BY: ROBERT SURGENOR
One of the theories that Young Earth Creationists use to promote their theory that dinosaurs were created on day six of the account given in Genesis chapter one, is that there was no death on this earth prior to Adam’s sin. Ken Ham points to Genesis 1:31 where God proclaims that everything he had made was “very good.” Mr. Ham contends that everything could not be “very good” if there were dead dinosaurs already in the fossil record under the earth. Young Earth lecturers also point to Romans 5:12 and claim that Adam’s sin resulted in the physical death of all living creatures. We are going to show in this session, in no uncertain terms, that Ken Ham misunderstands what God’s Word actually says, and that death and sin existed prior to Adam’s fall. This subject is one of the best examples of how one’s failure to correctly interpret God’s Word can result in a total misunderstanding of what the Bible is teaching us.
Before we look into the subject of death and sin in our world, I have two very simple questions for you to think about.
Question number one. We know that animals are A-moral creatures and are incapable of sinning. If an animal created by God on day six killed another animal later that day, would that be a sin? It shouldn’t be, animals can’t sin. Death could be possible without sin. So could death be possible on this earth before Adam sinned?
Question number two. Eve was approached by Satan and deceived into eating the forbidden fruit. In fact, Satan told Eve that God had lied to her. Eve later told God that Satan had beguiled her. So the moment that Satan lied to Eve and deceived her, was that not a sin? And does that mean that a sin was committed on this earth before Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit?
What we are going to do in this chapter is demonstrate how someone can build a false theory based on a misunderstanding of what the Bible teaches because they have absolutely no idea what the original Hebrew and Greek text actually says.
The very foundation of the Young Earth Advocate’s theory that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, is the assumption that there was no sin or death in the world before Adam and Eve partook of the forbidden fruit. According to Young Earth Advocates, dinosaurs could not have died prior to Adam’s fall, because they believe Adam’s sin was the very first sin committed in the universe. Therefore, according to Young Earthers, dinosaurs were created along with the other animals on day six, they were taken onto the ark with Noah, disembarked from the ark after the flood, and have since become extinct.
Let’s examine the evidence. When I present my case to the jury, I must take every piece of evidence available to me, whether it is solid evidence, or questionable evidence. One piece of evidence standing alone may not convince the jury, but when all of the evidence is placed together, like a mosaic in a large picture, then we can step back, look at the entire picture, and make our decision on the totality of the evidence. Remember, we have to convince the jury beyond any reasonable doubt that our theory is correct.
I am going to propose that there was sin and death on this earth before Adam disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. I’m not alone in this belief. For hundreds of years, brilliant Bible scholars understood that in order for Lucifer to rebel against God, gather one third of the angels together with him to attempt a coup against God, that sin had to take place. This occurred long before man was even created. Where is my evidence for this theory? My evidence is contained in the most faithful witness I can call to the stand, the Holy Bible.
One of the foundations of the Young Earth advocate’s theory to prove that there was no sin before Adam’s fall is Romans 5:12. But again, it is because of a complete lack of knowledge of the original Greek meaning in this verse that they have it wrong. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” Here, the Bible tells us that because of Adam’s disobedience, sin “entered into the world.”
I’m going to submit another another piece of evidence here. The original Greek text in Romans 5:12 looks like this.
The Greek word (highlighted above) that was translated into the English word “world,” (sin entered into the world) is kosmov or “kos-mos.” In this context it means, “An apt and harmonious arrangement, the inhabitants of earth, the human family.” This word is describing mankind. It has nothing to do with the physical globe, the planet earth.
We find the word that is used to describe the planet earth in Romans 10:18. This verse says “But I say, Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.” In this verse, the Greek text looks like this.
In Romans 10:18, the original Greek word that was translated into the English word “world” (the ends of the world) is oikoumenh or “oy-kou-men-ay” This word means “Land, i.e. the globe, or the planet Earth.” This is the physical planet that we live on. Now, if Romans 5:12 used this word when it states “by one man sin entered into the world, ‘oy-kou-men-ay,’ instead of “by one man sin entered into the world. ‘kos-mos,'” then I would agree that this verse tells us that Adam’s sin was the first sin on the planet earth. But Romans 5:12 does not use the word oy-kou-men-ay. It uses the word kos-mos.
What Romans 5:12 tells us is that when Adam rebelled against God and partook of the forbidden fruit, sin entered into man’s world, the human race. A simple reading of the remainder of the verse bears out this thought. It states “and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned.” The original Greek word for “men,” is anyrwpov or “anth-ro-pos,” and it is where the word “anthropology” comes from, the study of the human race. It means “a human being.” This verse is saying “death passed upon all human beings.” The verse goes on to say, “for that all have sinned.” Who or what does this apply to?
