If there were eons of pain, suffering, and death before the awful rebellion of Adam brought "death" into the world, then the suffering of our Lord Jesus becomes unnecessary.
Some have suggested that all living things were originally designed by God to die, that over the millions of years in which animal and pre-human life was developing, death played a perfectly natural role in the creation. Some have even taught that the death which God threatened Adam with was a "special" kind of death that applied only to humans.
Necessary death and long ages are exactly what atheistic science would advocate. How can the God who is life create death as part of His own signature? How ludicrous to think God would design death into His creation, and then agonize over the necessity of His own death in order to bring us salvation. Death by the design of God is absolutely foreign to the revealed nature of God (Romans 1:20).
In Genesis 3--the turning point in Scripture--all of the "good" was instantly withdrawn by God, who by His word activated the "groaning and travailing" of the earth and its inhabitants. The ground was cursed, yielding thorns and thistles, surrounding Adam with sorrowful labor for the rest of his life until he himself would return to the earth from which he was fashioned.
But was God lying? Was He now blaming Adam for what He Himself had done? If the death pronounced by God is nothing more than a "symbol" of a greater message, then death can be relegated to a mystical musing that has no tangible meaning.
A most dangerous extension of the "death" equation is that physical death becomes essentially irrelevant in the punishment of sin. Gethsemane's agonizing was for nothing, and the hundreds of warnings, curses, and consequences detailed in Scripture are now twisted into allegorical advice or suggestions.
If there were eons of pain, suffering, and death before the awful rebellion of Adam brought "death" into the world, then the suffering of our Lord Jesus becomes unnecessary. If the "wages of sin" is nothing more than some sort of spiritualized distance from the Creator, then the entire burden of sin becomes nothing more than a mental attitude. Heaven and hell are "what you make of it."
(extracted from Henry Morris III, "The Issues of Death", Acts & Facts, November 2009, Institute of Creation Research)