Either you believe in a God that is beyond the control and even the descriptive powers of science; or you don’t. This isn’t giving the finger to scientists. Rather, it’s reminding them of set theory. You might as well get your panties in a twist that you can’t demonstrate imaginary numbers by using natural numbers (i.e. while you can have one banana, you can’t have a square root of a negative banana).

                It is possible that the Earth is millions of years old. It is also possible it is much younger. Just like the iPhone in the example above. It all depends on your starting assumptions.

                10. Your call for “new wineskins” means that only a post-Enlightenment, scientifically-literate Westerner familiar with genetics can understand the point of Genesis, to say nothing of the rest of Scripture. While it uses religious rhetoric, this attitude is typical of scientific theories that like to topple the prevailing paradigm; but it has no place in Christianity. It is uncharitable, and utterly lacking in humility. Your interpretation of Genesis would be absolute gibberish to a Sumerian expatriate circa 3000 BC, as Abraham was.

                The mere fact that you are willing to go to that extreme speaks to the magnitude of your grief, Perry. It’s not lost on me. This route, though, will not bring you healing; and you will pull others down with you, whom you will be held responsible for.

                Turn back.

                I’m done here. I think you and I could have some… fascinating conversations, but this is not the venue for them. You have my email address. If you want to speak with me more, write me.

                May you find solace and healing in His arms.

                • Charles Bosomworth says:

                  Bingo?

                  Heb 9.22. So if physical death is wicked, how can doing something ie sacrifice that makes something evil ie physical death yield good ie forgiveness.

                  By this logic two wrongs = a right.

                  However if death is normal natural and very good, physical death functions as morally neutral physical event, which can be a just reward ie a positive or negative outcome dependent on just judgment of God. But is otherwise a simple physical event.

              • Bart Nielsen says:

                So are you saying the Apocrypha is Scripture?

                • I’m not taking a position one way or the other. We know that for a large portion of Christian history, the apocrypha was considered important; certainly it should have more weight in discussion than the opinion of any contemporary Christian author. And I think the apocrypha is a must-read for anyone who considers themselves a scholarly and well-informed Christian. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there!

                  • Bart Nielsen says:

                    Apocrypha is not Scripture.

                    But I share your reservations about putting much credence to at least some living authors.

            • Bart Nielsen says:

              Well said Sam!

      • David C. Moorman says:

        Obviously the second death. Still, by man, Jesus Christ resurrection comes through Him. Yet the first death, the physical, is a major theme in the Scriptures.

        Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: – John 11:25 KJV

        • In John 11:25 what kind of life was Jesus talking about when he said “though he were dead, yet shall he live”?

          • Charles Bosomworth says:

            Spiritual death, not physical death, as Jesus demonstrated time and time again by referring to living as dead. 🙂
            “Though he were dead” is the appearance of life, ie alive in physical terms, but of course we ought not to judge by the outward appearance.
            Mat_8:22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
            Mat_9:24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
            Mat_22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

    • David C. Moorman says:

      Exactly. No ambiguity.

  11. PrinceTigerWolf says:

    Ephesians 6:12King James Version (KJV)

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

  12. DR Richard Muccillo says:

    I do not believe in any religion –they were a product of man who made them up to control man and to deal with death—-we are energy and energy does not die–what you call death is transfer of energy to original state and that being higher or very low depending on how high or low it was in your material being–bibles were written by man to control man and there is no man in the heavens –if there were and it was something perfect and just and kind –why create something inferior and why make people who do good suffer and people who do bad prosper —do we have the wrong idea of what is right and wrong–if you really care about your children–would you make them suffer–well would you? There are other philosophies that counter notions of a supreme being—-logical positivism is one!

  13. Dionisio Manuel Garrido says:

    As Christ suffered, God created suffering, even for those who lived without sins as was His life. In my opinion The Bible should be considered methaforically. The only book written by God was the book o Nature, and we should make a greather effort to understand the Nature, than the books written by men, like the Bible or other Holy books.

  14. All of the religious protagonists in this thread are of course begging the main question, which is: What, if anything, of the Bible is actually true. Lobbing scriptural references carry zero weight evidentially other than as a support for which version of angels dancing on heads of pins one wants to favor. It is fair to say that prior to the Enlightenment, virtually nobody in the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God of Abraham context imagined BY READING ANY OF THE SACRED TEXTS that the universe extended billions of light years, involving massive numbers of stars too faint to see, or that the universe dated back some 13 billion years, in which our solar system was heliocentric and the earth not a flat pie plate, over which hung little light blobs that could literally fall off the tarp as envisaged by Matthew in the Gospels.

    Gradually independent science observation junked the flat earth idea, such that the Christians had adopted a spherical earth along with Aristotelian science (but thus stuck with a geocentric earth and rocks falling faster than feathers in a non-gravitational sense). One may assume all manner of things, invoking lucifer as one may wish. But as for the main subject heading, the presumed God (characteristics fungible) making evil and suffering intentionally, unless that deity takes to Tweeting or opens a social media page on its own, its no more productive than trying to work out what Sherlock Holmes REALLY thinks about the violin sonatas of Schubert.

    More tangible is the question of why this alleged deity should be so tolerant of evil and suffering, however it came about. There we have a painfully consistent track record of cosmic indifference, up to and including the Holocaust. But if biblical apologists are able to skate past the creepy and weird slavery rules in Exodus 21 (applicable to enslavement of Hebrews but not necessarily for enslaved gentiles btw) without their moral compass popping out of the sockets, then rationalizing away mere foibles like animal carnivory or the popularity of parasitical nematodes is the least of the apologists’ theodicy problems.

  15. Obviously when so many comments are posted some good insights are glossed over by many readers. Many posters here have added some good content to the discussion and asked some good questions. So thanks all…

    It is my understanding that even in the “tend the garden” command this implies pruning would occur and thus “death” in some sense is implied (and this before “the fall”). Death is usually thought of by modern westerners in a different way then that conceptual held by ancient eastern peoples including the Hebrews. So when a modern western thinker says “there was no death before the fall” we must take into account their frame of reference. The same is true for “corruption” and other adverbs and adjectives.

    Next the early Hebrews as a cultural norm always wrote in what could be called near hyperbole where they speak in extremes often to cause contrast to imply (which was readily implied to them when they heard this speech) a truth that exists amidst or higher than the two extremes.

    As for original sin the early Church as well as Rabbis forever, never attached the everlasting continuous judicial interpretation emphasized by Roman Catholicism post 5th century AD, thus an original sin just meant the first sin.

    a) the soul that sins IT must die
    b) OUR sin separates us from God (Isa. 59:2)
    c) The children are not held responsible for the sins of the fathers (Ezekiel 18 and 33) which includes Adam though they do influence the child to accept this sin as acceptable (the Exodus passage) because of epigenetics and modelling.

    Then man judges evil differently than God…volcanoes for example are actually a good thing making it possible for the earth to relieve pressures and continue to make a world capable of supporting and enhancing the optimization of conditions that benefit the greatest number of souls. It is natural and therefore not “evil”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *