Topic 1.3.2
Sin not cause of death
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Sin not cause of death

Nothing on earth has ever been immortal
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Focus for this Bible study

This study is to see what the Bible says – and doesn't say – about Adam's sin causing death on earth.

Not all Christians believe the common church tradition that the world was a perfect paradise until Adam ate forbidden fruit ... causing death to enter the world ... and ruining God's entire creation.

Many Christians believe that death is a part of God's original design plan and that there was death on earth long before Adam.

Which is it? This study brings scripture, history and science together to help answer the question.


about Adam's sin causing all death

Scripture says practically nothing about it

Christians who believe that Adam's sin is the cause of all death on earth usually assume that this is a clear theme occurring throughout scripture.

Most Christians have never studied it themselves directly from the Bible but simply believe it because that's what their religious tradition has taught them.

Actually, the Bible says practically nothing to support this doctrine.

OLD TESTAMENT. The Old Testament reports the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2-5 but, after that, Adam's name is never mentioned again except in a genealogy.

The Adam and Eve story does NOT say that Adam's sin brought death into the world. The curse that God put on Adam for his sin did NOT include death for all life, or even death for all mankind, or even death for Adam (death was already Adam's natural destiny because he was human).

Before Adam sinned, God told him that if he ate forbidden fruit he would 'surely die;' i.e., he would not get eternal life. Death has always been the default condition of life on earth. If we don't get eternal life, we're left with death.

The Old Testament writers, priests, prophets and kings obviously did not believe that Adam's sin is the cause of universal death or they certainly would have said something about it.

NEW TESTAMENT. Adam's name is mentioned or implied in only in five passages in the New Testament. However, two of those passages (Luke 3:38 and Jude 1:14) name Adam only in a genealogy list and one (I Timothy 2:13-14) speaks only about the marriage relationship.

The Gospels say nothing at all about sin being the cause of death.

Jesus and his twelve apostles apparently did NOT believe that Adam's sin is the cause of death or they certainly would have said something about it.

So the only potential scriptural support for this doctrine are these two passages about Adam written by the Apostle Paul:

'Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned – for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law' (Romans 5:12-13).
'For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive ... So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam a living spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.' (I Corinthians 15:22, 45-47)

Differing interpretations of above verses

Not only is this a very small biblical footing for such a momentous doctrine – and out of synch with the rest of the Bible – but these two passages themselves are subject to various interpretations.

It is important to note that both passages (yellow above) say that sin entered THROUGH one man (presumably Adam), not BECAUSE of one man.

The 'because' (causation) is NOT because Adam sinned, but 'because ALL sinned.'

The first law God ever gave to a human (don't eat this fruit) was given to Adam.

Verse 13 says there was sin but no accountability before the law. So when Adam violated the first law, given directly to him, he became the first sinner and progenitor of the spiritual human race as we now know it, having accountability to God.

Before the first law, humans were already doing bad things, but they just died like everything else dies – simple eternal death, no resurrection, no judgment, no punishment – without accountability to God. See Bible study here on people before Adam.

But ever since Adam, we are subject to spiritual law, so now death is 'through sin,' meaning that people are now on an extended route to eternal death, in order to deal with their sin. The route now is: physical death ... then resurrection, then judgment, then punishment in hell ... before eventual eternal death in hell ... or eternal life in heaven through Jesus. See Bible study here on death and hell.

See Bible study here on Romans 5 to examine this important portion of scripture verse-by-verse and to reconcile it with the rest of scripture.

Romans 6:23

'For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

This verse is often cited to show that Adam's sin is cause of death on earth.

But this verse doesn't say anything about Adam and doesn't say that sin is the cause of death.

This verse says only that death is all we get from sin. Death is the default human condition, but now God offers an exception to death, the gift of eternal life through Christ.

Romans 8:20-21

'For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.'

This Bible passage is sometimes cited to show that Adam's sin is the cause of all death on earth.

But this passage doesn't even mention Adam, death, or human sin.

