This is your lucky day. The question you’ve all been asking yourselves is about to be answered, and by the best possible authority. Who is that? Surely you know — we’re speaking of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia.
This appears at the website of his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG). Even the title will thrill you. It’s Was There Death Before Adam Sinned? And it’s written by ol’ Hambo himself! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and his scripture references omitted:
When Charles Darwin wrote his famous book On the Origin of Species, he was in essence writing a history concerning death. In the conclusion of the chapter entitled “On the Imperfections of the Geological Record,” Darwin wrote, “Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”
From his evolutionary perspective on the origin of life, Darwin recognized that death had to be a permanent part of the world. Undoubtedly, he struggled with this issue as he sought to reconcile some sort of belief in God with the death and suffering he observed all around him, and which he believed had gone on for millions of years.
This struggle came to a climax with the death of his daughter Annie — said to be “the final death-knell for his Christianity.”
Very touching. What does it have to do with death before Adam? Stay with us. Hambo says:
Belief in evolution and/or millions of years necessitates that death has been a part of history since life first appeared on this planet. The fossil layers (containing billions of dead things) supposedly represent the history of life over millions of years. As Carl Sagan is reported to have said, “The secrets of evolution are time and death.” This phrase sums up the history of death according to those who believe in evolution and/or millions of years.
Oh, how horrible! There must be a better way to look at things. Let’s read on:
Rather than “time and death,” the phrase “sin and death” sums up the history of death according to the Bible. From a perspective of the literal history of the Book of Genesis, there was a perfect world to start with described by God as “”very good”” — but it was marred because of Adam’s rebellion. Sin and its consequence of death entered the world that was once a paradise.
Even if death existed before Adam’s sin, there couldn’t have been all that much of it. The world was still new. There’s so much we don’t understand. Hambo continues:
The idea of millions of years came from the belief that most of the fossil-bearing layers were laid down millions of years before man existed. Those Christians who accept the idea of millions of years and try to fit it into the Bible also must accept death of animals, disease, suffering, thorns, and animals eating each other before sin. But all of this flies in the face of the clear teaching of Scripture that such things could not have existed until after sin.
Hambo then gives a couple bible verses to support what he says. They’re from the New Testament except for this from Genesis where, after the sin, God tells Adam & Eve:
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return
About that, Hambo tells us:
God decreed that our bodies would return to dust (physical death) as a result of sin. There is no doubt there could not have been human death before sin.
No human death before sin? Yes, but Cain and Abel came later. There weren’t any other humans at the time of Adam’s sin, so how could there have been human death? We’re still confused. Here’s more:
[T]here is no verse of Scripture that specifically teaches that there was no animal death before sin. However, there are passages of Scripture that, when taken together, lead us to conclude this.
Again, there wasn’t much time for any death, animal or human. But Hambo will undoubtedly clear everything up for us. Moving along, he mentions some problems:
Problem: For those Christians who believe in millions of years, the fossil record that is claimed by secularists to be millions of years old has in it numerous examples of animals having eaten other animals — supposedly millions of years before man! This is contrary to the Bible’s clear teaching that animals were vegetarian originally (before sin).
Problem: Those Christians who believe in millions of years for most of the fossil layers to form must accept that diseases like cancer were in the bones of animals before sin, and that God described such diseases as “”very good”.”
Hambo resolves those problems like this:
[W]hat kind of God would He be to call that corruption “”very good””? So the whole originally perfect creation was put into bondage to corruption by God’s curse recorded in Genesis 3.
That makes sense. Another excerpt:
From the above and other passages of Scripture … we have good reasons to believe that animals could not have eaten other animals and died of diseases before sin. The only other ways animals could have died would be from old age (wearing out) or accidents (catastrophes, etc.) — but these would not fit with everything originally being “”very good”,” and would not fit with Paul’s teaching in Romans 8 that the whole creation groans now because of sin. We can therefore conclude with confidence there was no animal death before sin.
Ah, all the problems are solved. On with the article:
In reality, the battle between creation and evolution, between young-earth and old-earth views, is in fact a battle between two totally different histories of death. For the Christian, which history of death you accept has major theological implications.
Hambo’s article is rather long — and repetitive. Here are a couple of excerpts we plucked from the final third of it:
The Bible makes it obvious that death is the penalty for our sin. In other words, it is really our fault that the world is the way it is — God is a loving, merciful God. When we sinned in Adam, we effectively said that we wanted life without God. … The true history of death, as understood from a literal Genesis, enables us to recognize a loving Creator who hates death, the enemy that will one day be thrown into the lake of fire.
And now we come to the end:
Which history of death do you accept? Is it one that makes God an ogre responsible for millions of years of death, disease, and suffering? Or is it one that correctly places the blame on our sin, and correctly represents our Creator God as a loving, merciful Savior who wept at the tomb of dead Lazarus?
It’s a difficult decision. But upon much reflection, we’ll go with the loving God who exterminated almost the entire planet in the Flood.
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