I’ve reposting some comments I left on an earlier thread:
The adverb also occurs nearby in 3:6, where it indicates a novel action.
Steve Drake said...
“…but I'm a bit puzzled if as you say that Adam was created mortal, does this mean the animals were created mortal as well and needed to eat from the tree of life to keep living? How was that possible? Or is it your opinion that the animate sub-human created order was never intended to live forever?”
Individual animals were never intended to live forever. Various kinds of animals survive (through reproduction) from one generation to the next, but not individuals.
“Raises some interesting questions about whether there was death in the animal kingdom before Adam sinned, doesn't it?”
I think that’s answered here:
STEVE DRAKE SAID:
“I see that you are not a proponent of 'no death' in the entire created order until Adam sinned.”
“That's not my view, or the view of the Creation ministries like AIG, ICR, and CMI that you site on your blog. I'm not sure you site each of these three, but I think I've seen CMI sited there.”
i) YEC is a package, of which some elements are better grounded than others.
ii) The best YEC writers are generally scientists by training rather than Bible scholars. As such, they sometimes make exegetical judgments that I don’t make. I don’t look to them for exegesis.
“I think it is very difficult exegetically to explain away the use of 'good' 6 times in Gen. 1 and 'very good' in Gen. 1:31, along with God's giving of plants and fruit as food to both Adam and Eve and the animals in Gen. 1:29-30, and taking the position that death reigned in the animal kingdom, or that individual animals were never intended to live forever, before Adam's sin, which resulted in the Curse of death for the whole created order.”
i) Well, that depends on what the divine benediction means. To say animal death is “bad” is not something you can infer from the word “good.” Rather, you seem to be bringing a preconception of goodness to the occurrence of the Hebrew word. But, of course, whether or not animal death is bad is the very question at issue.
That depends, among other things, on the intended purpose of animals, and what distinguishes animals from humans.
ii) In Gen 1, I take “good” to be God’s self-performance evaluation. God approves of his own handiwork.
There’s a command/fulfillment pattern in Gen 1: God commands something to be, and what he commands to be comes to be.
I take the benediction to be the acknowledgement that his successful intentions. Everything he intended to achieve he succeeded in realizing. A perfect match between divine conception and divine effection.
“In other words, his old earth geology is driving his theology.”
That may well be true, but his exegesis must be evaluated on the merits.
“…but I can see that your old earth assumption is driving your tree of life theology and what it confers or doesn't confer.”
No, that’s not something you can see, because it isn’t there. My position on the tree of life is not contingent on the debate over chronology.
STEVE DRAKE SAID:
“Conjecture. Many excellent pastors and OT and NT scholars are YEC in their positions.”
Are you going out of your way to avoid the point? Most pastors aren’t writers. Most NT scholars never write about YEC, and even OT scholars don’t normally write about YEC unless they’re doing a commentary on Genesis, where that issue naturally arises.
I’m alluding to YEC writers like John Byl, Marcus Ross, Jonathan Sarfati, Andrew Snelling, and Kurt Wise.
“We need to address the issue of God's character here brother, when we say that animal death before Adam sinned is 'good'.”
No, we need to exegete the rhetorical function of the benediction in Gen 1.
“You seem to be arguing that animals red in tooth and claw, carnivory, disease, the strong preying on the weak, is 'good', or divine benediction on God's part.”
That’s not an exegetical issue. The text says nothing about that one way or the other. Rather, that’s something you picked up outside the Bible, which you’re now interpolating into the discussion.
“I argue that this goes right to the heart of God's character, and if this was his plan from the beginning, then the skeptic (as many have rightly done) can ask what kind of God is this?”
i) Since I’m a Calvinist, I naturally think this was God’s plan for the outset. I don’t think God is improvising.
ii) Moreover, you haven’t argued for your position. All you’ve done is to stipulate that this is out of character for God.
“How is God 'good' when death has reigned for billions of years (which you have already acquiesced to in a belief in an old earth) in the animal kingdom, His Creation, and how is this all 'very good' Gen. 1:31?”
i) I haven’t acquiesced to OEC. You keep confusing logically distinct issues.
ii) How long animal death reigned is irrelevant to God’s character. If predation, parasitism, &c. for billions of years is incompatible with God’s character, then the same phenomena for thousands or merely hundreds of years is equally incompatible with God’s character. Likewise, if postlapsarian predation, parasitism, &c. is incompatible with God’s character, then so is prelapsarian predation, parasitism, &c.
Since animals aren’t culpable for the fall, you can’t cite the fall to justify animal “suffering.”
iii) And, again, you haven’t begun to show how these phenomena run counter to the benediction on exegetical grounds. You haven’t shown how the narrator defines “good” such that animal predation, &c. are bad.
iv) If the animal sacrificial system which God instituted was consistent with his character, then nature red in tooth and claw is also consistent with his character. It's not as if the animal sacrificial system was the ancient equivalent of PETA.
“The burden is on you to prove that animal death, disease, and suffering are all part of God's original Creation and reflect His Holy character.”
i) There’s no burden on me to refute your nonexistent argument.
ii) You appeal to the same anthropomorphic projections that I encounter among village atheists like John Loftus and Andrea Weisberger. Indeed, I already covered that well-trodden ground in my review of his chapter on the “Darwinian problem of evil” in TCD.
iii) The examples you cite are functional phenomena which maintain a natural balance. And they exemplify the principle of plenitude.
iv) As a Calvinist I accept the fact that since everything ultimately comes from God, everything is ultimately about God. Everything in creation and providence alike exhibits the manifold wisdom and goodness of God, although not everything is good in and of itself.
“And that handiwork includes cancer?”
i) In humans or animals? Cancer in humans is a lapsarian liability. I have no reason to think animals necessarily enjoyed the same immunity prior to the fall.
ii) God has a plan for the world, and God approves of his plan.
“Sure it is. I can conclude from your writings and opinions, (and that's all it is brother, my conclusion), your naysaying to the contrary, that your acceptance of secular science's interpretations of the geologic data and their conclusion of a billions of year old earth, is clouding your opinion of what the tree of life confers. I'm sorry you don't see that, and you can disagree, of course, but I do 'see' it (taking into consideration all the nuances and definitions of the word 'see').”
If you ever spent much time in the archives, what you’d see is how often I’ve shown how YEC chronology is consistent with the scientific evidence. Your confidence is inversely proportional to your knowledge.
Commenters don't get to derail the topic of a post to ride their irrelevant hobbyhorse. I do a post to make the point I wish to make, not the point you wish to make.