Earthquakes in Paradise ( BEFORE THE FALL )


I wrote this on my Facebook page but did not receive an adequate answer, so I am throwing it up here.


if Adam and Eve did not sin and the fall did not happen, would earth have still been subjected to earthquakes ?

In regards to the current blueprint of earth, earthquakes are necessary for life on earth . But we all generally know God could of made an earth without earthquakes but it would not have been THIS version of earth that we know now.

BUT since earthquakes cause disaster and death - it was asked if earthquakes were present in the garden of Eden had the fall not happened. ....

One answer I heard to this question is that Eden is not nessecarily believed to be on earth...and therefor was NOT subjected to earthquakes.


  • Your question is actually philosophical, not really theological. However, the answer you were given is theologically problematic. Let me explain that first. If Eden is not necessarily on earth, then it implies that Adam and Eve were not human. How can a normal human being live on a place that is not earth; whether before the fall or after the fall? The only way out of the implication is to state both Eden was not on earth and Adam and Eve were not real humans (or they never existed). But if Adam and Eve existed, then Eden has to be on earth. 

    Theologically, this has to do with the ontological reality of Adam and his environment. Most all patristic fathers wrote and implied Adam was real but they do not agree on when he was created. Most agree that all humans have a human nature that is a rational, intelligent, living, soul and body. In order to be rational, intelligent and living, his environment must be created and ordered in a way that allows Adam to continue to exist (otherwise, he would not be living). This includes having the image of God, a soul that yearns for God, food to eat, dominion over all creation, air to breath, water, sun, day, night, etc. Now God created Adam who is corruptible by nature "on the foundation of incorruption" or as St Ephram said "God created Adam in glory; and God gave him reason and thought so that he might perceive the majesty [of God]…With radiance and glory Adam was clothed at the beginning before he sinned.”

     Thus, he was able to live eternally, without corruption, as long as he had that robe of glory. “It was because of the glory in which they were wrapped that they were not ashamed. Once this glory had been taken away from them, after the transgression of the commandment, they were ashamed because they had been stripped of the glory”. St Ephrem.

     Once, Adam chose to disobey God, God put on a garment of skin. As St Gregory the Great writes, “When I hear ‘skins’ I interpret it as the form of the irrational nature which we have put on from our association with passion….These are the things which we have received from the irrational skin: sexual intercourse, conception, childbearing, dirt, lactation, nourishment, evacuation, gradual growth to maturity, the prime of life, old age, disease and death” Gregory of Nyssa.

    Thus, we put on death. All form of corruption for the human nature began after the fall. In other words, before the fall, Adam was subject to what God gave him. Earthquakes and other forms of disasters would not effect him since he was not subject to corruption, death, or even time because of the robe of glory. But only after the fall did Adam suffer from corruption, death, time, and yes natural disasters. 

    Put another way, the glorified body that Christ resurrected with was exactly the same as the body Adam had before the fall and this was God's plan all along. “All these changes did the Merciful one make, stripping off glory and putting on a body; for he had devised a way to reclothe Adam in that glory which Adam was stripped off.” St Ephrem.

    As the Gospels tell us, Christ was not subjected to physics (He could enter locked rooms). He did need to eat (He only asked for fish so His disciples would believe He rose). He was brighter than the sun (as we see in the Transfiguration). This is how we will be in the final resurrection. Natural disasters won't matter to this glorified body because heaven and earth will pass away but we will live in a new heaven and earth where there will be no natural disasters, grief, or sadness (Revelations 20-22). 

    Now to answer your question "If Adam and Eve did not sin and the fall did not happen, would earth have still been subjected to earthquakes?" First, no one can definitively answer speculative questions. There is no answer to a "what if Event X did not happen" question. All we can attempt to answer is "Was the nature of earth changed because of the fall"? I would think that earth's nature (if I can even use that term) was subject to corruption and change from the beginning because all creation was created subject to corruption and change. Thus, if we consider earthquakes and other natural disasters as part of “earth’s nature” (which I personally do), then earthquakes occurred from the beginning of earth’s creation.

  • However, we are told that God planted a garden for Adam. One can infer that a garden by definition is a tended plot of land that one removes wild weeds so he can cultivate the land. Thus, God planted this plot of land with trees for Adam. In essence, the garden was special and there was some sort of glory God given to this land. Eventually, Adam was exiled and as punishment, he had to eat from food where wild weeds grow. God also cursed the ground/land because of Adam. “Thorns and thistles shall grow for you.” By no longer cultivating the garden, God removed his glory from the land, like He did with Adam. Now since thorns and thistles grew in this cursed ground after the fall, we can infer that this includes all types of earthly calamities and disasters. It is likely that because the earth was cursed, then some extra form natural disasters occurred after the fall. (Maybe this was a major event like the Chicxulub asteroid that impacted the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and wiped out most species on earth. This of course assumes that Adam was created before the Yucatan asteroid - which no one can confirm.) 

    Conclusion: Earthquakes probably began before the fall. If they occurred before the fall, they would not have effected Adam until after Adam sinned. The cursing of the land maybe something as simple as God no longer cultivated the garden, or something as major as a global geological event. No one knows. 

    Now all I need to do is find some patristic support. Paging @minasoliman for help.  

    One last thing. Earthquakes do not cause disaster and death. There are literally many earthquakes that occur every day but they are not noticeable because they are less than a magnitude of 3 on the Richter scale. Only earthquakes above a magnitude of 7 can potentially cause serious damage and disaster. In the US, it is estimated that there are 500,000 earthquakes and that only 100,000 can be felt. Thus, I don't think we can really say earthquakes cause disaster and death. They just happen and occasionally they result in natural catastrophes. 

  • edited March 2016
    This is all too speculative. I don't think the question should matter. Earth quakes are a part of a natural process in earth. Whether Eden is on earth or somewhere outside earth, it shouldn't matter what Adam "felt" because he was partaking of the glory of God. Have you ever had a conversation and a relationship with someone you love so much your forget the world around you? That is essentially what Eden really is, the partaking of and growth in His glory and His love. We live in Paradise now as baptized in the Church. St. Athanasius describes Eden as the place where the saints rest, and the saints, whether awake in flesh or sleeping and departed, all live in Paradise, in the heavenly Kingdom, which begins in our hearts and grows in us, and we grow in it.

    St. Gregory the theologian describes Eden's diversity of trees that man can eat from as the diversity of virtues we can eat from God. The Tree of Life and true knowledge is the Cross from which we eat the Body and Blood of our God, and we become His Body and Blood in the process, partaking of that divine life that Paradise has. St. Irenaeus also teaches that our knowledge should be rooted in the Scriptures. Therefore to eat of every tree is to eat of every book in the Bible and to stay away from false knowledge and worship of our minds and our selves.

    The Church is the paradise and the Kingdom which Adam was exiled from, and which we are grafted in through Christ. Whether earthquakes happen or not is not the issue. The issue is are you living in Paradise now? That's a more important question, and everything else is not necessary to ask, even silly to think of.
Sign In or Register to comment.