You are hereResponse to Sam Frost’s Critique of Beyond Creation Science

Response to Sam Frost’s Critique of Beyond Creation Science

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By MiddleKnowledge - Posted on 02 December 2008

by Timothy P. Martin
and Jeff Vaughn

We would like to thank Sam Frost for his recent critique of Beyond Creation Science. Frost’s article, “A Brief Analysis of Beyond Creation Science: Some Preliminary Concerns,”[1] covers a lot of ground. We thank Frost for his generous spirit in (1) acknowledging that we have been true to Milton Terry’s approach, (2) agreeing that Genesis 2:4b-ff is covenantal, not global, (3) offering a new argument for a local flood that matches this covenant context in Genesis 2:4b-ff, and (4) illuminating key differences between the Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 creation accounts.and Jeff Vaughn

We would like to thank Sam Frost for his recent critique of Beyond Creation Science. Frost’s article, “A Brief Analysis of Beyond Creation Science: Some Preliminary Concerns,”[1] covers a lot of ground. We thank Frost for his generous spirit in (1) acknowledging that we have been true to Milton Terry’s approach, (2) agreeing that Genesis 2:4b-ff is covenantal, not global, (3) offering a new argument for a local flood that matches this covenant context in Genesis 2:4b-ff, and (4) illuminating key differences between the Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 creation accounts.

The Synthesis

It appears that Frost has met us half-way with his “synthesis” on the creation account in Genesis. We may need further clarification on the finer details of Sam’s alternative to Covenant Creation as presented in BCS, but we will interact with it to the best of our ability.

We understand Frost’s creation model as a “partial Covenant Creation” view of Genesis creation. He argues that “There are two heavens and earths in the Genesis account” (p. 17). Genesis 1:1-2:4a is a literal record of the creation of the physical universe and Genesis 2:4b-ff is a covenant creation of a local Garden that does not deal with all animals, trees and plants on planet Earth. Frost suggests that Genesis 2:4 is a “transition text” that switches subjects from the beginning of the physical universe (Gen.1-2:4a) to the beginning of a heavens and earth connected to man’s relationship to God (Gen. 2:4b-ff). Thus Frost offers a “both-and” approach to creation that ostensibly preserves the belief that the Bible describes the beginning of the physical universe in precise, literal detail and provides a plain narrative of the origination of God’s covenant relationship with man. According to Frost, these are two separate creation accounts that cover completely separate topics. He ends his presentation by stating that the “full Covenant Creation” view presented in BCS is covenantalism “applied too much” or “taken to an extreme” and makes “Genesis 1-11 as some sort of covenantal code book” (p. 19).

Frost’s methodology might seem vaguely familiar to many of our readers. Partial preterists argue that biblical prophecy is divided between both the end of a covenant world and the end of the physical universe as we know it. These partial preterists often complain that full preterism is covenantalism “applied too much” or “taken to an extreme” and makes Revelation “some sort of covenantal code book.” We will examine Frost’s partial covenant creation model in detail later in our response. Following the order of his article, we will first deal with the issue of Milton Terry and the question of hermeneutical principles used to interpret Genesis creation.

Milton Terry and Hermeneutics

Frost is correct that we are indebted to Milton Terry for the Covenant Creation model. He goes on to suggest that Terry was “virtually alone” in his opinion that Genesis 1-11 is “largely to be classified as ‘apocalyptic’” (p. 2).

This may or may not be true, but there were many Hebrew scholars in Terry’s day and many since then who have argued that Genesis creation is poetic, not intended to be taken as a plain-literal, scientific record of the creation of the physical universe. A. Berkeley Mickelsen, a 20th century Hebrew scholar and noted authority on biblical hermeneutics, taught a similar hermeneutic approach to creation in his landmark book on hermeneutics titled Interpreting the Bible (Eerdmans, 1963). Mickelsen devoted a whole chapter, “Descriptive Language of Creation and Climax,” to his conviction that there is an intimate connection between the figurative language of creation and prophecy. It is not hard to see Milton Terry’s work in the background.[2]

