by Jack Hoehn

 

Note to readers: Jack was away from home, and he forgot to send in this commentary before he left  his home computer.   So this comment is on last week’s Sabbath School lessons on “Origins” Lesson 7 but the topic is important enough to review even though it was triggered by a statement in last week’s lesson. You will also be able to read his comments on this week’s lesson later this week.

 

Monday, February 11. 2013:  “One thing is certain: the world in which we now live is vastly different from the one that came forth from the Lord at the end of the Creation week.”

A thing may be certain to some of you, but it is not certain to many of us.  I have a book about President George W. Bush, called “Dead Certain” that demonstrates that many things President Bush was “dead certain” about, he was “dead wrong” on, like the non-existence of the so-called “weapons of mass destruction”  in Saddam Hussein’s arsenal.

So let’s question the Biblical evidence that “the world in which we now live is vastly different from the one that came forth…at the end of the Creation week.”    Many things the Bible suggests about the world outside Eden sound very similar to the world we now live in.

EDEN was apparently different from the rest of the world.
 

a.)    Genesis 2 suggests that the earth as it came from the Creator’s hand while good, was not yet what we could call perfect.     Eden was different and better than the rest of earth.   Eden was a Paradise, a distinct location, within the larger earth.  All of earth was not Eden, (east of Eden was Nod, and the rivers from Eden flowed to Havilah, to Cush, to Asshur). 

b.)    Eden was a protected, guarded or even walled place (the origin of the word paradise means “a walled garden”) within an outside, un-walled, less planted, unguarded different kind of world than inside Paradise. (1.)

c.)    In Genesis 2, after the special creation of Adam outside of Eden, and the planting of Eden, God takes Adam into Eden and informs him of at least one thing the Garden could guard man against.  The Garden of Eden with its Tree of Life could guard the man from death!   And with its Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil man was at risk of death.  After the fall of Adam, death came by moving him outside of the Garden (away from the Tree of Life) into the rest of the earth where death apparently reigned unprotected by the life tree.

Adam could die, why do we think plants and animals wouldn’t die outside of Eden and its Life Tree?
 

a.)    The warning against disobedience in eating of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil means nothing if mankind didn’t know what “dying thou shalt die” meant.
b.)    Plants had to die if man and animals were to live on them.
c.)    Satan was murdering “from the beginning” according to Jesus not just after the undated fall of mankind. (2.)
d.)    Outside the garden were no life trees.  If man was created mortal, were plants and animals living outside of the Garden created immortal?   Do you think there were immortal carrots and grasshoppers, but mortal  dear Queen of Creation Eve?  If mankind was mortal, doesn’t this suggest that animal and plant death was possible or even probable outside the Garden?
e.)    Man and Edenic animal were told to “replenish the earth” from the Garden of Eden, why were they to replenish it, if there was no death before the fall of Eve and Adam? 
f.)     Adam was told to subdue the earth, how do you subdue a perfect earth?
g.)    In the Garden mankind had a choice to make at the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  What would it mean to not choose evil, unless in fact there was already a controversy between Light and Darkness going on during creation itself?

Wages of Sin as death can apply to angelic fall and rebellion long before the creation of man.
 

a.)     Death as the result of sin, could result from Satan’s fall long before Adam’s fall.  As C.S. Lewis writes,  “The origin of animal suffering could be traced, by earlier generations, to the Fall of man—the whole world was infected by the un-creating rebellion of Adam.  This is now impossible, for we have good reason to believe that…Carnivorousness, with all that it entails, is older than humanity…It seems to be, therefore, a reasonable supposition, that some mighty created power had already been at work for ill on the material universe, or the solar system, or at least, the planet Earth, before every man came on the scene…  If there is such a power, as I myself believe, it may well have corrupted the animal creation before man appeared…some animals live by destroying each other.”  (3.)
b.)    Romans 5:12 clearly speaks of human death, not animal death, and Paul’s argument loses nothing if we believe that animal and plant death existed before the human fall.
c.)    Romans 8:18-24 “the groaning of creation” is surely true, but gives no indication when that groaning started, likely from Satan’s fall and banishment to earth, and then from Adam’s fall, and then from Noah’s Flood, and now again from environmental exploitation.
The Great Controversy pre-existed the creation events.  There were “sinners” on earth long before Adam and Eve were created.    A sinful Satan and sinning angelic host cast to the earth before the creation might imply that the creation events themselves may have been happening on a battle field.
 If each of creation’s Days were accomplished in disputed territory, where God’s ways and God’s laws were being actively opposed by Satan’s ways and Satan’s philosophy, might this not explain why the geologic record of life on earth appears to be one of repeated conflict?

 
Finally, read your Bible to think about what kind of world Adam and Eve found outside of Eden.  It sounds very much like our world today with cities, domesticated animals, and domesticated plants.


(Cain Flying Before Jehovah’s Curse, a huge dramatic painting in the Louvre ) (4.)

  1. There were already herds of domestic animals for Abel.  There were domesticated plants for Cain to farm.  This is a relatively advanced human culture, who had developed this culture for the children of Adam?
  2. There were spouses for Cain.  Sisters?  Perhaps but not stated.
  3. Guilty Cain feared destruction by “anyone who meets me” does he mean destruction by his brothers  and sisters?  Who were the “anyone” that Cain was marked to be protected from?
  4. Cain built a “city,” do you call it a city if your family are the only inhabitants?
  5. There were “daughters of men” to interest the “sons of God.”  Who were these women and who where their parents?  Where there good-looking Neanderthals living outside of Eden?
  6. Who were the Nephilim, the giants on the earth, did God create them or were they from Satan’s mutations? 

We may feel “certain” the world outside Eden was just as perfect as Eden.  But the Bible does not seem to show that.  Just as soon as Adam and Eve stepped outside of the lost protected Garden, they entered a world very much like our present world with herds of animals, farming, and with evil, death, danger.  There appears to be some form of human civilization, perhaps even other kinds of humans (hominids?)  present.
 

Perhaps regarding our Origins we should not be “certain” but mostly curious and somewhat open about our understanding of the early history of earth.
 
ENDNOTES:
  1.  Ellen G. White, Education, p. 23, supports that the whole earth was not yet like Eden.   “The Garden of Eden was a representation of what God desired the whole earth to become, and it was His purpose that, as the human family increased in numbers, they should establish other homes and schools like the one He had given. Thus in course of time the whole earth might be occupied…”
  2. John 8:44  “He was a murderer from The Beginning…”
  3. C.S. Lewis,  “The Problem of Pain,” p. 133-135.
  4. I saw this huge larger-than-life-size dramatic painting in the Louvre, Paris, France;  by Fernand Cormon,  said to be painted about 1880,  “Cain Flying Before Jehovah’s Curse.”