How can death be a consequence of man's sin?

I know the Catechism states that death is a consequence of man’s sin. Yet I’m having a hard time reconciling that statement with history. Let me explain: The earth is very old – about 4 billion years; man has been on the planet for a mere 25K years. Before man arrived on the scene, animals and plants had been dying for billions of years (e.g., the dinosaurs). How then is a dinosaur’s death the consequence of an action (the sin of man) that – from the dinosaur’s perspective – hasn’t even happened yet? Can anyone help clear this up?

[quote=to-the-point]I know the Catechism states that death is a consequence of man’s sin. Yet I’m having a hard time reconciling that statement with history. Let me explain: The earth is very old – about 4 billion years; man has been on the planet for a mere 25K years. Before man arrived on the scene, animals and plants had been dying for billions of years (e.g., the dinosaurs). How then is a dinosaur’s death the consequence of an action (the sin of man) that – from the dinosaur’s perspective – hasn’t even happened yet? Can anyone help clear this up?
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God created man out of the natural world to rule the natural world, but as Genesis clearly shows there were plants and animals before the creation of Adam and Eve. These plants and animals led natural lives of birth, life, and death. The creation of mankind was intended to change that natural order into a different one, exactly what kind we don’t know because Adam and Eve fell from grace, thus spoiling what God has originally wanted them to do. So now all of creation is stuck in this birth, life, death pattern until Christ comes again to create a new heavens and a new earth that will, presumably, operate on a very different pattern–one of some kind of immortal life. I hope that helps.

Hello tothepoint,

Physical time is the measure of change between physical matter, energy and empty space. God is spiritual and exists outside of the physical time that He created. God is Omni-Present to the whole of physical time.

A free willed being with the capacity to love God is at God’s focus point of creation. Thousands of years ago, a universe with billions of years of past, if not infinite past and billions of years of future, if not infinite future, flowed out into existance from the focus point of free willed Adam.

Man’s sin changed everything. From the focus point of man’s sin a very different infinite past and infinite future flowed out into existance from our Omni-Present, Omni-Powerful, God’s creative Hand.

Please visit Creation

[quote=to-the-point]I know the Catechism states that death is a consequence of man’s sin. Yet I’m having a hard time reconciling that statement with history. Let me explain: The earth is very old – about 4 billion years; man has been on the planet for a mere 25K years. Before man arrived on the scene, animals and plants had been dying for billions of years (e.g., the dinosaurs). How then is a dinosaur’s death the consequence of an action (the sin of man) that – from the dinosaur’s perspective – hasn’t even happened yet? Can anyone help clear this up?
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Perhaps, spiritual death?

Remember, Mary was “saved” through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross–but some 50 years BEFORE that sacrifice happened.

Linear time and “before” are events of this particular world–we do not know what “time” existed in Eden, nor do we know what we will experience as “time” in heaven (or hell, let’s hope not there!) save that it will be unending.

So. . .the fact that things died “before” man existed corporeally on earth does not make death NOT a consequence of sin. The wages of sin existed as surely “before” the fall as they do after.

Adam’s sin caused HUMAN death. It is natural for humans and animals to die. But humans were supposed to have a SUPERnatural destiny and existence. Adam’s sin reduced us back to the old, animal existence of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and death.

Some of the Fathers believed that when Satan fell, the effects of evil became manifest on earth(such as death and disease), and the Garden of Eden was kept free of these effects. Man, in the Garden, was shielded from the consequences that Satan’s sin had upon the earth. When man sinned, he too was subjected to these effects and therefore was cast out of the Garden into the world.

Adam’s sin caused HUMAN death. It is natural for humans and animals to die. But humans were supposed to have a SUPERnatural destiny and existence. Adam’s sin reduced us back to the old, animal existence of hunger, thirst, fatigue, and death.

Quoted for emphasis.

Humans have “animal bodies” which are mortal. Adam and Eve were preserved from mortality by God’s grace. When they sinned and cut themselves off from God’s grace, their “natural” biological clocks began to tick.

Ever notice that Adam and Eve lived long and fruitful lives after sinning? There’s a good reason for this. There’s also the added aspect of spiritual death, which in the case of Adam and Eve (and the rest of us) led to physical death due to the deprivation from God’s protective grace.

Thomas Aquinas calls this grace “Original Justice”, and distinguishes quite clearly between the natural results of Sin (mortality, unbriddled fleshy desires) and the supernatural results (removal of the grace that protected from those natural things). You can also find more here.

Peace and God bless!

I agree that, before sin, Adam and Eve had human bodies which were intended not to die or “imperishable”. It seems sin brought both eternal death and physical death to man.
**NAB WIS 2:23 **

**For God formed man to be imperishable; the image of his own nature he made him.****NAB GEN 1:27 **

God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. NAB GEN 3:1

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” The woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die!..”

And, there is also the possibility that the earth really was created in six days, a possibility I believe the Church still acknowledges. Granted, the six days of Genesis could be figurative, and they may very well be. However, as God’s power is infinite, He certainly could have created the entire universe in six literal days. If this was so, then there could quite easily have been no death before Adam and Eve’s sin.

God Bless!

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