In recent times I have been in some discussions that has to do with resurrection and immortality. Topics of such interest always generate endless debates as it bothers on the afterlife and its implications to our existence now. We have many divided opinion in regards to this.
In some of my recent blogs I have case submissions that the resurrection that was promised in the scriptures had to had to occur at the end of the old covenant age and not end of the physical cosmos. I have also stated that the resurrection is a spiritual reality that has seen just men receive immortality when they were woken from their sleep from the days of Adam running the timeline of the first century church.
You can visit my blogs for more on this as this write up is to address an issue that arose from them; Was Adam created as an immortal being?
I will ask you read the following with an open mind and trust the Holy Spirit to confirm it in your heart as what I am about to share is not a common teaching in the Charismatic circle.
Immortality means not subject to die. If Adam was created immortal in nature then the question that first comes up is “Didn’t he die in the garden?” We remember the instruction he received from God in the garden that in the DAY he eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would die.
Of course many of us agree that this death is spiritual and not physical because Adam did not die that same day biologically as lived for another 900 year plus.
So the next conclusion would be that physical death caught up with him since he died spiritually. In order words spiritual death caused Adam to die physically. Adam died after the fall but it was not occasioned by the fall.
This was my former position until I had to engage in some thorough look at this again. This was especially made possible when I realized that the resurrection that the bible talks about has nothing to do with the reassembling of dead decomposed bodies.
The Bible never uses the terms “resurrected body,” “resurrection of the body,” or “physical resurrection.” What we see are the phrases “the resurrection of the dead” and “the resurrection from the dead.”
Adam’s sin brought man to a place where they were trapped in a place called Sheol in Hebrew language and Hades in the Greek as prior to Jesus’ redemptive work, no one went to Heaven:
“No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” John 3:13 (NKJV)
If you look at all the references with regards to Sheol in the Old Testament then you will realize that after physical death man was not in communication and away from the presence of the Lord. There was a promised hope that the Messiah would undo all that. Redemption had to deal with THAT death.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest. (Ecclesiates 9:10)
“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O Death, I will be your plagues! O Grave, I will be your destruction! Pity is hidden from My eyes. Hosea 13:14 (NKJV)
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me. Selah Psalms 49:15 (NKJV)
All people were believed to go to Sheol when they die:
What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah. Psalms 89:48 (NASB)
Now back to our focus. Many of us were raised up believing due to the work of sin that God will destroy the earth and give us one where everything would be perfect. No animal would eat another and that we will without experiencing biological death. Now I am about to present to you what looks like an alternative view.
Do we know that biological death is INTRINSIC with all created beings and things?
The concept of “no physical death” is not well supported in the scriptures and presents a host of theological, logical, and scientific problems. We shall review them.
The ecosystem is created by God and he intended it to regular life and living on the earth. Biological death is an important part of all ecosystems, and without it, life itself could not exist in a “good” state very long.
Some claim that vegetarianism was practiced by all creatures before the Fall. Does that include the fishes of the sea too?
There is no Biblical indication that any plant eaters became carnivores only after the Fall. It is one of those suppositions among many we have made.
The way God created numerous creatures it only shows them as carnivores, with various adaptations for capturing, killing, and digesting other creatures. They would have to be re-created in a quite different form if they were not so originally.
The scriptures indicate that predation and animal deaths are part of God’s “good” creation.
Psalm 104 (20-28) states,
You appoint darkness and it becomes night, in which all the beasts of the forest prowl about.
The young lions roar after their prey and seek their food from God.
O LORD, how many are Your works!
In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions.
They all wait for You to give them their food in due season.
You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.
If created beings (humans and animals) were immortal before the Fall, and could not starve, why did they need food?
Many animals were created with defense mechanisms or structures to fend off predators. These include inherent features from sharp spikes and spines (as seen on porcupines) to highly offensive odors (skunks), to poisonous glands in their skin (various amphibians) to corrosive or toxic sprays (skunks, cobras, etc.) to protective armor (turtles, armadillos, etc). Each creature is unique in their defense mechanism. For others it is camouflage in order to hide themselves or repel predators.
What would be the need for any of these defense systems if all creatures were herbivores?
The greatest implication for physical immortality is that it would require a total cessation of all aging processes. That will be an impossibility with the presence of of sunlight, background radiation, bacteria, etc. which exist in the original creation. It will have to be another earth for this work maybe heaven.
Another angle to this is if all creatures were meant to be immortal, there would be no need for reproduction. God could simply have created the exact prime number of creatures of each kind, and they would have lived forever. That is not how Genesis states it.
Reproduction is essential to continuity in life. It is tied to the cycle of life and death. Reproduction is needed to replace the dead and ensure stability in human existence. This was part of God’s mandate to Adam the first man.
How would you have imagined a world where there is no physically dead person from Adam till and nothing to check reproduction? Currently we have over 7 billion people living on the earth now. Add that to all that has lived before now and generations yet unborn.
