Archive for death

Does an “old earth” make God cruel?

Posted in Evolution, Genesis with tags , , , , , , on October 25, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Yet another common argument proposed by creationists is that the theory of evolution turns God into a cruel tyrant.  Some go even further and accuse “old earth creationism” of the same, even when it doesn’t include the theory of evolution.  For instance, Eric Kemp recently wrote:

How can God call His creation “very good” if there was billions of years of suffering and death in the animal kingdom before humans were created?  This notion also makes God into a bumbling, lying, cruel creator who lacks the power to prevent disease, natural disasters, and extinctions to mar His creative work, without any moral cause, but still calls it all “very good.”

How does this make God into a liar?  He said it was “very good”; who are we to judge Him?  How does this make God bumbling?  One could easily make the argument that God is a bumbling fool if He created in the “creationist” manner.  “Oops, this model of Archaeopteryx isn’t really working out for me…I’ll let them go extinct and then start over from scratch.” 

The argument of God being “cruel” or “impotent” applies regardless of how old the earth is or whether evolution is factual.  Indeed, this is one of many reasons why people choose not to believe in God.  People get sick.  People get injured.  People die.  God could stop that if He chose to, could He not?  He is all-powerful, according to Christianity. 

Even if one does view evolution as cruel, etc, does it really matter?  We aren’t God.  If He chose to create via evolution, it really doesn’t matter what we think about it.  God’s character is complex.  Let’s face it.  The bible teaches that He has thrown plagues against the earth (and shall again), He will eventually demolish the earth in judgment, and ultimately sentence nonbelievers to eternal torment.  And yet years of animal death, of all things, is what bothers us about God and His creation in light of these other biblical tidbits?

“90 Minutes in Heaven” or “90 Minutes of Delusion”?

Posted in Don Piper with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Don Piper, a minister from Texas, has written a book titled “90 Minutes in Heaven”. His story is basically thus: several years ago he was hit by a truck and pronounced dead. He went to heaven (stayed there about 90 minutes earth-time), but he was then sent back.

Several weeks ago at Fellowship of the Woodlands, a church north of Houston, an interview with Don Piper was played on the video screens. I must admit that I have not read the actual book yet; however, I do recall Don Piper saying in the interview that he never actually saw or met Jesus during his heavenly visitation.

This past weekend, Don Piper actually preached at Fellowship of the Woodlands. He restated many of the things he had mentioned in the previous interview, such as when he reached heaven he was greeted by people who had helped lead him to Jesus during his life. He said they all looked good (as in, happy, no sickness, no frailty, etc). He then said that, in fact, the only person bearing any scars was Jesus, to demonstrate what he did on earth for us.

The way it was worded certainly implied, in my opinion, that he saw Jesus during his visitation. Yet he clearly has stated before that he did not. According to one website located here, Piper only mentions Jesus three times in the book.

Perhaps Piper needs to rehearse his story just a wee bit more and work out the kinks…

Tim Challies offers a thought-provoking review of the book here.

Like this post? Email it to a friend.

Death before the Fall?

Posted in Genesis with tags , , , , , , , on April 26, 2008 by airtightnoodle

One of the stumbling-blocks for Christians accepting evolutionary theory is the idea of death before the Fall of man. How can this notion possibly be reconciled with the accepted scientific viewpoints of the history of life on Earth?

Many Christians insist that the Bible teaches there was no physical death before the fall of man. This notion is not well-supported Biblically, and it certainly isn’t well-supported scientifically.

If there was no physical death before the fall, several interesting questions arise.  For instance, if animals couldn’t die prior to the fall, why did God give them reproductive abilities?  Recall that God instructed them to “be fruitful and increase in number”.  Furthermore, animals not being able to die creates problems such as the following: An ant crawls along the grass.  A cow comes along and eats that patch of grass, ingesting the ant in the process.  The ant cannot perish if there is no physical death; it somehow must survive the trip through the cow’s digestive and excretory systems.  For that matter, why would the cow even need to eat?  If there was no physical death, starvation would certainly pose no problem–yet God granted the plants to the animals for food.  Speaking of plants, they would have the same dilemma as the aforementioned ant–how would the plants survive being eaten without dying?

Literalists who accept the idea of no death before the fall run into a problem right away when reading the Genesis account of the fall. God told Adam that he would die the day he ate the forbidden fruit. Note that nowhere does it say that before this time Adam was destined to be immortal. If someone hands you a venomous snake and says, “If this bites you, today you will die”, does that imply you were going to live forever otherwise? Of course not. In any case, on the day Adam ate the fruit, he certainly did not physically die! He went on to live many, many years, according to Genesis. One could, of course, suggest that the term “day” here did not literally mean a 24-hour period…but that’s pretty inconsistent for a literalist who insists “death” here MUST mean physical death.

A much more consistent reading would mean that the death here refers to spiritual, not physical, death.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22 supports this reading (and is ironically often quoted by others to support physical death): “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”

The verse alludes to Adam’s death at the Fall, which was certainly not physical since he did not physically die that day. The verse parallels death in Adam to life in Christ. Do we have physical life in Christ or spiritual life in Christ? Regardless of religious beliefs, people continue to be physically born every day. Many people have lived physically just fine for years without believing in Jesus Christ as their savior. The passage is much more meaningful if taken as a reference to spiritual death and life. Jesus even referred to himself as granting spiritual life. “…Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11). Since we do still obviously physically die, Jesus was speaking of spiritual death…which is a death far worse than physical death ever could be.

Like this post? Email it to a friend.