You are hereIntroduction to Covenant Creation

Introduction to Covenant Creation

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By MiddleKnowledge - Posted on 13 April 2009

by Timothy P. Martin
and Jeff Vaughn

What Is Covenant Creation?

Preterists recognize that the “end” spoken of in prophecy is not the end of the physical world. Rather, it is the end of the old covenant, the end of the “old creation,” the passing away of “the first heaven and the first earth” (Rev. 21:1). We call this Covenant Eschatology. and Jeff Vaughn

What Is Covenant Creation?

Preterists recognize that the “end” spoken of in prophecy is not the end of the physical world. Rather, it is the end of the old covenant, the end of the “old creation,” the passing away of “the first heaven and the first earth” (Rev. 21:1). We call this Covenant Eschatology. Covenant Creation views the original “heavens and earth” which God made “in the beginning” (Gen. 1:1) as directly related to God’s creation of the “new heaven and new earth” (Rev. 21:1).

If the “end” spoken of in prophecy is the end of the old covenant order and has nothing to do with the end of the physical universe, then we think it is time to ask some very important questions:

  • Does the biblical “beginning” match the biblical “end”?
  • When did God introduce the old covenant order?
  • Could Genesis creation speak about the beginning of the covenant world of God’s relationship to his people rather than the beginning of the physical universe?
  • Why would the Bible open with an account of the creation of the physical universe and then change subjects completely to close with prophecy of a covenant end?

Those are difficult questions, but reflect on the current scenario for a moment. Preterism is, by its very nature, the outright rejection of the belief that prophecy speaks about the end of the physical world. At the same time, Preterists have assumed Genesis creation is a literal statement about the origin of the physical world. Do you realize what that means? It means that most Preterists have viewed the central subject of creation in the “beginning” as completely different from the central subject of prophecy and the “end.”

Is it possible that Preterists have yet to explore the full implications of preterism in the first chapters of Genesis? Advocates of Covenant Creation suggest that it is time to self-consciously rethink Genesis creation according to Preterist principles.

Covenant Eschatology challenges all common eschatological views because they view the “end” in terms of the physical world. Likewise, Covenant Creation challenges all common creation views because they view the “beginning” in terms of the physical world. The principles Covenant Eschatology applies to the “end” are the same principles that Covenant Creation applies to the “beginning.” Covenant Creation and Covenant Eschatology match.

The Unity of the Biblical Story

For generations, theologians and biblical scholars of every persuasion have written about the intimate connection between the “beginning” and the “end.” Every form of futurism begins with a physical-world view of Genesis creation and then concludes logically with the belief that prophecies of the “new heaven and new earth” describe some new physical universe to come at the end of the physical world.

That is a symmetrical view of the Bible. Futurism, though far removed from the biblical context and redemptive focus of biblical prophecy, has a consistent view of the “beginning” and the “end.” Could it be that Futurism’s error regarding the “end” is ultimately rooted in its understanding of what God created “in the beginning?”

A related issue is the nature of God’s curse pronounced at the Fall in Genesis 3. The majority of evangelical Christians believe that God created a world with no pain, no suffering, and no physical death. They teach that Adam’s sin brought pain, suffering, and death on the entire physical world.  Since the “end” must undo the Fall, and since mankind’s Fall brought physical pain and suffering, the “end” must terminate physical pain and suffering. The implication of this view is that God created “toothless” lions as grass-eaters, laying down and chewing the cud with the calf.  Since the Fall somehow changed the lion into a dangerous meat-eater, so the “end” must bring about the salvation of the lion, restoring him to his “sinless” grass-eating, cud-chewing state (argued from Isaiah 11:6 and 65:25).

This biological view of the curse leads logically to a biological view of the redemption to come. In contrast, a covenantal view of the curse leads logically to a covenantal/spiritual redemption accomplished by Christ in the first century. Futurism and preterism part ways in Genesis based on two competing interpretations of “the death” that fell on the creation as a result of Adam’s violation of God’s command. The scope of this divide, however, is larger than the single issue of the curse. Can the nature of the curse be separated from the nature of creation? Futurism’s biological view of the curse in Genesis 3 is merely one aspect of futurism’s biological view of Genesis creation!

One strength of Preterism is it brings so many details in Scripture together in remarkable unity. There is no chaos in New Testament prophecy. It is one recurring, coherent message which reflects the theological, apologetic, and physical struggle of the real people we call the first “Christians.” The unity of the prophetic message is not limited to the New Testament. Their expectations dovetail with all of the Old Testament prophecies as well. Many of those prophecies draw from the earliest chapters of Genesis. A correct understanding of Genesis creation is crucial to Preterism.

Genesis Creation as God’s People

Covenant Creation employs a specific hermeneutic approach to Genesis creation that takes into consideration the symbolism of the elements used in the creation account.[1] At first glance, the idea that Genesis creation is speaking about the formation of God’s people, “heavens and earth,” might seem strange. It is easy to literalize the imagery of the sea, the land, the sun, moon, and stars and assume the physical universe is the topic of conversation in Genesis.

Consider what happens when Futurists pick up prophetic texts like Matthew 24:29ff and Revelation that use creation imagery to communicate God’s covenant judgment. What? Those falling stars are not literal? The sun and moon being darkened is not a reference to the literal sky? The disappearance of the sea is not talking about the end of the oceans? Why don’t Preterists take the Bible literally!

The answer is the framework of prophecy. Clear time-statements for fulfillment require a symbolic interpretation of the apocalyptic texts. We have prior examples to rely on as well. The prophets often use prophetic-apocalyptic symbolism or “collapsing-universe” language to reference God’s judgments.

Genesis creation uses the opposite “constructing-universe” language in reference to the forming of God’s covenant relationship with Adam and Eve. They found themselves in a new (covenant) world when God created them and revealed himself to them. The symbolism of “constructing universe” in the creation account is patterned around covenant formation, just as the symbolism of “collapsing-universe” language is patterned around covenant de-creation in prophetic texts.