This passage says only that Satan is now causing frustration to people in this creation, but some day that will all change for the better.


God's design from the beginning

Evidence of early death on earth

There is ample evidence that the cycle of life-and-death was functioning on earth long before 4000 BC, the time the Bible says sin first entered the world through Adam. (NOTE: 'through Adam,' not 'because of Adam,' as examined in Bible study here on Romans 5.)

The strongest evidence of long ages of prehistoric death comes from enormous deposits of limestone, coal and oil throughout the world.

LIMESTONE. Coral, clams, oysters, mussels and other ocean-dwelling organisms have shells that are broken down by waves and settle on the ocean floor where, together with fish bones, they are compacted over millions of years, creating limestone. As tectonic plates shift, sea bottom is often thrust up as dry land, and limestone is quarried in hugh quantities to make concrete and many other products.

COAL. Coal is created from plants and ferns that died hundreds of millions of years ago in swamp forests. The layers of dead vegetation were subjected to high temperatures and pressures that transformed it into peat and then into coal, now mined in hugh quantities deep underground for fuel.

OIL. Crude oil is created over millions of years from tiny plants and animals in sea water, called plankton, trapped and buried under layers of sand and mud. After about 150 million years of heat and pressure, plankton turn into oil and gas in pores of underground rock, like water in a sponge. The rocks fold and form vast domes which accumulate the slick ooze into advantageous drilling sites for crude oil, which we refine in staggering quantities into products like gasoline for power and plastics for physical shapes.

FOSSILS. Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of dinosaurs skeletons, some with bones of other creatures in their stomach cavities, showing that they killed both vegetable matter and flesh. Dinosaurs went extinct long before God created humans, and we can see them now with our own eyes in museums. See Bible study here on God's 'days' of creation.

MORE EVIDENCE. DNA, migration tracking, archaeology and scientific dating methods are further evidence of death before Adam sinned.

Real age, not 'apparent age'

Faced with this evidence, some Christians say that God just made the world to look old right from the beginning ... that limestone, coal and oil were created that way ... that God just planted dinosaurs bones even though such creatures never existed.

If God perpetuated an elaborate hoax to make us think the earth is old by planting fake bones and fake cities, then we cannot be certain that God is not deceiving us in other ways too. Then the Bible would not be credible, and we would not know what to believe.

'Apparent age' is contrary to God's character. God is not a deceiver.

It is honest to acknowledge that there was death on earth prior to Adam (first sinner, approximately 4000 BC), so therefore sin is not the cause of death.

See Bible study here on 'apparent age' theory and Bible study here on Bible dating method for deeper study on this topic.

Everything dies, even stars

Stars are born when large gaseous clouds collapse from gravity. The more massive the star, the faster it burns its fuel supply and the shorter its life. The largest stars burn out and explode after only a few million years. Stars the size of our sun burn out in about 10 billion years. Smaller stars burn out slower.

We can now observe the death of stars – supernovas to black holes – with telescopes catching light emanating from them millions of years ago, long before Adam's sin. There is no indication in the Bible that death of stars throughout the vast solar system is caused by someone's sin.

Everything God created in our universe has always been subject to death, whether large or small, whether long life or short life. Nothing was created immortal.

Death is essential for life

God's plan uses slow topographical, climatological and physiological changes and adaptation and improvement of life forms to those changes. Death is essential in this process.

Death prevents suffocation from over-crowding ... clears the way for new and better life  ... is necessary for the food chain ... and ultimately leads to God's offer of eternal life (an offer that would be meaningless without death).

Imagine the Garden of Eden, for example, if it were perfect (from our point of view) and nothing ever died. Over time, with uncontrolled growth and multiplication, the Garden would have become so overgrown and tangled with trees, vegetation, animals and insects that people's movements would have become so restricted, and their lives so imperiled, that they would hardly be able to move ... and not reach the Tree of Life ... unless they cut down branches, bushes and vines ... but that would cause death, and then the Garden would no longer be a no-death paradise.

'Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground – trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food ... And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ...' (Genesis 2:8-9, 16-17). See Bible study here on Garden of Eden.

Adam had a normal human body and needed food to survive. Before Adam sinned, God told Adam to eat. But eating food as God directed is death to the food, which means that Adam's sin is not the cause of all death.

Humans assigned to subdue and rule the earth

In Genesis 1, when God created the first human beings, He said: 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.' (Genesis 1:28)

There would be no need for people to subdue and rule over the earth if the earth's condition was absolute perfection without any death or change.

Adam assigned to work the Garden

'Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.' (Genesis 4:10-17)

If the Garden of Eden were a perfect paradise without death before Adam sinned, God would not have wanted someone to 'work' it and 'take care' of it.

Obviously, the life-and-death cycle was operative even before Adam sinned, otherwise there would be no need for work and care.

Adam understood death

'... you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when eat of it you will surely die.' (Genesis 2:17)

It would make no sense for God to warn Adam (before he sinned) that the penalty for disobedience is death if no death on earth had ever yet occurred.

The concept of death would have been totally incomprehensible to Adam unless he had already observed death outside of the Garden before being placed in the Garden. God would not say things to Adam that God knew Adam could not understand.

Adam's punishment was not death

'Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return' (Genesis 3:17-19).

Adam's punishment was hard work and painful toil in ground with thorns and thistles, a sentence that Adam could not have understood if everything had been perfect up to that time.

Adam's punishment was not death but rather eviction from the Garden and denial of eternal life which had been offered. Adam as an individual – not as humanity – no longer had access to the tree of life and would now have to work and die like everyone else.

Certainly if the punishment for Adam's sin were death to every living thing on earth for all time forward – a monumental horrific punishment – we would expect God to say so clearly through His living word (Jesus) and His written word (Bible).

It is inconceivable that God would declare punishment of that severity and global magnitude – to all people everywhere for all time – because of the first offense of a single person. That would clearly be contrary to God's own character attributes of love and justice.

Death is not a design flaw

Some people interpret the Bible to say that God intended the world to be perfect – all beauty, no pain, no sorrow, no death – and that Adam's sin fouled God's wonderful plan and brought death into the world and condemned everyone to hell.

That interpretation of death – thought to be a bad and unintended tragedy – seems completely out of context with other things we know about God and creation.

If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, then no man's action is unforeseen or able to disrupt the divine plan.

God created the world for life and multiplication ... which requires a food chain ... and a food chain requires death.

Genesis 1 tells us that at the end of each 'day' of creation, God said it was 'good.' Then, as the final statement, God looked at all that was happening – including death in every life form He created – and said it was 'very good.' Just as He planned it.

Life on earth is temporary by God's intentional design right from the beginning, not by unforeseen events or miscalculation or the action of any man.

Some say death only for humans

The doctrine of Adam causing death on earth is understood by most Christians to mean all death ... to mean that the earth was a perfect paradise before Adam sinned.

Realizing that this an untenable position in light of modern knowledge, some Christians back off a bit and say that Adam's sin brought death only to humans, not death to every living thing on earth.

But there's a problem with that limited view too. Christians who believe that there was no human death on earth before Adam sinned are usually the ones who also believe that God created the entire universe in six 24-hour days ... that Adam was the first human on earth ... and that, as the Bible clearly states, Adam committed the fatal sin before birth of his first son.

This makes humans-only a moot distinction because there would have been no other humans to live immortal lives in this paradise.

Created destined to die

'Just as man is destined to die once, and after that face judgment ...' (Hebrews 9:27).

People are destined to die because that's the way God designed us, not because Adam sinned. After physical death, there is resurrection, judgment and punishment ... no reincarnations as taught in many religions.

The Bible teaches that God alone is immortal. '...God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal ...' (Timothy 6:16). Nothing on earth has ever been immortal, not even Adam.


