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Did death occur before the Fall?
Humans appear very late in the history of life. The fossil record clearly shows that many creatures died before humans appeared. This appears to conflict with Bible passages which describe death as a punishment for human sinfulness. However, the curse of Genesis 3 was that Adam and Eve, not the animals, should die for their disobedience. Therefore, animal death before the Fall is compatible with Christian doctrine. For humans, Genesis 3 and other Bible passages may be speaking primarily of spiritual death, not physical death. (Updated on July 9, 2012)
Series: Maker of Heaven and Earth
In his sermon, Dave Swaim discusses the early chapters of Genesis that seemingly contradict scientific evidence, and he suggests that Christians have simply asked the “wrong questions” about this ancient text, which has led to warfare between the two. In light of this, Swaim wraps up his sermon with the three concluding points that he feels sums up the Biblical truth of creation: there is an all-powerful God, he has a perfect plan, and he has given us his love through Jesus Christ.
What factors should be considered in determining how to approach a passage of scripture?
Finding the best interpretation of a scripture passage can be a daunting task. C.S. Lewis advises us to “Look. Listen. Receive.” A good approach is to seek the intended meaning for the original audience before considering what it means for us today. Clues to the original intended meaning can be found in the style of language, the genre of literature, the original audience, and the historical and cultural context. By studying these things, we avoid projecting modern ideas (like science) onto the text.
What do Biblical scholars today say about Genesis 1-2?
In recent decades, evangelical Biblical scholars have reconsidered non-literal interpretations of Genesis. The Accommodation view of St. Augustine and John Calvin is supported by recent discoveries about ancient cultures. Literature from these cultures shows interesting parallels and differences with Genesis accounts. The differences are striking, such as stories where creation is a battle among many gods rather than the acts of one sovereign Creator. The similarities, however, show how God accommodated his message so that the Israelites could understand it. For example, the Egyptians and Babylonians thought the sky was a solid dome. This solid dome appears in Genesis 1 as the firmament created on day 2. God did not try to correct the “science” of the Israelites by explaining that the sky was a gaseous atmosphere. Instead, God accommodated his message to their cultural context. Many evangelical Biblical scholars have concluded that Genesis is not meant to teach scientific information.
The lyrics begin by painting a picture of the Fall as something in which each person has participated: “The fruit (of the Fall of man) is seen in every eye and every hand.”
Saturday Sermon: The History of the World in a Nutshell
In tracing the fluid storyline of the Bible, Dr. Keller has first focused on the early chapters of Genesis, emphasizing both the ordained purpose of creation and the great Fall of humanity. The latter addresses the pressing question: what is wrong with the world?
Saturday Sermon: Paradise Lost
In order to understand the very nature of humanity, one needs a firm grasp on the doctrine of original Sin.
Saturday Sermon: Two Trees, Some Fruit, and a Piece of Bread
In his sermon “The Great Invitation”, Kevin Kim raises a question that all Christians should address: what’s so great about the gospel anyway?
Saturday Sermon: Paradise in Crisis
Selfishness and violence, corruption and greed, wars and atrocities—for all time, this one question has been pondered: what went wrong in humanity?
Saturday Sermon: Greg Boyd
Despite their best efforts to bring harmony, people have failed to achieve shalom in the world. Why is this so?