Answers in Genesis has often warned about the consequences of synthesizing evolution and millions of years into the text of Scripture since this not only affects how the early chapters of Genesis are interpreted, but it also affects the coherency and internal consistency of the biblical message of Creation, the Fall, and redemption.
Evolution and the Erosion of the Fall
A text that is very relevant to our understanding of Genesis 3, and the result of God’s cursing the entire creation, is Romans 8:18–22. Unfortunately, one consequence of many evangelical theologians having adopted the idea of evolution and millions of years into their thinking is that passages like Romans 8:18–22 are now being interpreted very differently.
For example, New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham, commenting on Romans 8:20, recognizes that most exegetes believe this to be a reference to the Fall in Genesis 3 where God curses the ground because of Adam’s sin. However, he believes,
Paul is not referring to some drastic change in the natural world that followed from the fall of Adam and Eve, such as the introduction of death for the animal creation. This traditional view is impossible to reconcile with modern knowledge (animals were dying many millions of years before the first humans appeared on Earth).
Interestingly Bauckham’s reason for rejecting the traditional view, biblical view is not the text of Scripture but the evolutionary interpretation of the fossil record, which is why he must come to the conclusion that there was animal death before the Fall.2 It is important to remember that the evolutionary interpretation of animal death in the fossil record from “modern knowledge”3 is only that—an interpretation based upon anti-biblical philosophical presuppositions, such as the presupposition that the present is the key to the past. Bauckham prefers to see Paul’s comments in Romans 8:20 as referring to the
ecological degradation and desertification of the kind the prophets [Joel 1:10–12; 17–20] indicated when they portrayed the Earth mourning, the soil losing its fertility, plants withering, animals dying.