Observations on life; particularly spiritual

The dangers of theistic evolution

How the foundations of a building can be affected The foundations of a building can move and crack due to expansive soils such as clay, poor soil compaction, plumbing leaks, poor drainage, or tree roots. Did you know that the theory of biological evolution destroys the foundation of the Christian gospel?

This post is based on a presentation by Dr Mark Harwood of Creation Ministries International (CMI).

Is it relevant?

Have you ever wondered whether the creation-evolution debate is relevant to the gospel? You might think, it’s very complicated and I’m not a scientist, so what do I do with this? What’s the point?

Some say that the purpose of the church is to proclaim Jesus and the gospel and that matters like creation and evolution are secondary issues. Does it really matter?

Some time ago I spoke at the ministry school of a large church in Sydney for two successive Tuesday evenings on “Genesis and the gospel”. After the first evening a couple said that all people need is an encounter with Jesus. When they returned for the second evening, they reported on a Religious Education class at the local state high school. As it was the last week before a vacation, they asked the class how many would like them to pray that they have an encounter with Jesus during the break. No one responded. Then a student asked, “Were Adam and Eve real people?”. So, they explained that these were the first man and woman and they lived in the Garden of Eden. Another student asked if the story about Noah on the boat with all the animals was real. So, they explained about Noah and the global catastrophic flood. They asked lots of questions about things in Genesis 1-11. Once again, they asked how many would like them to pray that they have an encounter with Jesus during the break. All of the students responded except for one. What had happened in that class? The students realized that there were answers to their questions. And that there was a connection between the beginnings and the gospel message and the real world. Once that link was made, suddenly it was all about Jesus. So, it’s important to link what the Bible says at the beginning with the gospel message that we read about in the New Testament. Of course, the gospel is throughout the Bible.

Two explanations of creation

But the scientific community and our culture believes that the universe is about 13.8 billion years old, and the earth is around 4.5 billion years old. Have you ever wondered what has led people to that conclusion? What makes people say that the universe is so incredibly old? It comes from limiting ourselves to natural explanations for things. Everything is assumed to happen naturally without any guiding hand from a supernatural being. And if we believe in naturalism, we need to have vast periods of time to be able to account for the incredible complexity of the universe in which we live.

But if we limit ourselves to natural explanations, we are excluding the possibility of a supernatural cause to the universe. A supernatural explanation. And that means we are eliminating God. The underlying assumption behind the evolutionary story that we are taught as a fact in our culture is, “there is no God”. So that makes evolution atheistic. I say, evolution is atheism dressed up in a lab (laboratory) coat.

But the Bible tells us a very different story. It says that God created the heavens and the earth in six normal length days about 6,000 years ago. And many Christians believe that. The reasons why the early chapters of Genesis are not mythical are given in Appendix A. I also know many Christians believe the evolutionary story. I once did too. So, there are two different stories of creation that come from two different worldviews.

Two explantions of creation - evolution and the Bible

There is a very significant discrepancy between these two versions of history. If you’ve wondered about that you are not alone. During my education I was taught the evolutionary story and I came to realize that it was radically different from what the Bible says. These stories can’t both be right. Which one is right? And does it really matter? I think it does matter.

CMI received the following letter “I was raised in the church until my teens, before rejecting it declaring myself an atheist/agnostic … The creation/evolution issue was the number one sticking point for me – how could I possibly believe the Bible if it was wrong from the very start?”. It’s a good question. If the Bible is wrong at the beginning, how can we be sure that other bits are not wrong too? Like where it says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son [Jesus], that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16NIV). Maybe that bit is wrong. And it says, “If we confess our sins, He [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). Maybe that bit is wrong. And worse still, how do you figure out which bits are right and which bits are wrong? This letter finished on a positive note as the author was writing about their salvation. They said, “thank you to CMI and God bless”. CMI materials encouraged them to have confidence in the Bible and that led ultimately to their salvation.

There was a survey done 18 months ago by the Barna group. They looked at Millennials (18-35 year olds) and asked, “What things are barriers to you having faith?”. The number one issue in Australia and New Zealand and a close second globally was “science”. This means the evolutionary story of our origins. Because if evolution is true, the Bible is not. This is an important issue for the church.

