Tyler Francke, founder of the YEC-bashing God of Evolution site, has written a post called 10 Theological Questions No Young-Earth Creationist Can Answer. In our last post, we addressed his opening remarks and his first 3 questions. I’m hoping to get a little further this time, but let’s review what we’ve learned so far.
1. What was the point of the Tree of Life?
A: To grant eternal life to whoever ate from it. Tyler’s real objection is that it doesn’t seem to serve any point in a world where no one can die. I provided a possible purpose and then pointed out that Ecclesiastes promises that everything has a purpose, so rather than providing a paradox that YECs can’t answer, it provides an unrevealed purpose that cannot be used to refute our position.
2. If human sin is the reason animals die, why can’t they be saved?
A: Animal life is different from human life [1 Cor. 15:39]. Only humans were made in the image of God and have a living soul [Gen. 2:7]. The passage that Tyler quoted for his argument was irrelevant to the discussion and ignored how Romans 8:22-23 applied to his question.
3. If physical death is part of the punishment for sin, why do Christians still die?
A: Because spiritual death is remedied at salvation and physical death will be remedied at our Blessed Hope as revealed in passages such as 1 Cor 15, and 1 Thes 4:16. Tyler also used the non-literal death Paul spoke of in Romans 7:9 and tried to normalize the usage of the word death as meaning spiritual death, regardless of the context of each use. In doing so, he ignored the fact that the meaning of a text is determined by context, not merely by how any given might be used in other contexts. Those opposed to the plain-sense meaning of Genesis apply this same faulty tactic to the use of the word day in Genesis based on a single non-literal instance in Genesis 2:1.
Noting that reasonable answers have been provided and that no problematic theology has arisen, except on the part of Tyler Francke, who seems to deny the physical resurrection of the dead, we continue to the next question:
4. Why was Eve named “mother of life”?
Immediately after Genesis 3:17-19, which is when God “curses” mankind, Adam names his wife Eve. And when I say “immediately after,” I mean, literally, the very next verse. This is significant, because the curse is the part of the Bible that young-earth creationism proponents cite as the genesis (geddit?) for all death and illness and disorder and pretty much any bad thing that’s ever happened (even though, again, the Bible says nothing remotely like that).
Genesis 3:20 explains that Adam chose the name “Eve” for his previously anonymous wife because she “was the mother of all (the) living/life.” The name comes from the Hebrew Ḥawwāh, meaning “living one” or “source of life,” and is related to ḥāyâ, “to live.” I don’t know about you, but it just seems slightly odd (not to mention a little insensitive) that Adam would name his wife “source of life” immediately after she had supposedly just been responsible for cursing the entire universe with death, suffering and misery for the rest of time.
I mean, I know Adam may not have been the smartest guy in the world (he needed supernatural revelation to realize he was in his birthday suit, after all), but give him a little credit.”
This entire argument is predicated on the idea that Adam named her in the face of the curse and nothing else. In fact, Tyler asks us to keepin mind that verses 17 through 19 come before this naming. As luck would have it, the verse before 17 is verse 16 [imagine that!], and it mentions that Eve will bear Adam children. Granted, it mentions pain in childbirth as a punishment, but childbirth nonetheless. Immediately after verses 16 thru 19 [not just 17 thru 19], Adam names Eve. It takes special pleading to suggest that Adam had no good reason to name Eve the mother of all the living, when God had just promised them Even would bear children to Adam.
“And, while we’re on the subject…
5. How did Adam and Eve know what death was?
When God first commands Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge, he warns him what the punishment will be for disobedience: “You will surely die.” The woman hadn’t been made yet at this point in the story, but based on her reference to the penalty during her conversation with the serpent, we can assume the message got passed along in some fashion.
The confusing thing about this is, how did Adam and Eve know what death was? You know, considering the fact that they had just been molded into existence earlier that same day, and were living in a world in which there was no such thing as death. You ever try explaining death to a small child? It’s very difficult. You ever try explaining death to a one-day-old child? It’s even harder.
