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How did the Creation change after the Fall?

Published: 17 November 2013 (GMT+10)
Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH 7278-yersinia-pestis
Scanning electron micrograph of the bacterium, Yersinia pestis, responsible for the bubonic plague.

Dacid K. asks,

“Please could you explain scientifically how rapid post fall restructuring of creation occurred to incorporate things like immune systems, changed biological structures to transfer to carnivorous diets, viruses and bacteria and host parasitic biological structures introduced at the macro and micro level.”


Dear Dacid,

Thanks for your question.

Our understanding is that immune systems existed prior to the Fall and that these became adapted to deal with some of the virulent germs which arose after sin entered the world. Indeed, our immune systems have clearly been designed to be able to adapt. Some bacteria and viruses are very beneficial and appear to have been created by God in the beginning. For example, bacteria are essential for decomposing organic matter, enabling old plant material to be recycled. They also help us digest our food. Viruses can increase plants’ tolerance to heat and drought,1 destroy cancer cells2 and help keep soil fertile. Just as bees carry pollen from flower to flower, viruses can transfer genes between bacteria, enabling them to perform their many useful functions. Harmful versions of these bacteria and viruses are probably degenerate (mutated) forms of originally benevolent designs.

There are examples of animals known today for being carnivorous but are quite capable of living without meat. (See for example the lion that wouldn’t eat meat and the bird of prey that’s not). In some cases, though, animals may not be able to survive today without meat, but this would be due to degeneration from their originally perfect state. Animals degenerate through a number of mechanisms, the most obvious being genetic mutations. Strange as it may seem at first sight, another way animals lose their ability to adapt is natural selection. See here.

As you point out, though, some animals have changed markedly due to the Fall. Some have become highly adapted to hunting and meat eating and others have sophisticated defence/attack structures. This cannot be explained entirely scientifically, as it arose, at least in part, supernaturally, due to God’s judgement upon sin (Genesis 3). Chapter 6 of the Creation Answers Book has some helpful comments on all this. You can read it online here.

References and notes

  1. Roosink, M.J., Beneficial microbes for agriculture, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, October 2008; noble.org/ag/research/microbes. Return to text.
  2. Kim, M., Biological view of viruses: creation vs evolution, J. Creation, 20(3):12–13, 2006; creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j20_3/j20_3_12–13.pdf. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Readers’ comments

David B.
The apparent opposing arguments between Fundamental Christianity and Science is based on human interpretation of Scripture. Science is NOT based on interpretation but on experimental evidence. Correct interpretation of Scripture is a Biblical command, "to rightly divide the Word of God." (II Tim 2:15) Many Fundamentals claim their interpretation is guided by the Holy Spirit therefore "they have rightly divided God's Word." The Spirit of God is a Spirit of Unity and clarity...NOT division and confusion. I submit the over 500 denominations of Christianity does NOT reflect this Unity. Jesus prayed that "we be of one Spirit." There may be a "spirit" involved in Biblical interpretation but I suspect is isn't "Holy." The Bible is very clear that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the basis of our Salvation....not arguing about the incompatibility of true Science with Fundamental interpretation of the Bible that has resulted in replacing true Science with pseudoscience. The claim is that true Science jeopardizes the Gospel because it nullifies God's Word. This is an illusion created by satan himself that propagates these "battles" de-emphasizing the ONLY source of Salvation.....the Blood of Jesus Christ. The claim that true Science jeopardizes the Gospel is based on fear, not Truth. The Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ saves people, NOT wasting time and resources trying to prove Science is wrong. How many more souls could be won for Christ if we could spend this time and resources on the Gospel. satan is indeed cunning.
In Christ...David
Dominic Statham
We do not argue that "fundamental Christianity" and science are in conflict. Instead we demonstrate that the known facts of science fit the biblical account of creation and Earth history far better than they fit the evolution story. To argue that historical science is not based on the interpretation of data is naive to the say the least--see here and here.

There is no clearer example of pseudo-science than the theory of evolution, as many articles on our website make clear.

If the Bible is not right in what is says about human origins and human history why should anyone think that it's right in anything else it has to say?
Daniel F.
I still think that many pathogens were bio-engineered by demonic powers--maybe even Satan himself.
Todd S.
"Dominic Statham responds

We agree that there is a biblical timeline compatible with science--the one taught in Scripture! The Bible plainly teaches that the world was created around 6,000 years ago (see here) and this view is not in conflict with science (see here)."

Hold on. It completely conflicts with science and history.

I take it as creationists you are supportive of Henry M Morris' chart on population growth?

The chart assumes that Noah's Flood killed all but 8 people in 2300 BCE, and human population increased at a rate of .5% per year afterwards. We can draw some conclusions from this. For example, when the Israelites were enslaved by Egypt in 1686 BCE, only 180 or so people existed. In the entire world. When Moses led the Exodus out of Egypt? Less than 500 people on the entire planet. When the Nanna Ziggurat was built in Ur (presently Muqaiyir, Iraq) in 2100 BCE, only 26 people were alive. And given that the population would have been scattered that leaves, what? 1, maybe 2 people to build it.