Have you ever come into a room where people are watching a movie that is part-way through? And you sit down and ask, who’s that person? And someone explains it to you. And then you say, why did that happen? And someone explains it to you. If you keep doing that it becomes extremely irritating. We have all come in in the middle of the story. We don’t know what happened before we were here. The only way we can find out what happened in the past is if somebody tells us or we read a history book. But then we have to ask, is the history book accurate?

So, we’ve all come into the middle of the story. Before we can understand why the world is the way it is, we have to go back to the beginning.

In the beginning

The Bible tells us that right at the very beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and that the original creation was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). And God and mankind were in perfect relationship. There was no disease. There was no suffering. And no death. It was a very good creation.

But then tragically mankind rebelled against our creator. If you cut yourself off from the only source of all life, then the only consequence of that can be death and suffering and disease. That separation from God brought death, suffering and disease into the world. But because God loved us so much, about 4,000 years later He came in human form in the person of Jesus who gave His life for us. The just for the unjust. Jesus pays the price for our sin, which is death, by giving His life for us on the cross. It’s all about Jesus. But He didn’t stay in the tomb. He rose from the dead. Death could not hold Him. He conquered death which proves He’s the Son of God. And that gives us a hope for the future. For every believer.

Schematic diagram of the Christian gospelIf that’s all there is, then nothing happens. But the Bible says that the moment an unbeliever repents and believes, they experience the new birth. And that is a miracle – God places His Holy Spirit into the heart of that person. And they become a child of God. The Bible says that if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation, the old has gone and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). And God places His Holy Spirit into the heart of every believer, which restores the relationship lost in the Garden of Eden, but now available again to believers.

But more than that, the presence of the Holy Spirit guarantees us an inheritance for all of eternity. Wow! What an amazing gospel message we have to proclaim to this world! I can’t image how anybody who really understood what the gospel was about could possibly refuse it. But isn’t it interesting that the first two stones in that set of building blocks (creation and rebellion) are what we find written about in the opening chapters of Genesis? The perfect creation and then the rebellion of mankind. Genesis is like the foundation stone of the gospel message.

But here’s the problem. If evolution is true, then Genesis is not. And if Genesis is not true, then the gospel is without foundation. So we have this message of the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus and that people can be born again, that becomes disconnected from the real world.

Many churches preach this gospel and never talk about the creation or the fall of mankind. But there is something that is missing that is vitally important. And it leaves a barrier to many people coming to faith – like the man who wrote the letter. It was a barrier to him, and he walked away from the church. But it also exposes young Christians to the vulnerability of not having answers to explain and be able to defend their faith.

I became a Christian by committing my life to the Lord at a Billy Graham crusade. But I grew up assuming that God must have used evolution to create. I was intimidated by the scientific establishment and everything I learnt at high school and university. So, I replaced the foundation of the gospel with the idea that God used evolution. That’s called theistic evolution. But it has many problems. I was a confused Christian.

The problems of theistic evolution

The first problem is that assuming God used evolution contradicts God’s character. God reveals Himself to us in the Bible as a God of love, goodness, power and purposefulness. Evolution is a random, cruel and ugly process. And yet God said it was all “very good”. But if God used suffering and death to create over millions of years, the creation was not very good. This is a contradiction.

Theistic evolution removes the fall (into sin) from the Christian gospelAnd then it posed the problem for mankind’s rebellion because the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the garden would have had no physical consequence since death and suffering were already in the world and had been for millions of years apparently. So that means there is no meaning to the rebellion (the fall into sin) of mankind. It’s like we have a Fall-less gospel. Do you know that evolution negates the Fall? But if the Fall was true, that negates evolution. And it’s that realization that bought me to believe that the Bible is true right from the very beginning.

Another question is, what does it mean for Jesus’ sacrifice? Why did Jesus go to the cross for us? Death and suffering, now, cannot be the result of sin. Because death and suffering were in the world millions of years before Adam and in fact it was the means by which God created. Amazing!

And I had another puzzle. When God declared the curse on Adam and Eve and on the creation, He said “For dust you are and to dust you shall return”. But if evolution was how God created Adam was going to die anyway. Adam would have thought to himself, so what, I’m going to die anyway! So, the curse would have had no significance to him at all.

