Biblical References Relevant to Creation Science

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Immortality and the Original Sin  

Was there immortality on earth before sin?


According to the Bible, death came into the world as a result of sin, but we remain potentially immortal beings that may be resurrected to a new life in heaven. The Bible also seems to clearly imply that humans were designed to live immortal in their physical body before Adam and Eve committed the original sin.

In Genesis 2 & 3, God placed two trees in the garden of Eden; The Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life. God then gave Adam and Eve specific instructions not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge or they would die on that day. Despite this command and warning from God, Eve was tempted by a serpent and she ate the fruit anyway, then gave some to Adam. This action did not cause them to fall over dead, and in fact Adam is said to have lived to be 930 years old.  Eating of this forbidden fruit instead gave them knowledge to judge right from wrong, and they instantly recognized they had done something sinful and hid from God.

The Original Sin

The Original Sin - Eating The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

    • Genesis 2:16-17 - And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."
    • Genesis 3:1-6 Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God say, 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.

Because they did not die after eating of the fruit as God had stated, most Christians interpret this passage to mean that Adam and Eve were spiritually immortal before committing this sin, and they spiritually died on that day. Alternatively, many people assume Adam and Eve were physically immortal, and began to grow old on this day. Many creationists teach that the entire creation was immortal in the beginning, and nothing on Earth died prior to the fall of mankind. This perspective is often used to contest the evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record, as evidence of millions of years of death prior to the arrival of humans. Nevertheless, there remains some debate within the creation science community regarding the nature of this immortality, and to which of the organisms it applied.

Physical Immortality

  • Romans 5:12 - Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned--
  • Romans 5:17 - If, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
  • Rom 8:19-22 "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Immortality is theoretically possible even in our present physical forms. There is still no scientifically proven explanation for why we begin to grow old and die. If you provide a cell the metabolites and nutrients it needs to survive, there is no reason why its lineage should never die-out. Our cells should continue to divide and replace older cells in a never-ending process, but due to some unknown cause they simply stop. The most widely accepted theory proposes that the ends of chromosomes (telomeres) degrade through time, and active genes eventually become affected by this erosion. However, programmed cell death is now known to occur, and clearly indicates a control mechanism is governing cellular mortality. Cells are responding to signals we do not yet recognize, and will essentially die on a preprogrammed schedule. It is also now well established that plant and animal cell lines can be easily immortalized. Immortalized plant tissue can be obtained by simply isolating the plants wound-response tissue called callus. When separated from the plant's signaling mechanism that tell the cells to die, callus will grow indefinitely in tissue culture.  Cancer cells are likewise immortal because they have become genetically unresponsive to the signals that would normally restrict the cells from replicating their DNA and dividing. Unlike their host organism, immortalized cell lines will continue to grow and divide as long as their necessary elements are maintained.

Although all cells are potentially immortal in isolated conditions, most deaths today occur from accidental injury, which would require an improved cellular structural integrity preventing it from being breeched.  It is unknown whether pre-fall immortality affected just humans or all organisms on earth. Animal immortality is argued by some due to the fact that animals were not given as food at the creation.  Likewise, God's own description of the created world was in terms of "very good", which to many is contradictory to the suffering which frequents death.  On the other hand, the possibility of immortal animals is immediately rejected by others because accidental death occurs on a regular basis for many small organisms today. For example insects are killed frequently under foot, or swallowed by accident. However, under examination such distinctions between humans, and other creatures do not hold-up. Accidental deaths are similarly likely for humans as almost any other organism. There may be no generalized scenario that would cause the death of another organism that could not also happen to humans. Any natural incident that could kill a bug, could also certainly kill a human. Humans are one of the most environmentally fragile of all organisms on earth, but the exoskeleton possessed by the average insect can handle several hundred times its' weight, and the fossil record is filled with animals which upon chance contact could crush humans as easily as we do bugs today.

Even though the modern cell may be too fragile to withstand such environmental hazards, it is possible the cellular architecture was simply altered by the curse. The standard living cell even today is a tremendously durable structure, and possesses the resistance and elasticity necessary to withstand the pressure of an organism weighing several tons. In fact the cell is one of the most resilient constructions in existence, and only a small change might be necessary to render it completely impervious to harm. There may truly exist no physical basis to propose why humans could be immortal from accidental deaths, but the animals could not. Simply put, if the human cells were impervious to damage, any other organism could be indestructible as well if built with similar architecture. If it is true that organism were immortal because of an indestructible cellular integrity, then plants must have been excluded from that group because the consumption of plants specifically requires the break-up and digestion of the cell. Arguments used to exclude plants as immortal before the fall use the absence of the "breath of life", or blood to define plants as non "living" in the same sense as animals. (Genesis 9:4 - Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.) 