Now, to be fair, groups like AiG have tried to answer this one before. Using their X-trabiblical Vision™, that superpower common to young-earth creationists which gives them the ability to know what God’s word says about things that aren’t actually in God’s word, they reveal that Adam was a super-genius who would’ve known everything there is to know about death simply from hearing the word.
But again, a guy who’s not with it enough to tell that he’s naked doesn’t really inspire confidence that he’s capable of grasping complicated abstract ideas. When God dropped a supposedly foreign concept like death on him, I’m pretty sure the dude would have had some questions.
Like, “What is that,” for example.”
Tyler’s answer actually ignores the revelation of Scripture in favor of a snarky objection. Reading the events of Day 6, we see that Adam speaks and is able to name things. So God didn’t created a blank slate or a man-baby. By inference, the very thing Tyler mistakes for a superpower [and I’ve written a book about superpowers, so I might just know the difference], we can say that God created a fully functional adult male whose mind came equipped with a bit more than a one year old typically has. The sci-fi writer in me wishes to take Tyler to task here. We can imagine adult clones imprinted with knowledge and fake memories, but Tyler seems to think God would have to give Adam an education before His image bearer could make sense of things, even though the text has Adam doing things contrary to this notion… What a tiny, tiny “god” the god of evolution must be.
Along those same lines…
6. If the punishment for eating from the tree was that Adam and Eve would physically die … why didn’t they physically die?
At first glance, you might be confused by this question. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute. The Bible says they would die, and they did die. What’s the problem?”
Well, the thing is, there’s a little bit more to it than that. The Bible doesn’t just say they would die, it says they would die “in the day”that they disobeyed. And, fortunately, we know from the literalists that the word “day” in the Genesis creation accounts can’t mean anything other than an ordinary, 24-hour day.
Straw man alert! Literalists and anyone else who holds to the traditional interpretation of Genesis do not woodenly hold that any instance of the word day in Genesis must be an ordinary, 24 hour day; rather, we affirm that the context determines meaning, whether old earthers would prefer a non-literal day or not. Now that we’ve addressed this attempt to poison the well, we move on.
Only, this is a little confusing, since — according to the story — neither Adam nor Eve actually died the day they ate from the tree of knowledge. We don’t know exactly how old Eve was when she shuffled off this mortal coil, but Adam lived to the ripe old age of 930. Now, I’m no mathematician, but I’m fairly certain 930 years is a lot longer than a 24-hour day. And I’m not aware of any coroner who begins his investigation into the cause of death by asking about fruit the deceased may have eaten 900 years prior.
This is disappointing. He’s simply parroting an oft-refuted old-earther objection and pretending as if it has no answer. Of course, we do have answers for this one, as he admits in his very next sentence.
The young-earthers have all sorts of creative ways they attempt to avoid this rather obvious discrepancy. A common one is to assert that, in this very special case, maybe the word “day” does refer to a long, indeterminate period of time (even though the people God was talking to clearly understood that the effects would be immediate, such that the woman feared she would die from simply touching the fruit).
My father once delivered a wonderful sermon on the mistakes Eve made. He noted that one of the first things she did was add to the commandment of God. God never said don’t touch it; He just said don’t eat it. When she was able to touch it, that’s when the trouble began, for then she began to doubt the truth of God’s commands for the sake of the traditions of men. Honestly, it was a great sermon. It underscores the point that what God said and what Eve supposed was the case weren’t necessarily the same thing, so who cares if she thought the effects would be immediate death.
Now, it is clear that Adam & Eve did not immediately die, so this cannot be what God was saying in this passage. I don’t particularly hold to the non-literal day interpretation of the word day in this passage as being “in the day” and neither does Tyler, so I’ll move on to the next point.
My personal favorite is this delightful little exercise in hand-wavery: “(After eating the fruit,) Adam and Eve began to die.”
Ha! “Began to die” — isn’t that great? Setting aside for now that that’s, you know, not what the Bible says (it doesn’t say “begin to die,” it says ”die” — “surely die,” as a matter of fact), what does that even mean? Because as far as I can tell, the definition of “beginning to die” is no different than “being alive.”