And what about the resurrection? If God didn’t create Adam and Eve supernaturally in the past, then why should we believe that the dead will be raised supernaturally in the future?

So, I hope you can see that evolution really makes a mess of the gospel message. I was a mess. I didn’t understand my faith. And as a consequence, I became a closet Christian in my high school and university days. If you had known me then, you probably wouldn’t have known I was a Christian. I didn’t declare my faith. And the reason was, I couldn’t even answer my own questions, let alone the questions people might ask of me.

Here’s a question that I struggled with, why did Jesus die? I thought He could have come to earth and lived a good life and shown us how to relate to our heavenly Father and then perhaps be transfigured up into heaven. Why the agony of the cross? I didn’t understand it. So, because I accepted evolution I was a confused Christian.

Also, why do people die? The Bible explains that clearly: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man [Adam], and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). There are four things here:
– Sin entered the world. That means it wasn’t there before.
– Sin came through one man, Adam. In the garden he disobeyed and rebelled against God.
– And then death came though sin. This wasn’t just spiritual death (Appendix B).
– And we all die because we have all sinned.
So people die because of sin and not because of how they were made. The Fall therefore brought both physical and spiritual death.

Returning to the previous question, why did Jesus die? As He was without sin, He didn’t die because of His sin. So why did He die? The Bible says, “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you … that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1, 3-4). He died to pay the price for our sins. But that doesn’t make any sense if God used evolution to create (that is, if He created a sinful world).

Paul said, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:19-21). So, Jesus died to redeem the whole of His once perfect creation. This passage shows that the fall was cosmic in its scope. It didn’t just affect mankind. It affected the whole universe. But it also tells us the cosmic scope of Christ’s redemptive work.

In summary, if the evolutionary story is true and the earth is billions of years old, then the source of death was God’s creation. And the source of disease must have been God’s creation. And the source of decay must have been God’s creation. But if the earth is young like the Bible says, then the source of death is our sin. And the source of disease is our sin. And the source of decay is our sin.

So, when we ask the question, why did Jesus die, if we believe the millions of years, the answer is because of how God created the universe. But if we believe what the Bible says, Jesus died because of our sin. Can you see how important this message is that we find in the opening chapters of the Bible?

Biblical creation reveals the goodness of the original creation, the intrusiveness of sin and its effects on the whole of God’s good creation and the glory of the cross which redeems us along with the rest of creation from its bondage to sin and decay.

Theistic evolution places death and suffering before Adam’s sinImagine if God had used evolution, then God calls His creation of Adam and Eve and the animals to be “very good”. But underneath their feet there would have been layers and layers of rocks with fossils showing death, suffering and disease for millions of years. That doesn’t make any sense. The millions of years always places death and suffering before Adam’s sin.

The importance of this was summed up by Dr Albert Mohler, “The New Testament clearly establishes the gospel of Jesus Christ upon the foundation of the Bible’s account of creation. If there was no historical Adam and no historical fall, the gospel is no longer understood in Biblical terms”.

It’s strange, but sometimes it’s the atheists who attack the church and Christianity who understand the importance of Genesis often better than Christians do. For example, Richard Bozarth said, “Christianity has fought, still fights and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”

So can you imagine the dilemma I had as a young man – believing that God used evolution to create, with a very mixed-up understanding of why Jesus even died for me. I couldn’t explain that to myself. I couldn’t answer my own questions. I therefore couldn’t answer the questions of anybody else. How could I witness and bear testimony to what God had done in my life? So, I became a closet Christian.

On 22 February 2011 an earthquake devastated the city of Christchurch, New ZealandOn 22 February 2011 an earthquake devastated the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Two multi-storey reinforced concrete buildings collapsed, and the foundations of many buildings failed causing cracks and tilted buildings. Many buildings had to be demolished. 181 people died. Many foundations couldn’t withstand the seismic activity and the liquefaction of deep alluvial soils (when a saturated soil behaves as a liquid). These foundations are like evolution which collapses the gospel. Liquefaction-prone soils are now mapped in New Zealand. And new buildings on liquefaction-prone ground require specifically-designed foundations suitable for the site soil conditions in order to ensure more robust, safer and more resilient buildings. These foundations are like what Genesis is to the gospel.