Here is a good one. The Battle of Thermopylae. 300 Spartans and their allies against an army of between 70,000 and 300,000 Persians. Only, at that point, the world population was apparently composed of only 50,000 people. So creationism would have us believe that in 490 BCE Spartans killed more people than even existed at the time.

So given above items, how exactly is it not in conflict with science?
Dominic Statham
These calculations are extremely sensitive to population growth rates, which vary considerably from one period to another. For example, some would estimate that, over the last millennium, the annual population growth rate has varied between 0.1 and 1.8% (see here).

The equation for calculating the post-Flood population (P) is given by

P = 6 x (1 + G/100)^n

where G is the annual percentage population growth rate and n the number of years since the Flood. (6 represents the three sons of Noah and their wives.)

Based on Bishop Ussher's time line (see here) the Flood ended around 2349 BC and Moses led the Exodus around 1491 BC, i.e. 858 years later. For G = 1.8 and n = 858, P > 26 million. So I do not concur with your figure of less than 500 people - or any of your other figures.

If we assume an average population growth rate of just under 0.5%, say 0.48% we can estimate the number of people we would expect to find on the Earth today (given biblical history) as follows: G = 0.48 and n = (2349 + 2013), giving a value of P of around 7 billion. This tallies very well with what we find.

How well does the evolution story fare when tested in a similar way? Evolutionists tell us that humanity dispersed out of Africa between 60,000 and 100,000 years ago. Being generous, let us assume that this occurred just 60,000 years ago and that there was only 1 reproducing couple alive. Let us also assume a population growth rate of just 0.1%. How many people would be expect to find on the Earth today? The answer is given by

P = 2 x (1 + 0.1/100)^60,000 = 2 x 10^26, i.e. two hundred trillion trillion. Clearly, this doesn't square with reality at all.

This is just one of many examples of how the facts fit the biblical account of Earth history far, far better than they fit the evolution story.
Gillespie R.
The original "motherload" of genes/information within all original forms is something I think we have yet to grasp the full "power" of. Natural selection/variations/maybe even "speciation?" could have happened at a unbelievably phenomenal rate after the fall with its associated pressures and "greenfields". My thinking says this motherload would not have been present in animals on the ark yet they still adapted quickly and impressively to their new environments post flood. We have decayed remnants of the original gene pools which we still marvel at and do not understand.
Rod M.
The fall was not a physical event, but a spiritual one. Sin in the Garden led to spiritual death. Christ emphasized that when he made it clear to Nicodemus that salvation was all about spiritual rebirth -- not physical rebirth.

Equating spiritual death in the Garden with physical death has led to a great many fallacies. It has also led to a great deal of work to prop up a literal interpretation.

2 Corinthians 3:6 warns against the letter (literal) and suggests taking the spirit of scripture, instead. But this requires work. I find it sad that some are not prepared to work (lazy).

I also find it sad that CMI and other Fundamentalist groups are using a "salad bar" approach to the Bible, effectively leading people astray. They ignore 2Cor3:6 and how Jesus taught.

Jesus taught us with difficult parables. They required work and deep thought, and yet too many Fundamentalists want a lazy, easy, quick way to understand.

I challenge CMI to have a dialog on these issues. I want to learn.

There is a biblical timeline compatible with those of science. God created evolution, just as he created inertia and collision, plus chemical reactions. All of these speak of change controlled by His laws.

Certainly, there are some evil scientists who use ego more than logic. Let's not be like them.
Dominic Statham
The fall was clearly a physical event and led to physical death as well as spiritual death. After Adam sinned, God told him that he would return to the ground: "for dust you are and to dust you will return" (Genesis 3: 19). Again, due to sin, women give birth in pain (Genesis 3:16). Try telling women that this is just spiritual!

We agree that there is a biblical timeline compatible with science--the one taught in Scripture! The Bible plainly teaches that the world was created around 6,000 years ago (see here) and this view is not in conflict with science (see here).

In my experience the people who argue against us very rarely do the work to understand our arguments properly. Instead, they seek to knock down caricatures of what we believe. Are you sure that you are not one of them?
M. G.
If I understand this correctly, your comment with regards to useful bacteria sounds like there was decay before the fall - the 'dead' leaves being eaten by bacteria. Please could you clarify this? It sounds as if it conflicts a little with the idea of no death before the fall!
Dominic Statham
The Bible teaches that, had there been no sin, there would be no death of 'nephesh life'. 'Nephesh' is Hebrew and conveys the idea of a 'breathing creature' and would not have included plant life.

For more details, please see ch. 6 of the Creation Answers Book: images/pdfs/cabook/chapter6.pdf.

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