Breath of Life

  • Genesis 1:30 - And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.
  • Genesis 2:7 - then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
  • Genesis 6:17 - For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall die.
  • Genesis 7:15 - They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life.

It is true that the typical cell-line should theoretically never die, and the cell could have been constructed impervious to harm, but we can not escape the fact that there are still biochemical requirements for life. For example, an impenetrable super-cell would not protect an individual from starvation, thirst, or suffocation caused by drowning or fire. Regarding the exact nature of physical immortality there is another possible scenario that  most have overlooked. Perhaps humans and even animal immortality was simply equivalent to the state possessed by plants. Plants are actively or potentially immortal today and will continue to live forever provided their environmental requirements are met.  In striking contrast to plants, humans and animals have a maximum life expectancy regardless of whether their needs are fulfilled or not. Although it is true that some plants grow as annuals, all plants are actually perennials by nature, and have adapted to a programmed life cycle in some instances to match growing seasons. Otherwise, plants only die because of biochemical starvation or disease. If their physical requirements are available, plants will grow indefinitely. Perhaps all life on earth was originally designed in this way. We could still be killed by accident or through starvation, but we otherwise would continue to live forever.

Not only do most people not realize that plants are immortal, they also typically exclude plants from the pre-fall immortals because we were created to eat plants and frequently kill them upon harvest. However, it should be noted that only fruits or reproductive growths are typically consumed, which does not kill the plant to remove. The main reason fields are completely harvested today is because we use annuals for farming. Annuals grow and set fruit rapidly in a synchronized fashion, which is ideal for farming, but it is likely that annual growth patterns were only adopted by plants following the flood of Noah. In addition, farming in mass quantities to obtain food seems to have only been a requirement after Adam was cursed for his sin. It is logical that we were originally created with the ability to digest plant fiber (cellulose), and there was no need for us to grow crops in the beginning. We must farm today in order to obtain sufficient amounts of energy, which otherwise exists in abundance within cellulose. The entire plant is basically made of pure sugar, which is what virtually all organisms metabolize for energy, but most of the metabolites made by plants are indigestible by humans and animals today. This conundrum is inexplicable from an intelligent design perspective aside from a cursed world. (Designed to Eat Plants; Then Cursed to be Unable)

Cursed to Farm for Food

    • Genesis 1:17-19 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

    • Genesis 3:23 therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.

The Tree of Life

God told Adam and Eve; "you may eat freely of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die." However, after they ate the forbidden fruit, they did not immediately fall dead. Because of this seeming discrepancy, many Christian interpret this passage to mean that Adam died spiritually that day, or was originally immortal and became a mortal thereby beginning to die. The text would instead suggest that upon committing the original sin, God exacted an indirect penalty of death upon Adam and Eve. If the garden of Eden story is representative of history, humans were created to live forever in a physical body, but God removed their source of immortality one the day they sinned against Him.

In addition to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, God also placed a tree in the garden called the Tree of Life. This tree was apparently the source to physical immortality for humans, and although God had not forbidden Adam and Eve from eating its' fruit, they had not done so before they sinned. Upon eating of the tree of good and evil, God immediately removed Adam and Eve from the garden, and placed a flaming sword to guard the tree so they could not eat from it. In Gen 1:22, God is quoted as saying ""and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden", clearly indicating that Adam was removed from the garden before he would have the opportunity for to eat of the tree of life and become immortal.

On the day Adam and Eve ate of the "Tree of Knowledge" they experienced their immortal death because God removed the "Tree of Life" which had been placed there for them, and without the essential elements the fruit was to provide we will likewise all die. Although the "Tree of Life" was apparently able to transform our biologic nature, it would appear no human was ever allowed to eat from its fruits. It would also seem likely that humans alone were destined to eat from the tree and live in this way, but because our ancestors disobeyed God, they brought death to all mankind through their punishment. Now, it is only by faith in the LORD Jesus Christ that our sins will be forgiven, and we can regain our place with God through eternity.

The Tree of Life

    • Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
    • Genesis 3:22-24 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever" -- 23 therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

The Tree of Life Still Exists

    • Rev. 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
    • Revelation 22:1-2 Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
    • Rev. 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.


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