I used to be a young-earth creationist, but realized I could not defend the idea of “no death before the Fall of Adam and Eve.” For instance, plants are alive, their cells have the same basic structures as those in animals, like a nucleus, cytoplasm and cell wall, and they died per Genesis 1, not because of sin, but because they were given as food. And the mere fact that ‘food’ had to be given implies that death by ‘starvation’ was also possible “in the beginning.”
I also realized that larger animals probably could not have avoided ingesting smaller ones, or stepping on them, unless via yet another unmentioned miracle, their movements were finely choreographed. Extinct species of gigantic fish, sea reptiles and sea mammals, chewing off gigantic mouthfuls of seaweed would have had to carefully spit out even the tiniest fish that was also feeding on the seaweed. Gigantic species of herbivores biting off a bunch of leaves could accidentally ingest small living things among the foliage. Gargantuan dinosaurs like brontosauruses, or gigantic mammals like Baluchitherium could easily have inhaled insects, and they would have to dodge ants, beetles, worms, frogs, snakes, and even much smaller mammals with each gargantuan step. And spiders would have to assist in the release of any insects that flew haphazardly into their webs.
And what if NO living things died, at all? A single bacterial cell that divides every twenty minutes would multiply to a mass four thousand times greater than the earthʼs in just two days.
A single oyster, left to its own devices, produces more than one-hundred-twenty-five million eggs in a season. Thatʼs more than enough oysters, if none died in eight years, [10 to the 89th power number of oysters] to crowd the water out of the oceans and make it cover the earth.
If all the eggs from one mother housefly lived, she would produce more than five trillion offspring in just one season.
A sunfish sometimes lays three hundred million eggs.
A female sea turtle lays a hundred or more eggs.
There are even more bountiful numbers from the world of fungal spores right up to seed-bearing plants.
What about the Second Law of Thermodynamics and decay? They goes with death, right? But is decay due to ‘sin?’ I read an exchange in The Creation Research Society Quarterly between two young-earth creationists, Henry Morris and Robert Kofahl, in which the latter argued that the Second Law of Thermodynamics must have existed in Eden before the Fall because the animals and Adam had to break down the molecules in the food they ate, and the necessary biochemical reactions would not occur without the Second Law of Thermodynamics being in effect. See also Creation Matters Sept/Oct 2001, “Did Entropy Change Before the Curse?” in which a young earth creationist argues that “Reasonable evidence exists from the Scripture that heat did indeed flow before the Curse, which would imply a change in entropy.” He argued that when God created two great lights to light the Earth, and their light shone on the earth, and if that included a transfer of thermal energy to the Earth, “then, from the standpoint of classical thermodynamics, there was a change in entropy before the Curse.” And, in Genesis 3:8, just after the Fall but before the Curse, “notice that God came down during the ‘cool of the day.’ That sounds like the temperature changed. If the temperature changed, then wouldnʼt thermal energy flow? If the answer is yes, then entropy changed before God instituted the Curse… Therefore, Creationists should refrain from claiming that entropy did not change before the Curse was implemented.” In fact not even the existence of ‘friction’ would follow without the Second Law being in effect. Talk about a slippery Eden!
But if the Second Law was in effect, and the animals and first couple digested their vegetarian dinners might they not have expelled gas, the product of such decay? Or defecated? And if there were helpful E. Coli bacteria in their guts (half of fecal matter is the waste produced by E. Coli including dead E. Coli) might not their fecal matter have had an odor? What about the bacteria living on the bodies of every living thing, such as in the armpits of Adam and Eve, and the waste produced by those bacteria? Did it also have an odor? What about the bacteria in their mouths and the waste products it produced, along with possible odors? Morning breath? Did God feel the least bit obliged to give Adam and Eve the recipe for soap? How about mouthwash? In other words, wouldnʼt Adam and Eve have felt just a LITTLE embarrassed (perhaps even ‘ashamed’) of discovering such odors for the first time, even before they discovered they were ‘naked?’ So if one insists that the original creation was so perfect there was no death, nor any signs of decay, one might retort with, “No decay my rear end!” Or should I say, “Adamʼs rear end?” Or, as Adam once put it, “Eve, pick some of those soft leaves next time, Iʼm getting chafed!” There was also pain in paradise. How do I know? It says in Genesis that God ‘cursed woman’ by ‘increasing or multiplying’ her pain in childbirth, and you canʼt ‘increase or multiply’ what isnʼt already there.
Excerpt From “Letter From Earth” by Mark Twain
He made a man and a woman and placed them in a pleasant garden, along with the other creatures. They all lived together there in harmony and contentment and blooming youth for some time; then trouble came. God had warned the man and the woman that they must not eat of the fruit of a certain tree. And he added a most strange remark: he said that if they ate of it they should surely die. Strange, for the reason that inasmuch as they had never seen a sample of death they could not possibly know what he meant. Neither would he nor any other god have been able to make those ignorant children understand what was meant, without furnishing a sample. The mere word could have no meaning for them, any more than it would have for an infant of days.
Scene From “Back to Methuselah” by George Bernard Shaw
(Scene: Garden of Eden. Afternoon. A glade in which lies a fawn all awry. Adam is staring in consternation at the fawn. Eve arrives and notices the animal.)
Eve: What is the matter with its eyes?
Adam: It is not only its eyes. Look. (He kicks it.)
Eve: Oh donʼt! Why doesnʼt it wake?
Adam: I donʼt know. It is not asleep.
Eve: Not asleep?
Eve: (Trying to shake it and roll it over) It is stiff and cold.
Adam: Nothing will wake it.
Eve: It has a queer smell. Did you find it like that?
Adam: No. It was playing about; and it tripped and went head over heels. It never stirred again. Itʼs neck is wrong. (He stoops to lift the neck and show her)
Eve: Donʼt touch it. Come away from it… Adam, suppose you were to trip and fall, would you become like that?
Adam: (He shudders)
Eve: You must be careful. Promise me you will be careful.
Adam: What is the good of being careful? We have to live here for ever. Think of what for ever means! Sooner or later I shall trip and fall. It may be tomorrow; it may be after as many days as there are leaves in the garden and grains of sand by the river. No matter: some days I shall forget and stumble.
Eve: I too.
Excerpts from “The Diary of Adam and Eve” (A Parody) by Mark Twain
Friday: She [Eve] engages herself in many foolish things: among others, trying to study why the animals called lions and tigers live on grass and flowers, when, as she says, the sort of teeth they wear would indicate that they were intended to eat each other. This is foolish, because to do that would be to kill each other, and that would introduce what, as I understand it, is called ‘death’; and death, as I have been told, has not yet entered the Garden.
Thursday: She is in much trouble about the buzzard; says grass does not agree with it; is afraid she canʼt raise it; thinks it was intended to live on decayed flesh. The buzzard must get along the best it can with what is provided. We cannot overturn the whole scheme to accommodate the buzzard.
Friday: She says the snake advises her to try the fruit of that tree, and says the result will be a great and fine and noble education. I told her there would be another result, too - it would introduce death into the world. That was a mistake - it had been better to keep the remark to myself; it only gave her an idea - she could save the sick buzzard, and furnish meat to the despondent lions and tigers. I advised her to keep away from the tree. She said she wouldnʼt. I foresee trouble. Will emigrate.
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