The Bible teaches that death entered the world because of man's sin.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Romans 5:12 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses," Romans 5:14 "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." I Corinthians 15:21-22 "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Some Christians are committed to the idea that the earth is billions of years old. The biggest obstacle to this is the fact that there would be death before sin. These teachers often say that there was death before sin since Adam would have eaten (and killed) plants. This assumes, of course, that plants are alive in the Biblical sense. While there are hundreds of verses dealing with man dying the following scriptures will show that plants do not die in the same sense that a man or animal dies. Just as a computer is a complex machine able to run for hours at the touch of a button, a plant is a complex self-replicating food source but it is not alive. A computer can "die" and so can a car engine but they don't die in the sense people do. Plants have no breath or blood. Notice the distinction between plants and living things in these verses.
Genesis 1:11-13 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. 12And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 13And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Genesis 1:20-23 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so
Notice that plants are made on day 3 and living things on days five and six.
Genesis 1:29-30 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
Notice that the green herbs were given to the living animals for food.
Genesis 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
God said the people would die not the tree or the fruit.
Genesis 4:3-5 Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.
Cain's offering did not contain blood or life and was rejected by God. This is where we get the expression, you can't get blood out of a turnip. As beautiful as Cain's offering may have been and as hard as he may have worked to provide it, it was not accepted since there was no death.
Genesis 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.
Genesis 6:19-21 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive. And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.
Here we see a clear distinction between the living things and the food that is eaten.
Genesis 7:14-15 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort. And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
Genesis 7:22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land,
Genesis 9:1-4 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
Now man is allowed to eat meat even as the plants. Here again we see a distinction between the living things and the plants.
Lev. 17-13-16 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. 11For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. 12Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. 13And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. 14For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off. 15And every soul that eateth that which died of itself, or that which was torn with beasts,...shall bear his iniquity.
Plants do not have blood and fruit and nuts fall from the tree and we eat them. If they were alive while on the tree and dead when they fall off this would be forbidden. Plants are said to "wither", "fade" and "fall away" but this is not death as man or animals experience.
Jer. 8:13 I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade;
Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
Psalm 37:2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
Psalm 102:4 My heart is smitten, and withered like grass; so that I forget to eat my bread.
Psalm 102:11 My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass.
Psalm 129:6 Let them be as the grass upon the housetops, which withereth afore it groweth up:
Isaiah 1:30 For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.
Isaiah 15:6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.
Isaiah 19:6 And the brooks of defence shall be emptied and dried up: the reeds and flags shall wither.
Isaiah 19:7 The paper reeds by the brooks, by the mouth of the brooks, and every thing sown by the brooks, shall wither, be driven away, and be no more.
Isaiah 40:7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.
Isaiah 40:24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble.
Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Jeremiah 8:13 I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.
Jeremiah 12:4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? the beasts are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our last end.
Ezekiel 17:9-10 Say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof. Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.
Ezekiel 17:10 Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.
1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
People are born and die but plants are plucked up.
The only verse I have found that teaches that plants die: Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Job 14:8
This is Job speaking in this chapter not God and Job is talking about when men die in this passage. Be very cautious about taking doctrine from the book of Job. The Bible is the inspired Word of God. While it is true that Job (or one of his four friends) said the things recorded in Job, what they said may not be true. The Bible accurately records even the lies of Satan. This one verse from Job is not evidence that plants die in the Bible sense.
The Bible is very clear that God made everything in six days. Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 31:17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Those who wish the earth to be older than the 6,000 years the Bible allows for are often trying to justify their position with compromises like the gap theory, the day age theory or progressive creationism. Each of these unscriptural positions calls for death before sin so nearly always they bring up the question about plants dying. We have seen this is not the case. Death before sin would nullify the need for the death of Christ and accuse God of creating a world with suffering and calling it good.
God's Word is accurate as it is written. There was no death before Adam sinned. There has been plenty of death since he sinned but Jesus came to redeem us from the curse of sin and give us eternal life. If you have not received His free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23) why not ask for His forgiveness right now? Call our office if you would like more information on salvation, creation or evolution.
Dr. Kent Hovind
Creation Science Evangelism
29 Cummings Road
Pensacola, Florida USA 32503