Why are the elements of Genesis creation symbolic? Again, the answer is the framework of Genesis creation. There are statements in the creation account that indicate the subject at hand is God’s people:

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished (Gen. 2:1 NKJV)

Preterists should note the “heavens and earth” language as well as another detail. The “host” is associated with the “the heavens and the earth.” English translations interpret this in a variety of ways, but the underlying Hebrew word for “host” is a common Hebrew word used often to reference God’s people. Israel came up out of Egypt as a “host” (Ex. 12:51)—the same Hebrew word found in Genesis 2:1. Another four examples can be found in Daniel’s prophecy regarding the persecution of God’s people in the last days (Dan. 8:10-13, 19). The subject of the creation account is the “host”—God’s army—which is a new people. Genesis 2:4 (KJV) offers another indicator: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” Why is it that the “heavens and earth” involve generations? The form of this verse (“These are the generations of . . .”) is used throughout Genesis (e.g., 5:1; 6:9; 10:1, 32; 11:10). In every other instance where this form is used, the reference is to people. Genesis 2:4 references generations in conjunction with “heavens and earth” because the creation account speaks about the original formation of God’s people. Genesis creation is a symbolic statement, involving real people in real history, describing the “beginning” of God’s covenant world of friendship and relationship with His people.

The “Heavens and Earth” of the Law

Describing people with the symbolic imagery of “heaven and earth and sea” continues throughout Genesis. We see the association of all three symbolic elements of creation in the promise given to Abraham (Gen. 13:16; 15:4-6; 22:17). Joseph had a dream about the sun, moon and eleven stars (heavens) as well as another dream of shocks of wheat (earth) bowing down to him (Gen. 37:6-11; cf. Matt. 13:30, 41-43). The heavens and earth constituted the entire family of Israel.[2]

Moses addressed Israel as heavens and earth:

Listen, O heavens, and I will speak; hear, O earth, the words of my mouth . . . . (Deut. 32:1 NIV)

If Moses calls Israel “heavens” and “earth,” why then would Genesis 1:1 be a description of the physical universe? Moses knew that “heavens and earth” is God’s people, formed through God’s special covenant creation. Moses makes another unique creation reference to Israel in that same passage:

In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young . . . . (Deut. 32:10-11 NIV; emphasis ours)

Consider the connection to creation as explained by David Chilton:

Moses uses two key words in this passage: waste and hover. Both of these words occur only one other time in the entire Pentateuch, and again they occur together, in Genesis 1: 2. . . . The Covenant on Sinai was a re-creation, a reorganization of the world.[3]

What world was re-organized? Moses’ language takes us back to the “heavens and earth” of Genesis 1! Did the physical universe change at Sinai? If the revelation of the Sinai covenant could re-create and re-organize the world, then the world in focus as God’s creation could not be the physical universe.

There are many more connections between the Law and original creation in Genesis. The heavens, earth and sea aspect of tabernacle and temple architecture draw from Genesis 1. The seven feasts correspond to the seven days of creation. The typological furniture and structure of the tabernacle and temple system correspond to details described in the Garden of Eden. Genesis creation is the covenant backdrop, from the cherubim in the holy of holies guarding the place of God’s presence above the mercy-seat, to the golden lampstand with branches (cf. the tree of life in Ex. 25), to the precious memorial gemstones of the priest’s ephod (cf. Eden’s jewels in Ex. 28), to the linen garments that kept the High Priest from sweating (Ex. 28; Ezek. 44:18 cf. Gen. 3:19). The roots of the Mosaic Law go back to creation.

The “Heavens and Earth” of the Prophets

Consider how Jeremiah speaks about “heavens and earth” in the same vein as Genesis creation:

I beheld the earth and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light (Jer. 4:23 NKJV)

What is Jeremiah talking about in this passage? Where does that language originate? Jeremiah speaks in the context of the impending judgment on Judah and Jerusalem in 586 BC, but he uses the exact same language (Hebrew, tohu wahohu) found only in Genesis 1:2! The “heavens and earth” had, quite literally, become “without form and void” again because of wickedness in the land. Jeremiah could use that language to describe the corrupt nation because he understood that Genesis creation speaks about the formation of God’s people by covenant. Creation had become undone because God’s people had violated the covenant.

Isaiah’s prophecies also draw from the early chapters of Genesis:

Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. . . . They will not toil in vain [curse on Adam] or bear children doomed to misfortune [curse on Eve]; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. . . . The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food [curse on serpent] . . . . (Is. 65:17, 23-25 NIV; emphasis ours, cf. Gen. 3:14-19)

Notice how Isaiah uses the exact same language as Genesis 1:1. Isaiah says God will “create (bara—same Hebrew verb as Gen. 1:1) new heavens and a new earth.” Preterists recognize Isaiah 65 as background for the “new heaven and new earth” in New Testament prophecy (e.g., 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1). But from where did Isaiah get the original concept of “heavens and earth”? The language of Isaiah 65 takes us back to the “beginning” in Genesis 1:1.

When Preterists highlight the link between Isaiah 65 and the end of the Bible, it is only consistent to accept the prophet’s own link back to the beginning of the Bible. If Futurists are unjustified in their attempt to change the definition of the “heavens and earth” of Isaiah 65 to a physical universe meaning in the New Testament, then Preterists are equally unjustified to force a change in the definition of “heavens and earth” from Isaiah 65 back to Gen. 1:1. The consistent language from Genesis 1:1 to Isaiah 65 to New Testament fulfillment requires a consistent interpretation.

Isaiah did not invent anything new in chapter 65. He worked, by inspiration, from the past story he already knew! The “new heaven and new earth” is the re-creation of God’s people, using symbolic animals and elements of creation, because the original “heavens and earth” is the creation of God’s people, using symbolic animals and elements of creation. Everything at the end of the story originates from the beginning through Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah 65 serves as a great bridge that spans across the pages of Scripture reaching simultaneously backwards into Genesis 1-3 and forward to Revelation 21-22.

Jesus and the Apostles on Genesis Creation

Jesus sets his eschatological teaching in the wide context of old covenant history, referencing the earliest chapters of Genesis. He claimed the judgment to come would be comprehensive. The guilt of “all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah” was to “come upon this generation” (Matt. 23:35-36 NKJV). He also claimed the Great Tribulation would be “unequalled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matt. 24:21 NIV).

Preterists are quick to understand these statements within a covenant context. That first-century generation would be held accountable for all the righteous blood spilled in covenant history, not world history. The Tribulation would be the worst distress in covenant history, not world history. This approach, if applied consistently, would mean “the beginning of the world” must be understood in the same covenant context—Covenant Creation.

Paul draws from the earliest chapters of Genesis and identified “the creation” as God’s people in a passage expounding the glory of the children of God being set free:

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now (Rom. 8:19-22 NKJV)

Where did Paul learn to associate “the creation” with God’s people? He certainly didn’t make this up! “The creation” is God’s people. Paul’s view of the curse matched his view of the creation. Paul’s teaching assumes Covenant Creation because the physical universe is nowhere in view when Paul mentions “the creation.”

