On June 18, our five-year-old daughter was diagnosed with amblyopia. The following day we received our new Answers magazine. We were surprised and encouraged to read the article about God’s amazing design for human vision written by an author with amblyopia! God has used Answers to comfort and encourage us personally. All the time, God is good!
Andy and Noelle H., Clinton, Iowa
Your article about bladderworts made me wonder. Doesn’t the Bible differentiate between creatures with “nephesh” and those without? If insects are not alive, then they would not have to “die” when they are eaten any more than plants “die” when they are eaten. If this is the case, couldn’t insect eating have occurred before the Fall?
Sterling M., Email
Editor’s Response: Simply put, the Bible is unclear whether insects are nephesh life. People and some animals are described in Genesis as having, or being, nephesh. The Hebrew word nephesh conveys the basic idea of a “breathing creature,” but some passages indicate that nephesh creatures may only be the ones that have blood. For example, Leviticus 17:11 states that “the life [nephesh] of all flesh is the blood of it.” There is no example in Scripture of “blood” ever being used in reference to invertebrates. In fact, in the biblical and everyday sense, invertebrates do not have blood [Hebrew, dam].
This might seem to imply the possibility of insect death before the Fall. But in Genesis 1:29–30 God specifically gives “every green herb for food” to all animals, including “everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life.” This seems to rule out the possibility that other animals ate insects, and if insects are included in the category “everything that creeps on the earth,” it also rules out the possibility that those insects ate each other.
Was Cain the Firstborn?
I just read “How Long Was Adam in the Garden?” Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Cain was the firstborn. Please tell me where I am wrong.
- In Genesis 1:28, God told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply.” If they didn’t already start having children, this would have been a sin of disobedience.
- In Genesis 3:16, [as part of the Curse] God told Eve her pain in childbirth would be “greatly multiplied.” This implies Eve already had children without much pain.
- In Genesis 4:14, after Cain killed Abel, he said, “and it will come about that whoever finds me will kill me.” That means that other children already existed.
Ed O., Cary, North Carolina
Editor’s Response: While the Bible does not specifically say that Cain was Adam and Eve’s first son, the sequence of the Hebrew text and Eve’s comment about his birth very strongly imply that he was the first.
- Genesis 1:28 does not indicate that God gave a time limit, so not having children right away would not necessarily have been disobedience on Adam and Eve’s part.
- The Hebrew idiom translated “multiply your pain” does not imply that Eve must have already experienced childbirth. Since God had told Adam and Eve to be fruitful, He must have given them at least the basics to know what childbirth was.
- When Cain killed Abel, Adam was nearly 130 years old. (Seth was born when Adam was 130, and Eve’s statement in Genesis 4:25 implies he was born shortly after Abel died.) So it’s possible that Cain and Abel were around 120 years old when Cain killed Abel. In 120 years, Adam and Eve must have had many children, and even great-grandchildren.
But the most important reason we know Eve couldn’t have had children, or even have conceived a child, before the Fall is that any such child would be born without sin. In fact, God tells us that in Adam all sinned—we all inherited original sin from him.
Dogs and Wolves
I think you may have missed one possibility in explaining the relationship between dogs and wolves [“Suite Dogs”]—that is that there may be no relationship at all from an ancestry perspective.
It is a very real possibility that God created “dogs” on Day 6 different from any other creature to be humans’ unique companion. They are fundamentally different from wolves and also different from any of the other domesticated animals referenced in the article.
Although it is certainly possible that man domesticated animals from the wild, it is also possible that God provided Adam and Eve with a unique companion in a dog.
Andy D., Email