Post Author: Bill Pratt
One of the most popular arguments from young earth creationists (YEC’s) that the “days” of Genesis must be 24-hour days is that if the “days” represent long periods of time (millions or billions of years), then there must have been animal death before the Fall of Adam and Eve. According to YEC’s, there could not have been any death before the Fall. Because of this, they argue that old earth creationists (OEC’s), who believe the earth is 4 1/2 billion years old, must be incorrect. An old earth would necessitate animal death before Adam and Eve’s Fall.
For many years, I heard this argument and just assumed that there must be some passages in the Bible that plainly state that there was a complete absence of death before the Fall. I never bothered to look for myself. Then, a couple years ago, I decided to actually look up the verses that are cited to show that there was no death before the Fall. The two most common are Rom. 5:12 and 1 Cor. 15:20-22.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12)
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:20-22)
Now, if you just read these two passages without ever having been told what they mean, it seems to me that they are clearly speaking of human death, not death of animals. In fact, if you read these verses in context with the surrounding verses, you can easily see that the text is speaking of human sin and human death. I cannot imagine how someone can interpret these verses to be talking about general animal death. Animals cannot sin and animals are not redeemed by Christ, but that is exactly what these passages are referring to. If you don’t believe me, go read the passages in context. See for yourself.
If YEC’s want to prove that there was no animal death (OEC’s agree there was no human death) before the Fall, then they need to point to some other passages in Scripture. Rom. 5:12 and 1 Cor. 15:20-22 just do not make their case at all.