The Fall And The Problem Of Millions Of Years Of Natural Evil -- By: Terry Mortenson

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 16:1 (Spring 2012)
Article: The Fall And The Problem Of Millions Of Years Of Natural Evil
Author: Terry Mortenson

The Fall And The Problem Of Millions Of Years Of Natural Evil

Terry Mortenson

Answers in Genesis
Petersburg, Kentucky


A very controversial issue within the church today involves the question of millions of years of animal death, disease, predation, extinction, and other natural evils such earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis.1 Can this evolutionist view of the history of natural evil be harmonized with the Bible? In particular, is the Bible’s teaching on the fall of Adam and its consequences and on the character of God compatible with millions of years of natural evil?

Prominent New York pastor and author Tim Keller states the problem this way in a recent white paper for the theistic evolutionist group, Biologos Forum.

One of the greatest barriers to belief in God is the problem of suffering and evil in the world. Why, people ask, did God create a world in which violence, pain, and death are endemic? The answer of traditional theology is—he didn’t. He created a good world but also gave human beings free will, and through their disobedience and ‘Fall’, death and suffering came into the world. The process of evolution, however, understands violence, predation, and death to be the very engine of how life develops. If God brings about life through evolution, how do we reconcile that with the idea of a

good God? The problem of evil seems to be worse for the believer in theistic evolution.2

In his article Keller provides no real solution to this serious problem for his theistic evolution view. But careful attention to the Bible’s teaching on the fall and its consequences as well as on Christ’s redemptive work in response to the fall requires Bible-believing Christians to reject the idea of millions of years of natural evil before Adam. The character of God also militates against this evolutionary view of earth history.

Natural Evil Before The Fall?

Evolutionists say that during the course of millions of years, death, bloodshed, suffering, disease, and extinction—directionless natural processes of change in living creatures— eventually led to man’s existence. The late evolutionary astrophysicist Carl Sagan said, “The secrets of evolution are time and death: time for the slow accumulation of favorable mutations, and death to make room for new species.”3

The fossils, which the evolutionists say represent millions of years of histor...

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