This covenant-centered focus of creation explains how Paul could call those who believe on Jesus Christ God’s “new creation” in Galatians 6:15 and 2 Corinthians 5:17. To what does Paul appeal as his authority? He quotes Genesis 1:3:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6 NIV)

The book of Hebrews explicitly connects the beginning with the end:

In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands, they will perish, but you remain . . . . (Heb. 1:10-11 NIV)

What God created “in the beginning” perished at the “end.” Did the physical universe pass away in AD 70? No. That fact provides a powerful demonstration that Genesis “in the beginning” creation is not a plain-literal account of the original formation of the physical universe. Hebrews 1:10-11 tells us that Genesis is about the beginning of the covenant world God made with his people, beginning with Adam and Eve.

Peter also draws a parallel between creation, flood, and consummation:

For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Pet. 3:5-7 NKJV)

Peter references the formation of dry land that “stood” out of water on Day 3 (Gen. 1:9-10). This world—with the exception of righteous Noah and his family who became a “new” covenant world—was destroyed by the flood,[4] just as the then current “heavens and earth” was reserved for fire. Preterists believe the destruction of Peter’s “heavens and earth” by fire is a reference to a covenant world, not the physical universe. Peter’s 3-way comparison shows that creation and flood must be understood in the same covenant context as the fire of AD 70.

We find another example of the inescapable relationship between the beginning and end of the Bible in the final pages of Revelation:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first earth had passed away. Also there was no sea. (Rev. 21:1 NKJV)

Note how the elements listed draw from Genesis 1. That is where God created the “heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1) and “the sea” (Gen. 1:9-10, 20). The immediate context before this passage describes the Great White Throne judgment of “earth and heaven” (20:11) and “sea” (20:13). John works directly from the full context of creation as he goes on to write about the holy city in Edenic imagery drawn from creation. Don Preston notes in passing that the entire creation would be destroyed at the end of the Millennium:

Notice now that in Rev. 21, the heavens and earth pass away at the end of the millennium . . . . [T]he great Day of the Lord was to occur at the time of the destruction of creation, at the judgment of Babylon, and since creation was to be destroyed at the end of the millennium, then the vindication of the martyrs, in the judgment on Babylon, was to occur at the end of the millennium.[5] [emphasis ours]

The destruction of creation? Yes! What Genesis 1-3 does, Revelation 21-22 undoes. AD 70 marked the final end of the old covenant age, the old world of types and shadows. The entire old creation has been recreated in Christ. However, the physical heavens and earth were not destroyed and recreated in AD 70. Indeed, the biblical “end” had no bearing on the physical operation of the sun, moon, stars, and planet Earth.

Neither did the biblical “beginning.”

Preterists have made the transition to Covenant Eschatology. Now it is time to transition to Covenant Creation.

Covenant Creation: Consistent Full Preterism

Preterists recognize that no solution to debates over prophecy is possible so long as the “end” is viewed in terms of the physical universe. “Partial” solutions that view the “end” with double vision, seeing both a covenant world and the physical universe, fare no better.

Traditional debates over Genesis creation are not solvable for very the same reason. They all hinge on physical-universe assumptions about the “beginning.” “Partial” solutions that view the “beginning” with double vision, seeing both a covenant world and the physical universe, are impossible for a very simple reason. All prophecy of the “new creation” is rooted, ultimately, in Genesis creation. Genesis creation is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as biblical prophecy is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Could it be that consistent Full Preterism begins in Genesis 1:1?

(Editor’s Note: Learn more about Covenant Creation at the upcoming 2009 Covenant Creation Conference.)

[1] In Biblical Apocalyptics (1898), 19th century Preterist theologian Milton S. Terry, showed how the earliest chapters of Genesis use apocalyptic language and symbolic detail similar to the prophets and the book of Revelation. He viewed creation “as truly a sevenfold revelation of a beginning as the Apocalypse of John is a mystic revelation of an end” (p. 44). We make an extended case for this prophetic-symbolic view of the creation account in Beyond Creation Science.

[2] Note that the imagery in Joseph’s dream has no reference to “sea.” Israel is “land” in God’s original creation of the old covenant world.

[3] David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation (Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1987), p. 320.

[4] We present a full case for a local flood related to a covenant judgment in Beyond Creation Science, pp. 111-207.

[5] Don K. Preston, Who is This Babylon? (Ardmore, OK: JaDon Productions, 2006), pp. 268-269.

MiddleKnowledge's picture

"Then the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their armies. And by the seventh day God completed His work which He had done; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (Gen. 2:1-2)"

Mark Horne, The Victory According To Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel (Moscow: Canon Press, 2003), p. 67.

Tim Martin

Windpressor's picture


One doesn't have to be atheist or believe
in their evolutionary model to acknowledge
the foolishness demonstrated:

YouTube - Creationist Junk Debunked #1 - Introduction
[Several good bits to watch from this guy's channel]

One does not have to hold to the entire view
of covenant creation to acknowledge that there
is something wrong with the received pictures
and worldviews.


G-Juan Wind

demario's picture

I can hardly believe it. An entire series of posts without name calling, irrelevant remarks, attempts at (bad) humor, and sarcasm. This has got to be a first anywhere! A person does not have to agree with a position to ask intelligent questions and expect an intelligent response. I also noted that the give-and-take actually stayed on track. A double first. Will miracles never cease? Even if the Covenant Creation position is dead wrong, it's forcing all of us to study hard and support our own positions with comparable argumentation. Now if only some of the heresy hunters will take some lessons away with them. I'm not sure I can believe in that many miracles in one day.

Writerx's picture

I don't know if you were referring to the conversation I started (or seconded, anyway), but for my part--I don't really care about the answer or the 'truth'. It's in the game we find the glory. :)


Starlight's picture


You said... "I don't really care about the answer or the 'truth'. It's in the game we find the glory. :)"

That sounds like a strange answer coming from you, care to elaborate?


Writerx's picture

Hey Norm,

Sure, I'll try. On a practical level, I enjoy debate, games like chess and such, but when it comes right down to it, in theology I'm not playing to win. What's the prize, anyway? When you begin to accept the fact that you'll never have it all figured out, you start to accept the mystery on some level, and the result is that I don't feel an aggressive need to have everyone else adopt my view of things.

