You are hereA Brief Critical Analysis of Beyond Creation Science: Some Preliminary Concerns

A Brief Critical Analysis of Beyond Creation Science: Some Preliminary Concerns

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By Sam - Posted on 26 October 2008

by Samuel Frost
The following article will be a bit technical, but I will try to explain definitions as best I
can as I go along. This response to an issue that has been clouding up the horizon, in my
opinion, for some time and has not yet been adequately answered from a Biblical Preterist
The following article will be a bit technical, but I will try to explain definitions as best I
can as I go along. This response to an issue that has been clouding up the horizon, in my
opinion, for some time and has not yet been adequately answered from a Biblical Preterist
Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn have written a book (Beyond Creation Science: New Covenant Creation From Genesis to Revelation. Apocalyptic Vision Press, 2007) which makes the bold claim that unless Preterists of all forms accept its premises, then Preterism as we know it will simply fall apart. It claims to solve the problem of the so called “Genesis debate” concerning science and the supposed discrepancies with reading Genesis “literally.” It also makes the bold claim that those who hold to a “young earth” are naïve, ill-informed, and, as
Preterists, inconsistent.

It is not the intention of this article to answer every argument the book proposes. Instead, I want to focus on afew arguments that, if found to be false, seriously damage much of the enterprise of Martin and Vaughn. This is not a happy task since 1), these are brothers in Christ; 2), they are Preterists with which I have much in common; and 3), we would all like to see unity in such matters so that the larger community can continue to grow. However, over the years of surveying Preterist conferences, letters, e-mails, etc., in spite of unity in all points of doctrine, preterism is growing all over the world – little by little.

Click here to read the entire article (in PDF format)

MiddleKnowledge's picture

A full response by Tim Martin and Jeff Vaughn is now available for those interested:

Tim Martin

Sam's picture


First off, thank you for the question and your tone. I believe it is an honest approach you are taking. Much it to be gained from your example of behavior. Of course, you are still an idiot and you dress funny. Was that mean?

Comedy aside, your response was basically two questions. The first has to do with the tenses. This is relatively easy to answer. The Waw-consecutive (“and” prefixed to the imperfect verb) converses what normally would be a future translation into a past one. 2.19 is just such a case. The imperfect has a prefixed “waw” and thus, it is preterite (past tense). This can be translated as simple past (“the lord formed”) or pluperfect (the lord had formed). Both are perfectly legitimate.

With that being said, context determined the use of the pluperfect since we know from Gen 1 that the animals were created on day five before Man. If one wants to insist on contradiction in the text, they may, but I cannot allow for contradiction and, as I have shown, the contradiction is not erased even if you make both 1 and 2 “apocalyptic.” The pluperfect solves that problem.

Now, insightful as you are, you picked up on the future translation of “I will make for him a helper…” in 2.18. Correct. The verb is imperfect and has no prefixed “waw.” Therefore, standing as it does, it is translated as future. This is due, also, to the context since the animals are brought to the man before the creation of the woman (21-22). Naturally, then, the sequence of events determine the futurity of the translation.

Hebrew verbs (perfect and imperfect) are more or less “tenseless”. Translators draw on a variety of textual indicators that supply “tense.” In linguistics it is common to speak of these verbs as having various “aspects.” Without getting further into it, that is my answer to the first question, and should pose no further problem for you. There was no arbitrariness on my part. Just following simple grammatical rules.

Question 2 is a bit more shady. Basically, you are asking if there is any real difference between bara and asah. Well, yes and no. VanGemeren (Dictionary of OT Theology and Exegesis) notes that these two verbs “can alternate.” Although it is not perfectly shown, bara is used exclusively for God and asah has more of the idea of “forming” although it is a wider word, semantically speaking. VanGemeren: “The vb. br’ is more limited in its semantic/grammatical range than is ‘sh. br’ always has God as its subject, never indicates the material from which God creates, and is used to indicate the creation of various objects. ‘sh can be used exactly like br’ , but it not restricted to the first two items noted with br’. “