Debates over Genesis creation are as fluid on the contemporary scene as debates over prophecy. Current approaches resemble the Covenant Creation view in some ways. The ANE (which stands for Ancient & Near East Cosmology) view of creation (John H. Walton) understands Genesis as a polemic against the creation myths and temple dedications of Moses’ day. This view suggests a covenant purpose and context for Genesis creation. The Literary Framework view (Henri Blocher and Meredith Kline) sees a theological focus in the creation account that does not translate into a literal, sequential account of God’s creation of the universe. Minor views like the Analogical Days interpretation (William G.T. Shedd, Herman Bavinck, and C. John Collins) and the Days of Revelation interpretation (P.J. Wiseman and Donald J. Wiseman) rely on the connection between the language of creation and prophecy. The Covenant Creation view shares many key elements with a wide stream of scholarly interpretations of Genesis.

Frost dismisses any and all competing interpretations of creation as merely the effect of compromise with modern science. Note how Frost argued that Terry applied “apocalyptic” to Genesis creation for one reason and one reason only:

The reason Terry applied apocalyptic to Genesis is not on the basis of Preterism and not on the basis of pure exegesis. He stated his reason quite plainly:

… the discoveries of science have effectually exploded the old notion of the creation of the earth and the heavens in six ordinary days (Biblical Apocalyptics, p. 40) (pp. 2-3)

From this snippet of Terry, Frost makes this sweeping assertion.

Therefore, the overwhelming evidence of science became the basis for his rejection of Genesis 1:11 as an account of detailed history. (p. 3)

Is that true? Frost quoted only a small portion of Terry’s statement and offered absolutely no context. Here is the full paragraph:

It has from ancient times been felt by the most devout and thoughtful interpreters that much in the earlier chapters of Genesis must be understood in some other than literal sense. St. Augustine spoke of the “ineffable days” of creation, and all the common readers since his time have wondered that light should have been separately created three days before the sun. But the discoveries of science have effectually exploded the old notion of the creation of the earth and the heavens in six ordinary days, and for more than a hundred years expositors have been striving to adjust the statements of the first chapter of Genesis to the well-ascertained facts of geology and astronomy.

Does Terry’s statement not appear quite different from what Frost presented? Note that Terry never offered science as the “one and only” reason for his approach (as Frost charged). Frost also failed to mention that Terry viewed his own hermeneutic as building on the ancient symbolic approach to creation common in the early church. Frost’s statements above are deceptive. Terry says his symbolic approach is in line with ancient church teaching (particularly Augustine). Terry spent much of his book arguing against any method of interpreting Genesis creation in terms of modern science. In the following chapters, Terry argued against those very same expositors who strove “to adjust the statements of the first chapter of Genesis to the well-ascertained facts of geology and astronomy”! Frost has not dealt honestly with Terry on this point.

Next Frost conscripts his abbreviated quotation from Terry as “proof” that the modern YEC (young earth creationism) view does not spring from Ellen G. White and the Adventists:

Terry, writing in 1889 [sic – 1898], spoke of the “old notion” of the Young Earth Creationist view (YEC), yet one of the premises of Martin and Vaughn is that YEC did not exist prior to Ellen G. White.

Our chapter which documents the role of White and the Adventists in developing the modern YEC movement is available online.[3] Frost is simply mistaken. We did not argue no belief in a young earth existed before White. We did show how the modern system popularly known as YEC comes directly from the visions of White and writings of George McCready Price. It is this form of YEC, held by millions of conservatives today that we target in BCS. Ironically, a few years ago Frost acknowledged the “unprecedented” role Adventists played in modern views of Genesis:

My step-father, rest in peace, was a Seventh Day Adventist.  Say what you will about them (my dad was a godly man), their work on Genesis is unprecedented.[4]

Our historical investigation merely confirms Frost’s comment. The “old notion” of creation in six ordinary days in Terry’s statement is likely an allusion to the shift that took place at the Reformation. Luther broke tradition with the church fathers before him by insisting that the days of Genesis 1 were intended to be interpreted literally as 24-hour days. In Luther’s own words:

We must understand that these days were actual days (vero dies), contrary to the opinion of the holy fathers. (What Martin Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology for the Active, Concordia, 1986, p. 1523; see BCS pp. 246-248)

Luther’s Reformation brought widespread popularity to the plain-literal, 24-hour day view of Genesis 1. Luther wrote more than 300 years before Terry, plenty of time for his literal days approach to be considered an “old notion” by Terry. The 24-hour day view is old, from Terry’s perspective, but Terry’s symbolic approach is ancient.

