Q & A With Dr. Craig: Questions about Animal Death before the Fall of Man

Reasonable Faith

Kevin Harris: Dr. Craig, a question from James in the UK.

Dear Dr. Craig, you’ve mentioned previously about how you believe that macro-evolution (i.e. primordial soup plus time equals world) as is does not clash with a biblical worldview. I was wondering, do you believe death was a reality that only became manifest post man’s fall? And if so, how would evolution occur with death? I’ve wrestled with a few ways of approaching the point but I’m interested in how you would approach this question and which argument you would deem most reasonable.

Dr, Craig: Well, I would say in response to James that when you read the Bible, there’s nothing in the Bible that suggests that animal death is the result of the fall of man. In the book of Genesis the earth was cursed to bare thorns and thistles, woman was given pain in child-bearing, but there’s no suggestion in Genesis that animal death is the result of the Fall, that’s simply not there. Similarly, in Romans 5, Paul is talking about how human death is the result of the Fall – because Adam fell death spread to all men, he says, because all sinned – and even there I think it’s pretty clear he’s talking about spiritual death, not merely organic, biological death. So I find it ironic that so many young-earth creationists should believe that animal death is the result of man’s fall into sin when this isn’t taught in the Bible at all. This is one of those clear cases where, I think, people are reading things into the text rather than of out of the text; they’re reading in-between the lines. And scientifically speaking it would be inevitable that prior to man’s fall, during those six days preceding man’s fall, even taken literally micro-organisms and insects would be dying. There’s no reason to think that there wasn’t animal death prior to the fall of man into sin.

Kevin Harris: And there may have been thorns, but they were outside of the garden.

Dr, Craig: Well, that’s a different question, too…

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Questions about Animal Death before the Fall of Man | Reasonable Faith