Now, (whew), with that being said, I did not make the whole case rest on the usage of these two verbs in Gen 2.4. Rather, following other clues, I noted the article for the first set (2.4a) and the reversal of “earth and heaven” without the article. That alone causes red flag in the Hebrew text: something is going on here. Thus, putting ALL of this together, (context), it appears that the 2.4b is the beginning of the Gardenic narrative (Day 6) in which God, having previously made all the items of days 1-5, now moves on to make/create Man and also make/create the Garden (Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, heaven on earth, etc. – never forget the pattern/imagery here that is repeated in the tabernacle and temple). God brings animals inside, places a couple of new trees, shrubs, rivers, etc in this garden, and eventually puts man in there. After awhile, after a few hours of naming animals, God causes Adam to sleep, and makes the woman – ending the day. I believe Gen 3 is the seventh day Sabbath, with God enjoying his creation in the Garden only to discover on His day of Rest that Man has violated His one and only Law. Man is now cut off from rest and made to “work.”

Now, that is, I believe the picture, without entertaining any notion of its impact on “science”. That’s a whole other issue. Thanks for limiting the conversation to the text alone. Alright, Rich, load up the gun – I have my bullet proof vest on….


mazuur's picture


I will eventually get to your response. I have been and still very busy at the moment.

I also have other questions.



amie's picture

My two cents -

"Barah" is from the word "bar", meaning "grain". Barah can mechanically be translated "fatted" or "full". The word is used in terms of giving meat, or cutting meat because the animals which were fattened on grain by the nomadic Hebrews were their source of meat. It is relevant to "create" because the whole "fatted" part is the expansion itself. The form would depend upon what is being expanded.

Adam was "yatsar"ed from dust. This is when humanity was given a 'shape', or 'form'. It is reflective literally of the potter forming the pot.

Each word, as I understand it, has a different focus.


When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at, change.


tom-g's picture

To Sam and BCS,

It is my understanding that Sam is critically analyzing BCS as it pertains to Genesis chapter One from the explanation that this chapter is explaining the physical creation of The Heavens and The Earth, or the creation of that which is seen.

While BCS explains this chapter as a Covenantal Creation of The Heavens and The Earth, or that which is not seen.

If the explanation of each mutually excludes the other then there is a logical application of the law of contradiction that would govern the truth or falsity of both. If however, both the physical and covenantal, or the seen and the unseen is contained within the two explanations then there is no contradiction between the two, just the same thing being explained from two different points of view and both are correct from that viewpoint.

Is this the case? Or do each of the views necessarily exclude the other? Only Sam, who has offered the criticism of BCS, and Tim and JL, the authors of BCS, are the ones who have the ability and right to make that determination, and it would seem to me, for the benefit of their audiences, they ought to come forward with that answer.

I think it is important to keep in mind that it is Sam's reasons for his critique of the book BCS, not Sam's explanation of the same thing that should be discussed. Not to use this as an opportunity to criticize Sam by BCS supporters, while at the same time dropping his objections and BCS out of the conversation completely. This is an obvious straw-man trick.

The question is about Sam's claim concerning Genesis 1:1ff. Is it valid or invalid and why?


KingNeb's picture

EWMI's picture

Woo Hoo


Virgil's picture

Sam maybe in April, Tim, you and I can sit down and host an open-discussion on some of those issues. I think it would be really beneficial for everyone, plus it could help build some new bridges as well.

MiddleKnowledge's picture


Futurists don't like the book, either:

Check out the section between footnotes 14-21.

Perhaps you could get Ken Ham to come over to participate in the open-discussion, too? You said "bridges"... in the plural...

Tim Martin

Virgil's picture

I'll ask him :)

Sam's picture


That would be monumental. But, yes, since we are all going to be there, perhaps a discussion forum would be great...count me in.