The words “for all have sinned” does not apply to animals. They are A-moral creatures. So when one animal kills another animal, it is not sinning. So theoretically, before Adam sinned, one animal could kill another animal without sin entering into the picture. So it is possible that death occurred on this earth before Adam partook of the forbidden fruit. When Romans 5:12 says, “and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned,” it cannot be referring to the animal kingdom.
It doesn’t apply to plant life. Plants certainly don’t sin. This verse applies only to mankind, the human race. By one man, Adam, sin entered into mankind’s world. Ezekiel 18:20 tells us, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” That’s what happened when Adam sinned against God. His soul died and the fellowship he had with God was cut off.
Let’s look at another piece of evidence in God’s Word. In Genesis chapter 2 and verse 17, God tells Adam that he is forbidden from eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God tells Adam that if he disobeys and eats the fruit, that “in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.”
Let’s look at the original Hebrew text of this verse. The original Hebrew word that was translated into the phrase “surely die,” Is “mooth.” It means, “to kill,” or “to have one executed.” Here, God is telling Adam that on the day that he partakes of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he shall be killed. This is the same word, “mooth” that is used in Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul that sinneth it shall die (mooth).” This is not saying that the minute the soul sins, the body will immediately die. It mans that the soul will immediately die.
Now if Genesis 2:17 means what the YECs say it means, it presents a problem for the Young Earth advocates. The verse plainly says that “in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Adam did eat the fruit. Adam didn’t physically die on that day. The logical conclusion is that God was threatening Adam with something other than physical death if he disobeyed. That’s the logical conclusion. But Ken Ham teaches that God really meant that the “process” of dying would begin. In one of his lectures on this subject, Ken Ham actually stated, “And God said in Genesis chapter two verses sixteen and seventeen, you can eat of all the trees but you can not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if you do, you will die, you will surely die. In fact in the Hebrew it reads ‘dying you will die, uh dying die.’ In other words it’s going to be a process. You’ll start to die, and you’ll eventually die.”
Folks, this is one of the most ridiculous, laughable explanations given for Genesis 2:17. Ken Ham is either MAKING THIS EXPLANATION UP, or he has absolutely no idea what this verse is saying. Ken Ham proclaims to his audience that he is a Bible scholar, but this is an excellent example of how very little he knows about the Hebrew language.
Hebrew contains a triconsonant or triliteral root system
The root, or most basic from of each Hebrew verb, is most often composed of three consonants.
Upon this foundation of three consonants, all other aspects of the verb will be constructed.
Hebrew is an inflected language.
The “verb forms” themselves convey information that in English would be conveyed by additional words surrounding the verb.
One can tell by the verb alone what the number and gender of the subject might be.
The simple or base form of the Hebrew verb is referred to a Qal.
Qal is one of the seven forms or stems that the verb may appear in. Qal is one of those stems.
In addition to Qal, there are moods assigned to each word. In this verse we experience the infinitive and imperfect moods.
You can see that in this verse, the words surely die is translated from the Hebrew word mooth, used twice.
The first time it is used, it is used in the infinitive absolute tense, which does not allow prefixes or suffixes. It is used with the verb to emphasize the verbal idea. This is often rendered by an English adverb, such as surely or utterly.
So the first word “die” in this sentence is used as an adverb emphasizing the second word “die.” The second word “die” is the focal point of the sentence. It is used in the imperfect tense, referring to an action which is about to be accomplished, but an action which has not yet begun.
To illustrate the foolishness of Ken Ham’s interpretation of this verse, we are going to look at another verse with the exact same literary structure.
The Ten Commandments are listed in Exodus chapter 20. Verse 13 reads, Thou shalt not kill. This is the offense section of the law. Exodus chapter 21 contains the penalty section. Verse 12 contains the penalty for murder. It reads, “He that smitten a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.”
Here is the Hebrew text for Exodus 21:12. You can see that the exact same literary rules are used to describe the term “surely put to death.” The word mooth is used twice, Then first time it is used in the infinitive absolute tense, and the second time it is used in the imperfect tense.
Are we to believe that Ken Ham’s interpretation of this verse means that the execution of a murderer is a process, where the criminal starts to die, and then eventually years later, finally expires? Not on your Life! This verse demands that a murderer is put to death for their crime. Not perhaps, not possibly, but surely.