Frost's confusion is compounded in that he does not seem to realize that, historically, literal days alone cannot be automatically equated with YEC views. Many conservatives held the Gap Theory in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They accepted 24-hour days as part of their old-earth beliefs. This approach continues today with the work of John Sailhamer who holds an old earth view while advocating a 24-hour day interpretation.[5] It was the widespread acceptance of Adventist teaching on Genesis that made 24-hour day interpretation synonymous with YEC on the contemporary scene. Bernard Ramm was quite clear on this matter. In 1954, the conservative church held a variety of views, but young-earth creationism was unknown outside the Adventist Church.[6]

Frost next makes a curious statement:

It may not be the case that Martin and Vaughn start with Science, but argue, rather, that they start with the Bible (in fact, they deny that they start with the word of God – instead they start with “the Trinitarian nature of God himself” – this rather problematic epistemic must be countered separately – p. 383)…. Either Terry is inconsistent, or Martin and Vaughn are – or perhaps, both parties are. (p. 3)

Frost references chapter 19 of BCS titled “The Test of Truth.” The subject of that chapter is not our views of creation, interpretation of Genesis, or prophecy, but “The Test of Truth.” How Frost rips that statement out of the context of that chapter (at the back of the book under a heading titled “The Ultimate Source of the Test of Truth” no less!) and applies it to our entire approach to Genesis baffles us. Readers may agree or disagree with our presentation in chapter 19, but we made a biblical case for our conclusions regarding Genesis creation, as did Terry before us. Frost brings in matters of philosophy and modern science when he should focus on the biblical case we presented all through the book.

Classifying “Genre”

The next section is the most technical part of Frost’s article. Frost explains the difference between biblical genres including prose (“just the facts, ma’am” - p. 3), poetic (which use Hebrew parallelism – p. 4), and formal apocalyptic (involving seven marked features – pp. 4-5). Frost’s criticism of BCS is that Genesis creation can only be considered plain historical narrative because the grammar (waw consecutive) of the Hebrew is “straight monologue” (p. 5). Frost then summarizes his argument:

An honest reader of the opening narrative of Genesis will find none of these elements that are so consistently found in apocalyptic literature…. There is, however, every element of “straight monologue.” In other words, historical narrative. To ignore the overwhelming definition and classifying elements that make an apocalypse what it is, and to continue to insist that Genesis is apocalyptic, is mistaken. (p. 5).

The problem is that Frost is working from a formal and narrow definition of apocalyptic. Terry acknowledged that his wider definition was not the standard in his day, but that it was useful for the internal study of Scripture. In his own words:

Apocalypse is to be understood especially of a heavenly disclosure, in the reception of which the man is comparatively passive… He who receives an apocalypse sees, hears, feels, realizes in some way that the “hand of God” is upon him, making known within his soul what was not thus known before. (BA, p. 12)

The ideal character of Gen i, 1-ii, 3, may be quite naturally inferred as much from its artificial symmetry of structure as from the peculiar style of its contents. The six days are set over against one another in two sets of triads, the first day corresponding noticeably with the fourth, the second with the fifth, and the third with the sixth…. [T]he narrative may be of the most simple prosaic style, and yet present an ideal picture [emphasis ours]. (BA, pp. 43-44)

It is as truly a sevenfold revelation of a beginning as the Apocalypse of John is a mystic revelation of an end. (BA p. 44)

Terry did not argue his approach from the grammar (see BA p. 44). He made his case from the character of the text and contents found within the text. We explained our similar approach in BCS:

We use the term “apocalyptic” in this book in a wider, more general sense than the technical definition applied by modern scholars to Jewish writings of the intertestament period. (BCS p. 271)

That Frost does not agree with our definition of apocalyptic is irrelevant to our case that symbolic images and details are prevalent in early Genesis. Note that Frost said nothing about the parallel structure ordering the days of Genesis 1 in a double pattern. Days 1-3 clearly relate to Days 4-6 (see BCS p. 283). This is a poetic, chiastic structure with conceptual parallelism. Frost agreed with Hebrew authorities that: “The dominant structure in Hebrew poetry is parallelism” (p. 4). Hence, on Frost’s own terms, the claim that Genesis 1 is poetic is legitimate. The literary structure of Genesis 1 indicates something very different than “just the facts, ma’am” kind of writing.

