Young earth creationist believers support their belief system by adhering to what I'll call the "2-Ds" -- death, and days. In this post we'll deal with the issue of death.
The expression "No death before the fall" is a capsule summary of this support pillar for belief in a young earth. Young earthers claim that in the "paradise" of the Garden of Eden there could have been nothing so unpleasant as death before Adam and Eve first sinned, not even the death of the tiniest insect or microbe, because death was an outcome of Adam's sin. Romans 5:12, speaking of sin, states "...in this way death came to all men..." The message of scripture is that the primary tragedy of Adam's sin is man's spiritual death and alienation from the loving Creator God. The later end of Adam's earthly life, along with all of his descendants, is a tragedy of secondary importance by comparison.
Earth's history expressed in the fossil record cries out of bountiful life followed by death on a massive scale. This death occurred countless trillions of times over several billion years. Past deaths of microbes, ocean plankton, and plant life now provide us with a plentiful treasure trove of natural resources -- mineral deposits and fossil fuels. Physical death, therefore, has its upside! Who can question God's divine wisdom?
By denying any death before Adam's fall, YEC adherents help preserve their concept of a very young earth. To acknowledge the deaths of trillions of creatures in earth's distant past one would have to recognize the earth is very old, as in billions of years. To deny that death and earth's enormous age are intertwined is to deny the truth of thousands of different types of scientific evidence. All of this scientific evidence points to the same conclusion.