The exact same literary rules are used here as they are in Genesis 2:17. Adam did “surely die” on the day he ate the fruit. It was spiritual death of mankind, who at that point was separated from God. It does not refer to physical death or Adam would have physically died on that day.
And Romans 5:12 is not referring to physical death when it says, “as by one man sin entered into the world “cosmos”, and death by sin.” It is referring to the spiritual death of mankind.
We’ve determined here that God told Adam that if he partook of the forbidden fruit, he would die on that day. Period. And not just possibly or probably, but surely. The only other variable here is the time mentioned. To be sure we have the correct time frame involved in this promise, let’s look at the original meaning of the word “day,” in the phrase “in the day that thou eatest thereof.”
The word “day” in Genesis 2:17 comes from the Hebrew word Mwy or “yome,” which means literally, “a twenty four hour period.” One day. Yome is the same Hebrew word used in Genesis 1:5, where God is describing the six day creation, “And the evening and the morning were the first day (yome).” So we can be quite certain that the word “day” in Genesis 2:17 means a 24 hour period.
There is no other way to interpret Genesis 2:17. God is not referring to physical death when he says to Adam, “in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” God is speaking of the spiritual death of the human race.
Let’s fast forward to chapter 3 and verse 1. Adam as been given a help meet in the form of Eve. Eve is also well aware of the restriction place on the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good an evil. She is approached by the serpent, who we know is Satan. His first order of business is to ask Eve a rhetorical question, “Yea, hath God said: Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?” Eve answers the serpent and says, “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said: Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
Here is another piece of evidence in this case. This piece of evidence is Genesis chapter 3 and verse 4. The serpent then states to Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.” Somebody is lying here! God told Adam that in the day that he ate the fruit of this tree, he would surely die. Now here is Satan, telling Eve the complete opposite. Who can we trust folks? We know the answer to that question. God never lies. So in this case, Satan is lying. We have a sin being committed here. When questioned by God in Genesis chapter 3 and verse 13, Eve tells God, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” In the original Hebrew, the word for “beguiled” is avn or “naw-shaw,” and it simply means “deceived.”
Now according to the Young Earth Advocates, there was absolutely no sin in the universe before Adam’s disobedience to God. But Satan deceived Eve before she or Adam partook of the forbidden fruit. And to be sure that what Satan did was a sin, we read in 2nd Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty…” The original Greek word for “subtilty,” is panourgia or pan-oorg-ee-ah. It means trickery, in a bad sense, or cunning or craftiness. The devil used trickery and deceit to convince Eve to partake of the fruit. And if Satan was already lying and trying to separate man from God, then Satan had already fallen from God’s grace, and that occurred before Satan deceived Eve.
So for the sake of argument, let’s say that sin is the cause of death. Let’s look again at Romans 5:12, but this time, we’ll leave out the very important word “men,” in “death passed upon all men.” It would read “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all, for all have sinned.”
Animals can’t sin. Why do animals die if Romans 5:12 tells us that death passed upon all who have sinned? We would have to conclude that someone else’s sin caused the death of animals. We have also concluded that Satan sinned on this earth prior to Adam’s fall. Therefore, as a result of Satan’s sin, animals were doomed to death, before Adam partook of the fruit.
We all know that as a result of sin, we all die. I’m not saying that sin has nothing to do with the aging process or the deterioration of the universe. What I am showing here is that according to God’s Word, Adam’s sin had absolutely nothing to do with the death of animals. If it did, then the YECs would be correct in their assumption that dinosaurs could not have died prior to Adam’s fall. But the Bible does not support that idea.
So in my closing arguments to the jury, I would say this…
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury. We have presented evidence from our most reliable witness, the Word of God, that the following facts are present in the Bible. One. At least one sin was committed on this earth before Adam partook of the forbidden fruit. So sin was present in the universe before Adam’s fall.
Two. Animals cannot sin, even if they kill each other. So death is possible without sin. But even if sin is necessary to facilitate the death of any living creature, Satan’s sin when he rebelled against God certainly fit the criteria to cause death and suffering in the universe. And that occurred long before Adam sinned.
Three. God was not referring to physical death when he told Adam that in the 24 hour period he partook of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die. We know that if God was referring to physical death, Adam would have been physically deceased by the next day. God was referring to the spiritual life of the human race. He was referring to the ever-existing souls of mankind. What God was telling Adam was “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” This verse does not apply to animals.
Based on these three pieces of evidence, I think it is easy for you to render the decision that death and sin were present in our universe prior to Adam’s fall.