http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-191.htm

From: Carol or John Burgeson <burgytwo@juno.com>
Date: Fri Apr 15 2005 - 10:59:40 EDT

Jim provided the subject link to ICR's statement as to what they mean by
their claim "no death before the fall."

I clipped the article (written 26 years ago) and comment on part of it
below.

"...theistic evolutionist Dr. Howard Van Till, who says: "It is an
incontrovertible scientific fact that there is a long history of life and
death for period of billions of years before people like you and I
appeared on earth. So physical death before the fall must be accepted as
a fact of science."

Rhetoric aside, no problem so far.

"Those who accept the Bible believe that death is a punishment for sin;
death must have come into existence after Adam fell."

The second sentence is not a necessary consequence of the first.

"How are we to understand the original state of God's creation? Here we
must explore what God meant when He declared His creation to be "very
good," in Genesis 1:31."

Rhetoric follows which says essentially nothing on the death subject.
I'll clip it.

"An integral part of the evolutionary scenario is that both men and many
of their animal ancestors have always been carnivorous. Yet God said very
clearly that both man and animals were only to eat plants, in Genesis
1:29. This we can see as part of being "very good," and is God's best for
His creation. We are not told when animals became carnivorous, yet we do
know that man was not to eat meat until after the Flood (Genesis 9:3)."

Interesting interpretation. The author continues:

"This raises an interesting problem for the evolutionist. He must believe
that God intended man and animals to be carnivorous, even though God's
words are very clear (Genesis 1:29). He must, in all reality, call God a
liar; he must say that God did not mean what He said. If men and animals
were vegetarian, then the possibility of death in the original creation
becomes remote."

So when one sees evolution as true, one "calls God a liar." Gen 1:29 is
"clear." Of course, the last sentence does not necessarily follow from
what goes before it. ICR is, as usual, too vague and imprecise to really
figure out what their real claim is.

"The above statements do not rule out death of plants."

OK. Plant death is not included. AT least that is plain.

"...the Bible never ascribes to plants the status of "life," (nor to the
"lower" animals, for that matter)."

No definition of "lower animals." What species are included? The author
does not say.

"The Bible is very clear about the nature of life. Life, according to the
Bible, resides in the "soul," or the Hebrew word "nephesh." This might be
equated roughly with the concept of consciousness. This quality is
ascribed only to man and some animals... ."

Which animals? How about "Blue," my black lab? Sometimes .. (another
subject).

Lots of rhetoric clipped.

"The Isaiah passage clearly depicts a totally different picture of nature
than we presently experience. Animals are eating only plants. Once again,
there is no more carnivorous activity. Animals, even poisonous snakes,
can play with infants. This is a totally different future for the world
than is predicted by evolution."

No doubt true. But is it to be interpreted literally -- or symbolically?
Even if literally, it does not speak to the subject of death before the
"Fall."

More rhetoric clipped.

"... So we are left with the conclusion that death is an aberration
caused by man, in God's plan."

Having waved his arms a lot, the author provides us with his own
conclusion. But no precision in the claim.

More rhetoric clipped.

"If we believe that death has always existed, then we make a mockery of
the death of Christ. This is exactly what evolution means."

Well, we know where we stand, anyway. <G>

"If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what
evolution means, then Christianity is nothing. If death is not the
penalty for sin, then Christianity is meaningless."

That's the base ICR position, I suppose.

My conclusion: This ICR position claim is as vague as most of their
writings. By never defining (even speculating upon) what species are
included in the "no death" category, the author neatly avoids
embarrassing questions.

I will try to "save" him. I will define "the concept of consciousness" to
reside only in humanity as we know it today. Moreover, only in humanity
as directly descended from Adam. All other creatures, including humanlike
creatures (Cain's wife?) are machines, lacking consciousness. Death, to
them, does not count. (I think this was sort of Descartes' view). With
this claim, the ICR claim can be made (in this respect at least),
coherent. Lions and Tigers and Bears (oh my) before Adam could chew on
one another w/o and problems.

But, of course, ICR does not go this far.

Burgy
Received on Fri Apr 15 11:03:08 2005

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Apr 15 2005 - 11:03:11 EDT