By Tommy Mitchell, Answers in Genesis
If creatures lived millions of years before God made the Garden of Eden, then suffering and death arose before sin ruined creation. In fact, their fossil remains would be buried under Adam’s feet. But that’s not the case!
In Gen. 1—3 we are told of the beginning of things. God created everything in six ordinary days—a perfect creation in which there was no death. God looked at His creation and called it “very good” (Gen. 1:31). So where did death come from?
Death came as a direct result of Adam’s disobedience. Genesis 2:17 tells us, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” So Adam knew there was a consequence to his actions. When he took of the fruit and ate, his rebellion brought a curse and death: “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21). The disease and death in the fossil record reflect this curse upon all of creation.
We must understand that our sin is what broke God’s perfect creation. We are all sinners because we are descended from sinners and we, too, rebel against God’s command (Rom. 5:12). Not one is innocent. As a result of sin “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now” (Rom. 8:22).
The good news is that the Last Adam, Jesus Christ, came to earth to bear the penalty of our sins and be nailed to the cross. He defeated death by His resurrection. By His atoning blood sacrifice for us, He has made a way for us to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Further, He promised to those who place their faith in Him that in the future there will be no more death, tears, or suffering. The perfect world will then be restored.
Revelation 21:4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.