Mick's picture

Look at footnote 118:
There are some very lenient partial preterists who argue that full preterists should be accepted into the church as genuine believers with some errors that are not fundamental because Paul considered the professing Christians at Corinth who denied the resurrection to be brethren. This argument suffers from a number of serious problems. First, church members are not excommunicated without being given an opportunity to repent. If those who denied the resurrection rejected Paul’s corrective teaching in 1 Corinthians 15 and were obstinate in their false doctrine, they would have been disciplined in due time. Second, such an argument would prove too much because Paul has a whole section in Chapter 6 where he deals with church members who were having sex with prostitutes. Does this reality mean that churches should tolerate habitual whoremongers as church members and serve them the Lord’s supper? Obviously, like those who denied the resurrection, they would have been disciplined if they refused to repent. Third, Paul’s first and foremost argument against those who deny the resurrection of the body is that it logically destroys a central feature of the gospel itself—the resurrection of Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 15:13-19). Clearly, Paul himself regarded a denial of the literal resurrection of believers’ physical bodies from the dead as destructive of the Christian faith. Given the apostle’s argumentation in 1 Corinthians, the full preterist teaching that God is the direct cause of death, suffering and evil in this world and the full preterist’s explicit denial that Jesus saves both our bodies and this fallen world, they must be treated as damnable heretics. Such a view may be regarded as unloving, intolerant and even unchristian in our pluralistic culture where church discipline is almost non-existent, but we are thoroughly convinced it is the biblical position.

I did not know I was in soo much trouble.

Mickey E. Denen

mazuur's picture


I have read over your paper again. I want to focus on your model, and not waste time debating other items (i.e. Ellen White). Although, you and I are going to have a serious talk about empiricism the next time we meet. :)

Ok, I have many questions/clarifications to ask. Since they are involved and take a lot of time to type up, I will just present one at a time. These questions are not intended to “trip you up” because I have some quest to debunk your position, these are merely some of the things that jump out at me as I investigate the model you have presented.

So, here we go.

Genesis 1:24-25
24  Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

According to your model, this is the creation of the animals on the sixth day in the Genesis 1 account. This creation consisted of all the animals on “the earth”, and out of this pool, God brings some of them into the Garden after he creates it. Thus, no new animals were “created” in the second “heaven and earth”, they were merely brought from outside the Garden into the Garden. And this all happened on the same day (the sixth day).

Genesis 2:18-22
18 And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.
Gen. 2:21   And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

So, here we are inside the creation of the second “heaven and earth” in Genesis 2, which took place during the sixth day of Genesis 1. Notice that God states “I will make”, which is in the future tense.

From here you go with the NIV translation of verse 19, which states, “Now the LORD God had formed”. You stress the past tenseness of when God had created the animals to fit your model.

Here are my problems. Verse 18 is in the future tense. If the animals were already made wouldn’t God have merely said I will bring (or find) Adam a helper? But he doesn’t, he states He will “make” him a helper, and Adam already existed. This puts the “making” of the animals after Adam, which is inverted from Genesis 1.

Now, you make an argument that God uses “ash” (making) and not “bra” (creating) and “erets” (earth) and “adamah” (ground). But, when I go back to the Genesis 1 account here is what I find.

Genesis 1:25
And God made (asah) the beast of the earth (erets) according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Here is God “making”, not “creating”, the beast of the “earth” not of the “ground”. So, exactly where is the “creating” of the beasts recorded at? It seems it isn’t even recorded in Genesis at all.

Genesis 1:16 Then God made (asah) two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

Again, the “creation” (bara) of the Sun and Moon doesn’t even seem to be recorded in Genesis.

In fact, when I look at all the “creating” and “making” in Genesis 1, it seems like the two words have no rhyme or reason to them. Them seem interchangeable.

Take Genesis 1:26-27
26 Then God said, “Let Us make (asah) man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created (bara) man in His own image, in the image of God He created (bara) him; male and female He created (bara)them.



Grow's picture

On the weather report this morning, the meteorologist claimed that the sun would rise at 7:03 this morning.

