Death before Adam?

Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by BG, Dec 4, 2017.

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  1. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Can you be a Christian and believe in death before Adam?
  2. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Can you be a Christian with any theological error?

    We should be careful not to judge another's salvation based on such errors but admonish them as brethren.
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  3. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Doesn’t a belief that people lived, multiplied and died prior to Adam undermine all of our beliefs?
  4. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Does anyone know if any of the Reformers, Puritans or Pilgrims believed that Adam was a myth?
  5. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    I wasn't aware you meant human death...
  6. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes. But undermining isn't the same as denying. Thankfully for all of us, theologically consistency isn't a condition of salvation. Many of us have or have had inconsistencies in our beliefs--especially as young Christians. They are felicitous inconsistencies in that to be consistent with our errors would be a shipwreck of our faith.

    However, if one persists in holding (or, even worse, teaching) a serious error like this for their whole life despite correction it could call into question the credibility of their profession much like a besetting sin.
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  7. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    I’m not necessarily talking about a young Christian who simply does not know better but a elder or seminary professor that teaches these things.

    We confess that when Adam (a real person) fell all mankind fell with him.

    If the biblical account of Adam’s fall is a myth then it seems to me that the following is true: 1)our theology is total garbage, 2)the Bible is untrustworthy.

    If however the biblical account of Adam’s fall is in fact true then those men who teach Any form of evolutionary process or gap theory are disqualified from ministry.

    I am puzzled why men who hold to these various theories are held in high esteem by the Reformed community today. It seems to me that this should be a dividing line it is unbiblical, it is not confessional, and it lacks historical support.

    If Adam is a myth what else in the Bible is a myth Noah,Abraham,David,Christ?
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  8. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Bill, Did the person actually say that the story of Adam was a myth or that the story of Adam is allegory or metaphorical?
  9. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    This might be helpful. Here is a discussion of this topic between two old earth creationists and two young earth creationists. Note that everyone here affirms a literal Adam. The OEC say that the death before the Fall is speaking of human death.

    (starting at around 1 hour and 30 minutes. The link to the time was removed by the forum software)

    I don't know where you are finding people who hold to gap theory who don't believe in a literal Adam (are we talking about the same view, the one held by everyone from Thomas Chalmers to C.I. Scofield?). Also, if you try to say anyone who believes in any form of evolutionary process, you are excluding many YEC like Ken Ham who believe in a very rapid evolution sometime between the kinds of the ark and the species we see today.
  10. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    It helps to clarify what you mean by "death before Adam."

    If you mean human death, then "death before Adam" would mean humans existed before Adam, and this clearly seems not to fit with what Scripture tells us.

    If you mean some kind of subhuman but nearly human death, then "death before Adam" suggests an evolutionary process of some sort that resulted in the creation of the first man. As one who believes Scripture is true, I don't like the sound of that either, although I realize there are a handful of scholars who otherwise seem to have a high view of Scripture but hold this out as a possibility. It sounds off to me, but I will admit I have not studied the issue in-depth.

    If you mean death on the level of plant life and/or simple organisms, it suggests "death before Adam" means some of the biological processes we know today that involve growth, feeding, and decay were already present in some form before the fall. Scripture tells us several things that help us theorize and argue either for or against various aspects of such death, but Scripture is not so clear as to let us say with much certainty that our theories are completely correct. Moreover, Scripture does not seem interested in giving us a direct answer to this question, suggesting it is not an important one for belief in the gospel, nor a decisive one when it comes to detecting those who trust God's Word and those who don't.
  11. Doulos McKenzie

    Doulos McKenzie Puritan Board Freshman

    Well I think we should distinguish between **Human Death** and plant/animal death. The former happening before Adam is heresy. The latter is problematic but It does not reck the foundation of biblical theology as the former does.
  12. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't see the point of there being a need for claiming death of anything (man, animals, or plants) before the fall. I don't believe Adam and Eve were in the garden long enough to warrant the need for any living thing's death. Also, here's a good article on plants and what causes their death something you wouldn't have found in the garden before the fall.
  13. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Death reigned from Adam to Moses.
  14. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    The gap theory teaches that sin and death were here long before Adam ever existed. Therefore saying that those who believe in the gap theory believe in a literal Adam is a little bit deceiving, don’t you think? That is of course if you believe that Adam was the first man.

    Does anyone happen to know whether or not the gap theory and the teaching of the Masonic Lodge have some similarities?
  15. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Youth can come in many forms. There are plenty of cases of ones who have professed faith for many years and even held leadership positions while espousing serious error and later come to correction and greater knowledge of the truth. I would hazard a guess that some on this very board might be among that number. I will readily agree with you on the seriousness of the error, the assortment of core doctrines which it undermines, and that one who holds them should not be esteemed by the Reformed community and really should be under discipline. But unless they work out the implications of their error and actually do deny core doctrines (like an Arminian going Open Theist), I am not willing to consider them as non-believers.
  16. augustacarguy

    augustacarguy Puritan Board Freshman

    The direct inverse correlation between Adam and the Lord Jesus in Rom 5 would suggest (to me) that affirming death before the fall is an extremely serious, and possibly damning error.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
  17. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Not a myth but metaphor also some type of poetry. Very odd. They are convinced that it is a confessional position, they focus on the words the space of six days.
  18. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior


    I would encourage you to read Kline if you haven't already. I completely disagree with him and can go through point by point where I believe he gets it wrong, but it's also important to hear the antithesis from those who believe and promote it.