Bible credibility and Christian witness

It's not about us / It's about them

To say that there was no death on earth prior to 10,000 years ago is an indefensible position in light of modern knowledge, and most people think it's just ignorance or mindless religious indoctrination to hear Christians say it.

To ascribe this to the Bible – when the Bible doesn't say it – hinders our mission and is a barrier to Christian faith for millions of people.

Most Christians just shrug off the issue by saying: It doesn't matter to me whether or not Adam's sin is the cause of death. What matters is that we have a sin problem and Jesus in the answer.

But that attitude misses the real issue: It's not about us! It's about them!

Bible credibility is the issue

If, based on what Christians say, doubters and unbelievers think (or know) the Bible is wrong about death on earth, they conclude that it is probably wrong about other matters, too, and that it cannot be trusted as a book of truth.

Maybe the subject of Adam's sin causing all death on earth will never come up in open conversation, but every Christian should be prepared with a satisfactory answer if it does.

Even if unbelievers and doubters don't raise the issue, they have thought about it, consciously or subconsciously, when seeing the subtle mockery in caricatures of Eve handing Adam an apple ... wondering how Christians can believe that this is the cause of all death on earth.

If I have to believe this to be a Christian, they reason, I could never become a Christian.

In some situations, Christians should raise the issue just to flush out hidden misunderstandings and establish better rapport.

Don't add to the Bible

Most Christians seem to think that others are altering the Bible if a particular interpretation of scripture does not align with their own tradition. It rarely occurs to them that maybe it is their tradition that is altering the Bible!

The purpose of this study to go directly to scripture and read for ourselves whether or not it actually says that the earth was a perfect paradise without death until Adam sinned. Is the Bible saying it? Or is tradition saying it?

If the Bible is saying it, we must accept it.

If tradition is saying it, we should be careful about what we repeat about Adam and not add to what the Bible actually says. Adding to the biblical account creates unnecessary push-back and argument, reduces confidence in the Bible and hinders our mission of making disciples.


Learned from this study

1. Death is part of God's plan

To say that the earth is less good now than when God created it is to imply that God didn't make it good enough, or that it had design flaws.

God knew exactly what was going to happen because He intentionally designed death, free will and salvation into His master plan.

2. Earth was never a perfect paradise

The Bible is silent about the condition of the earth before Adam and thus we are free to follow historical and scientific evidence wherever it leads.

We know now that there were colliding tectonic plates, fiery volcanos, fierce storms and flesh-eating dinosaurs long before Adam. The earth has always been a dangerous and violent place.

God created humans to 'subdue' and 'rule over' the earth ... and God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to 'work it and take care of it' ... so it was not 'perfect' (no death) from our point of view.

The Bible says that Satan was already at work on earth – sinning – before Adam sinned. With Satan lurking around and convincing Adam and Eve to disobey God, the earth was not a perfect paradise.

Furthermore, if the earth were perfect before Adam sinned, then Adam himself would have been perfect and unable to sin, because perfect beings cannot be lured into sin.

Nothing on earth has ever been immortal.

3. Sin is not cause of death

There is ample evidence that the cycle of life-and-death was functioning on earth long before 4000 BC, the approximate time Adam lived according to Bible genealogies.

If there was death on earth before Adam ... and if Adam was the first sinner ... then sin cannot be the cause of death on earth.

4. Not a Bible theme

The Old Testament reports the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2-5, but thereafter Adam's name is never mentioned again except in a genealogy list.

In the New Testament, neither Jesus nor any of the twelve apostles ever mentioned Adam's name or said anything to indicate that the action of any person is the cause of death on earth.

Adam's name is mentioned only five times in the entire New Testament: Two of the mentions are in genealogy lists and one mention is about the marriage relationship. The remaining two mentions are comments by the Apostle Paul and are subject to varying interpretations.

Adam's sin being the cause of death on earth is a theme in church tradition but not a theme in the Bible.