What the Bible says

So how do we find out the truth about our origins? We can’t go back to the beginning to see what happened. We’ve only got the present. We’ve come in at the middle of the story. But God has given us His word, the Bible. That’s how we know what happened at the beginning. He has given us His eye-witness account in the Bible. We can think of the Bible as a history book of the universe. Of course, it contains more than history; it also teaches us how to be in relationship with our heavenly Father. When it includes historical accounts, we can have complete confidence that they are actually true, especially the very beginning.

We can construct a timeline from the information in the Bible. From the time of creation through to the time of Abraham is about 2,000 years. From Abraham to the time of Jesus is also about 2,000 years. And from the time of Jesus to the present time is also about 2,000 years. So according to the Bible, the creation was about 6,000 years ago! How could anyone believe that in our modern world? Surely there is so much evidence that apparently proves the vast age of the universe and the evolutionary story.

Radiometric dating

Why do people think the universe is so old? Part of the answer is that they only use naturalistic explanations for the universe. Therefore, we need vast periods of time. But it also influences how people interpret the data. Apparently, the evidence for the vast ages comes from radio-isotope dating. This is like an hour-glass. You start off with an unstable parent element that decays at a certain rate and produces a daughter element. So, if you can measure the ratio of the parent element to the daughter element in your sample, then you can calculate its age. But the problem is that you have to make a lot of assumptions that you can’t prove. For instance, you don’t know how much parent element was in the sample at the beginning. Nor how much daughter element was in the sample at the beginning. And you don’t know if some has been added or subtracted through processes that have happened. And you don’t know if the decay rate has been constant. We have to make seven (7) independent assumptions to be able to derive an age from radiometric dating. And the problem is, depending on the assumptions you make, you can get any age you like! But even worse, you can’t test your assumptions because you can’t go back into the past to see what actually happened.

But we can use radiometric dating to test rocks of known age. A good way of doing this is to take a rock sample from the lava dome of a volcano which has erupted on a known date. For example, the potassium-argon (K-Ar) clock begins ticking when molten lava solidifies. Argon is an inert gas and it bubbles out of molten lava, but it gets trapped when the lava becomes a rock of basalt. Mt St Helens erupted in 1980. Rock from the lava dome was dated between 350,000 – 2.8 million years ago. And yet the rock actually formed about ten years before these measurements were made! Mt Kilauea in Hawaii has erupted many times in the past 200 years. Rocks from an eruption almost 200 years ago were dated 0 – 22 million years ago. And Mt Hualalai last erupted 220 years ago. These rocks were dated 160 million – 3.3 billion years ago.

So, if we get incorrect results for rocks of known age, how can we have confidence when we have a rock of unknown age? The dilemma is that you can’t interpret the radiometric data without bringing your assumptions into the equation because ages cannot be measured. Scientists only measure the physical and chemical properties of their sample. You can’t measure age; you always calculate it. And the calculations are influenced by your assumptions.

A sample of Hawkesbury sandstone was found with a piece of wood embedded in it. Surely different dating methods must give similar results for things which must be about the same age. The age of the sandstone was dated at 230 million years, but the wood was dated by carbon 14 dating at 34,000 years. How could something so “young” be totally encased by something that was vastly older than it?

Save-Soderberg and Olsson said, “If a carbon 14 age supports our theories, we put it in the main text. If it does not entirely contradict them, we put it in a footnote. And if it’s completely ‘out of date’, we just drop it”. This shows how our belief systems work. Now these measurements are very expensive. You have received a research grant. You have spent some money getting your samples tested in a laboratory. And you have a pretty fair idea of what the age should be. But that is based on what you already believe. So back comes the data that is widely scattered. What do you do with it? You filter it according to your beliefs.

Evidence for the Biblical account of creation

Is there any evidence for the Biblical account of creation? I think there is a huge amount of evidence. In fact, the evidence for creation is everywhere. What we need is the right glasses to see it.