On a philosophical level, we have to ask ourselves a different question. Do we really want to know everything? You could say it's like that old cliche: "It's not the end that matters, but the journey." I'm probably sounding like an emergent here, but even still further, if we accept that we're willing to frame all our arguments and debates within the context of "coming up with the wrong answer doesn't reserve me a spot in hell," it mellows the whole conversation. We are, after all, debating the nuances of something we take on faith. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, but on some level it's more important that I understand where Tim's coming from and am able to dialogue with him than having the 'right answer' as to covenant creation. That's not to say a right answer doesn't exist, or I don't hold solid views on anything, but we do have to realize that even if we get this answer right, there's still another question after it.

Hope that makes some kind of sense.



Ed's picture

excellent comments. I am trying to achieve the same thing, by God's grace.



Papa is especially fond of us

davo's picture

Writerx: When you begin to accept the fact that you'll never have it all figured out, you start to accept the mystery on some level, and the result is that I don't feel an aggressive need to have everyone else adopt my view of things.

Brilliant... love it AJ!!


Barry's picture

Hey Tim,
Very well written IMO.

I really hope you don't mind if I disagree on some points.

The entire old creation has been recreated in Christ. However, the physical heavens and earth were not destroyed and recreated in AD 70. Indeed, the biblical “end” had no bearing on the physical operation of the sun, moon, stars, and planet Earth.

Neither did the biblical “beginning.”
End quote.
The limpus test for as far as I can determine thus far in your presentation is a PHYSICAL VERSES COVENANTAL "either or".

But "either or" does not seem to work anywhere that being anywhere consistently.
Example 1:

Rom 7:5 For when we were in the FLESH, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
The "either or" has the "flesh" above as covenantal and not physical as is the case also in 8:9

Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

In 9:3 however the either or does not work for the covenant in question is attached to the "natural".

Act 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

Again the "either or" does not work because we cannot distance ourselves from the "natural" base that such was built on.

Example 2:
Mat 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Is "live" physical or covenantal?

Other points:
Was Christ's death physical or covenantal?
Will determining that Paul's death with Christ as none-physical also lead us to conclude that Christ's death was just as none-physical?

Was the ascension of Christ physical or spiritual? Was there a physical "cloud" there?

Running out of time for writing here so I won't bore you, this time, by being long winded. However the examples and instances of where and how the "either or" does not create a consistency are endless.

Such was however part of our indoctrination toward full preterism! That being an "either or" to prove that the "end" was not a physical end of things.

However the "flesh" was destroyed.
Why then is there flesh?

Because it was never meant to be understood in either or framework but one of "age or world consciousness".
Such is the meaning of the "present evil age" for example.

First the natural (world of consciousness) and then the spiritual (world of consciousness).

The "natural" has to be sourced from somewhere. And that is Genesis one.

So then Genesis one is not to be understood in terms of "either or" but consciousness sourced out to covenant (Genesis two). It is thus written as part of that which falls within the "fulfillment of all things written". It is thus prophetic as well.

The "natural" then the consciousness in question, that is sourced from the perceived order of things that encompasses man in the absence of a fulfilled revelation. As such physical verses spiritual won't IMHO work.

Thus the first heavens and earth passed away. For a fulfilled revelation has replaced the limitations of that consciousness which was sourced from a perceived order of things in the absence of such a revelation.

Thus Adam was a "figure" of him to come but he was still physical. Adam was never given a full revelation of God's unconditional love. Therefor the little that Adam had he lost when he "went for" the fullness of embracing the perceived natural order of things for his own image formation.

This was written very quickly so I really hope this made some sense LOL.
Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

JL's picture


What if, "The Flesh" is old covenant Israel?

Jesus wasn't the literal fruit of David's loins. He was the legal fruit of Joseph. Natural = legal = covenantal. Natural does not equal our concept of physical.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Barry's picture

Hey JL,
Thanks for the responce.

Natural does not equal our concept of physical.
End quote.

I agree the two are not equal, however "human potential" finds its limits in "natural" things, which things often embrace physical matters and issues.

The temple "made with hands" was part of the "natural" order of things as perceived by the independent human potential.
Such a "natural" matter is not equal to "physical", as the physical matter of the temple was left in tact. The "stones" however were thrown down.
Without the physical however one does not have a "natural" order to perceive.

The term, "flesh" is the independent human potential in the precedence of types and figures (which is the absence of a fulfilled revelation).

Phl 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed [is] not grievous, but for you [it is] safe.
Phl 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Phl 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence IN THE FLESH.
Phl 3:4 Though I might also have confidence IN THE FLESH. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might TRUST IN THE FLESH, I more:
Phl 3:5 Circumcised the eighth day, of the STOCK of Israel, [of] the TRIBE of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Phl 3:6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Phl 3:7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

Mat 3:9 And think not TO SAY WITHIN YORSELVES, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able OF THESE STONES to raise up children unto Abraham. {Outside of the natural perceived order of things as determined by an independent human potential.}

This "natural" is not defined as "physical" but is not completely independent of it either in many verses. There is a physical foundation from which it is derived from.
The order of the "sun" and the "moon" and the "day" and the "night". From which a "natural" covenant of promise is derived from. Tying together the need for the physical to begin with as pertains to the "consciousness" of that (old) covenant that is "made".

Jesus wasn't the literal fruit of David's loins.
End quote.
That may or may not be true. I haven't researched. Such IMHO does not change the premise of my point.

Which is that a physical verses covenant "either or" does not work consistently in scripture.

Christ died physically and covenantally. Paul died with Christ spiritually not physically.
The lack of physicality of Paul's behalf does nothing to prove the absence of the physicality of Christ's death.

As far as I can see, the either or argument does not work that well.

How would one "divide" the physical and the covenantal in this passage?

Pro 8:22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
Pro 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
Pro 8:24 When [there were] no depths, I was brought forth; when [there were] no fountains abounding with water.
Pro 8:25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
Pro 8:26 While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
Pro 8:27 When he prepared the heavens, I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
Pro 8:28 When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
Pro 8:29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Pro 8:30 Then I was by him, [as] one brought up [with him]: and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him;

Are we to conclude a one or the other in the above text?


we are all in this together

Writerx's picture

I find this particular interpretation more and more appealing the more I look at it, although I don't think I have the whole demonstration of it to convince me just yet. I do have a couple of introductory-type questions I hope you can shed some light on.

1) It always occurred to me as strange that the tree of life appears in Revelation, a self-described signified book, as well as in the creation account. This would lend to the idea that the Genesis creation account is also figurative. Yet Adam appears in Luke's genealogy as a real man who is Jesus' direct ancestor. How is this discrepancy answered?

