Was Adam Created as an Immortal Being?
by Rich Deem


Adam Created Immortal?

Young earth creationists claim that Adam was created as an immortal being. There are scientific as well as biblical problems with this idea. If Adam were created immortal before he sinned, then what was the purpose of the tree of life?

Rich Deem

Young earth creationists say that Adam was created as an immortal being and that his sin resulted in the initiation of his death and the death of every other living thing. What does the Bible and science say about the idea that Adam was once immortal?

Scientific objections

The idea that Adam was immortal is easily contradicted by the laws of the universe. The second law of thermodynamics (entropy) says that all living things in this universe (including the entire universe itself) will eventually die due to increasing disorder and dissipation of heat. Simply put, the second law of thermodynamics states that heat flows from hot bodies to cold bodies. This law affects virtually everything that happens in our universe. It allows the Sun to shine and warm the Earth. It has also been called the law of decay, since it addresses the "decay" of the universe. Since all heat flows from hot bodies to cold bodies, the logical end result will be that at some point the entire universe will have the same temperature ("cold death").

It might be proposed that the laws of the universe were different at the time Adam was created. In fact, young earth creationists used to claim that the second law of thermodynamics did not begin until after Adam sinned. This idea has been rejected by at least one major young earth ministry, although another biblically unsupported doctrine has replaced it. However, the Bible clearly states that entropy began well before the fall of mankind. Stars cannot shine (Genesis 1:31), animals move (Genesis 1:202), etc. if the second law was not in effect. So, the Bible directly contradicts the idea that the laws of physics were vastly different before Adam sinned. Therefore, we know that Adam was not created physically immortal.

Scriptural objections

Who Was Adam?: A Creation Model Approach to the Origin of ManThe scriptural objections to the idea that Adam was created immortal are actually stronger than the scientific objections. First, before Adam sinned, God warned him not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In the warning, God told Adam that "in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."3 However, not too long after, Adam did eat the fruit, but did not die that day, but lived until the age of 930 years.4 Young earth creationists admit that sin initiated both physical and spiritual death.5 However, since they say the Hebrew word for "day" never refers to a long period of time, they are a loss to explain how how Adam lived so many mores years after dying both spiritually and physically. However, old earth creationists believe Adam died spiritually immediately when he sinned, and died physically in that same "day" of Adam's life. So, clearly, the "day" of Adam was hundreds of years long or young earth creationists have to change basic Christian doctrine such that sin only brought spiritual death. Since the latter choice is obviously unacceptable, young earth creationists merely ignore the problem.

The second problem for young earth creationists is what to do with God being so worried about Adam eating from the tree of life6 that He posted the cherubim with the flaming sword to block the way to the tree of life.7 If Adam already had eternal life then God wouldn't have cared that he would eat of the tree of life. It only makes sense if God did not want Adam to physically live forever, since he had already died spiritually. Clearly, the tree of life, had its fruit been eaten, would have endowed Adam with physical immortality, something that he had previously lacked.

Conclusion Top of page

Holman QuickSource Guide to Understanding CreationTwo lines of evidence suggest that Adam was not created as an immortal being. First, immortality is not possible in this universe, since the universe itself will eventually die without God's intervention. The second law of thermodynamics (entropy) guarantees that physical beings cannot live eternally. This is why those who go to heaven will eat of the tree of life,8 and be given spiritual bodies in the place of physical bodies.9 Second, the Bible indicates that Adam died spiritually the day he sinned. If he would have eaten from the tree of life, he would have lived eternally, though spiritually dead. This is why God went to such great lengths to keep Adam from the tree of life after he had sinned.

Other Resources Top of page

A Matter of Days by Hugh RossA Matter of Days by Hugh Ross

Dr. Ross looks the creation date controversy from a biblical, historical, and scientific perspective. Most of the book deals with what the Bible has to say about the days of creation. Ross concludes that biblical models of creation should be tested through the whole of scripture and the revelations of nature.

Peril in Paradise: Theology, Science, and the Age of the Earth Peril in Paradise: Theology, Science, and the Age of the Earth by Mark S. Whorton, Ph.D.

This book, written for Christians, examines creation paradigms on the basis of what scripture says. Many Christians assume that the young earth “perfect paradise” paradigm is based upon what the Bible says. In reality, the “perfect paradise” paradigm fails in its lack of biblical support and also in its underlying assumptions that it forces upon a “Christian” worldview. Under the “perfect paradise” paradigm, God is relegated to the position of a poor designer, whose plans for the perfect creation are ruined by the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God is forced to come up with “plan B,” in which He vindictively creates weeds, disease, carnivorous animals, and death to get back at humanity for their sin. Young earth creationists inadvertently buy into the atheistic worldview that suffering could not have been the original intent of God, stating that the earth was created “for our pleasure.” However, the Bible says that God created carnivores, and that the death of animals and plants was part of God’s original design for the earth.

References Top of page

  1. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (Genesis 1:3-5)
  2. Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:20-21)
  3. Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:15-17)
  4. So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died. (Genesis 5:5)
  5. "Or read Genesis 3, where God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden so that they would not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. Physical death as well as spiritual death resulted from their sin." Ken Ham. The Lie: Evolution, Chapter 7: Death: A Curse and a Blessing. Answers in Genesis, July 1, 1987.
  6. Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" (Genesis 3:22)
  7. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24)
  8. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.' (Revelation 2:7)
    in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)
    Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)
    and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:19)
  9. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body... Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 50-53)

Last Modified April 4, 2013


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