The good news without the bad news is no news at all!


Published: December 19, 2013

“Why should I bother with the creation/evolution debate? It’s just a side issue.”


Statements like that are common, and you may have thought that yourself. It seems like it’s all about scientific technicalities. Why should you be concerned about that? It seems so far from the fact that Jesus died for our sins. But, is it so far away from that central truth?

Romans 5:19 (ESV): “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Adam is the “one man” who disobeyed in this passage (v. 14), and it’s through him that we all became sinners. Christ’s act of obedience will reverse that condition. But that only proves we became sinners through Adam’s disobedience; it doesn’t tell us what results from that disobedience.

Romans 6:23 (ESV): “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So now we see the direct consequence of sin: death. Therefore, death is not natural; it has not always existed. It had to begin in history at some point as a result of sin. But you might ask: “What sort of death? It could just be spiritual death.”

1 Corinthians 15:21–22 (ESV): “For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” The reversal of the condition of “death” is Jesus’ bodily resurrection. Therefore, this “death” we have in Adam is not just “spiritual”, it is also physical. Christ didn’t just come to save us from “spiritual” death; he came to save us from physical death too. Though we physically die now, Christ’s bodily resurrection secures our future bodily resurrection. But still, this only deals with humans. Isn’t there room for animal suffering before the Fall of Adam?

Romans 8:20–21 (ESV): “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” It wasn’t just man that was subjected to corruption; it was the whole creation we are responsible for. A futile creation for futile man. The creation waits eagerly for the resurrection of believers (Romans 8:23) because that means creation itself will be set free from the power of sin and death.

Therefore, we see that any suffering to animals and humans (this applies specifically to nephesh chayyāh life) before the Fall completely destroys the logical foundation for the gospel. And it’s not just evolution that does that. Millions of years of ‘geologic time’ put human and animal fossils, which are full of suffering, before the biblical date of the Fall (about 6,000 years ago).

This is not just about how we interpret a certain portion of the Bible. The very truth of the gospel is at stake in this debate. If there was no literal Adam and Eve in a literal garden with a literal tree and a literal deceiver, and there wasn’t a literal Fall—then Jesus’ death is literally irrelevant.

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Readers’ comments
C. A., Australia, 18 December 2013
I absolutely love your articles more and more, a strengthening for faith in every way. A puzzle for me is this ....... God made the earth and all the creatures in it and said be fruitful and multiply to all his creatures. This was before death came in. Without death the earth would cope for only a few years before it was packed full and unable to support more life.
Shaun Doyle responds
To quote C.S. Lewis from Prince Caspian: "'To know what would have happened, child?' said Aslan. 'No. Nobody is ever told that.'" The same principle applies to what would've happened if Adam and Eve never fell. We are not told, so we cannot know for certain. That God would've worked everything out is beyond question: He is sovereign over everything. We can only speculate on how He might have done it, and the best speculation I can think of is that He would've rendered the relevant organisms infertile.
Grahame G., Australia, 19 December 2013
Spot on Shaun! As CMI has often said, it's possible to disagree with the Bible on origins and still trust Jesus due to "blessed inconsistency". But if we don't agree that humans are fallen, sinful, rebellious then we're not trusting Jesus for Salvation, we're just adding a false Jesus our pantheon of gods. Origins is not a "side issue" - part of it is core to Christianity, and I praise God that some of those who reject this part of the message of scripture are my brothers and sisters - after all, none of us have everything perfectly right. Thanks for reminding us of what the most important issues/topics are.
Victor B., Australia, 19 December 2013
Many Thanks for presenting the very real and eternal consequence of not believing the Bible and thus the very truth of the "Gospel". As we approach Christmas in the next few weeks may we reflect on the reason for it and why it is indeed "Good News" because of the reality and relevance of the "Bad News". A blessed Christmas to all at CMI and fellow commenters.
George C., Australia, 19 December 2013
Thank you for writing this article. It covers well the comments that some of my elderly Christian friends made at one of their meetings. I rang CMI up about this and was directed to several articles relating to this much used comment, and unfortunately often by staunch Christians. Thank you again. I will print it off and get some copies to share with them.
Yee E., Malaysia, 19 December 2013
That is why we should trust Christ not for the sake of trusting Him but we have to understand history because Christ died in history due to something in history. Throughout history men tried to find the secret of immortality but their find is futile. In Christ, we believe there is a future resurrection and we hope the day when every tears will be wiped and the lion shall eat straw like an ox (restoration of edenic paradise). Real immortality can only come from an eternal Source if we trust and obey and have faith in Him and repent of our sins. Christ is the opposite of Death (physical and spiritual) because he conquered Death and Death can't hold Him. We can have that hope if we have faith in Him.
Thomas D., Germany, 19 December 2013
Dear Sir: I must voice my objection to your conclusion in paragraph #2: Romans 5:19 (ESV): “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Adam is the “one man” who disobeyed in this passage (v. 14), and it’s through him that we all became sinners. Christ’s act of obedience will reverse that condition. But that only proves we became sinners through Adam’s disobedience; it doesn’t tell us what results from that disobedience. I find it hard to believe that the 'chata' that Adam committed is also attributed to me and my list of 'chata' that I have done in my life. What it really means is that Adam was asked too move out of his Garden home so that he no longer had access to the "Tree of Life". Because of his not having access to this tree, he therefore died some 900+ years later. Since this tree is no longer here on this Earth of ours, we suffer the same fate as Adam. We die eventually too, because there seems to be something in the fruit of this tree that people and their bodies need in order for them to live as long as the Universe. I bring this up because my God is a god of "Love", and since I'm in 'love' with him, according to Paul I should do this! " If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him." (1 Cor. 13:7 TLB) And that's the purpose for this comment of mine. We Christians should be doing more to defend our God and his badge of 'honor', then maybe He won't be accused as often when things don't turn out the way we want.
Shaun Doyle responds
I didn't discuss whether Adam's specific sin is attributed to us as if we are personally responsible for it. I didn't even enter into any discussion on the precise mechanics of how we are rendered sinners through Adam's disobedience (nor will I now). However, that we are rendered sinners through Adam's disobedience is explicitly affirmed by Romans 5:19. Romans 5:19 doesn't say that we were all rendered mortal through Adam's sin (though Paul affirms that elsewhere—Romans 5:15, 1 Corinthians 15:21–22); it says that we were all rendered sinners through Adam's sin.
Eileen T., United Kingdom, 19 December 2013
The bottom line question to any Christian who thinks God's Creation is a 'side issue' is " How can the integrity of the Bible ever be a side issue?" We must believe it to defend it, so maybe those who think it's irrelevant to the gospel don't really believe the creation account in Genesis themselves?
S. L., United Kingdom, 19 December 2013
Excellent article. It succinctly summarises just why our Messiah had to come as a man and die physically for mankind (and the whole of creation). The writer presents basic biblical truth and yet this is missed by probably the majority of professing Christians today who persist in thinking in terms of millions of years and as a consequence accept that death existed before the fall. How we need the ministry of CMI, and similar ministries, to help us all to proclaim exactly why the Gospel is good news.