In fact, Frost never dealt with any of the details we examined that indicate the text communicates through symbolism. Frost did not mention, for example, the creation source for biblical prophecy, the connection between the seven days of Genesis creation and the matching de-creation week in Revelation. Nor did he struggle with the fact that cherubim mentioned in Genesis 3 are found only in prophetic texts or symbolic/typological texts elsewhere in Scripture. Another detail we presented is the long life-spans in the early chapters of Genesis which follow a numerological pattern and match long life-spans in prophecy.[7]

Frost would dismiss this investigation of the contents of early Genesis and their relation to the rest of Scripture because the grammar does not match his formal definition of apocalyptic. This is a bad argument for a couple of reasons. Firstly, Genesis pre-dates the formal apocalyptic writings by many hundreds of years (see BCS, pp. 237-239). It is an anachronism to force that narrow definition back on Genesis which, in our view, introduces all the symbolic elements of biblical prophecy. Secondly, Frost agrees that the early chapters of Genesis contain apocalyptic! He agrees with us that Genesis 2:23b is poetic/apocalyptic (p. 6). He also agrees that Genesis 3:15 is poetic/apocalyptic (p. 7). Yet, neither of these texts fit the seven-fold criteria standard for formal apocalyptic! Frost believes this is acceptable because of a recognizable change in Hebrew syntax. But what about the recognizable elements in Genesis that connect to prophetic portions of Scripture? It seems that Frost has completely ignored our case.

Let us consider the text from his perspective for a moment. Can Frost’s approach work? The very fact that Frost agrees with us (as well as David Chilton and Milton Terry) that Genesis 3:15 is apocalyptic creates a major problem:

For example, citing Genesis 3.15, we find waw-consecutives throughout 3.1-14 – straight forward historical narrative, then, as we should expect, if 3.15 is “prophetic”, it will be marked within the framework as being such.  And it is.  3.15 begins with a conjunction (waw) and a noun followed by a verb (“And enmity I will put between you and between the woman and between your seed and between her seed.  He shall bruise (imperfect, no conjunction) you.  Head! And you (conjunction with noun) shall bruise him (imperfect, no conjunction). Heel!” (my translation).  This proves my point above about the nature of Biblical Hebrew.  It marks out poetry, prophecy within a historical narrative so that we understand this is not necessarily literal, but could be metaphorical at this spot.  The syntax here is notably broken from the flow of the waw consecutive narrative. (p. 7)

We suspect that Frost knows he must grant some symbolism in Genesis 3 to defend his preterism. Taking the curse “literally” (like he insists we should take the rest of the account) would mean that physical thorns and thistles began at the fall (3:18), as well as human sweat (3:19) and biological death (3:19). Taking Genesis that literally would imply that God’s redemption has not yet been completed in Christ because biological death, physical sweat, thorns and thistles are all still very much with us!

Frost is also aware that Daniel prophesied a resurrection of “those who sleep in the dust of the earth” (Dan. 12:2). Frost agrees that Daniel 12 does not refer to “casket” resurrection, a biological resurrection of physical corpses. Yet Daniel draws from the language of Genesis 3:19: “For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” A literal reading of Genesis 3:15-18 would refute preterism.

Readers should understand that Frost’s YEC preterism requires a severe interpretive tension. Frost needs to take the text “literally” in order to defend his YEC beliefs, but immediately demands a covenant/spiritual symbolic interpretation at points where raw literalism would contradict preterism. Thus Frost presents a partial-apocalyptic interpretation to force his YEC and preterist beliefs to co-exist. How will this ever be convincing to millions of YEC futurists who are futurists precisely because of their consistent literalism in Genesis 3?

Now consider the problems Frost’s method creates. Eve’s temptation by the serpent and the sin contain the waw-consecutives, but the punishment does not. According to Frost we have literal details recorded in a plain historical and physical account followed by an apocalyptic curse; a literal man and woman receive an apocalyptic punishment in Gen. 3:16-19; a literal serpent is replaced with an apocalyptic serpent in Gen. 3:15. Can the text really be divided like this?

