The Problem with Death

DeathA few weeks ago, I read one Christian’s point of view on how the world began. This person laid out the different views out there, ranging from evolution to creation, to God using evolution in His creation, young earth, old Earth, and everything in between. This person concluded that there was not enough evidence to support anything; but what was important was the Maker, not how everything came to be.

I have heard this case before. I have strong Christian friends who believe God used evolution in His creation of the world. And lately, I have been rethinking my views. After all, there is a lot of debate on this issue, each with a valid point. But one thing keeps pulling me back from embracing the view that God used evolution: the problem of death.

My understanding of evolution is that through countless changes in both the world and species, what we see now came to be. And through that process there was a lot of death. Slowly, the genetics of the species changed, evolving to survive. What couldn’t live, died. What did live changed again, then died out so the new level of genetics could survive.

However, the Bible states death came through one man: Adam (Romans 5:12). Before Adam sinned, there was no death. Nothing died. And if there was no death, then there would be many species running around, each of them in a different state of evolution. The world would be filled with half-baked critters that were not done changing yet.

And where did they all go when Adam sinned and death finally entered creation? Did the imperfect die away? Yet that would contradict what God said when He finished creating: that everything was good (Genesis 1:31).

Ultimately though, the problem of death and the creation of the world has to do with our salvation. Through one man’s sin death entered the world, and through one man life came as well. We are all connected to Adam, and therefore we will die. But through Jesus we can have life. But if we are not connected to Adam, then can we be saved?

Imagine Adam and Jesus as doors on either side of a room. All who came through one door may go through the other door. But if you are not even in the same room, can you go through the other door? If mankind really did evolve, then are we all connected? What about those who did not fully evolve into humans, who were not Adam? Are any of us related to those pre-evolved humans? If so, can we be saved?

See the problem?

In the end, both faith and logical thinking are required for any belief about the origins of life. Yes, the Maker is important (if you believe in a Maker). But so is how He created the world. Life and death hinge on that.


3 thoughts on “The Problem with Death”

  1. I think the issue here is that we are not actually reading what Romans 5:12 states. Let me quote from a book I wrote:

    First, the Bible does not state that sin entered the world with Adam. Most seem to forget about Satan. When Satan and his angels rebelled against God, sin entered creation. Sin existed before Adam arrived on the scene. This fact is bypassed when quoting Romans 5:12.1 Often the “…and death [came] through sin…” part is held up without acknowledging the qualifying statement that follows it: “…in this way death came to all men…” The verse specifically relates man’s sin to causing man’s death, not all other death in nature. In other words, man’s death was the result of his own choice and the Bible does not indicate that his sin caused all other death at that same moment….

    At the very least, man must have died a spiritual death. Sin changed their lives and separated them from God. Christ came to die for humans to end this separation. Mankind’s separation was spiritual, so a spiritual being had to end it. Both Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21 tell us specifically to who death came and why. Animals can be affected by our sin, but they cannot sin so there is no reason to believe that their natural death is caused by man’s sin.

    It’s also important to point out that not all suffering the result of sin. Job was called “blameless” (Job 1:8) yet he experienced suffering that would eventually vindicate God’s purposes. Jesus suffered the crucifixion, yet he was without sin. Suffering has a place in the “good” creation once one sees it from God’s perspective: Suffering is temporary and part of his “…plan to address rebellion in the heavens, do away with evil for eternity, [and] demonstrate His glory for all eternity to all of creation…” ….

    Is [all] death and decay evil? If death was inherently evil, what of God who killed animals to clothe Adam and Eve and the deaths he caused throughout the Bible (in punishing people)? And why would God threaten Adam with death (Genesis 2:15-17) if Adam did not know what death was? If death is inherently evil, then so is God.


    So my point is man’s sin caused his spiritual death (and most likely physical death), but not all death originated from sin. Does this mean I think evolutionary theories are correct? No, in fact, I spend part of my book explaining why they are not. I cover the “no death before Adam” belief in a little more detail, but Mark S. Whorton’s book Peril in Paradise, is the most detailed, book-length study of the issue I have seen.

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