Hard questions: Death and the Fall
In Genesis 2-3, the Bible tells the story of Adam and Eve, who were originally created for fellowship with God in the garden of Eden but who fell into sin by eating the forbidden fruit. Church fathers like Theophilus of Antioch and Tertullian believed that this original transgression brought sin and punishment into the world. Augustine would become most associated with this notion of an original sin, passed down from our original parents to us, making us incapable of earning God’s favor.
But what about other effects of the Fall? Genesis tells us that God threatened Adam with death if he ate of the forbidden fruit, and after he did, God told him he would return to dust. Modern theistic evolutionists would have us believe that death was merely a spiritual separation from God, but creationists insist that physical death was the result of the Fall. Creationists also insist that at least some animal death was part of the Fall as well, but agreement on precisely which animals is less uniform.
What about other forms of “natural evil,” things that cause death and suffering? How could our world operate without death? How could we have a world without danger? Would there be no storms, earthquakes, or volcanoes? How could there be such a world?
On the weekend of March 22, 2019, a small group of creationist scholars gathered for our Shenandoah Valley Creation Retreat to discuss these vital questions. In challenging conversations that lasted late into the night, attendees wrestled with the justice of God, the fairness of God, and what the world might have been like without sin or death. There is still much to be learned about God’s creation and the mystery of death. We pray that God will raise up a new generation of faithful creationist scholars to continue seeking a better understanding of death in our world.
If you’d like to explore questions like these, check out one of our upcoming events, including our Smoky Mountain Creation Retreat in Pigeon Forge, TN.