Frost has a physical serpent at the start of the narrative, yet turns God’s judgment of the serpent into a judgment of something else in v. 15 This partial-apocalyptic approach disjoints the story and leads to confusion in determining who or what is being judged (something other than what Gen. 3:1-14 account is about?!). Though we do not doubt the irregularity of the Hebrew, Frost’s method is impossible because this serpent introduced in Genesis is the subject of prophecy in Revelation. John reaches all the way back into Genesis when he says:

So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan… (Rev. 12:9 NKJ)

The problem with defining everything in Genesis by grammar, as Frost insists, is that grammar does not take into consideration wider connections in Scripture. Frost is so focused on the grammar trees that he appears to miss the symbol forest in Genesis. An inspection of the grammar alone is far too narrow to determine the nature of creation texts. Consider this “grammar-only” approach to interpreting Genesis offered by Answers in Genesis, a leading YEC organization:

It is true that Adam and Eve didn’t die the exact day they ate the fruit (Genesis 5:4–5) as some seem to think Genesis 2:17 implies. So, the options are either God was in error or man’s interpretation is in error. But God cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18), so then fallible humans must be making the mistake. Let’s take a look at where the confusion begins to arise. The Hebrew phrase in English is more literally:

“Tree knowledge good evil eat day eat die (dying) die”

The Hebrew is “die die” (muwthmuwth) with two different verb tenses (dying and die), which can be translated as “surely die” or literally as “dying you shall die,” indicating the beginning of dying—an ingressive sense—and finally culminating with death. At the point when they ate, Adam and Eve began to die and would return to dust (Genesis 3:19). If they were meant to die right then, God would have used muwth only once, as is used in the Hebrew to mean dead, died, or die, not beginning to die or surely die as die-die is used in Hebrew. Old Testament authors understood this and used the terms appropriately, but sometimes we lose a little during translation.[8]

Phew!! Perhaps we should all end this conversation because the grammar in Genesis refutes full preterism! But the article quoted above offers no consideration for the covenant context of the death introduced in Genesis. Nor is there any investigation of how the rest of Scripture (including the New Testament) references this death. The grammar alone settles the question for these young-earth creationists. Too bad for us full preterists!

The thematic, motif, and symbolic connections between Genesis and prophecy call for consistent interpretation. These connections between Genesis and prophecy are well-known. Here is another example Frost ignored. We spoke about “light without the sun” as a connection between Genesis and Revelation in BCS pp. 291-294. Consider how YEC advocates are consistent:

The traditional understanding is that on the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars simply replaced the primordial light of day 1, which was light of the Spirit and glory of God. Eventually, the sun, moon, and stars will be gone, because the firmament-boundary between heaven and earth will be gone and the light of the Spirit of Christ will return as the light of the cosmos (Rev. 21:23). In the meantime, the firmament stands between us and God while we live out the course of history by faith and not by sight, “under the sun,” as the book of Ecclesiastes tells us. (Jordan, Creation in Six Days, pp. 165-166)

Thus, William reasons, the luminaries in the firmament are only temporary. They were not there in the beginning, and they will not be there at the end. He remembers that this is just what Revelation 21:23 and 22:5 say. (Jordan, Creation in Six Days, p. 16)

Covenant Creation is rooted in the belief that the “traditional” YEC-futurist view has the framework exactly right. We work within the framework of well-tested, widely accepted theology. We are convinced that Christian theology has rightly understood an inescapable connection between the beginning and the end. We say “stick with the framework.” The real error is the physical-universe definition of both creation and new creation held by majority views of creation and prophecy.

In order to maintain his YEC view of Genesis with his full preterist view of Revelation, Frost must argue that there is no real connection between the details of Genesis 1 and what we find in Revelation 21-22.[9] Frost says Genesis 1 is dealing with the physical universe. Revelation is talking about “new heaven and new earth” which is not a new physical universe. Frost provides a “partial Covenant Creation” model and then declares any attempt to integrate Genesis 1 with the consummation at the end of Revelation “off limits” by definition.