The ecosystem requires biological death to play a role. It allows for the dissipation and recycling of nutrients in the environment. When plants and animals die, their bodies are decomposed by other organisms (mostly microbes and fungi) which return nutrients to the earth, allowing plants to grow.
If biological death ceases life cycles will eventually stop, preventing plants from growing. Without plants, many animals which eat only plants cannot live.
Now I am about to share with you the research of Glenn Morton, a reputable Christian and scientist that proves that the “death code” is written in every created being and that it is not curse.
We have seen that God designed the developmental pathways as part of His grand design of life on our planet. Yet what is little known in YEC circles is that death plays a big role in the creation of a human. In order to
understand this we need to look at how cells die.
A cell can die in one of several ways but what concerns us here are starvation and apoptosis. Killing a cell via starvation (either oxygen or food) is an ugly way for a cell to go. Clark describes this type of
cellular death. The lack of oxygen causes the mitochondria, the cells energy generators, to shut down. Finding the power source dimming, the cell kicks in back up systems which burn emergency stores of starch and fat and maybe even protein. Messages pile up all over the cell as instructions are ignored. The lysosomes, the garbage collectors are overworked as cellular trash pile higher and higher.
As all sources of energy run out,metabolic stillness comes over the cell. The last crucial system to cease are the pumps that man the cell walls. The pumps at the cell wall which keep potassium in and water and calcium out of the cell finally fall silent. The calcium rushes in and distorts the mitochondria. Next water pours through the cell wall in untold quantities, placing a huge pressure on the outer cell wall. Finally the cell wall bursts spilling cell stuff all over the place. The cell is dead. The macrophages, cellular cannibals, come and eat the remnants of the dead cell.
There is a second form of cellular death which is more peaceful, but it is death nonetheless. It is apoptosis, cellular suicide. A cell that has been instructed to commit suicide behaves very differently. There is no inrushing of water and no explosion as the water bursts the cell. The cell, in this case, chops its own nucleus into millions of small snippets of DNA. The rest of the cell doesn’t even notice for a while but the cell is already irreversibly dead. The cell then physically detaches itself from all of its neighbors. The cell begins to undulate with small pieces of cell pinching off and floating away. These small pieces are called apoptotic
bodies. Inside each apoptotic body, the cellular machinery continues on, mitochondria making ATP and cellular pumps continue pumping. The apoptotic bodies are then eaten by neighboring cells.
What is interesting is that God uses apoptotic death to create each and every animal. In the case of human development, our hands look like paddles at the end of the sixth week of development. But then the cells between the fingers undergo apoptosis and die. What they leave behind are the fingers. Look at the inside of one of your fingers now. The ancestor of the cells you are now looking at barely escaped death during your development. If they had been a smidgen closer to the webbing, they too would have been instructed to die.
So, what does this have to do with Eden? Well if God created the cellular biochemistry, then He also created the instructions for cellular death and God himself used death to create us! But what is even the most amazing thing, God created a secret code which instructs any cell given this code to self-destruct.
Cells selected by CTLS [cytotoxic T lymphocyte-grm] for death are not murdered; they commit suicide.
“So it turned out that all of the years spent looking for special CTL weapons had, after all was said and done, been wasted. CTLS are not equipped with weapons for destroying altered cells. What they are equipped with is knowledge of a special security code. Every cell in the body-not just a few extraneous cells in the developing fetus-has embedded in it a self-destruct program. What CTLs know, uniquely among all the cells in the body, is how to punch in the security code that activates that program and ultimately causes the selected cell to commit suicide.” …
And as we develop from a single cell, our cells become mortal. The death gene, designed by God, is still active.
The scriptures give us the understanding that the earth was not created to be destroyed but to be man’s home in this dimension and life will continue.
“One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.” (Ecclesiastes 1:4)
Generations have been born after Christ finished work and all believers have tasted biological death not because the work is not complete waiting a future ceasation of the aging process. This is only so because this is what God intends for us to come and demonstrate the inherent nature in us gifted by him and live the life he planned us to live showing the glory of His name.
“Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21)
“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end…” (Isaiah 9:7)
“Praise Him, you heavens of heavens, And you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the Lord, For He commanded and they were created. He also established them forever and ever; He made a decree which shall not pass away.” (Psalm 148:4-6)
We all get the time and opportunity to make our own contribution in making the world more beautiful for those coming after us to enjoy and maximize, just as Jesus did. He came to die and use death to recover our lives back. Redemption won all the way!
Now we have his grace to reign and rule in life. With healthy lifestyles and gracious living we find life on earth fulfilling. God’s kingdom here on earth is a spiritual reality that causes us to submit to his reign of love and glory. In this we will reproduce the garden wherever we are, no struggles, no death and no pain.
Death Before the Fall, God Created Cellular Death Codes – G.R. Morton.
No Physical Death Before the Fall? Glen J. Kuban