In a recent Premier posting (4/12/10) Paul Garner gave biblical and theological reasons for insisting that there was no death before the Fall, and thus the earth cannot be old. Below are his arguments in bold , followed by my brief rejection of his case. My comments are very brief because all of them are based on wrong biblical interpretation, i.e. not held by all except YECs and he simply alleges connections but gives no demonstration of his case.
As none of his arguments taken individually have any force, the cumulative effect is equally Zero
If this is the best that a YEC can produce to “prove” animal death before the Fall, then it is a fatuous and worthless argument. Garner also needs to gain a better grasp of biblical interpretation
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There is a strong cumulative, biblical case to be made for linking animal death to human sin.
1) The animals are originally created as herbivores (Gen. 1:30).
This presupposes that Gen 1-11 is “straight history”. Few regard it as such, so this one text is insufficient. This says nothing about prior animal death. An animal can die accidentally or though disease
2) Man is given dominion over the animals (Gen. 1:28), and so his actions have consequences for them.
There is no connection here
3) The serpent is cursed "above" the other animals in Gen. 3:14), implying that the other animals are cursed also
See on point 1. Further whatever the curse is, assuming your historical view, one cannot draw this conclusion without some intermediate steps in your argument to demonstrate the connection
4) The first hint of animal death is in the provision of skins to cover Adam and Eve after they had fallen (Gen. 3:21)
This is simply an animal death, with no indication that it was the first
5) The animal sacrifices of the OT sacrificial system reinforced this link between sin and animal death.
Yes, but no reference to animal death before humans. Further only certain animals were used for sacrifice so there is no reason from your position why other animals should not die
6) Numerous Bible passages indicate a connection between human sin and the world of nature, e.g. Deut. 28:1-4; Jer. 9:9-10; Hos. 4:1-3; Zeph. 1:1-3
Deut. 28:1-4; not applicable
Jer. 9:9-10; no linkage here
Hos. 4:1-3; irrelevant
Zeph. 1:1-3, irrelevant
7) Passages such as the Flood account and the Exodus account explicitly show that human actions have consequences for animals.
There is no logical argument here, just let’s pretend it is so.
The future consummation of all things is pictured as the restoration of an Edenic state in which animal death is no more, e.g. Isaiah 11:6-8.
One cannot draw such conclusions from a poetic passage
Certainly we behave today as though animal suffering is a bad thing, when we seek to minimise use of animals in vivisection, regulate hunting, use anaesthetics during animal surgery, prosecute people for cruelty to animals, and so on. This moral imperative is consistent with the idea that animal suffering is not part of a "very good" world, but one wonders how it can be justified from a theistic evolutionary perspective.
Again no argument here.