2) If the creation account is only a covenant account and all references to it are likewise figurative/covenantal, who then created the world, and do we have any biblical reason to believe that it was the God of the Hebrews? If not, what is God?

That's it for now. I enjoyed your article. Keep them coming.

JL's picture


I'll be specifically addressing #2 in my talk at the Covenant Creation Conference.

Hope to see you there.




JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Writerx's picture

I don't know if it'll be possible to attend, but will you be making CDs or DVDs?

JL's picture

That's the plan.


JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

MiddleKnowledge's picture


I personally believe that Adam and Eve were physical, literal human beings just like you and me. No difference, biologically, whatsoever. The creation involves real, live human beings, just as the consummation involves real, live human beings.

The curse Adam and Eve experienced was entirely, 100%, covenantal. This is the curse from which Jesus redeemed that world from.

This covenantal curse matches covenant creation. If you notice in Genesis 3, the curse God pronounced fell on the creation he just made. That would seem to indicate to me that the nature of the creation described in Genesis must be the same nature as the curse that fell on Adam and Eve and the same nature of the redemption accomplished by Christ in the first century. I cannot understand how a plain literal, material creation reading of Genesis is compatible with a symbolic, covenantal curse that God pronounced at the fall.

Adam and Eve were the first human beings to ever live in covenant with God.

I do not believe that the Bible was given to explain how, in the physical mechanics or scientific sense, or defend the reality that the God of the Bible created all physical things we experience. The Bible was originally given to those already in covenant with God, who accepted that fact and reality by faith.

Though our (Christian) culture seems to think otherwise, the Bible wasn't written to atheists.

We will be unveiling a tremendous amount of new material, entirely new arguments, as well as remarkable details in the biblical text that demonstrate Covenant Creation at the upcoming Covenant Creation Conference in May. See details at


Tim Martin

Writerx's picture

Hey Tim,

The curse I have no problem with. I've never understood how that could be a physical malady––it would make no scientific sense on one level, and it would greatly interfere with eschatological things further down the line.

Unfortunately one of the side effects of my recent sojourn into atheistic arguments leaves me puzzling over something. If the God of the Hebrews didn't create the physical universe, then it stands to reason that he is in some way a part of the physical creation, in which case he isn't really God. The other aspect of covenant creation that seems to be problematic is that if all of this is simply a covenant, essentially the entire book is fairy tales from front to back. Why, then, do you believe in this particular bronze age tribe's fairy tales (or metaphors or similes or apocalyptic writings) and not another's?

Note: I'm not offering these points to disprove what you've written, but it seems the further down the path we go, the less God looks like the one we thought we knew...



MiddleKnowledge's picture


You wrote: "If the God of the Hebrews didn't create the physical universe, then..."

I'm sorry. Could you show me where I or any other advocate of Covenant Creation argue that position?

Tim Martin

Writerx's picture

Hey Tim,

"I do not believe that the Bible was given to explain how, in the physical mechanics or scientific sense, or defend the reality that the God of the Bible created all physical things we experience."

My apologies, I was both inferring and extrapolating at the same time. The question I'd have would me more along these lines: if Genesis is not a creation account for the world, and every other reference in the bible to the creation account is further to be taken figuratively, what biblical evidence do you have that God did indeed create the world? And if the answer is none, why do you believe God created the world?

In a larger sense my deeper question is where does the metaphoric translation of the bible end? Did anything actually happen? :) I recognize styles of literature dictate much of this, but in a pinch it seems anyone could point to just about anything as metaphor if he needed to, e.g., the exodus never happened because there's "no evidence for it" on the Sianai peninsula. Am I making any sense?


Windpressor's picture


I think the difficulties are about how we ferret out what exactly are the "cultural givens".
One of the scholarly terms mentioned on some older posts here reference the concepts
of "low context" and "high context" culture.
[Someone might direct to link here]

I consider it a fundamental precept: a divine connection is a prerequisite for even the smallest miracle.
Whether existence as opposed to non or turning H2O into wine or stopping wind and wave,
no one can override the natural laws except the one having authority over those laws.
The account of Nick in John 3 says it well:

John 3
1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi,
we know that you are a teacher come from God,
for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him."(ESV)

G-Juan Wind

MiddleKnowledge's picture


My answer to your first question is simple: miracles.

I believe God created the world because only the creator can work miracles, including the resurrection of Jesus. This is also the faith of the individuals involved in the story. It is biblically grounded.

You ask: "Did anything actually happen?"

I respond: When Preterists talk about the consummation, futurists ask a similar question. Do we preterists believe something actually happened at the consummation? Yes we do. However, futurists don't accept that as "something" because it is not global and did not involve the entire physical universe.

I say apply the same principle to Genesis creation.

Something happened. Yes. The effects on our planet Earth bear the evidence of that for thousands of years now. What happened? If I say that it was not a scientific account of the original formation of the physical universe, does that mean "nothing happened?"

Think like a preterist when you study Genesis. That is all I and others are suggesting. When you do, things look very different, just like NT prophecy...


Tim Martin

Writerx's picture

The next place the questions would lead then is this: If the accounts of eschatology and creation are figurative, how much of the rest of the book could be figurative? Couldn't all the miracles themselves be figurative? After all, scientifically speaking snakes don't talk; walls don't fall down the blast of a trumpet; angels don't herald an infant's birth; the dead don't rise again.

How, then, if we seem to be taking most of the bible metaphorically do we take any of it literally? And if the miracles themselves are metaphoric, how do we use them to prove that God created the universe?

Sorry if this argument is too convoluted. To be honest I hardly have a handle on it in my brain, but we'll get there.


Ed's picture

I just want to address the concept of metaphor for a moment. Let's consider the talking snake in Genesis - is this a metaphor? I think so, unless we want to claim, as some dispies do, that the "great dragon of old" is an actual dragon (in Revelation).

But, look at this for a moment: isn't Jesus' temptation by "the devil" a re-enactment of Adam's temptation and subsequent fall? Where Adam failed, Christ succeeded, right? Okay, follow me on this, Jesus, when confronted by the Pharisees and Sadduccees calls them what? "A brood of VIPERS" i.e., SNAKES, serpents, dragons, etc. Reptilian children of "the evil one." They were the tares in the wheat field, the serpent in the garden (or someone of their nature at least), the temptor in the wilderness with Jesus, etc.

