The original question was:
In your answer to where Cain’s wife came from you stated; “ in Cain’s day inbreeding would not have been a problem. Genesis tells us the world was originally created very good, which means Adam and Eve had no defective genes.” But if we started with ZERO genetic mutations which would allow close relatives to have healthy offspring, how then did mutations suddenly occur? As I see it, God must have created these on purpose, or Satan, or they evolved.
Answer by John Mackay and Diane Eager
Firstly let’s clarify what evolution means. Many use the term evolution to mean ‘any change at all’. Therefore they label any type of change as evidence for evolution, including gene change or mutation. But Darwinian evolution started with no genes. Only hydrogen. Then naturalistic processes somehow made genes and only after that did gene alterations or mutations plus natural selection change life from single celled creatures into human beings and every living thing on the planet. It follows that if such evolution is true then it would have involved change…but … we have to come to grips with the fact that in this world change can occur without evolution happening at all. The reason evolutionists want to limit discussion to ‘we all agree evolution occurred – its only the mechanism we dispute!’ is because all of you have seen change and mutations, but none of you have observed evolution.
Now consider what can happen when you start from created perfection. Only one direction of change is possible –that of degeneration. The word we prefer is devolution, which is the degenerate change resulting from alteration or loss of genetic information which never improves a creature, never makes it a new creature and usually hastens new diseases and extinction. This is change and mutations without any evolution at all. You have all seen plenty of that!
Now let’s put mutational change in the context of Biblical history. First principle: God made all things very good. (Genesis 1-2) Therefore he owns all things.Therefore He has right to make the rules. In His original created world there was no disease, degeneration or death. The obvious reason is that such processes are not good. Death is not a natural part of life. God made it clear to Adam that death was the penalty for disobeying Him. (Genesis 2: 16-17) Sadly Adam and Eve chose to rebel or sin against God, who true to his word, condemned them. Death both physical and spiritual was and is the moral penalty for sin. One way God achieved this was by blocking our access to the tree of life, ensuring that sooner or later we would have to die. (Genesis 3:22-24) The likely means was that any “natural body” processes that had been stabilised by whatever was in the fruit of the tree of life, began an unstoppable downward trend leading to effects such as mutation, disease etc. No, we don’t know how this Tree worked, since we don’t have one to study.
Since no diseases are recorded in Genesis from Adam’s day until well after Noah’s flood, it seems the normal effects we associate with mutations such as cancer diabetes etc., were not yet on earth. The only recorded change that could possibly be associated with a mutation was one that related to breakdown in human gene control for pigments i.e. the appearance of different skin colour in Noahs children – Ham black, Japeth fair and Shem in between. However, in the post Adam pre-Flood world, the overall mutation rate would have been very slow. God had cursed the ground as part of his initial judgement on sin, but the environment was still relatively harmless compared to today.
Sadly within 1,000 years and prior to Noah’s day, mankind’s behaviour degenerated to almost total rebellion. God warned man for some 100 years through Noah, then He deliberately sent the world wide Flood as Judgement. The collapse of the heavens above at the start of the flood (Genesis 7) would have enabled entry into earth’s atmosphere of higher energy ionising radiation. Combine this combined with the breaking of the fountains of the deep at the start of the flood which could have released into the surface zones, radioactive ores such as uranium which are now well known sources of mutagenic radiation and result is history. Degeneration, decay and lots of mutations occurred, but no evolution.
Post flood, the human family enters a new phase of inbreeding. Noah’s grandchildren intermarry, but no longer with newly created perfect genomes in a newly created perfect environment. Breeding experiments with dogs/cats have produced one very relevant observation. Inbreeding concentrates any defects or genetic weaknesses and at the very least such increased genetic load decreases lifespan, which is why Bitza the 34 breeds in one street dog can live five times longer than highly inbred designer poodles. So the inevitable happened – post flood man’s life span began to drop radically. Pre flood Noah outlived many of his grandchildren.
After the Flood mutations began to occur much quicker than any built-in repair processes could fix them, so mutations started to pass to the next generation. As successive generations were born with defective genes the overall mutation load increased to the point where everyone is now born with a few potentially lethal mutation mutations and many more non-lethal, but disease-causing, mutations. The reason we are still here, and most people are still born healthy, is that we have two copies of each gene and the normal genes usually predominate over the defective ones, but we do age more rapidly than Noah ever did.
Sadly less than two centuries after the flood and even while Noah was still alive, man rebelled again at Babel and God judged us by splitting up the human family into smaller groups separated by newly given different languages. One affect would have been to isolate mutations into small breeding groups. Now there was an even tighter inbreeding would have become a very real factor in increasing the percentage of these defects in particular groups which not lead to separate racial features, but eventually to some diseases being more common in some races.
By the days of Job, within several hundred years after Babel, diseases we are familiar with are listed and in many cases they are traceable to mutations in us or in other creatures. Combine this with environmental breakdown due the coming of extreme weather patterns recorded from Genesis 8 :22 on, which would have resulted in reduced food sources and lifestyle stress, along with the observed steady decrease in the earth’s magnetic field, that has allowed radiation to reach the earth’s surface from above and below, to the detriment of all life on earth and it shouldn’t surprise you that the human life span drop recorded in Genesis follows a very plotable path to the present. 930 for Adam, 950 Noah, 600 for Noah’s children down to 175 for Abraham, and for you and I maybe 100.
From the days of Job to Moses as we move toward the present, the number of diseases listed in Scripture increases, and recorded climatic conditions on earth become similar to our own times, where mutations are very real and none of us want them because they don’t make us evolve – they kill us!
So did God invent mutations? An analogy will help. God did invent gravity without which life would not be possible. Your bits wouldn’t stick and we wouldn’t have a planet to live on. But once gravity is invented, you can choose to jump out of a plane at 30,000 feet, but don’t you dare argue God pushed you! Obey the law of gravity and live, but the default setting of the law of gravity will kill you, specially when de-fault is yours. Likewise God did invent genes, but disobey his law and the default settings which do involve gene degeneration will bring about your death.
Several predictions are possible from all this. First the negative: as the degenerative effect of mutations have trended in the same direction for so long, we predict that new diseases will occur in the human race due to continuing mutational and environmental degeneration. Secondly the positive. If we can improve our environment, and if we can practise gene repair for diabetes etc, we may improve our lifespan.
Lastly we predict: we will never be able to make people live forever because death is not a created normal part of life. It is a moral penalty for man’s sin. (Romans 5:12-21) Therefore, the only “cure” must deal with the sin. We cannot do this ourselves. God imposed the penalty, so only God can provide the solution – and He has. He sent the Lord Jesus Christ to pay the penalty by dying on the cross. Now all who humble themselves and accept His free gift of forgiveness of sin and trust Christ as the Lord who rose from the dead, can look forward to eternal life in a new body in a new heavens and earth, where there will no longer be any disease, degeneration sadness or death. (Revelation 21:1-4, 22:1-5)
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