License

I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
Creative Commons License
The posts in this blog are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In other words, you can copy and use this material, as long as you aren't making money from it, and as long as you give me credit.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Biblical Case for an Old Earth, by Snoke, part 6: Death before the Fall? (part 2)

In Genesis 2, God warns Adam:

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (All Bible quotation from the ESV. The creation of Eve is described later in the same chapter.)

If there was no animal death until after the Fall, would it have been possible for Adam to fully understand this warning? Perhaps not. It would seem that, if Adam had seen a dead animal, for example one killed by a predator, he would have comprehended the idea of death more fully.

David Snoke, in his A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2006), uses this argument in favor of death before the Fall. He also raise other arguments. (See here for my most recent post on this topic.)

Snoke does raise other arguments. One of them is from Romans 1. In that chapter, Paul writes:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Note the emphasized phrase. Snoke points out, correctly, that Paul didn't say "ever since the Fall." He said since the creation.

Snoke claims, with good reason, I believe, after reading his book, that part of God's attributes are, and have always been, his wrath, leading to righteous judgement. If God's wrath was perceivable before the Fall, then some of the effects of God's wrath, or at least animal death, and perhaps similar things (tripping over rocks, seeing tree branches break, and the like) must have been known to Adam and Eve. Says Snoke:
If Adam had obeyed God, this "very good" creation still would have testified to Adam of the power of God and the wrath he had escaped. (95)

Snoke also writes:
We must marvel at the shark, even while fearing it. It is well designed, frighteningly so. So also are many parasites. It is hard to believe that such well-designed weapons could arise by chance --they are good designs. . . . the main reason why many people want Darwinism to be true is that they just cannot accept the idea of God being glorified by violence. Darwin used the example of a wasp-eating larva as an example of something he just could not imagine God making in a good world. . . . If it would have been bad for God to have made wasp-eating larvae before the fall, how is it now justified? If we say that the only merit in making natural evil is to punish humans, then how are we punished by the death of a wasp? If we say, on the other hand, that the death of a wasp serves as a reminder to us of the wrath of God, why could not that have been the case before the Fall? God's wrath did not suddenly spring into existence when Adam and Eve sinned, and God had no desire to hide this side of his nature. (pp. 96-7. I pointed out, in an earlier post, that I do not agree fully with Snoke on the question of intelligent design, but his argument doesn't depend on direct supernatural design of the shark's body, or lack thereof.)

Thanks for reading. I hope to post more on Snoke's book later.

2 comments:

JC said...

Great argument against Genesis 2:15 that 'if there was no animal death until after the Fall, would it have been possible for Adam to fully understand this warning?'
Does he know that God used to give prophecy before the thing happen?
Genesis 2:15 was the prophecy that was delivered by God that they would die as a result of sin.
Now meditate the verse below:
Genesis 2:15, "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you SHALL SURELY DIE.”
The phrase, shall surely die, implies God's first prophecy that he would perish.
He would not understand it until he had perished.
The same is us. Does we understand fully the word, rapture, since it is merely a prophecy about the future? We only could fully understand when it has happened.

Martin LaBar said...

I take your point, and I certainly agree about us not understanding the rapture. As you probably know, some Bible-believing Christians doubt whether there will even be one (the word is not in the Bible).

But that's not the only argument for non-human death before the Fall. This post is one of 4 (links at the right) from two authors, discussing this topic. The authors disagree, in what I believe is a Christian manner:

http://biologos.org/blog/evolution-creation-and-the-sting-of-death-part-3

Here is a post from a young-earth creationist who believes that there was non-human death before the Fall:

file:///c:/Users/Martin%20LaBar/Documents/My%20Web%20Sites/Articles/Origins/Was%20There%20Animal%20Death%20Before%20the%20Fall.html

Thanks for commenting.