It is a fascinating study to watch how philosophy and theology affect our assumptions about what the primordial world would have looked like before Adam’s Fall.
Many Christians turn this area of thought over to the naturalist and assume things were essentially the same as today for eons before modern man, sin, and God’s plan of redemption entered the scene. Clearly this isn’t something the Bible leaves room for, so we don’t have the luxury of looking to the non-Christian world for our view of earth’s beginnings.
What does it matter anyway?
Certainly, many millions of Jesus’ followers have lived out their lives without giving much, or any, thought to the changes man’s rebellion caused. But, for example, there are people who teach that work is a consequence of sin and the true Christian will escape it more and more as their lives became holy. Such a philosophy and theology affects many practical areas of life from life choices to attitudes.
The Bible lays out a large number of parallels between the beginning of history and its end. So, thinking about the one can affect how I anticipate the other. And even this can be practically applied to my life here and now. I will view many things about the natural world differently if I recognize God’s ultimate goal isn’t to have a sterile ‘spiritual’ netherworld, but a place full of plants (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7) and animals (Isaiah 11:6; Revelation 19:14), as well as all sorts of natural resources (Revelation 21).
And nothing could be more obvious than that many of things we can expect to enjoy in the future were true for our first parents at the beginning of time. Even the Tree of Life is a feature of both our past and future homes!
If You Dropped off a Naturalist in the Garden of Eden…
At this point I am taking us out of the realm of the known and for-sure and into areas we are left to make educated guesses on. But, I do think we have a lot of education to make reasonable guesses with!
In the past I’ve written on topics such as,
To boldly quote myself:
If God probably created trees with “growth” rings to help them stand up, he probably created the first two people with bellybuttons to keep Adam’s six-pack and Eve’s slender figure intact!
And here’s another area of philosophy that has a lot of bearing on our thinking about such an issue:
If you were to time travel with a naturalist who always assumes deep time back to Day 7 of Creation Week, would they figure out the whole place was brand-spanking new?
My assumption is: No. They would never in a million years (pun intended) guess.
Why? Because we are told God didn’t make a baby universe.
- He made stars, constellations, and galaxies
- He made ripe fruit growing on fruit trees
- He made a man old enough to farm and get married that day
- He gave mankind language to the degree Adam was expected to understand and obey commands as well as become the first taxonomist
There is nothing infantile about the description of anything created in Genesis 1. You don’t get unformed things until chapter 2 where we learn the field plants weren’t growing yet because there was no farmer or irrigation method (Genesis 2:5-6). But they still weren’t seedlings struggling to mature.
All the big creation ministries have weighed in on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and how we are not wise to assume entropy itself is necessarily a bad thing. I like how Dr. Jonathan Sarfati puts it in his answer:
It is more likely that God withdrew some of His sustaining power at the Fall. He still sustains the universe (Col. 1:17) otherwise it would cease to exist. But most of the time He doesn’t sustain it in the way that He prevented the Israelites’ shoes and clothes from wearing out during the 40 years in the wilderness (Dt. 29:5). But this special case may have been the rule rather than the exception before the Fall.
However God set up the world from the beginning, we still needed the power of the sun, friction, and other processes that scientists list under this 2nd Law. That is now taken as a given.¹
With our minds open to God using entropy/2nd Law of Thermodynamics during Creation Week, I’d like to take you to the movies. The Genesis 3D Paradise Lost Movie.
I was able to see this in the theater with my children and it was a treat. Others have done as well or a touch better presenting the apologetics and experts, but no one has come close to investing the effort in visualizing the processes of creation.
When the trailer came out I remember being a bit surprised by the spectacular waterfalls and cliffs they presented. Aren’t the stunning geographical features we enjoy today a direct result of the cataclysmic flood of Noah’s Day? What is dramatic (and dangerous looking) scenery doing in the tranquil and “very good” beginning?
Then I watched how they presented the events of Day 3, including all the water that needed to be moved off the newly forming continent to expose the dry land. It wasn’t a slow, gentle process. Nor was it smooth and uniform sheeting. The rising land was quickly shaped into hills, valleys, gullies, and many of the erosional features we are accustomed to experiencing in today’s world.
Now this was food for thought!
Is there anything inherently destructive about erosion?
Sure, we’re used to doing our best to prevent it from destroying our top soil or washing out our foundations, but how did we get our varied landscapes in the first place?
The Flood wasn’t the first time the world was covered in water and then exposed
- What if God, wishing to provide his most delicate plants and animals with “very good” homes, carefully carved out niches for them?
- What if God wanted Adam and Eve to experience lovely scenery, exciting hiking, and unfolding vistas such as we enjoy in our long-broken world?
- Do I call it a result of sin when a sculptor takes his chisel to a piece of marble? Or do I call it art?
In the time since watching that film and thinking through these things I’ve presented my thoughts to a handful of people on and off line. It’s surprising how many of them resist such a viewpoint. I certainly won’t fault you for not swallowing my ideas whole.
But I do ask you to think about it.
No Life Was Harmed in the Making of this Landscape
And remember, on the morning of Day 3 God hadn’t even created bacteria. All he had done was create light and atmosphere. No life was affected in anyway by the draining of the ocean into one place. Why not use this process to carve a ‘mature’ landscape?
- For more see: https://www.icr.org/article/genesis-question-entropy; https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/the-second-law-of-thermodynamics-began-at-the-fall/