Critical Review by:

P. Richard Strange, Reader

"One of the most helpful books that I have read in recent years was entitled 'Beyond Creation Science: New Covenant Creation from Genesis to Revelation.' Like other efforts to address a controversial subject, the authors, Timothy P. Martin and Jeffrey Vaughn, have inevitably aroused controversy. In their case, however, it is not the kind we often experience which amounts to more "heat than light", as we often say. They engage in a style of writing that informs, carefully establishes the foundation for their thesis, respectuflly takes issue with opposing schools of thought, and lifts the conversation high above name-calling to a delightful and enlightened discussion! My attached essay tries to explain how I have incorporated into the beginning of a coherent explanation what I truly believe to be the most principled model of understanding Genesis. I humbly submit that I am always open to correction by any sister or brother, and I am well aware that no book can possibly address all questions.
 
I highly recommend this book!!  It is my opinion that most readers will enjoy the clarity of thought, easy readability, and serious scholarship, even if you find that you do not see eye to eye with the authors. 
 
Paul Richard Strange, Sr.

 
Covenant Creation and its implications for principled Christian assessments of modern science

by Paul Richard Strange, Sr.  dadprs@hotmail.com

February 10, 2011 

Covenant creation is the insistence that neither liberalism nor literalism best explains and gets to the main point of the early chapters of the Book of Genesis. In order to illustrate just why the covenantal interpretation is essential to making moral and spiritual sense of the early chapters of the Bible, the conversation between God and Eve recorded in Chapter Three is a good starting point. God promised Eve that her offspring would crush the head of the serpent, and that the serpent would bruise the heel of her offspring. Regardless of any reader’s religious heritage, this specific instruction is far more significant than dismissive anti-supernatural liberals want us to believe, and yet, the answer is certainly NOT to apply a literal hermeneutic!

Covenant creation rightly discerns how important this promise is to the emergence of the Gospel and the spiritual application the Apostles made to Christ’s saving death and resurrection. For anyone to make it seem that God is actually wanting His people to think that humans stepping on the heads of snakes fulfills His will is to be as disrespectful and irreverent as it is for the Religious Left to use this covenantal passage to trivialize miracles. This promise laid the foundation for the eventual new creation of a worldwide monotheistic faith in God through Jesus Christ, as the Son of Man came into the world and fulfilled the promise that He would crush evil, and open the minds of humanity to the Good News that His death brought life and forgiveness.

Covenant creation takes this important and profound promise to Eve, not as some mechanical or literal exchange, but far more importantly, as the guarantee that God would make people for Himself. What is wrong with taking this commonsense recognition that God has inspired His ancient scribe to provide a non-literal covenant promise and applying it to the preceding chapters? After all, for most of the past twenty centuries of Christian history, scholars have held varying views of the creation account. Most scholars, both Jewish and Christian, have explained that the major distinction between Genesis and the pagan accounts was that Yahweh alone is revealed as the Only Diety responsible for the existence of all things visible and invisible. All other accounts in ancient civilization attributed the material existence to multiple competing deities. This is a huge and remarkable distinction that even the ancient Hebrews, as a people, did not fully come to grips with for centuries. In other words, the creation account was much more about WHO possessed a covenant than it was about a mechanical and literal description of the mysteries of the universe!

Covenant creation makes sense of why sun, moon and stars are used in the handiwork of God during these six special days. Later in the Book of Genesis, the story of Joseph having dreams that his parents and siblings bowed to him was offensive to his family, and led to his brothers selling him into slavery. One of the dreams of Joseph referenced the bowing of the sun, moon and stars bowing to him (Joseph). (See Genesis 37:1-8). It was immediately understood by Joseph’s family that THEY were the sun, moon, and stars referenced in this dream. This has significant implications for all Christians to seriously consider the covenant creation model of viewing the Book of Genesis! This view removes the hyperliteralist straightjacket while simultaneously rejecting the intellectual snobbery of liberal elitism. The main thrust of the Book of beginnings is the emphasis upon God’s creation of a covenant people for Himself, while any global implications are quite secondary, and not the main point at all!

What does this mean for the Christian who embraces the covenant creation model? Such a person has no intelligent reason to fear any actual conflict between true sound faith in the inspired Word of God, and the full embrace of every aspect of modern science which makes sense in accord with known geological facts, and confirmed analysis of the fossil record of the stages of simple and complex life on planet earth. The age of the earth is not a theological issue for Christians who reason from the covenant creation model. Also, the covenant creationist is fully a “creationist” with no reason to feel intimidated by those scientists who have highjacked modern science in order to evangelize atheism! Truly, from the false shackles of both sides, the Christian who studies the merits of covenant creation is made completely free, indeed, just as Jesus Christ promised that He would do for all who are faithful to Him.

One of the most outstanding books in recent years which has helped thousands of people see the serious and reverent scholarship, as well as language consistency and beauty of this view is entitled ‘Beyond Creation Science: New Covenant Creation from Genesis to Revelation." All who love the Bible and who also love science are likely to enjoy it as much as I did.

 

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