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God would have pronounced death and suffering "very good" (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (God would have pronounced death and suffering "very good" (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CA651:

If evolution is true, then God is directly responsible for death. God pronounced his original creation "very good" (Gen. 2:1), which implies that God is sadistic, taking pleasure in watching the suffering and dying. A God of grace and mercy would not use the principle of survival of the fittest.

Source:

  • Morris, Henry M. 2000. The vital importance of believing in recent creation. Back to Genesis 138 (June): a-c.
  • Morris, John D. 2001. What could the God of scripture call "very good"? Back to Genesis 145 (Jan.): d.

CreationWiki response:

Talk Origins is taking this out of context. It is not an argument against Evolution theory itself but attempts to reconcile the Biological account to Evolution theory.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. Humans do not get to decide what God would and would not do. To make such a decision is to place oneself above God.

While this is true, it ignores the fact that through the Bible God told about himself and His personality. This claim is about the impossibility of reconciling the Bible to Evolution. Based on what God said in the Bible it is possible to tell that there are things He would not do.

Specifically the Bible speaks of death as an enemy (1Cr 15:26) that will one day be destroyed. This also goes against the idea of God's calling a world with death "very good".

2. If a God of grace and mercy would not allow natural selection, then a God of grace and mercy does not exist. Extinctions and selective individual deaths continue today. If a creator God exists, then God, at the very least, is responsible for creating the circumstances that cause extinction and death and for allowing them to continue.

The claim states that God “would not use” not that He “would not allow natural selection”. So Talk Origins is using a bit of a Straw man since they misstate the claim.

That said, man’s sin is as much the reason why death continues as it is why it got started in first place. See below for more details.

This is true even if you believe that death is the result of the Fall, which God implemented in response to sin. If creationism is true, then God is directly responsible for death. Blaming Adam, not God, for all suffering is scapegoating. Adam was human, so he did not have that much power. Even if Adam motivated God to cause suffering, God was the one responsible for bringing it to pass

That makes God no more responsible for death than a judge sentencing a law breaker is responsible for the law breaker going to prison.

Blaming Adam is not scapegoating, it placing the blame where the Bible and therefore God places it.

Romans 5:12 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:

3. There would be little good about a world without death. Either there would be no reproduction, in which case none of us would exist, or animals would be many layers deep and would have no room to move around. Death is a necessary part of life.
  • Even with death, in a sinless world it is safe to say that “none of us would exist.” It is likely that most if not all of us, have at least one ancestor of illegitimate birth. Much of human migration is affected by man’s evil ways, such as oppression by government and slavery. Such cases are sufficient to show that “none us would exist” without the fall.
  • This ignores the fact that God would have had other options including simply taking people bodily to heaven and arranging for the colonization of other worlds.
4. The attitude behind the claim not only separates one from God but encourages ingratitude with the world, saying we cannot see it as "very good" as it is.

There is some truth in this, since apart from our acceptance of redemption through Jesus Christ we are separated from God. That said, how does it encourage ingratitude about the world to say that we wrecked a better state?

Suffering is a state of mind and is largely a function of the person's attitude more than of external circumstances. As Abraham Lincoln said, "People are about as happy as they make up their mind to be." To blame suffering on others is to look for scapegoats.

The claim is that death and suffering are man’s fault, and not God’s. The claim blames no one for suffering but ourselves. So this statement is in perfect agreement with the idea that suffering is man’s fault. Even if you accept that suffering is all in one’s head as Talk Origins states, then it is still a result of our fallen state.

5. Creationists link death and decay with the second law of thermodynamics, with the consequence that no decay before the Fall means the second law of thermodynamics was not in effect before the Fall. However, the second law of thermodynamics is intimately connected with the flow of time. Since the Bible says that time was established before the Fall, thermodynamics and therefore decay must have existed then, too.

Fist of all, the claim does not say that there was no decay of any sort before the Fall. Some forms of decay would help keep things clean. While death is connected to the Second law of thermodynamics, that does not make death inevitable. Death is prevented every day by the body’s built-in repair mechanisms so death could be totally avoided if our bodies could perfectly repair themselves.

The Second law’s increase in entropy is a result of randomness in the system. It is possible that before the Fall God kept the randomness in check more so than he does after the fall. Before the fall Man and God had perfect fellowship with each other. The Fall broke this fellowship and it is possible that increased randomness was a natural result. These required no action on God’s part, but death would be the natural result of man’s sin.


6. Origins are not determined by one's personal decision of what religion to follow.

Not relevant since this claim is an issue of Biblical interpretation, and its incompatibility with Evolution, and not which view is actually correct.

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