Critical Review by:

Dr. Edward Fudge, Author and Bible Teacher

 

A kind friend gave me the book Beyond Creation Science and asked for my opinion. This is what I told him in response:

 

Thanks for the gift of the book Beyond Creation Science. As a physical book, the craftsmanship is elegant. The authors have clearly done much study. I especially found fascinating the points from logic, science, history, geology and the biblical text against the young-earth theory. The part about the Tower of Babel was very interesting also. The basic premise paralleling beginning/end, Genesis/Revelation, young-earth-theory/dispensational theory is also clever and makes an attractive vehicle for the authors’ views. Unfortunately, their case rests on a number of flawed assumptions. To name just a few: 

 

  • Throughout  the book, the authors repeatedly engage in circular argument. When discussing the Old Testament side of their supposed parallel, they justify their interpretation based on the supposed New Testament side of the parallel. Then, when discussing the New Testament side of the parallel, they justify that interpretation based on the supposed Old Testament side. 
  • They assert that the Jews at the time of Jesus did not expect a final cataclysmic “end” to the physical universe. The fact  is that Jewish literature from between Malachi and Matthew was full of just such expectations, as documented in Jubilees, Enoch and the Dead Sea Scrolls, among other intertestamental literature. That expectation rested on passages from the Old Testament and it carried over to the authors of the New Testament and later church fathers.
  • They argue that stoicheia in 2 Peter has to be understood as Jewish, covenantal “principles”  rather than physical “elements” of the material world, saying that everywhere that word occurs in the New Testament it has the Jewish covenantal meaning. That statement is the authors’ assumption, not a necessary conclusion. In fact, the word stoicheia had a long history in non-biblical Greek, in which it stood for “principles” or “elements” of an intellectual (“doctrinal”) system, but also meant the physical “elements” of the material world (which they thought were earth, air, fire and water), as well as  sometimes meaning the 12 “elements” of the zodiac in the stars of the heavens. Several of this word’s New Testament occurrences probably are best  interpreted as referring to something other than Jewish covenantal principles. That is certainly true of its use in 2  Peter. 
  • They assume (as all hyper-preterists must) that the entire New Testament was written before A.D. 70-71, something that the best scholarship considers most unlikely.
  • Throughout the book, they criticize the young-earth advocates and also the dispensationalists for taking  the Bible literally regarding first things and last things, yet  their major case rests on taking absolutely literally all the statements about the end being “near,” “drawing near,” “close,” “at hand” and so forth. There is another  way to take all those statements seriously, realizing that the ”end” had indeed begun, but that the “end” of the “end” was delayed, just as stated in both Old (Psalm 110:1 – “until”) and New (Acts 3:20-21 – “until”) Testaments. For more details along this line, please see:

http://www.edwardfudge.com/gracemails/prophetic_fulfillment_three_stages.html

http://www.edwardfudge.com/gracemails/end_has_begun.html

http://www.edwardfudge.com/gracemails/end_has_come.html

http://www.edwardfudge.com/gracemails/Christs_return_and_70_AD.html

  • They argue that every NT statement about the “end” of the world or Christ’s future appearing or coming was fulfilled in AD 70-71, although the church fathers of the next century, who were taught by the apostles of Jesus Christ, clearly looked for a future “end of the (physical) world just as most Christians do today.
 
Well, as you can see, you stimulated me to think! And I thank you again for your kindness and generosity in thinking of me!
 
Edward Fudge
 
 
Beyond Creation Science
P.O. Box 99
Whitehall, MT 59759 406-287-2146
Email Us