Obviously, this was a purely scientific statement, meant to covey some sort of solar movement. After all, "rise" can be defined as "to move away from a gravitational source, in a vertical manner". What the meteorologist must have meant was that, at 7:03 AM the sun would move "up". But how could it move up? Up in relation to the solar plane? Or galactic plane, maybe? If he did indeed mean to reference such an abstract plane of reference, then how could that possibly affect us? So, then, since he bothered to say it to people on Earth, then "up" must mean in relation to Earth, right? So, I guessed at 7:03 AM today, the sun would move away from Earth, in an "upward" direction.

No, wait, SCIENCE tells us that our distance from the sun has a huge impact on the survivability of life on this planet, so certainly, if the sun were to move "away" from us, it would mean certain doom! It became obvious to me, at 7:02 AM today, that THE END was near. However, at 7:04 AM, I realized I must have misunderstood, since, not only was I alive, but I could then actually SEE the sun, which, I had, two moments ago, not been able to see. My whole understanding of the word "rise" was falling apart! Certainly the meteorologist wouldn't have lied to me! And Science didn't lie to me, right?

So what was there that I'd missed? Of course! At 7:05 AM this morning, I noticed I could see MORE of the sun, than at 7:04 and 7:03, it was almost like it was indeed rising...but from the ground! The sun must have been in the ground, in the far distance, the whole time! Well, now I'd figured it out...Science had been wrong all along with the crazy notions of stellar bodies and their spacial distance and relationships.

Now I know for sure that the sun does indeed rise, since I know the definition of the word "rise", and I saw with my own eyes that the sun did indeed not "rise" as Science would have us believe, but as the meteorologist prophet claimed.

But, actually, we all know that the sun "rising" is about how we perceive the movement of Earth turning. We all know what the phrase means, so the point isn't the technical definition of the words themselves, but to understand what those familiar words are saying about what the subject they symbolically reference.

Just because "make" and "create" have two strict differences in meaning, doesn't mean those definitions matter in relation to the spiritual truth layed out in early Genesis.

mazuur's picture

Uh...., did you read Sam's paper???



Grow's picture

I'm confused by your response. I thought you were commenting on a specific point, not the entire paper. Should I have referenced everything Sam said, in order to add my thoughts from another angle to yours about the word usage in Genesis?

mazuur's picture


I was confused by your post as well. To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure what you meant. Your final statement I thought was meant to say that the words didn't matter as if I was saying they did. So, it seemed to me you had it backwards, so I was asking if you even read Sam's paper.

Sorry about that.



Grow's picture

I was agreeing with your point about make and create being interchangeable. I'm sick of hearing that argument, and so I jumped on it. Perhaps so quickly that I didn't explain myself well enough. The usage of a word in context of its invoker(s) matters more than the strict definition (especially millenia later). It sometimes seems like people throw common sense out whenever trying to get to a better understanding of important text. We all use slang in various ways, without ever considering what our words actually mean, in every day life, and we should remember that, even though this was an important text to the author(s), so did they, even if they may have meant not to.

mazuur's picture


I, personally, have never heard that argument until Sam presented it in this paper of his.

At first, while I was reading the paper, I thought it was interesting. But, then of course it forced me to dig a little. Of course there may be a reasonable response to clarify it a bit further and resolve the dilemma. We shall see. Currently, I don't see how, but then again, I've never been confused as a scholar. :)



Grow's picture

A couple years ago, when I got sick of the "church" demanding more and more of my money, and thereby set out to verify all I believed, I came across this argument. Early on there I fell for it, being still so rooted in the futurist perspective. Then, eventually, as I accepted more and more that scripture is about spiritual truth first, and material truth secondly; and, as I learned more about contextual interpretation, I realized that arguements like these are based far too much in the material modern mindset. The real issue was when I had to go back and debate that argument, after having accepted it earlier. It lead to issues with people that made it clear they were too caught up on what they "already know", and not too worried about better understanding truth. Also, it seems to me that "the language police" are generally of the "holier than thou" attitude, and use their "rules" for how to speak and write to maintain an arrogant appearance of superiority. It's bad enough when people do this in public, to raise themselves over others socially, but to then use this technique to mislead people who want to understand truth, not wording, can really get me going. It's just another branch of legalistic control.

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