Frost divides Genesis 1 from Revelation, yet John is clearly writing with Genesis creation in mind. Are we to believe the resemblance (light without sun and moon) between the “beginning” and the “end” is pure coincidence? No. John drew his imagery directly from Genesis 1. If Frost’s YEC views are right, then John utilizes thematic elements of Genesis creation in a way that the original plain-meaning of Genesis 1 never intended. Wouldn’t it be much better to say that John worked with a symbolic or covenantal-spiritual understanding of Genesis creation because that is precisely the nature and focus of original creation? Terry taught that the Bible is a self-interpreting book. That means we must pay close attention to how the biblical writers use the creation accounts in their writings.

A narrow, grammar-only critique of our symbolic-apocalyptic interpretation, though it might fit the academic work of the liberal German scholar Hermann Gunkel, completely misses how the details in Genesis creation are used throughout the rest of Scripture. The reason Terry came to the conclusions he did was because he was dead serious about letting Scripture interpret Scripture, a lesson most modern scholars have yet to seriously put into practice. Yet Frost wants to define textual issues according to their terms!

This section of Frost’s article continues with more confusion. Speaking on our discussion of evening and morning in Genesis 1 Frost states:

If “day” is symbolic of “unspecified time,” then Martin and Vaughn have fallen into the same trap as the “day-age” theorists, who do believe that Genesis is speaking in terms of a scientific cosmogony (that is, they try to fuse Genesis 1 with science)! (p. 8)

We are baffled. Our whole point of presenting Covenant Creation in BCS is that the creation text is not speaking literally about the creation of the physical universe. Frost’s point above applies only if we claim Genesis speaks about the physical universe, the very point we deny in BCS. How we get lumped in with Day-Age methods because of our non-literal view of the creation days is beyond us.

The final criticism of this section is related to Daniel 8:26. We argued that the Hebrew in Daniel 8:26, “evening and morning,” is identical to the phrase used in Genesis 1. This not only connects the language of Genesis 1 to another text that is widely accepted as apocalyptic, it also draws a link between original creation and the subject of the prophecy in Daniel 8 – the new creation. Frost complains:

However, as one that is familiar with Hebrew, their conclusion here violates a well known rule… This is an adjectival use of a number. The plurality of the number transfers to the singularity of the noun, therefore, the translations, “evenings and mornings” (plural) are grammatically correct.

We do not know Hebrew, but what we find interesting is that, apparently, some renowned Hebrew scholars know nothing of this “well known rule.” We quoted the KJV which translated “evening and morning” as singular, just like Genesis 1. Note how James Jordan translates the passage in question:

And he said unto me, “Until evening and morning two thousand and three hundred; and a sanctuary will be vindicated.” (Dan. 8:14 – Jordan, Handwriting on the Wall, p. 411)

And the vision of the evening and morning that has been told: it is true. And as for you, seal up the vision, because it belongs to many days. (Dan. 8:26 – Jordan, Handwriting on the Wall, p. 413)

Jordan’s translation highlights our point. Is Jordan not familiar with Hebrew? It seems odd that Jordan would miss such an elementary detail if Frost’s claim is the whole story on Hebrew grammar. Another Hebrew scholar who “missed it” according to Frost is Eugene Peterson:

The other answered, “Over the course of 2,300 sacrifices, evening and morning. Then the Sanctuary will be set right again.” (Dan. 8:14 – The Message)

This vision of the 2,300 sacrifices, evening and morning, is accurate but confidential. (Dan 8:26 – The Message)

Consider how translations as diverse as the old King James and the new Message as well as scholarly work on Daniel all confirm our case in BCS pp. 284-285.

Regardless of the translation point in question we see a recurrence of the same problem in Frost’s criticism. Frost’s narrow focus on Hebrew grammar, again, distracts him from a much bigger issue we raised in the book (BCS p. 284). From where did Daniel’s language of “evening and morning” originate? That Hebrew phrase, “evening and morning” comes directly out of Genesis 1! Preterists understand that Daniel refers to the time that God would create “new heavens and a new earth” (Is. 65:17). Why would Daniel’s prophecy allude back to creation? We suggest it is because the subject of the prophecy is the time of the new covenant, a new creation. “Evening and morning,” a rare phrase in Hebrew, would bring the reader’s mind back to original creation. Frost needs deal with the wider connection between Genesis creation and eschatology we find sprinkled throughout Scripture.


