Re: Death before the Fall
Sun, 01 Aug 1999 20:40:43 +0000

Hi Mark,

At 10:13 AM 08/02/1999 +0930, Mark Phillips wrote:
>So what does the word for good, "towb" really mean? Is it not the
>opposite of evil? Perhaps God is saying the world was "without evil"?

It basically means the same as our word good. Lot used it when he told the
crowd outside his house to do what was good in their eyes to his daughters.
To me this single example clearly points out that the word can not mean
perfection. Lot was not offering perfection and the crowd wasn't looking
for perfection. Lot was not expecting that the crowed wanted to shower the
daughters with agape love. Good is not perfect! Yet Young-earthers want to
make it that way.

>Perhaps the word "tawmiym" has connotations that God is not wishing to
>express? "Perfect" has with it the idea that any other creation would
>be lesser than it.

First, Tawmiym was used of the paschal lamb--it was to be perfect without
blemish. And tawmiym was said of Noah, a man perfect in his generations.
Now if God created a world that was as good as it could be, then to use
perfect would be correct and descriptive. But if God created our universe
not quite as good as other possible universes, then to call this world
perfect would be inappropriate. Good would be an apt description. But if
good was an apt description, then this world is not perfect as the YECs claim.

Perhaps there were many possible creations which
>could have been described "good" --- in the sense of "without any bad
>parts" --- and to describe any one of them as "perfect" might be to
>suggest that the others were less than perfect. This is pure
>conjecture, but what I am trying to point out is that the use of the
>word "good" does not necessarily imply that there are some flaws.

I find this to be quite a stretch in order to maintain the myth of a
perfect creation, a myth totally unsupported by the Bible. I thought we
were supposed to pay attention to what the Bible says, not what we want it
to say.

>Also, the sense I get from reading Genesis 1 is not that God is
>considering his creation and thinks to himself, "not bad, perhaps not
>perfect in places, but all things considered, its a good effort". I
>get the sense of a creation which was "wholly good". Perhaps my
>"sense" is biased, but maybe it isn't?

My Bible doesn't say wholly good. It says very good or good, but not wholly
good. And the Jews didn't see it your way either. Consider the Rabbi Ramban:

"The meaning of the word me'od (very) is 'mostly.' On this sixth day He
added this word because he is speaking of creation in general which
contains evil in some part of it. Thus He said that it was very good,
meaning its me'od is good [thus conveying the thought that even the small
part of it which is evil is basically also good, as is explained further
on]. It is this thought which is the basis of the saying of the Rabbis in
Bereshith Rabbah: And, behold, it was very good. And, behold it was
good--this refers to death.' Ramban (Nachmanides) Commentary on the Torah,
Trans. by Dr. Charles B. Chavel, (New York: Shilo Publishing House, 1971),
p. 58

The Young-earth creationist idea is not consistent with the way the Hebrews
understood the terms!!!!

>Prove me wrong by all means, but your argument at this point seems a
>little light.

Explain why God created that incredible death machinery if He didn't want
death. Your claim that my argument is 'light' is in a note that, to this
moment, has not explained why God created and uses death to accomplish His
purpose. In fact you simply ignore this fundamental fact. Why did God
create the machinery of cellular death by suicide?

>If I were a YEC, I would be arguing that the cells of our body are not
>animals. And that by "no death before the fall" it is meant that
>there is "no death of animals before the fall". I mean, presumably
>there is plant death before the fall, because the animals eat the
>plants. Cells "die" and a replaced, but this is all part of day to
>day body mechanics. It would be possible to envisage a system whereby
>a human's cells continually died and were replaced, but where the
>human themselves remained alive and healthy forever. Christians
>believe that the continued operation of all of creation requires God's
>continual sustenance. This fact is not viewed as a notion of death.
>Indeed, I would presume heaven will be a place requiring God's
>constant sustenance. In fact, life in the bible is viewed as being
>the result of God's sustenance, and death the opposite of this. So in
>the light of this, what is wrong with the idea of pre-fall life
>requiring the constant sustenace of God in that God ensures that
>celular death never gives rise to real animal death?

Nothing, except that is not what the Bible describes. And it leaves the
Tree of LIfe in the garden as a useless thing, unneeded for any purpose,
certainly not the imparting of immortality. Why did God place the useless
tree of life in the garden?

>Yes, if I were a YEC, I would argue that cellular death is not real
>death, as I have done above. The problem with your rebuttal is that
>all it points out, is that without God's sustenance, cellular death
>could lead to real death. Yes, cell death in the heart could lead to
>human death, but if God ensured that this never happened, there could
>be eternal life in spite of the fact that this life was supported via
>mechanisms of cellular death.
>Imagine a world in which this was the case. Sure plants were eaten
>and died, and with scientific investigation it was discovered that
>biological processes involved the death of cells, but animals and
>people never died. People never died, never grew old and weak.
>Animals never died. Pets remained alive and healthy for ever. Okay,
>I can see lots of problems with this such as with population grow etc,
>but lets put these objections asside for now. If this kind of world
>did exist, surely the description "death has not entered this world"
>would be a reasonable one? All the suffering and trauma associated
>with human and animal death would be non-existant.

Then there would be no need for reproduction whatsoever. God created
reproduction but reproduction on a world in which no one dies, quickly
leads to an overpopulated world. In fact, you eventually could have the
animals outweighing the entire planet. Nothing could die, yet they have 10
offspring per year. Where does the material come from to make up the mass
of these offspring? An ocean sunfish can give out 300 million eggs in one
spawning. Very quickly ocean sunfish will cover the earth and none of them
could die. That certainly would not be an appealing place to live.

>Putting my non-YEC hat back on... I would have thought a slightly
>more potent argument in favour of pre-fall death, would be the
>involvement of actual animals in biological systems. I am no expert,
>but isn't it true that bacterial death is intimately involved in human
>biological systems? And bacteria are considered animals aren't they?
>And wouldn't there be examples of the death of even more developed
>animals than bacteria, involved in biological systems?

I don't know exactly what you mean here, but I can envision the strange
case of a cow biting a clump of grass upon which an ant, an aphid and a
grasshopper were resting. Since there can't be any animal death in your
scenario, then the ant, aphid and grasshopper must be able to resist the
tons per square inch pressure of the cows teeth, the grinding of the teeth,
the gastric juices and all other stuff and then be able to emerge unharmed
again into the sunlight from the other end of the cow. That certainly seems

Foundation, Fall and Flood
Adam, Apes and Anthropology

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