What is commonly known as ‘the Fall’ plays a significant role in the redemption narrative found in evangelical circles. The assumption is that the original creation, as completed in the first 6 days, was perfect, until Adam and Eve ate of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Till then, there was no death, no illness, no suffering, not even carnivorous animals. Young Earth Creationists are strong proponents of such a view.
Of course, scientific evidence shows otherwise. Death and suffering existed long before the arrival of human beings, a part and parcel of the evolutionary process.
It’s interesting to note that nowhere in Genesis, is creation ever described as perfect. Only the word ‘good’ is used. In fact, Scripture itself seems to contradict this concept of a pre-Fall perfection. In Genesis 2, God says that ‘it is not good’. The fact that the serpent was capable of such deceit confirms that evil was already present in the garden.
The point is that there is no need to assume a complete and perfect creation at the end of the ‘six days’ – what we see from science is a process of continuing creation, as new species arise and old populations die out. Even today, God continues to create. Melvin Tinker summarizes it well:
This interpretation leaves room for the idea of a creation which is perfectly in line with what the Creator intended but which is less than absolutely perfect.