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I don’t think Adam was the first human on earth. I am 72 in age. Most people my age and older do not have this perception. But from my bible study I believe this Genesis points to others.
I appreciate this study.
Are these lessons available in printed form that can be purchased or that can be downloaded on line in a condensed version?
Good points
Not sure what to think of this bible study. If nothing else it compels you to really dig deep and think,read and pray for understanding which I think is a good thing.
So far you make a lot of sense, I do believe in God.
Someone has never had a real encounter with God and does not know the assumptions he is making with the scientific evidence. Sad when you don't know either God or Science
Beautifully done and very reasonable. I’ve been struggling with the contradictions in the Bible and science for years. I believe that there is a God but I wasn’t always sure if the Bible Was Gods word or man made. Thank you! Makes so much sense!
An extremely good read.Would like very much to hear more.
I stumbled on your website recently, and was impressed by the scope of it and the balance evident in it.
Humans were around a lot longer the 4000 bc. Thats not even as old as Sumer the first proven civilization. Evidence strongly supports that civilization may have existed long before Sumer.
Fascinating to think about. Here is something also to absorb. Let Us make man in Our image. Who is Us? Why not let Me make man in my image. Sounds plural to me. Thank you for the compelling argument Adam is not the first man:)
False teaching. Repent
Just came across your website, want to commend you on believing the Bible can and should be read as the Truth. I have always believed that if I cannot make sense out of the scriptures, it is my deficiently not the Bibles. God Bless.
I want to learn it all.
Since your website is new and still in the making, it leaves me excited yet hungry for more understanding. Thank you so much for putting your website together to help those of us asking questions about traditional lines of thinking. I look forward to reading more!
I can't wait to share this article with my grandson.
Death and suffering had not taken place until the original sin, so no one was before Adam.
Only when ignorance, in the name of science, tries to be wiser than what scripture say, is when Gods Word is twisted, unto their own destruction
Blessings to you!!
Had to be people here before Adam, all the ancient buildings prove the civilizations were here. Many teens of thousands of years.
The big bang is a theory. God is a fact.
This is heresy. I hope you repent and trust the Scriptures.
Just another Satanic attempt to change God's WORD. More likely made up of Liberal Kids that don't know any better.
Adam was the first person on this earth bottom line
Very interesting
Trying to reinterpret the Bible according to man’s interpretations that are based on unprovable assumptions destroys the authority of the Bible. God was there. Man was not.
Wrong all wrong
I found this to be extremely informative. I'd always had doubts about the "original sin" and being punished for my ancestors sins, but this explained why "original sin" doesn't really exist in a way that resonated with me. Thank you. I will definitely check this site more often.
This has certainly opened my mind, I believe in the Bible but could never get a lot of answers to my questions. Thanks
By observing ruins etc firsthand, my personal opinion is that man existed before Adam. Adam was the first God breathed His Spirit into.
It’s too bad that the Christian community cannot allow for mistranslation of both an ancient language and understanding of that language.
I like it! I always wondered about the dinosaurs, and whether other people lived before Adam. You see, the Bible says that Cain was worried about being slain by other people. So, what does that tell you? It's more to the Bible than some clergymen are letting on.
Just happened upon this site and wow! This is fabulous. I will be back. Thank you for putting this together and sharing it with us all. God bless you and your family.
Loved it. Been saying it for years but nobody listened.
2nd law of thermodynamics disproves big bang & evolution.
lov it
Yes to have a intelligence conversation is of most importance.
You have developed material that is vitally needed for reaching the newer generations.
Unbelievable. Was man there at the beginning to make this determination. No. The human race is so arrogant and ignorant.
Interesting and thought provoking.
About time!
I agree there had to have been other people before Adam. The sons had children, with whom? Certainly not with their own mother or the gene pool would have died out.
My views on original sin have changed. Romans 5:12 says "all men die because all have sinned". What it doesn't say is "all men die because Adam sinned".
Have always believed in this way ,read and ask for understanding and it will be given to you.
