The close relationship that exists between the Fall of Adam and Eve, the entrance of sin and death into the world, and the Gospel of Christ is greatly emphasised in the Scriptures. We must realise that all three of these areas exist in stark contrast to the time preceding the Fall. Thus, it behoves us to establish with some degree of certainty and clarity those conditions that existed prior to sin entering into the world. James Stambaugh has written an excellent article on these conditions.1 Though dealing specifically with matters of scarcity and predation, Stambaugh touches on a number of things pertinent to the topic at hand. There is, of course, no need to reproduce Stambaugh’s observations here. However, it is necessary to review the biblical basis for those conditions in order to provide some coherency for later conclusions.
Conditions prior to the Fall
To say that there was no death, violence, or bloodshed prior to Adam’s sin very adequately covers the conditions that existed, but there is an underlying principle that may need to be clarified so that the implications arising from the generality are likewise clear and consistent.
“It was good”
At the end of each stage of His acts of creation, God pronounced that “it was good”.2,3 Each time in those Genesis passages, the phrase is כּי־טוֹב (ki-tob). טוֹב (tob) is a very general term with a variety of uses ranging from general happiness to economic benefit, to moral goodness, and so forth.4 Therefore, when we think of something being “good”, we must ask, “good as compared to what?” After all, the Scriptures themselves make a distinction between man’s goodness and God’s goodness. For example, we would all agree that the man who cares for his family is performing a good service even though he may be totally estranged from God. And the Scriptures concur. However, the Scriptures also say “there is none that doeth good.”5 Clearly this indicates a disparity between God’s righteousness and man’s “righteous” acts. The Bible directly compares one with the other in Isaiah 64:6 when God tells us, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags”. While we would naturally assume our sinful acts are but “filthy rags” in God’s sight, Isaiah 64:6 declares our “righteousnesses” to be such. The Bible is obviously bringing such an indictment against our “righteousnesses” so-called by comparing them to God’s holiness….
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