Beliefs re the Origin of Death and Predation in Nature

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Evolutionary Creationism Old Earth Creationism Young Earth Creationism
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Young Earth Creationism (YEC)

Some Young Earth Creationists believe that death and predation in nature were initiated as part of the punishment of Adam and Eve — see, for example, this account by brother Ron Cowie.

Others, such as writers at "Answers in Genesis", question whether insects and similar creatures are "even alive in the biblical sense". See Did Adam Step on an Ant before the Fall?

Old Earth Creationism (OEC) with "Gap"

Old Earth Creationism (OEC)

Evolutionary Creationism (EC)

Bro Ken Gilmore has outlined in his blog a selection of Christadelphian beliefs about the origin of death in nature, dating back to Dr Thomas, with which modern evolutionary creationists agree. (For fuller quotations and references, see the blog page.)

Far from believing that there was originally no predation or death in nature until birds, animals etc. were caught up in the punishment of Adam and Eve, these early Christadelphians believed that Adam and Eve were made of the dust, earthy. Modern evolutionary creationists, believing similarly, have no difficulty with the world-wide evidence that confirms that normal animal life cycles (including mortality) were lived out for millions of years, and normal human lifecycles for many thousands of years.

"Adam's nature was animal. Very good of its kind, as was the nature of all the other creatures. These did not sin, yet they returned to dust whence they came. So probably would Adam, if he had been left to the ordinary course of things as they were. But he would not have returned to dust if he had continued obedient."

". . . placing . . . the earth in such a position with respect to the sun, moon, and stars, that there should be a diversity of seasons, &.c. Thus, fall and winter, seasons of decay and death, were institutions existing before the Fall; and presented to Adam and Eve phenomena illustrative of the existence in the physical system of a principle of corruption, the extent of which, however, they might not have been fully apprized of."

‘Adam, before transgression, though a living soul (or natural body—1 Cor. 15:44–5), was not necessarily destined to die, as obedience would have ended in life immortal. After transgression, his relation to destiny was changed. Death (by sentence,) was constituted the inevitable upshot of his career. He was, therefore, in a new condition as regarded the future, though not in a new condition as regarded the actual state of his nature. In actual nature, he was a corruptible groundling before sentence, and a corruptible groundling after sentence; but there was this difference: before sentence, ultimate immortality was possible; after sentence, death was a certainty. This change in the destiny lying before him, was the result of sin.’

  • Bro J. W. Thirtle, writing in The Christadelphian Vol. 17,1880

"We will first consider the second clause, “dying thou shalt die.” Some consider these words to have found verification on the day Adam sinned, by his becoming a corruptible creature, and ultimately dying. This, however, is not so. We have the Hebrew word “to die” repeated in two moods: the infinitive ( moth ) and the indicative ( tamuth ); moth, to die—dying; tamuth—thou shalt die. As the words stand, certainty is implied, and nothing more; so the authorised version is not far wrong in rendering the words, “thou shalt surely die.” It is out of the question to suppose that a process of decay is implied in the words, for they were afterwards used to one of the descendants of Adam—Shimei (1 Kings 2:37,42), and we have no record of Shimei having occupied a similar relation to life and death to that which Adam sustained before the fall. If it had been intended to express a continued or lasting process, the order of the Hebrew words would have been reversed. Shimei was mortal at the time of the threat which was couched in the strong terms, “thou shalt certainly die.” Upon these words, also, all the emphasis rested in the charge made to Adam and Eve. Ostervald was not far wrong when, in his French Bible, in these verses in Kings he rendered moth tamuth : “tu mourras sans rémission”—thou shalt die without chance of pardon. The same Hebrew words might be similarly rendered in Genesis 2:17."

—  J. W. Thirtle, The Christadelphian Magazine 17:26 (1880)

Deism, Agnosticism and Atheism