The concept of SERPENT as deceiver is metaphor and found all throughout scripture - AND YET, these were real, skin covered skeletal beings. They were LITERAL people, not metaphor. Yet, their description throughout scripture was metaphorical.

I could go on and on about "the trees of the field," "the sand on the seashore," "the stars in the heavens," etc. Keep in mind that Joseph's brothers were real literal people, and yet when Joseph had a dream about stars and the moon and the sun bowing down to him (a star), even before an explanation of the dream was offered, Jacob KNEW that Joseph was speaking about him (the sun), his mother (the moon), and his brothers (the other stars). Metaphor, yet literal people.

Hope that helps.


Papa is especially fond of us

MiddleKnowledge's picture


Yes, I think that helps a bunch.

That is exactly what I have been trying to communicate for a long, long time. Wish I could have done it in 4 paragraphs. Hats off to your post.

Genesis creation is historical in the sense that real people are involved and there are real things going on. Genesis creation is non-historical in that it communicates through a manner of speaking filled with symbols and images that were completely natural AS METAPHORS to the ancient mindset. Both at the same time.

What boggles my mind is that this is precisely how preterists explain the book of Revelation! Real people. Real events. Communicated in symbolic/covenantal terms from beginning to end. Futurists don't "get it," I would claim, because they learned their "literal" (read modernistic, materialistic, scientific) hermeneutic from the very opening pages of the Bible. As I will speak on at the upcoming conference, both YEC and OEC do the exact same thing here. And they both end up (traditionally) with Futurism.

That helps to explain why I completely agree with the YECs that "everything stands or falls on Genesis." They are absolutely right about that. As was Augustine 1500 years ago.

The day that Preterists get serious about Genesis is the day they break ground for a major move to expand preterism.


Futurists can't buy into preterism (largely) because of the standard "conservative" view of Genesis creation. They are hung up on a biological view of "the death." They are fixated on the creation as the physical, material universe. Literal thorns. Physical pain in childbirth. On and on and on. YEC literalism is the problem in Genesis... and Revelation. Heck, even some "Preterists" are hung up on these things! (When you run across a preterist who denies the corporate body view of resurrection, ask them what they think about Genesis to see what I mean for yourself.)

The good news is that the modern YEC movement is coming apart at the seams.

Who is going to have the solutions? Will Preterists be there with answers to help pick up the pieces?

Tim Martin

Writerx's picture

Tim, I have no flipping idea how anyone could argue that physical death started at the fall. I mean it literally is one of those things that can make blood shoot from your nose. Tigers and lions as herbivores. Gimme a break.

MiddleKnowledge's picture

As if on cue. From today's article at Answers in Genesis:

See the ending? Note the irony. The YEC author of this article thinks EXACTLY like Darwin did about death!!!

Some days I just shake my head.

Tim Martin

davo's picture

Hey good thoughts there Ed, that explains it well :)


MiddleKnowledge's picture

"How, then, if we seem to be taking most of the bible metaphorically do we take any of it literally? And if the miracles themselves are metaphoric, how do we use them to prove that God created the universe?"


I really don't believe the question is whether to take the Bible "mostly" literally or "mostly" metaphorical. Those are modern positions that roughly coincide with what we call "Fundamentalism" and "Liberalism."

I'm not interested in that standard presentation of categories. I reject both of them as unworkable and irrelevant. They are traditional baggage, the leftovers of the theological battlefields of the 19th and 20th centuries.

What I want is to get into the sandals and heads of the people (original audience) involved and take the Bible the way they took it. In that sense, I am after an ancient approach to the Bible rather than a modernistic approach.

Our article above showed some examples of how the writers of the Bible took creation language and details and applied it in their own circumstances. Preterism says that the entire old creation passed away at the "end." (Any thoughts on Heb. 1:10-11, Rev. 21:1, or Romans 8?). That means something if we are serious about understanding the Bible, creation to consummation, on its own terms.

The fact of the matter is that we moderns think quite differently about the world in our culture and mindset than they did. That means we have certain conceptions and expectations that may or may not be relevant to the ancients who were involved in Scripture.

I don't have all the answers to all of your questions, but I do believe the answers are out there. I can tell you from my perspective, that the option of Covenant Creation matched with Covenant Eschatology is a whole heck of a lot more promising than modern Young-Earth Creationism matched with Covenant Eschatology.

I guess we'll see what develops...

Tim Martin

Writerx's picture

"I can tell you from my perspective, that the option of Covenant Creation matched with Covenant Eschatology is a whole heck of a lot more promising than modern Young-Earth Creationism matched with Covenant Eschatology."

The thing about YEC is that at least on some level it seems falsifiable. Over the past few years I did some research on it, and it is a highly unpersuasive worldview (and it doesn't help that it's overrun by dysps to boot). However the one lingering question that I have, is that if you don't accpt YEC (and I don't), but you believe in miracles (and I do), how is it that we have the ground to stand against the claims of YEC, because theoretically a divine power could do anything he wanted as well as make it look like anything he wanted. Maybe he created the universe to look old; if this were the case, all our science would point to something false, namely, that it was old. Do you see where I'm going with this? On the basis of 'miracle evidence' (whatever the hell that means), we could quite literally believe anything with "reason."

Now, where did I go wrong?


JL's picture


The question is not, "What could God have done?" It is, "What did God do?"

The Flood account in Scripture has very few miracles in it. The primary one is, someone got a weather report right. 120 years in advance. How many times does your weather service predict rain tomorrow and you have a dry day?

In contrast, look at the YEC version of the account. It compounds miracle upon miracle upon miracle.

Could God have done all those miracles that are necessary for the YEC version of the account? Yes.

But did he? There is no evidence for them in Scripture. There is no evidence for them in nature. The only evidence is they are absolutely necessary for a YEC view to be possible. Sort of like the only evidence for the dinosaur that broke the lamp is in my 4-year-old's testimony.

In years past, we've been accused of denying miracles, not because we deny the miracles found in Scripture, but because we deny the miracles others add to Scripture.

Start with the Flood. It is easier. We have dealt with it thoroughly for years now. Our detractors will not face the fact that they add miracles to Scripture. Where is the testimony for those added miracles?



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

davo's picture

JL: In years past, we've been accused of denying miracles, not because we deny the miracles found in Scripture, but because we deny the miracles others add to Scripture.

hmm... there's a lot in that Jeff.