Carbon 14 is a friend of biblical creationists. For instance, diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring form of carbon. You can’t get impurities into a diamond or out of it by any natural process. And diamonds are believed to be billions of years old. Now there could not possibly be any carbon 14 inside a diamond because carbon 14 disappears relatively quickly. After 60,000-80,000 years it would not be detectable. So clearly there shouldn’t be any carbon 14 within diamonds. But when a group of diamonds with an assumed age of 1-3 billion years were tested, carbon 14 was found in each one! This indicated that they were just thousands of years old.

Carbon 14 turns up routinely in coal supposedly 10s to 100s of millions of years old (but according to deep time there should be no carbon 14 present). Carbon 14 was found in every coal sample that has been tested to date, indicating only thousands of years. The measurements are consistent with a biblical history. But completely inconsistent with the evolutionary story.

When we look around the world today, we discover that the river systems dump about 20 billion tonnes of sediment onto the ocean floor every year. The average depth of sediment on the ocean floors is a bit less than 400 m, so we can get an estimate of how long it would have taken for all of that material to accumulate. And it all would have got there in less than 12 million years. That’s a disaster for the evolutionary story because the oceans are supposed to be 3,000 million years old. But 12 million years is too big for the biblical account. Is there any event in the past that might have dumped billions of tonnes of mud and sediment onto the ocean floor? Yes, the flood! So, when we use the bible’s record of history we can make sense of the data that we see in the world around us.

Also, consider the White Cliffs of Dover. These are white because they regularly collapse. They were supposed to have been deposited in the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago. But the average rate of erosion is about a meter every six years. If that had been going on for 65 million years, the coast would have receded by 10,000 kilometers! Which is obviously nonsense. I’m not saying that people believe that. The main point is that the processes we see operating today are consistent with the Bible’s record of history, but are completely inconsistent with the idea of millions of years.

And even in astronomy we find evidence for recent creation. For example, a while ago the 79th moon of the planet Jupiter was discovered. The moons of Jupiter are fascinating. The ones closest to the planet are “prograde moons” who orbit in the same direction as the rotation of the planet. Those further away from Jupiter are “retrograde moons” who orbit in the opposite direction to the rotation of the planet. In the middle of the 12 retrograde moons there is a prograde one (called Valetudo) that is moving against the flow. Can you image driving down the freeway and deciding to cross over to the other side of the road. How long do you think you would last? Not long at all before having a collision. That’s why the scientists were astonished. This is an unstable situation because it crosses paths with several other moons that have opposing orbits and may in the future collide with them. Head-on collisions would quickly break apart and grind the objects down to dust. And yet there it is, hurtling towards the other moons, but it has not yet collided. It could not have been there for millions of years. Because if it had been we wouldn’t see it now.

Another process that is consistent with the Bible is the population of the world of about 7 billion people. If you start with six people, Noah’s three sons and their wives, and let that population grow at the rate of about 0.5% for 4,500 years you get about 7.5 billion people. This is entirely consistent with the Bible’s record of history, but completely inconsistent with the evolutionary story which says that mankind is supposed to have been here for at least 100,000 years. If that is true, where are all the people? We should be shoulder-to-shoulder on every square meter of the earth’s surface, including the ocean’s basins. But that is not the case.

So, the observable evidence in the world around us is consistent with the Bible’s record of history. CMI list 101 evidences for a young age of the earth and the universe. So, we can have complete confidence that it is indeed true and it’s God’s word.

Dr Mike Adams said, “If Christianity dies in America [the West], it will not be for a lack of evidence for its truthfulness. It will be for a lack of dissemination of the evidence of its truthfulness.”

Resources

Christians are to “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pt. 3:15). To do this we need to be able to defend what we believe. We need to be able to give an explanation to others. How do we get prepared to give an answer to all of these challenges that come at us in our secular world?

CMI equips Christians with answers to these challenges. And to challenge those who believe in the evolutionary story and its atheistic background to have confidence in the Bible. There are over 12,000 articles and items of interest on their website, creation.com. Subscribe to the magazine. Subscribe to the Journal for more details. And use the search box to find articles on specific topics.

Summary

The evolutionary story places millions and millions of years of death, struggle and suffering before mankind even appears on the scene. That means that death was in the world before humanity. But the Bible has it the other way around. It says that it was Adam’s actions in the garden that led to death and suffering coming into this world. And that is why Jesus came.