Alleged Contradictions: Genesis 1 and 2


Next Frost argues against a section on p. 254 in BCS titled “Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2, Literally.” From this section, barely over one page in length, Frost writes:

Another major point in the work of Martin and Vaughn is that there is a contradiction between the sequence of creation events in Genesis 1 and chapter 2. (p. 10)

We sense a bit of exaggeration here. We made a “major point” in our book in barely 1 page of text? This minor section in the introductory chapter on Creation titled “The Great Creation Debate” was not presenting our views of the relationship between Genesis 1 and 2. It was intended to challenge our audience on an issue rarely discussed in YEC material.

Modern YEC advocates usually understand the scope and detail of both accounts as global. They sometimes say that Genesis 2 deals with the specific location of Adam and Eve on planet Earth, but they teach that Adam named all the animals God created in Genesis 1, not a few domesticated animals that God might bring inside the Garden! And certainly not merely sacrificial animals used in the Tabernacle/Temple (as Frost suggests later in his article). According to the modern YEC view, Adam names representative kinds of all the animals that he had been given dominion over in Genesis 1:28.[10]

These same YEC advocates also insist, following Adventist doctrine, that the entire world was a garden before the fall. They teach that biological death did not exist before the fall anywhere, not just in the Garden, but across planet Earth. (This is why they insist that the fossil record must have been created during the flood, since no biological death could exist on planet Earth before Adam and Eve sinned). They teach that the account of the fall, which took place in the Garden, resulted in changes all across the world. These are the common conceptions of Genesis 1 and 2 which we were challenging in that section (BCS p. 254). And our points apply in this dual global context given modern YEC assumptions about Genesis creation.

Frost uses this section in BCS to launch into his charge that our view introduces a contradiction in Scripture. However, he did not read our material very carefully. We agree with his point that Genesis 1 and 2 are distinct, non-contradictory accounts. We explained this in later sections that presented our view of creation:

Recapitulation takes a theme or subject already introduced and expands on the important or leading feature. Recapitulation zooms in for a closer look…. The double pattern is manifested in the two accounts of creation, Genesis 1:1-2:4 and Genesis 2:5-25. (BCS p. 282)

You would never know this by reading his article, but our material on creation presented a general view of two distinct but related accounts of creation. Consider the similarity of our quote from BCS above to what Frost wrote:

Genesis 2 is an expansion of 1. This is typical in biblical literature. (p. 12)

Yes, it is typical in apocalyptic portions of Scripture. Take Daniel for example. The sequence of four kingdoms is introduced in Daniel 2 and the rest of the book is given over to prophecies expanding on the details of this sequence from various points of view. At one point in Daniel Greece is a leopard (Dan. 7:6). In the next chapter Greece is a goat (Dan. 8:5-12, 21). Same Greece. To the logician’s mind this would be a contradiction. Is Greece a leopard or is Greece a goat? What about the law of non-contradiction? Frost’s stated concern about “contradiction” in apocalyptic results from a failure to appreciate the artistic and poetic flexibility demonstrated by the biblical writers. The same type of introduction – expansion is common in the book of Revelation as well. The wider implications of these kinds of structural details in Genesis are not evaluated in Frost’s critique of BCS.

Frost missed our point in this one-page section (BCS p. 254) under the heading “Genesis 1 vs. Genesis 2, Literally.” It appears he is not aware of the assumed global context of our intended audience’s views, which we were challenging. If he had read carefully a little further he would have seen how our approach recognizes that there are two distinct accounts in creation and there is no contradiction between them. As it is, Frost mounts his war horse to attack the well-documented views of his modern YEC allies.

Exegetical Considerations between Gen. 1 and 2

This section in Frost’s article is given over to his explanation of the two accounts of creation and introduces his view that these two accounts are separate and reference two different heavens and earths.

2:4b starts another narrative, a narrative not about The Heavens and The Earth, but earth and heavens. It is an account of when God made an earth and a heavens distinct from The Earth and The Heavens. (p. 13)

Frost’s model has Genesis 1:1-2:4a as a literal record of God’s creation of the physical universe and Genesis 2:4b-ff as a literal record of as the formation of a covenant world manifested in the local Garden scene. According to Frost, Genesis creation is partially about the creation of the physical universe and partially about the formation of a covenant world in relationship to God. Genesis 2:4 is a “transition text” between these two separate subjects.