I must say I've really enjoyed reading the depth of thought in all these posts -- thanks A.J., Tim and Jeff :)


Writerx's picture

I think that's a valid argument. The only remaining question I'd have for you is this: It seems as though this line of reasoning invokes a kind of spiritual Ockham's Razor: one miracle is much simpler than many miracles. However, once we've stepped across the rational boundary of the scientifically unaccountable, how are we to decide between "more" and "less" miraculous, or "more" and "less" supernatural? The entire event gathers its context and meaning from being a divine event.

However, it seems to me the argument I posed is already defeated in that we neither find evidence for it (meaning a global flood) in nature or in the scriptures, the latter being particularly persuasive when dealing with unscientific matters like "miracles."


JL's picture


Pick a miracle. Any miracle.

How do you know it's a miracle?

Science, experience, whatever you like says, "That sort of thing just doesn't / can't happen."

How do you know the miracle happenned?

You might have physical evidence. You have the prior claim that it would occur. You have the testimony of witnesses that it did occur.

Ultimately, your evidence that a miracle did occur is similar to the evidence that such an event doesn't / can't occur. You have to deal with this wisely.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Writerx's picture

Philosophically I'd respond that even if I witnessed a miracle, I don't "Know" a miracle happened for two reason.

1) Whatever happened to occur––say, water is changed into wine––all I'd have to examine the argument would be wine. It's simply beyond the reach of science to demonstrate the miraculous.

2) The second problem of miracles is something my philosophy teacher brought up once that kind of floored me. He said, "If a man were to perform a miracle, how would that prove his claim to divinity?"

In both the first and second scenario, unless I've made an error, I'm still relegated to belief only. I can't scientifically prove the supernatural occurred, because all I'd have is the natural to demonstrate it. If I were to watch Jesus walk out of the tomb on the third day, and he said, "A.J., I'm God," I still have to consider the possibility that he's lying. Essentially I have to take his word for it, as no natural means ever "proves" the supernatural.

But I'm satisfied with whatever Jesus says. He sounds like the kind of guy who would know better than me about these things. :)


JL's picture

Mathematically or logically speaking, you can't prove anything. That is not the biblical standard. The biblical standard is what we today call proof beyond reasonable doubt.

1) Not entirely. If you have the physical evidence, you can demonstrate whatever the physical evidence demonstrates.

For example, we can see that at Jericho, the walls fell down flat from an earthquake and that marauders burned the city that day.

We can also tell that this occurred 44 years after Santorini blew causing a plague of darkness.

The two events happened. The details we can test have been confirmed.

2) If a person does miracles, it is clearly evidence of a higher power at work. So who do you believe? The person in question did not claim to do miracles because he was divinity. He claimed that his proof of divinity would be his raising himself from the dead. This is a bit different. How does a dead man do anything?



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

MiddleKnowledge's picture


Those are some pretty big questions. Jeff and I struggled with a few aspects of what you are asking in Beyond Creation Science. I really think you would find the book thought-provoking.

The book also explains at length why the YEC movement is "overrun by disps." And more importantly, why it always will be...

E-mail me privately through when you get a chance.

Tim Martin

JL's picture


Eschatology and creation are not figurative. They are quite literal and physical. It's just that they are not what you've been told they are.

We are not talking about snakes in general, we are talking about a specific serpent who is also found in Revelation.

The walls of Jericho fell down. You can go look at them. When and why is a matter to investigate.

Angels don't herald every infants' birth. Just as the heralds of England don't herald every birth of a commoner. But they do herald royal births. Science would have the same failing there. The issue is covered in Chapter 19 of our book.

Same for the dead rising. Science has nothing to say except that it is a rare event, that shouldn't happen. But science can not say it didn't happen unless you can get hold of the physical evidence. The lack of physical evidence is itself evidence that the claim is true. (By itself, very weak, but with the other evidence, quite compelling.)

You really need to get a handle on how we know things. What is the Biblical standard for knowledge. It might help to read our book.




JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Writerx's picture

Hi JL,

First thing, understand I'm not advancing a position I hold. I'm merely trying to 'balance the equation' in yours. Probing the waters, so to speak. I'm actually hoping you can deconstruct my hypothetical objections.

1. "Eschatology and creation are not figurative. They are quite literal and physical."

True enough, but the 'stories' that describe both events were not literal and physical. If the creation story is not talking about creation itself--the natural world/universe--but rather a covenental truth at a historic moment in man's history, how then do we presuppose that God is the author of the universe? Every verse that speaks to creation later in the bible, it seems, would be referring to this covenental event, not an undefined origin of the cosmos. Further, an atheist would likely point out on the 'miracles prove creation' concept that turning water into wine is a neat trick. So is raising the dead. However, even we were to gather the evidence together, we'd still be looking at physical evidence, so no matter what conclusions we drew, it wouldn't 'prove' that there is a metaphysical being that caused it. Even if a miracle ocurred, we wouldn't know it, and nor could we 'know' the source. And there goes a blood vessel in my head.

2. I'm aware of the inductive reasoning problem that would exist when saying "snakes don't talk." But as far as I know, you don't believe an actual serpent spoke either. I suppose if you followed this through all of your examples we could conclude that we don't really 'know' anything, yet still there seems to be an evidence-based approach to accepting the biblical texts as authentic. Am I missing something here? I guess the question that might help clear some of this up is, Why do you believe in God? Tricksy question though it is, it might help me to understand the breadth of your approach to scripture and theology.

I appreciate the time, and I'd be happy to read your book.


Barry's picture

Hey A.J.
The "serpent" FORM embodies the independent human potential. The epitome of human potential which is procreation.
Thus old creation stood {ego-ly} in "genealogies" and "national heritage" and "tribes" ETC.
[Thus "in the beginning" they were made "male and female".]

The "serpent" was thus a "beast" as a matter of characteristic.
2Pe 2:12 But these, as NATURAL BRUTE BEASTS, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

Thus the appropriate "covering" for Adam once the independent human potential was fully formed was an animal skin.

I do not believe that this "serpent" was an outside person permitted to come into the "Garden". At least I do not think so.
More likely the "construct" of Adam himself.

Such could explain why Adam was not deceived. And why he said nothing about taking and eating what Eve gave him. [No, I do not believe that Adam had no Idea what he was eating.]

Compare these two verses:
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by ONE MAN SIN entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

1Jo 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the DEVIL SINNETH FROM THE BEGINNING. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

[[[[[Satan is the covenantally attached construct of the independent human potential that stood in the precedence of types and figures.]]]]]

