The article by Bodie Hodge, "Biblically, Could Death Have Existed before Sin?", argues that Evolution did not happen, because it requires physical death. Following are responses to the arguments and scriptures put forward by Hodge as evidence for this common Young Earther argument.
"Everything was Originally Perfect"
Argument: Genesis 1:31 says everything was very good on Day 6. Deuteronomy 32:4 declares God's works perfect. Death (of animals and people) is inherently a departure from perfection, therefore did not exist until the Fall. Therefore Evolution is false.
Response: "Very good" suggests the world is not perfect, though God's work is perfect. Like a Christian: we are not perfect; God's work in us is perfect.
Response: Death is a perfect work of God. Examples: God's prescription of animal sacrifice; the fertilization of the land through decomposition; God's killing of Israelites in the desert for their unbelief (Numbers 16:32-35); God's sacrifice of Jesus (John 3:16). Many deaths are sinful, but the existence of death itself is a perfect work.
"Everything was Originally Vegetarian"
Argument: In Genesis 1:29-30, God gave Adam every seed-bearing plant for food. He also gave all of the beasts, birds, and creeping things -- "everything that has the breath of life in it" -- every green plant for food. Therefore, animals did not have to kill each other to eat.
Response 1: Genesis 1:29 says God gave the seeded plants specifically to Adam. If other people existed, then they were not included.
Response 2: God gave all animals all green plants for food. It does not preclude them from eating meat.
Response 3: God created birds on Day 5, and gave them plants to eat on Day 6. Why would God not feed the birds on Day 5?
Response 4: Hodge acknowledges that plant death before the Fall is no sin. This is an arbitrary distinction however, derived from the the doctrine Hodge is seeking to prove. Consider that decomposition, as a source of uncleanness, is a type of sin according to Jewish Law. Was such uncleanness not a sin? One could invoke Romans 5:13 to cover that, but then one could apply it to animal and human death as well. After all, the only law from God before the Fall was not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge.
Response 5:Hodge states that "one would not expect a God of life to be a god of death." He then cites Revelation 21-22, where "there will be no pain and suffering." True enough. But, God also created Hell for Satan (Revelation 20:10), where there will be nothing but pain and suffering. According to Deuteronomy 32:4 however, even Hell is part of God's perfect work.
"Death is a Punishment"
Argument: Based on Genesis 2:16-17, Hodge sees the existence of human/animal death as a punishment for sin. He even argues that if death was already around before the Fall, then death must be very good, "hence not a punishment at all." Hodge points out that while God's warning of death was directed at Adam, Eve died also, and by extension, so do we.
Response 1: God made man to be in His image (Genesis 1:27-31). This does not mean having ears, a nose, and mouth, but having the capacity for righteousness, which for a person is the capacity to believe and obey God. Adam was born in God's image, as are we. What set Adam apart is when God made Adam a living-living being (Genesis 2:4-7); Adam was given spiritual life, and put into perfect communion with God. After he sinned, he lost that communion, and fell into condemnation. Every person since then has been born into that condemnation. That is the death God was promising.
Response 2: Adam was made to physically die. After all, God provided Adam access to the Tree of Life by which he would live forever. Even after Adam sinned, God stationed an Angel by the tree to guard it, lest Adam and Eve continue eating of the tree in their "fallen" state, and live forever. In other words, their bodies were not altered, but a privelege was taken away. As a result, they eventually died, but physical death was not the punishment per se.
Response 3: Jesus died for our sins, to undo in our lives the death earned through Adam's sin. We can tell that the death Adam earned was spiritual and not physical, because through Jesus we can be in communion with God; our bodies still die.
"Adam Knew What 'Die' Meant"
This is not an argument so much as a defense.
"Sin Brought Animal Death"
Argument: In Genesis 3:14, Hodge sees a hint that physical death was brought to the animals. "You will eat dust all the days of your life."
Response 1: What Hodge leaves out is the next verse, which tells us the context which the serpent will be eating dust: "And I will put enmity between your seed and hers." That is, there will be enmity between Satan and Jesus. "He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." In other words, Satan was to be at Jesus' feet... in the dust. This is not a hint of animal death.
Response 2: God does not respond to sin with sin. So, if death is sin, then his punishment for Adam's sin would not have been animal death.
"Sin Brought Human Death"
Argument: In Genesis 3:17, God's statement that Adam would would eat of the ground in painful turmoil "all the days" of his life, Hodge sees an implication of death.
Response 1: Genesis 3:17 is merely a statement that agriculture would be painful on fallow land.
Response 2: Genesis 3:19 states that we will return to the dust. Of course we will, because we lost access to the Tree of Life. However, we will also be resurrected from there. Everyone, saved and unsaved, will be resurrected, "some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace" (Daniel 12:2).
Response 3: Hodge misunderstands Romans 5, for if Jesus truly negates our physical death, then we would live physically forever... on Earth. However, we will not. We will be redeemed spiritually, and live as spirits in Heaven forever.
Response 4: Hodge misunderstands 1 Corinthians 15:26, for which verse 21 sets the context: "the resurrection of the dead." The resurrection of the dead occurs for everyone, both the redeemed and the condemned. We know this because of Daniel 12:2 which read, "Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, other to shame and everlasting contempt."
"Does the Bible Teach Death before Sin?"
Response: Yes! The bible teaches that God allowed the land to bring forth plants and animals. Science tells us that the land did this through Evolution. 1 Corinthians 15:22 says that all die in Adam, but Romans 5:15 says Adam brought death to many. This is because Adam did not bring death to those who died before him, but he brings death to all who die now.