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How Did the Fall Affect Creation?

Rev. Hanko is the missionary/pastor of Covenant Protestant Reformed Church in Northern Ireland. Reprinted from the CPRCNI newsletter.

Our question for this issue takes us back to the beginning: “In what way did the fall of the human race affect the animal kingdom and the plant kingdom?”

This question is important because it gets at one of the problems with evolutionary theory. Evolutionism has no explanation of the fact that there is death, decay, thorns, weeds, suffering, and waste in the creation, except to say that they were always there.

That these things are still around is a problem first for secular evolutionists. It contradicts the idea that there is gradual, positive development in the creation.

Indeed, in spite of men’s bright hopes of conquering death and disease, the situation grows worse. They find a cure for one disease only to have many other new diseases develop (AIDS, C.J.D., etc.). They eradicate one, smallpox (the only disease they can claim to have eradicated) only to be faced with a host of others. Not only that, but their cures often prove worse than the diseases, and new forms of the diseases develop that are resistant to their cures. So they get farther and farther behind in the battle.

But what poses a problem for secular evolutionists is a far greater problem for so-called theistic evolutionists – those who try to find a compromise between Scripture and evolution. These teach that God created the world, but many millions of years ago, and that the creation, including people, animals and plants, have evolved since then.

These people (God judges their hearts), are also teaching, whether they like it or no, that disease, death, waste and weeds have always been part of the creation. They cannot avoid that conclusion. Yet, that is to say that God did not create all things very good.

So too, their inability to explain the presence of these ills is part of their denial of the fall and the coming of sin. Evolutionism has NO explanation of sin, and consequently no need of Christ and His atoning work.

Believing what the Bible teaches, that God created the world in six days about six thousand years ago, we believe that all these things are the result of the fall. The creation as God made it was perfect (Gen. 1:31). Sickness, pain, death, killing, weeds, thorns, waste, came into the animal and plant kingdoms as well as into the life of man.

As difficult as it might be for us to imagine a creation where there were no “thorns and thistles” (Gen. 3:18), no sickness, death, decay, or waste, it is nevertheless the clear teaching of Scripture that it was so before the fall. All these came in with the fall.

Paul teaches this in Romans 8:19-22. Here the creation is pictured as a living thing and groaning. It groans because it is subject to vanity and corruption, but it is subject to these things “not willingly,” that is, not by its own willful disobedience. Rather, as we learn from Genesis 3:17-19, this is all the result of man’s sin and God’s curse.

It was so, because man was the king of creation under God (Gen. 1:27, 28). Because he held dominion over the whole earthly creation, his fall affected the creation as well as himself. He dragged it down with himself.

Certainly we may learn from this the exceeding sinfulness of sin. So great is our sin in Adam that it has affected not only ourselves but the rest of creation as well! How then shall we be saved except through the mercy of God?

It also reminds of the glory of the new creation, for “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). How great, then, will be that glory!