Which makes it pretty useless as far as I’m concerned. When any human being older than a zygote qualifies as having “begun to die,” I think the phrase has pretty much lost all meaning as a concept.
Ignorance has a mouth and it speaks! That isn’t hand waving, Tyler. That’s exegesis.
The Hebrew here is “muwth muwth,” literally “die-die” or “dying-die.” 1 Kings 2:37 has the very same construction of Hebrew as Genesis 2:17. Bodie Hodge of Answers in Genesis offers the following food for thought:
“This verse uses yom (day) and the dual muwth just as Genesis 2:17 did. In Genesis 2:17, yom referred to the action (eating) in the same way that yom refers to the action here (go out and cross over). In neither case do they mean that was the particular day that death would come, but the particular day they did what they weren’t supposed to do.
Solomon also understood that it would not be a death on that particular day but that Shemei’s days were numbered from that point. In other words, their (Adam and Shimei) actions on that day were what gave them the final death sentence—they would surely die as a result of their actions. Therefore, the day, in Genesis 2:17 was referring to when Adam and the woman ate, not the day they died.”
So what was God talking about in Genesis 2:16-17? I think the only interpretation that makes sense is the only one that made sense of Romans 5 and 7 earlier in this post: spiritual death.
Humans did not physically die the first time we disobeyed God, nor did we lose the immortality we supposedly enjoyed (for a few minutes, anyway) after our original creation. What happened was that we died spiritually, because our decision to sin severed us from our spiritual source of life — God. Faith in Christ is our one hope of restoring that connection, and restoring that connection is our one hope of eternal life, because our spirit — not our physical bodies — is the only part of us that can live forever.
I again [see question #3] refer his lazy butt back to 1 Corinthians 15 and ask him to READ. IT. AGAIN. Talk about a selective view of the evidence!
In Part 3, we’ll provide yet more answers to Tyler Francke’s list of supposedly unanswerable questions. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, a brief aside to Tyler Francke.
1 Corinthians 15:12-23 was written with people like YOU in mind. After giving us the nuts and bolts of the Gospel, that Christ died, was buried and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures and that He was seen thereafter by many witnesses, Paul lays out the following argument:
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Tyler, you’re teaching people that there is no physical resurrection from the dead. In doing so, you’re denying the resurrection of Christ. Ironic, huh? You see, I’m pretty sure that you do actually affirm the physical Resurrection of Jesus Christ. If I’m wrong on this point, feel free to correct me. That’s not the point Paul and I are making. By Paul’s logic – and you can disagree with the Bible if you want to, I’m sure – to deny that Jesus came to save us from BOTH spiritual death and physical death is to deny the physical resurrection of Christ, with all of the horrible consequences that entails. You see, if Christ only came to die for the spiritual death that Adam incurred as a penalty and physical death is just a natural part of the present order, why give us the promise of release from physical death? Why call Death the Last Enemy?
More to the point, your eisegesis makes utter nonsense of verses 20-23. Follow along if you;re confused. Aside from the fact that verse 18-19 make it clear that the physically death is being discussed where it concerns those who are “asleep in Christ” [i.e., physically dead believers], let’s pretend these verses jive with your particular theology. They would read as such:
20 But now is Christ risen from the [spiritual] dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came [spiritual] death, by man came also the resurrection of the [spiritually] dead.
22 For as in Adam all [spiritually] die, even so in Christ shall all be made [spiritually] alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
Everything’s looking pretty good for your nonsense theology until verse 23, when you start to realize the implications of your really bad interpretation would mean that all believers in Christ as still spiritually dead until Christ’s coming, which makes utter nonsense of the the entire idea of being born again.
Tyler. You’re making nonsense of the Gospel. Stop it.
Worse, you’re doing this for the sake of a way of knowing that precludes the supernatural from all consideration and proposes all-natural answers to all questions. These all-natural answers may or may not be true and are certainly false where the supernatural was involved, yet you insist that the Bible must re-interpreted in light of all-natural truth claims rather than calibrating the uncertainty of all-natural claims against the supernatural revelation of Scripture. In doing so, you have made the word of men in lab coats your ultimate authority over the Bible. Stop it.