The Age of the Earth

Part 10: The Garden of Eden

By Steve Webb

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In this blog I am going to talk about the relationship of the Garden of Eden with the biblical time-line, and the implications of it. I am going to assume, in accord with my prior seven blogs, that the Earth is older than 6000 years, and that this does not disagree with Scripture. I would like to emphasize that this blog is considerably more speculative than my prior blogs. If you like it, well and good; if not, let it go.

The way I read and understand Genesis 1, I believe that a lot of time and events had already transpired on Earth prior to the creation of the Garden of Eden, and Adam and Eve's placement in it. One of these events concerns Satan (or Lucifer in Latin), the fallen angel. We are given intriguing information about him in Revelation 12:7-9, Ezekiel 28, and Isaiah 14:12-17 where, in summary, Satan was a powerful angel who rebelled against God, and as a result was thrown down to Earth along with his legion of rebellious angels. We don't know the timing of this event except to the extent that Satan was quick to make his entrance into the Garden to tempt Adam and Eve, so he seems to have been on Earth prior to the creation of the Garden.

You will recall that Satan was a special angel who was undoubtedly loved by God. Ezek. 28: 14-15 reads "You are the anointed cherub who guards; and I have placed you there: you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked on the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you." Because of his rebellion he was thrown down to Earth, apparently confined here as His prison — perhaps so his influence would not contaminate the rest of the universe.

A separate item I would like to note concerns the fossil record, where I have personal expertise. From this fossil record we have an idea of what life was like during any geologic time period. What we observe is that Earth was not a peaceful place prior to Adam. While there was, for sure, spectacular beauty and stunning variety in plants and animals, and no doubt scattered scenes of pastoral bliss, they do not camouflage the backdrop of vicious aggressive predation where both in the oceans and on the land, animals were divided into the hunters and the hunted. There is no doubting this. There have even been found fossils of eaten animals inside the fossils of the animals that ate them! Tyrannosaurus rex was real, he was a killer, and he walked on Earth prior to Adam.

And, of course, the ultimate aggressor was Death. If an animal did not die by being killed by another animal, it died by accident, starvation, disease, or old age. To a great extent, death and tyranny ruled the world. Planet Earth was not a peaceful carefree place to live at this time. It most certainly was not an idyllic Garden of Eden.

Another observation I would like to point out is in I Corinthians 15: 45-47 where Christ is referred to as the "Second Adam." The analogy made in the text is that Adam is of the Earth, and Christ is of the Spirit. While that is certainly true enough, it hardly needs to be said. What is the need for Scripture to refer to Jesus as a Second Adam? Besides, Jesus is more than a second Adam, He is God Himself. Why not just contrast the "way of all flesh" with Jesus and drop the Adam analogy? It would seem to make the point better unless there are underlying meanings.

None of us are in the position to judge God's actions, but I have trouble making sense of the fearful "dog-eat-dog" environment that existed prior to the Garden when I contrast it with the words in Genesis 1, where God proclaims each of His creative acts to be "good." While I admit that animals killing and eating each other is not on the same level as humans doing the same, it is still hard for me to understand how this frightful pre-Adamic Creation could be called good.

I believe the solution to this paradox harks back to Satan and His angels being thrown down to Earth. As said before, Satan seems to have arrived before the Garden was created, and may well have been there during most or all of the creative acts that proceeded on Earth. There is no way to be sure of this, or to understand its full implications, but I believe that Satan and his angels arrived very early in the order of Creation, and were given a free hand (or at least greater freedom) to do as they wished in the pre-Garden Earth. You will recall that Satan was cursed by God after tempting Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14-15), the implication being that he had greater powers prior to that.

Continue to Page Two

Age of the Earth: The Series

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Radiometric Age-Dating
Part 3: Dinosaurs
Part 4: Tree Rings
Part 5: The Meaning of Yom
Part 6: Other Scriptural Difficulties
Part 7: Noah's Flood
Part 8: Hebrew-Judaeo Worldview
Part 9: Who were the Cavemen?
Part 10: The Garden of Eden
Part 11: Bible Genealogies

Image credit: Roelant Savary, The Garden of Eden; Public Domain

TagsControversial-Issues  |  Current-Issues  |  Science-Creation

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Published 3-4-14