Jam 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. {When people are arguing and having strife and envying it is their egos that are performing this task. Thus the self defined person. Not the God defined person who is loved unconditionally.}

Jam 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but [is] earthly, sensual,{5591 Beastly} DEVILISH.

Mat 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those THAT BE OF MEN.

Peter was not (in this particular example) denying "himself" and losing "his soul" to find it.

Satan was thus the "god of that age".

"and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil"
"whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them."

This is why "circumcision" was to strategically placed. Apostate Israel turn this into their "idol" and became a brood of snakes. Their "fruit" was poison.

The mark of the "beast" was circumcision in Revelation. On the "forehead" (of the serpent) and on the "right hand" (by an independent human potential IE "made with hands").

Christ was "tempted" by the "god of" that "age". Because He came "under the law" not because his own ego was involved.
On the contrary He knew who He was by God's own voice and had nothing to prove when challenged by "if you are the Son of God then...".

Just some thoughts,

we are all in this together

JL's picture


1) The ancient Greeks also had their creation stories. Their city gods created heavens and earth out of water. Each city had its own patron God, its own law, and its own citizens. You either were a citizen or you were unprotected by the law.

Early Christians had to renounce their city god. In doing so, they renounced their creation story, their law, their citizenship, and their rights. This mad them foreigners in their own cities and unprotected from Jewish persecution.

All creation stories from the time of Christ were covenantal creations.

Except two. Aristotle's steady-state universe. Plato's Unmoved Mover, The Uncreated Creator, The Unknown God.

What was unknown to the Greeks was known to the Jews. Acts 17.

2) I don't know what nature the serpent in Genesis 3 had. That same serpent in Revelation is either Satan in some physical manifestation, a human adversary, or a host of adversaries, the corporate body of the apostate from old covenant Israel. Christian tradition has made both serpents Satan in some vague physical manifestation. Christian tradition has never had a clear answer.

Part of the reason we don't know is we don't know the relationship between Genesis 1:1-2:4 and 2:5ff.

The first is written in the form of an ancient Sumerian temple dedication, but the temple, Heavens and Earth is also the author. It appears to talk of a plural God, Elohim, calling-out a plural people, Heavens and Earth, from another people, The Sea, and cutting a covenant with them. The different experts I've read recognize separate parts of this, but can't or won't put it all together.

The second has a different textual form. It talks of a singular God, Yahweh, forming a singular man Adam and making a covenant with him.

Both texts are written in different narrative forms that were only used by the ancient Sumerian culture which was long extinct by the time of Moses.

Is it authentic? We don't have the original clay tablets. We don't have it written in it's original script. We probably don't even have it in its original language. But every feature of both texts indicate they were first written by a person or people who were there, who actually witnessed the events, over 5000 years ago.

Why do I believe in God? I can't live consistently or even imagine living consistently with the contrary presupposition. Because hundreds of people saw the risen Jesus and went to their deaths rather than deny what they had seen with their own eyes, heard with their own ears, touched with their own hands. Because Jesus promised the sign of his presence, not one stone would be left upon another, and it occurred precisely when Jesus predicted during a short violent interlude of the long Pax Romana. Because creation is so carefully and intricately designed. Because Scripture has proven true. There is no end to the reasons.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Writerx's picture

That's some fascinating info.

Question: Wouldn't the Unknown God the Hebrews had in effect be a city-state God, albeit one stretching back to the foundations of civilization? I'm still a little shaky on the whole "getting from a covenantal God to a celestial universe-origin God" thing. (A side note: I always wondered about how if you buy the theory of evolution––which I'm slowly being convinced of––how is it that we've got basically diddly for 95-250,000 years of homo sapien existence, and then all of the sudden civilization starts 6k years ago; people start inventing things; cities are constructed? What the hell were they waiting for?)

Second thing, what do you suppose the odds are that Satan himself is an idiom? Given that he appears in Genesis and Revelation, which you (and even I, to a certain extent) would take figuratively, the book of Job––which reads like a story, not a history––, and then you get Paul saying things like "I turned him over to Satan," which sure sounds like an idiom to me, that maybe we're looking at it the wrong way?

Sorry for using up so much of your time. When you don't want to indulge my prattling anymore, feel free to say so.


JL's picture


If your city god is the God of the universe, then what's the problem. None of the other city gods dould raise the dead.

I don't buy evolution. The vast majority of the evolutionists here are YECs. Do you mean evolution or do you mean that the physical planet is billions of years old, or both?

If we start with the scenario you've suggested, then we have a lot of possible options. For example, God created a couple homo sapiens and placed them in Africa. They multiply and spread over the entire planet. God then chose a covenant people and chose Adam to be their priest (or sone variation of that theme). He does this right at the time and place that civilization first came into existence. Is it because God gave Adam the tools needed to create civilization? Or is it because God needed civilization to carry out his plan? Or a bit of both?

Satan is a legal term. Accuser, prosecutor, adversary. "Turned him over to the court." We need to consider this carefully.

No problem.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Writerx's picture


"If the city god is the God of the universe, then what's the problem?"

The problem is two things: First, you've got to demonstrate scripturally that God is the god of the universe, else we're sort of playing a guessing game. It begs the question to do otherwise. In this scenario God could very well be a highly advanced space alien who's found some technology to alter physics in ways we've not yet discovered––hence miracles. There's nothing that scripturally mandates God is the origin of the universe if all creation passages refer back to a covenantal origin.

By evolution I mean it in the Richard Dawkins sense of the word. I also stipulate, however, that I've got a lot of questions about the theory. I'm aware of some debates among the scientific community (punctuated equilibrium vs. gradualism, etc.), but since I lack any scientific background, I'm sort of left to take their word for it, but ultimately whatever the future decides on the matter, it wouldn't much alter my perspective on faith or the existence of God.

Just out of curiosity, do you subscribe to OEC or some kind of theistic evolution, then? I'm not sure where you fall on that whole debate.


JL's picture

Acts 17 concerns the creation of the physical universe. Paul declares Jesus to be Plato's Unmoved mover, The Unknown God.

Where did Paul get that from?

I ride with ID.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Barry's picture

Hey JL (and everyone)
Sorry to interrupt or butt in.
Acts 17 concerns the creation of the physical universe.
End quote.

I agree with that. IMHO it speaks of several different levels that Paul has no trouble interchanging or moving from one to another.

The following link contains my take on Acts 17

Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

MiddleKnowledge's picture


You really should read the book...

Tim Martin

Writerx's picture

Lol, I will. Amazon doesn't ship that fast, though, bro...


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