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What’s the Buzz? Seminary President Discusses Sin, Death and Mosquitoes

There may have been mosquitoes in the Garden of Eden, says a Southern Baptist seminary president, but they didn’t become a pest until after Adam and Eve committed Original Sin.

On “Ask Anything Wednesday” of his daily radio program, Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., fielded a question Aug. 6 from a young girl sent in by her mother: “Did God make mosquitoes before Adam’s sinned, and if so, what did they eat?”

“That is a very, very interesting question, and yet it is a question I think we can answer,” Mohler said. “Did mosquitoes exist? Yes. In other words when you start working through the days of creation, it’s clear that God created all the different orders of the animals and all the different orders of nature, and that would include the bugs, the insects and other things that we have to scratch our heads and wonder how God’s glory is in them.”

“In other words, we know that God’s glory is in the mosquito, but when it’s biting on your arm or when it’s transmitting a disease it’s hard to see,” he continued.

For Mohler, who has a Ph.D. in systematic and historical theology at Southern Seminary, “the question of the mosquito” is the “same as the question of the tiger, the lion, the bear or any other carnivore or anything else that preys on any other being.”

“After the fall, we are told that when sin entered, so also entered death. When death entered, all of a sudden the tiger developed a taste for blood, for flesh, and it became a predator. Its predatory behavior is a sign of the fall, of the effect of sin, of nature turning hostile. That’s why one of the pictures of the Kingdom of God that is produced by the gospel is of the lion and the lamb together, where the lion has lost its taste for flesh. It no longer wants the blood of the lamb. It’s a beautiful picture.”

“And to this little girl I’d just simply want to say, before Adam fell, evidently the mosquito had no taste for blood,” he continued. “But after the fall, as a sign of the curse, of the awful sinfulness of sin, the mosquito’s diet changed. What did they eat before? That I don’t know, but something that did not represent death.”

Though posed by a child, Mohler said the question isn’t trivial. Later in the broadcast he told another caller it’s why he doesn’t buy into “theistic evolution,” the idea that religious teachings about God and creation are somehow compatible with scientific theories of evolution.

“I think theistic evolution fails as an intellectual claim at many different levels,” Mohler said. “The safest way I know to look at it is I think if you really understand evolution and you really understand theism, that they are incompatible rather than compatible.”

The “big question” for Christians, Mohler said, is “the storyline of the gospel.”

“That to me is the big problem with theistic evolution,” he said. “Even if it were coherent intellectually, it still would fail to meet the storyline of the Bible, because theistic evolution requires death, death, death, death before there would be anything like a fall.”

“So not only do you have to come up with a creative way of interpreting the first 11 chapters of Genesis in terms of history,” he said. “You also have to reinterpret the theology of the passage, because you no longer have death coming as result of the fall, when the historical figures of Adam and Eve took of the fruit that was forbidden.”

“If you don’t have that, then how–if you are mythologizing the first Adam–do you then rightly understand the second Adam?” he asked. “I think that’s a great question.”

Mohler said theological positions “have to be tested not only by verse-by-verse study of the Bible but against the big picture of the Bible and the storyline of the gospel: creation, fall, redemption, consummation.”

“If you redefine the fall, because you redefine creation, then inevitably you redefine redemption and you’ve redefined consummation,” he said. “You’ve changed the storyline.

“When you start thinking about, for instance, how the New Testament interprets the Old, the fall, and death coming as result of the fall is not only a Genesis 3 issue, it’s a central New Testament issue.”

In a broadcast last year, Mohler termed theistic evolution, the middle ground between Darwinism and that God created the world directly, “a lie” and said Christians cannot have it both ways.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.