"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.
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