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How old was earth BEFORE sin entered?


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A question I've pondered from time to time. How many years, or was it "eons of time" before Eve inadventently wandered from Adams side and found herself very near to the tree of knowledge?

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I don't think that is something the Bible tells us! I believe it's one of those mysteries that we probably wont know until we go to heaven at the resurrection. I also think about it this way, does it matter?

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I think your right, I don't know of any SOP reference that even suggests how long. I thought maybe someone did. The bible text picks up the story of creation and almost immeditately moves to the fall. I believe there was a gap between the creation and Eve's fall. Long enough for Eve to be comfortable enough with her surroundings that she didn't pay strict attention to the warnings to stay close to Adam. THIS was the real issue with her downfall, not taking those warnings seriously and leaving his side. We too have been warned of many things... let us not make the same mistake.

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Luther believed [if I remember correctly] Adam and Eve fell on the first Sabbath after creation was finished. They immediately went astray like the colt of a wild donkey, even though they were without a fallen nature at the time.

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20 hours ago, GHansen said:

Luther believed [if I remember correctly] Adam and Eve fell on the first Sabbath after creation was finished. They immediately went astray like the colt of a wild donkey, even though they were without a fallen nature at the time.

That quick? Wow they could've held out for at least 2 weeks!! ?

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Interesting question.   It's one we don't really have an answer to so I guess any answer is basically a personal original!

However, I think it was more than just a weekend.  
We read in Patriarchs and Prophets " God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of God and meditate upon His power"
That seems to suggest to me, that they spent several Sabbaths laying aside their own pursuits and more fully contemplating God's works.

On page 50 she gives another clue that Adam engaged in work prior to his fall.  
 "In mental and physical activity Adam found one of the highest pleasures of his holy existence."

On page 51 of PP she gives another idea that Adam and Eve spent time learning about scientific wonders of creation.

Then if we turn to the book Great Controversy we can deduce a few more ideas on this matter:
"Adam is reinstated in his first dominion.
Transported with joy, he beholds the trees that were once his delight—the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care " GC548

From those descriptions it seems they were in the garden for a while.   Long enough to explore a lot of the things God had made, long enough to train vines and probably design flower gardens.   

But not thousands of years, probably not even a dozen years,  For one thing they didn't have any children in Eden, yet once expelled they had many sons and daughters. Cain being their first child. 
 

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On 11/16/2022 at 12:11 PM, Ulunruh said:

Then if we turn to the book Great Controversy we can deduce a few more ideas on this matter:
"Adam is reinstated in his first dominion.
Transported with joy, he beholds the trees that were once his delight—the very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of his innocence and joy. He sees the vines that his own hands have trained, the very flowers that he once loved to care " GC548

This is the best quote that makes your point. "Days of innocence and joy is more than one day." Thanks for sharing that.

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In studying the Bible we have hints, evidence and proof. God mostly likes to work with evidence. 

The phrase translated "Without form and void" indicates a period of time prior to creation week. With this and a few other phrases here and there, including in the writings of Mrs. White, we have at least hints, if not evidence that there was something here for Lucifer, the other angels and other worlds to do things to study out Lucifer's questions. We are not given details about this; but hints and evidence that point to this. Then when the two sides of the great controversy was formed, and when what ever was here turned into complete chaos; that is when the Spirit of God hovered over the chaos and said "Let there be light" both including the physical light; but also announcing   that the universe was moving into a new age of learning light about God. 

So we have an unknown period prior to those special 7 days. Another unknown period after the 7 days when Adam and Eve were working with the garden. Now the text is not as clear as we would like to whether or not Adam and Eve were physically distant or if he was there with her. Mrs. White draws lessons on the idea that they were distant. While she does warn us that her job is to make applications to us today and to NOT use her words for exegesis of the text; the idea of Adam standing there clueless through the conversation seems odd, so I lean in the direction that they has separated.  But we have a second unknown leant of time.

A third unknown is the time from the fall to different times in history. We tend to read the genealogies through the eyes of western Greek eyes started centuries later. Ancient genealogies, even studies within the Bible, tends to first list the important people, and skip the less important. The text that made Genesis is so old and multi updating's in the language that it is difficult to translate the numbers. We tend to get from 6,000 to 10,000 years from these attempts. And often in history a first born child would be named after a paternal grandfather; and thus two names repeat over several generations, but we get one listing of each name in written genealogies. So we can't get much beyond saying that the earth is young enough for the memory of Adam and Eve and the people listed stayed in human memory. Elder Robert Pierson first wanted the church to become strong proponents of the 6,000 years, but even the theologians who were trying to apply his fundamentalist views had trouble, so he requested them to try not to get much beyond 10,000 to 12,000 years (When I was at the Seminary this conservative group was open to go as far back as 21,000 years).  

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Proof... thats a tricky thing. What is proof to one, may not be proof to another. From the counsel of Ellen White I have learned "evidence" is a better word. "God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith." {CSA 46.1}

There is no doubt I am convinced and convicted that many things are proof, OK, "strong evidence"! It is amazing how some folks will reject truth in spite of clear, convincing evidence upon evidence. Why is that? Because God never removes the possibility of doubt. At some point, one must take hold of faith.

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Proof = when the Bible comes right out and says something, and all references to it agree and cultural understanding agrees; or at least blatant information when you read in between the lines. 

For example that Saul persecuted the [Hellenized] Christians and was converted with an encounter with the resurrected Jesus.  Some things can be considered as proof but not all the details; for example, in the Bible it is agreed that Moses sent out 12 spies into the land, one being Caleb, but the report resulted in wandering in the dessert for another 40 years before going in. Now in Numbers 10 of the spies were unfaithful, but two of them, Joshua and Caleb were faithful. However in Deuteronomy all 12 are faithful but the people reject their message and Joshua and Caleb come to the defense of the spies. And in the book of Joshua, Joshua is pictured as clueless about the results of the spying out the land and is totally dependent on Caleb to brief him on the mission. So from the evidence here we find that Moses did send out the 12, and one of them was Caleb. But we see how depending on where you read there was either one, two or twelve faithful spies.

In the story of the death of King Saul; while the eye witness talked about how they were barely out of reach of the perusing enemy; but for someone in such a rush he sure had the time to catch his breath and give all the details about Saul's suicide. This indicates that Saul (and the witness) escaped.  

 like Sarah being Abraham's half sister-- While she might have been his biological half sister; we also need to keep open a discovery from that culture. Women tended to be second class citizens. However among the wealthy families they did not want their women to be meet this fate and what they did to get around this was the to be Father-in-law would legally adopt the woman that their son was going to marry and in these situations, which were legally called a sister, "daughter of my father but not my mother" and were equal to their husbands. 

Hints are where there is much less evidence but things the text says that might imply: an example here is the author of Luke/Acts worked close to Paul. It is in Luke where we find the story of the rich young ruler who turned away from Christ. Saul was a rich young ruler who for some reason was not happy with the followers of Christ. While Saul probably was NOT this rich young ruler, there are enough hints that he might be.   

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Good write up of the concept of proof Kevin, thanks! Especially interesting is the details of Abrahams, uh, half sister, wife, thing... that is something I have wondered about before. How did THAT work? Well, now we know the rest of the story.

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