    As to death before the fall:

    1. Rom. 5:12 states clearly that there was no human death prior to the fall ("death spread to all men...")

    2. Adam was the federal head of mankind, but his influence went farther than the race itself since he was to have dominion over the creation which was cursed due to his sin.*** Death in general seems to be implied as a result of man's sin, though this is not as clearly spelled out. Furthermore, it's difficult to imagine that there was pain, suffering and death of any kind in the perfection in which it was created.

    3. In our time we might define death as any cellular decay. We know that Adam and Eve were told to eat the fruit of the garden. At this level, we might see death prior to the fall, but I don't think there is any reason that this kind of event should be considered "death" from a biblical standpoint, since the host was kept intact.

    ***Sin first entered the world before Adam, at least by Satan and then Eve. It was Adam's sin, however, that brought on the curse. This further demonstrates the connection between the head of mankind and the effects of the caregiver's failing in ushering in the curse.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
  19. rekcor

    rekcor Puritan Board Freshman

    From a pastoral point of view, TS' question can have devastating effects on a persons life. This I know from my own, personal experience.

    Being trained as a scientist, questions like these can easily lead to schizophrenic way of living, in which the whole look at life on 'Sunday' (metaphor for: when I read my bible, pray, go to church, etc) becomes completely different than the look at life during the week.

    During the week I am trained to rely on facts, on measurements, on calculations. When I drive my car, go to the hospital, fly in a plane, I completely rely on the results of the scientific method. On 'Sunday' questions like the one in this topic, forces me to suddenly doubt the scientific method at a fundamental level. In other words: TS' question can easily lead to a (false, In my humble opinion) dichotomy: either the bible is true, or science is true, and all attempts to integrate both by sincere Christians are suspicious at best.

    Although I personally do not know yest whether there was 'death' before Adam (indeed: let us first get a clear view on what the biblical authors meant by 'death'), I am very happy with orthodox people like Gijsbert van den Brink*, writing articles like

    *) As Prof. vd Brink is Dutch and people might not know him: Vd Brink would easily be accepted by all of you as a full member on this Puritan Board forum, expect (perhaps) because of his views on evolution...
  20. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    If evolution is true the Bible is false end of story.
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  21. rekcor

    rekcor Puritan Board Freshman

    I am sorry, but I fail to see how your response contributes here. The term "evolution" is being used for many things, some being more likely, some being less likely, some having marginal implications for our view on Scripture, some having huge implications.

    We see, e.g. "evolution" happening every day, e.g. bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.
  22. BGF

    BGF Puritan Board Sophomore

    I understood him to be using the term "evolution" in the common sense, as in macro-evolution, or wholesale change of species from one to another. This, is often expressed in the evolution of a simple organism to a more complex organism in a continuous chain in which mankind is a participant. It is this type of evolution which is contradictory to the biblical account.
  23. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    That's still not a helpful way to distinguish, as that would exclude even the view of Ken Ham/Answers in Genesis who believes in a limited number of kinds on the ark which evolved to the large number of species present on earth today.

    B.B. Warfield even saw evolutionary thought present in how Calvin viewed Genesis 1-3:
  24. rekcor

    rekcor Puritan Board Freshman

    In general, asking questions like

    "Can you be a Christian and believe in X"
    With X being a scientific claim

    can cause a lot of pastoral damage among Christians working in a scientific environment. Not only do these questions impose a lot of stress on these persons, also their non-academic friends and family members can easily start drawing conclusions like: you are a bad Christian or even: you are not a Christian at all.

    Please let us learn from history, where Christians have condemned persons like Copernicus for claiming that the earth revolves around the sun!
  25. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    When I say evolution I am not talking about the gene pool expressing itself but the idea that a snake laid an egg and it was a chicken.
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  26. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    Can you find a single source that defines evolution this way?
  27. Nate

    Nate Puritan Board Junior

    Rekcor, you mentioned that you are a trained scientist. Do you have a standard method by which you weigh scientific data and interpretations of data? Do you weigh the validity and accuracy of scientific interpretations through the lens of Confessional statements, or do you weigh Confessional statements through the lens of scientific interpretations, or a mixture of both?
  28. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    No one believes that birds evolved from reptiles?

    I always find it interesting when christians defend evolution.

    I’m not sure why you think the scientific method and the Bible are at odds they are not. What is at odds is the scientific method and evolution.

    Every year there are scientific discoveries that catch up to the Bible. I just watched a atheist scientist the other day explaining how science now proves there was once a world wide flood.
  29. rekcor

    rekcor Puritan Board Freshman

    I think not the one nor the other.

    According to Psalm 75:3 the earth stands on pillars, according to science the earth does not. How do you want me to weigh the validity and accuracy of this scientific interpretation through the the lens of Confessional statements?
  30. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Figure of speech.
    The Bible also says the sun rises, no one ever looks at a sunset and says my what a beautiful earth rotating.

    I know one thing you don’t do, you don’t apply the scientific method to evolution because it would fail every time.

    Here is a little humor for you.

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