Paul says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). That becomes the basis of the gospel message. Adam brought death into the world. Jesus paid the price so that we could go free.

When we proclaim Jesus into this lost and dying world, we need to remember that He is first of all the creator of the universe. The perfect sinless Son of God. He’s our redeemer who paid the price for our sin. The risen savior having defeated death. He’s the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He’s the way and the truth and the life. The giver of the Holy Spirit to everyone who believes. He’s the lover of our souls. He’s our intercessor seated at the right hand of God the Father. He’s the soon-coming King. He’s the bridegroom at the wedding feast to which we all have been invited.

If you are a believer, strengthen your faith. Get equipped so you can give an account for the hope that is in you.

If you are not a believer, take this opportunity to repent and believe. Being born again is the most wonderful thing that can happen to you because not only do you get to walk and talk with your Creator in this life, but you also have a guaranteed inheritance with Him for all of eternity.

Appendix A: Are the early chapters of Genesis mythical?

A mytho-historical genre (literature style) is one where a grain of truth (the historical part) is embellished to convey some spiritual truth (the mythical part). In this case it’s assumed that the text is not to be read as literal history. It conveys a sense of truth about origins, but not a literal description of actual events. For example, the days of creation may represent long geological periods in deep time. And the biblical creation week is taken to be a figurative expression for gradual changes which occurred on the earth, perhaps millions or billions of years ago. But who decides what part is historical and what part is myth? And who decides what the myth means? This is a very subjective method of interpreting the Bible.

The Bible was written to be understood by ordinary people, so it shouldn’t be difficult to interpret. Genesis 1-11 is not figurative language, poetry, parables, a historical novel or a myth. But it is a biography and an autobiography that describes real historical people and real historical events. It is prose narrative, with some embedded pieces that are poetic (Gen. 1:27; 2:23; 4:23-24) and some genealogical records (Gen 5, 10, 11:10–26). And it differs from other near eastern cosmologies because they are poetic and polytheistic. The writers of the Bible affirm that Genesis 1-11 is fact not fiction. It is an account of real events. Jesus affirmed it as well. And the gospel is based on the historicity of the early chapters of Genesis. So, Genesis 1-11 isn’t a type of doublespeak where words don’t have their usual meaning.

A statistical analysis of verbs shows that Genesis 1:1 -2:3 is historical narrative and not poetry (or figurative). This means that it describes real historical events and it is not fiction.

The Old Testament Jews believed that Adam was a real person and that the account about him in Genesis 1-5 describes real events. Also Jesus, Luke, Paul, and Jude all believed that Adam and Eve were real people and that the account about them in Genesis 1-5 describes real events.

Therefore, we should also believe that Adam and Eve were real people and that the account about them in Genesis 1-5 describes real events. So Adam and Eve were actual people that lived on earth, and they were not symbolic or mythical nor did they come from someone’s imagination.

So, despite the opinion of many scholars today, the early chapters of Genesis are not mythical. The characters were real people and not imaginary like in a parable.

Appendix B: Was spiritual death the only consequence of Adam’s sin?

Some people try to negate the fact that there was no death (animal or human) before Adam sinned.

In Genesis 2:17 God tells Adam regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “when you eat from it you will certainly die”. The emphasis is on the certainty of death rather then its timing. It’s a warning that when you eat of it you will certainly begin to die. And indeed the punishment was physical death (Gen. 3:19).

Paul said, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). The context of this verse is physical death – it is preceded by Christ’s death (v.8-10) and followed by the death of people from Adam to Moses (v.14).

When Adam and Eve sinned they died spiritually instantly—they were separated from God and hid themselves (Gen. 3:8-10). Their relationship with God was broken.

So the Bible teaches that both kinds of death (spiritual and physical) are the consequence of Adam’s sin.

Acknowledgement

This post is based on a presentation on “Genesis and the gospel” by Dr Mark Harwood of Creation Ministries International (CMI).

Written, August 2021

Also see: In six days?
Genesis 1: Fact or fiction?
Genesis 1-11: Fact or fiction?
Adam and Eve: Fact or fiction?
Questions and answers about Genesis

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