(Editor's Note: We consider Mike as our brother in Christ.) 

Critical Review by:

Mike Sullivan, Tree of Life Ministries

GENESIS 1-3 AND REVELATION 21-22:  UNITED OR DIVIDED?  LOCAL OR GLOBAL? LITERAL OR APOCALYPTIC?

SAM FROST AND TIM MARTIN/JEFFERY VAUGHN

"The first time I was introduced to the writings of Tim came from the same Preterist conference where I heard Sam tell everyone the contradictory statement that he was both a Calvinist and at the same time considered the Pope a “brother in Christ.” Gary DeMar also spoke at the conference and in a private discussion recommended me reading Tim’s book and his arguments for a local flood in Genesis 6-7. I have some respect for some of Gary’s scholarship, so I bought one of Tim’s early versions of “Beyond Creation Science” books. I thought he made a compelling case especially with the tie between the Greek word ge and it’s Hebrew father eretz.

But in my personal studies, the question arose as to how far back should eretz be translated or considered local? Tim also got me reading some of my Milton Terry books that I had had on my shelf but hadn’t gotten into in a long time. Terry’s more apocalyptic and poetic understanding of Genesis was fascinating to me. The more I studied the more I learned that there was a solid Reformed tradition for not understanding the days of Genesis 1 in a literal 24 hour and chronological way. Although I didn’t agree with everything the Day Age view and Frame Work views hold to, nor to all that Dispensationalist John Saihamer has taught, I found some of what they were teaching and developing aligned itself more with the Biblical Preterist view than the what the literal young earth view (LYEV) teaches. 
 
This coupled with some of the nagging questions I had had in my Genesis class at Bible College came back to the surface: 1) How can there be light and 3 days before the creation of the sun on the fourth “literal” “day”? 2) Where does this entire civilization of Nod come from that Cain is afraid of? 3) Did Noah really get two of every animal and insect from the globe onto the dimensions of that ark? In the past, I just wasn’t really satisfied with the standard explanations, but because I hadn’t really been presented with any other alternatives or even studied them in much detail, I had just accepted the standard explanations.    
 
Then I was doing an article one time refuting the 5 reasons why Kenneth Gentry took 2 Peter 3 as a future and literal prediction. He of course pointed out that Peter quotes Genesis 1. But of course Gentry does not address that so does John--in Revelation 21 “the first heaven and earth passed away.” This apparently doesn't stop him from taking this text as the old covenant creation passing in AD 70. Nor does Gentry address that Peter in chapter 3 is writing what follows as "reminders" of what he had written in his first letter which clearly taught that all O.T. prophecy (which obvious included Isaiah 65-66) was "at hand" (1 Peter 1:4-12, 4:5-7, 17; 2 Peter 3:1).  Therefore, Gentry's appeal that the creation passing in Revelation 21 is an AD 70 event because of the time texts, whereas 2 Peter 3 allegedly is future because there is no time text, is bogus!  Gentry apparently can't "connect the dots" between 1 Peter 1:4-12; 4:5-7, 17 and 2 Peter 3 let alone Peter's connections to Genesis and Isaiah.  Gentry’s futurist and “expanded” literal interpretation of Isaiah 65-66 in 2 Peter 3 is inconsistent to his spiritual and imminent interpretation of John referencing the same passages of Genesis 1 and Isaiah 65-66 in Revelation 21.
 
But back to my point. The fact that Peter and John both reference Genesis 1 was and always has been very interesting to me. Partial Preterist’s such as John Owen and Biblical Preterist's usually go to Isaiah 51:15-16 to demonstrate that the old covenant is described as a heavens and earth and that this is what Peter and John is addressing in their writings. But clearly they are addressing the heavens and earth of Genesis 1. The other nagging text was Hebrews 1:10-12.  

As I was studying for my lecture on the temple imagery in Genesis 1-4 for a Preterist conference (where both Sam and Tim were speakers as well), along with reading some other views of Genesis, I couldn’t help but see a lot of “local” land issues in Genesis 1-4 connected with Adam and Israel in the promised land being mandated by God to subdue and rule the land/nations.  This coupled with the admission from many theologians on a wide spectrum that Adam was called to be much more than a gardener and even some indicating that he could have had a mandate to proclaim God’s word and revelation to other clans or people groups in the area—I found rather intriguing as well.  The prophet Ezekiel does seem to give the concept that people groups and nations in Eden are represented as trees (Ezk. 31).  

Apparently my questions via personal email, discussion lists, and at a conference were apart of the process (not the singular one no doubt), that Tim told me “pushed him over” to be more consistent in his covenant creation view and develop more of Milton Terry’s position than he had in the past.

Tim and Jeff mention my name in their book BEYOND CREATION SCIENCE: NEW COVENANT CREATION FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION, 17. However, because I was very busy at the time writing a co-author response to WSTTB with David Green and Ed Hassertt, I just didn’t have a lot of time to read the chapters they sent to me or make a lot of suggestions. The only two I made was to quote David Chilton on the 7 days of the new creation in John 1-4 (of which they did) and deal more with the ramifications of Adam possibly not being the first man but the first covenant man (which I had mentioned on a preterist list as a possible term to use). I’m not sure this second development came, but to be perfectly honest, I haven’t still read their entire book yet so it may be in there somewhere. Hopefully when I get the time and read their entire book I will offer my own review.
 
But here is where I am thus far in my studies of Genesis 1-3...
 
1)  I don’t’ see a "gap" in time or theological content between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 like some do....
 
2) I don’t see Genesis 2:4 as a “transitionary verse” from the global heavens and earth of Genesis 1 to another symbolic or purely local one in Genesis 2, anymore than I see Matthew 24:35-36 as “transitionary verses” to defend two “ends” and two comings of Jesus in Matthew 24-25 to bring an end to the old covenant age and at the same time as alleged evidence that Jesus is also teaching an end to the literal creation.
 
3) I lean in the direction of Augustine, Terry, Ridderbos, and Kline, in that Genesis 1-3 could have much more symbolism and poetic literature involved than most would be willing to accept at first glance....
 
4) If Genesis 1-2 is not describing a literal 6 day creation of the globe, this no way shakes my faith in the fact that Christ has redeemed me and set me before His face in the New Creation..."
 
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