It is difficult to converse with someone in this way because so many comments and arguments intervene between posts. I would like to answer some of your questions.
Are we talking the death of ALL animals or just human death?
While Paul doesn't specify the answer to this question in Romans 5:12, I believe he makes it more clear elsewhere. Romans 8:19-21
, for example, describes how "the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed," and how "creation was subjected to frustration" by God (it not being frustrated before). And he adds that "the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay
and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."
If we add to this the promise that one day there will be no more death (indeed, the lion will lie down with the lamb), and that this state will be something like life before sin, it just seems to me like God wants us to believe that death itself (whether of animal or of man) was not part of His original creation (which He called "very good").
IIRC, it seems that some of our Holy Fathers spoke of Adam and Eve as if they were originally created separate from the order of nature where death was already the rule and that their fall via sin was in part a fall into the natural realm of physical death.
I'm sorry, but I don't know what IIRC is. But I suppose some of our Holy Fathers believed, as we sometimes do ourselves, things which are not true. There must be some Holy Father somewhere who believed that death was not the rule in God's very good creation.
BTW, for the sake of this discussion, it might be good if you would share with us what Christian faith background you represent, since your strong reliance on the Scriptures (apart from other witnesses to the truth revealed by God, such as the Holy Fathers and the Church?) and the jurisdiction info under your avatar mark you as possibly Protestant.
To be honest Peter, I don't know. I'm not really protesting anything, so I don't think of myself as a Protestant. I don't believe that the Bishop of Rome was supposed to be the head over the entire Church, so I'm not a Roman Catholic. I worship God and share communion in a non-denominational church which most people would call Protestant, but I have broken bread with Catholic monks, Anglicans, and Lutherans.
Since I am not a Roman Catholic or Greek Orthodox, you may prefer to call me Protestant. I wish you wouldn't, since it does not accurately describe anything about me. It might be like someone calling you a Baptist simply because you believe in baptism.
Yes, Christ is my jurisdiction. But this does not mean that I do not submit to the leadership and guidance of church leaders. But like the noble Bereans of Acts 17:11, I test everything a leader says against the scriptures.
I honestly do put a lot of faith in those who have gone before me, so I do read and learn from the Holy Fathers. When they teach something which does not contradict the scriptures, I am ready to give it fair consideration.
So let me sum up:
- I think not even animals died before Adam sinned.
- I am a Christian informed and led by the richness, wisdom, and beauty of Christ as found in His Word and among His people.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Grace and peace to you.