Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering

Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering

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By (author) Ronald E Osborn, Foreword by Dr John H Walton

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  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press,US
  • Format: Paperback | 195 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 208mm x 15mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 7 March 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Illinois
  • ISBN 10: 083084046X
  • ISBN 13: 9780830840465
  • Sales rank: 208,808

Product description

2014 ECPA Top Shelf Book Cover Award Did animals have predatory natures before the fall? Did God punish innocent animals with a curse because of human sin? Is it possible for theistic evolution to be compatible with the Bible, even though animal death before the fall would contradict the teaching that death began after the first sin? In this eloquent and provocative "open letter" to evangelicals, Ronald Osborn wrestles with these pointed questions and with the problem of biblical literalism and animal suffering within an evolutionary understanding of the world. Considering the topic of animal suffering and predation as a theodicy dilemma, Osborn offers an open-minded exploration of the subject, specifically coming against the fundamentalist and literalist view of the book of Genesis and the creation account. He challenges one-dimensional reading of Scripture and shines a sobering light on the evangelical dogma responsible for advancing viewpoints long ago dismantled by science. Always acknowledging the traditionalist viewpoint, Osborn demonstrates with a wealth of exegetical and theological insight how orthodox Christianity can embrace evolutionary concepts without contradiction. Osborn forces us to ask hard questions, not only of the Bible and church tradition, but also and especially of ourselves.

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Review quote

"Death Before the Fall is a frank, honest and wide-ranging critique of young-earth creationism, intelligent design and other science-denying movements. Sure-footed, informed and avoiding 'tidy answers, ' it shines a sober spotlight on the intellectual crises within evangelicalism--crises responsible for the enduring popularity of viewpoints dismantled by science more than a century ago. Drawing on a broad range of sources, Death Before the Fall looks to the sacrificial and self-emptying death of Christ, rather than simplistic interpretations of the fall, to understand our troubled natural history, with its unimaginable reservoirs of suffering and death."--Karl W. Giberson, author of Saving Darwin: How to Be a Christian and Believe in Evolution