Thank you for this summary. Very large and difficult task and worth the time taken. I am a believer in Jesus Christ, His eternal life, His death burial and resurrection. I believe the Bible is the Word of God.
Excellent reading
Thanks, This is what I needed. I can't get enough of this marvelous study.
Pure sophistry for the purpose of setting aside the claims of God upon us.
Scientists lie to us. They lie about the age of the earth.
No scripture to back up your words.
Thank you I knew about these things but I did not understand
Your are wrong
I. Want. To. Learn. More.
Will this material be made available in print form for purchase?
When are more topics coming?
Either believe the world or believe God. We cannot have both.
Does the bible really say humans will burn forever in hell or is it really more like thrown in the fire and destroyed? Ps I already know the answer!
Thank you for this most interesting discussion of genealogy re: the timing of the first man as relates to both the Bible as well as archaeology!!!
You have an interesting take on how to reconcile the time difference challenge between Bible time history & archeology . I don’t think it will matter about which time viewpoint ya right. What matters is faith & trust in Jesus for forgiveness of sin & gaining eternal life
Dumbest thing I've ever read!
As much nonsense and stupidity as I have heard since big bang or evolution.
When are you going to have more?
Do you offer a textbook?
This is the best information a believer can get. Where can I donate. Big Bang is consistent to the Bible, great news. Let’s ge smart about religion. Saying the Bible is wrong has helped millions become non believers. This news can reinforce the beliefs in those who strive to believe but need a more firm and also scientific reasoning for the existence of a God. Great web site!
Very,very informative! Thank you
This is great, I am going to read more of your topics!
Much of what you share are things that have been revealed to me by the Spirit of God. Finally your site is out and does not counter Biblical script and does not hinder the Christian witness. Thank God.
I will read this in its entirety. What I've read so far is right on according to my extensive studies over 27 years.
Interesting topics. The bible is good for salvation but not for earth history
Not bad, I'll have to check the Hebrew to double-triple check, for this kind of study the KJ is almost useless.
Thank you for the article! There are several nonbelievers in my life that I love deeply. My heart breaks for them. Every time I share my faith, I'm bombarded with science. Perhaps this will help. Thank you. God bless you.
Of course there were people before Adam. Adam and Eve were created for a line through which Christ would come.
Some scientists are open to intelligent design, the problem is some scientists think they are trying to bring church into the classroom.If some scientists find out that some believe in intelligent design they will lose funding.
O my how i wish i could find a friend would be willing to discuss the bible openly with me.
Of course. If Adam and Eve were the only humans and had children, who did the children copulate with? If it was each other, then everyone would have mental defects. The Adam & Eve story is just the beginning of the Old Testament.
I don't think I believe this
Interesting and thought provoking, following a line of thinking that has interested me for years. To question traditional interpretation doesn't detract from the validity and power of scripture but reinforces it. Jesus was rejected by the religious experts of His day because He didn't fit the traditional interpreting of scripture. We still have much to learn.
Rational Evangelicals. Exellent.
Fully embrace this information. By the Spirit I have been convinced before reading this. Any serious thinker who is honest and observant will become agnostic in trying to remain with the ultra conservative ideas of literal six day creation. What a beautiful creation was being made by a glorious intelligent designer!
This is from the devil. The Bible says Satan is a liar and the creater of it. This is a lie created by Satan to deceive people. Adam was the first man and the first sinner. His sin is what started death.
All present dating methods are based on assumptions that cannot be proven. The methods do not meet scientific requirements of being observable, repeatable, and testable. They can reliable determine chemical compositions, but they CANNOT reliably give age..
Scientists make mistakes, and when the scientists' beliefs don't match the Bible then God's word, the Bible, is right, and the scientists are wrong.
very well done.!!
You guys are doing an incredible job of bringing science The Bible together as one truth thank you Please continue this valuable work to awaken the public that the Bible and science are truly God's truth not contradicting each other
Very good explanation
Yes there were people before Adam, the cave Men and the ice Age.
Thank you for this.It helps me understand my youngest grandchild(age 31). Also this affirms my teaching as a science teacher and pastor.
Thank you
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