There are many details in this section with which we agree. Frost shows that there is Tabernacle/Temple background involved in Genesis 2 (p. 14). The genius of this insight is that it places the context where “the death” originates inside the inner courts of God’s Tabernacle/Temple dwelling place. That is, spiritual life and spiritual death is in view in Genesis 2. Frost also makes a remarkable observation about the creation week in terms of redemptive history. Speaking of the man’s creation he writes:

It is God’s capstone achievement at the end or last day of creating – heaven coming to earth/God dwelling with Man – the Glory of the Lord coming down on the last day to raise man from the dust and place him in His Temple/City/Paradise followed by a rest from works. (p. 15)

This example from Frost would fit perfectly in our chapter titled “The Prophetic Creation.” It is a great insight into Genesis 1. In fact, this is a profound application of a point we made that “There is a sense in which all covenant history is prophetically bound up in the creation week” (BCS p. 283). Frost’s example, however, points to a covenant purpose and focus for the creation week that is quite different than his supposed plain-literal explanation of the origination of the physical universe. Frost’s insight demonstrates how the creation week is focused on covenant history.

Frost also noted that paradise has no reference to sea creatures:

(note the fish are not mentioned – the Levitical sacrifices did not have fish offerings, but they did have “birds” and various “animals”). (p. 15)

We agree with his insight regarding the Temple/Tabernacle context of Genesis 2. We are also in general agreement with Frost that a contrast exists between the two accounts of Genesis creation. To his distinctions we would add that that the land “rose up” in Genesis 1:9-10, whereas the water “rose up” in Genesis 2:6. Another contrast is the name of God is different in the two accounts. Elohim, the name of God used by Gentiles in the OT, is present in Genesis 1 and Yahweh, the covenant-name of God revealed to Israel, is present in Genesis 2.

The emphasis is different in the two accounts; that much is clear. But does this imply, as Frost insists, that there are two separate “heavens and earths” involved? Is Genesis 2:4 a “transition text” that takes us from the subject of the physical universe to a separate, covenantal heavens and earth?

Frost makes his initial argument based on, again, the grammar of Genesis 2:4 which he translates as:

These are the origins of The Heavens and The Earth in their being created, When the LORD God made an earth and a heavens: (p. 13)

Frost notes the inversion of the order (heavens and earth, earth and heavens) as well as the presence of the article “the” before the two nouns “heavens” and “earth.” Frost capitalized the first set along with the articles but did not capitalize the second set to highlight his distinction. Of course, the capitalization is not in the Hebrew text but supplied by Frost.

The first problem is that the Septuagint (LXX) explicitly contradicts Frost’s model:

This is the book of the origin of heaven and earth, when it originated on the day that God made the heaven and the earth. (Gen 2:4 LXX NETS[11]; emphasis ours)

Notice the various “heaven and earth” phrases. Concerning the article “the,” the LXX has the phrases exactly reversed from Frost’s translation above. The LXX also duplicated the order, “heaven” and then “earth” in both parts of 2:4. These are major problems for Frost. He even cited Genesis 2:4 (LXX) when he made an argument against a point in BCS and claimed “the Hebrew translators of the LXX knew better” (p. 13). Well, the Hebrew translators knew nothing of Frost’s distinction of two heavens and earths differentiated by the article and arrangement! We find it difficult to believe Frost did not notice these problems when he consulted the LXX on Genesis 2:4. Why didn’t Frost tell his audience that the LXX explicitly contradicts his model?

Frost’s entire review starts from the presupposition that Genesis creation can only be plain historical narrative. We believe that this presupposition causes him to miss something very important in the Hebrew. Consider another way to look at Genesis 2:4:

Genesis 2:4 has an interesting literary structure in Hebrew, a structure that we find very often in the Bible. The structure is called a chiasm or palistrophe, and is characterized by parallelism arranged in a sandwich pattern, like ABCBA, or ABBA, or ABCDEFFEDCBA, etc. Here is Genesis 2:4 as we find it in Hebrew:

A. These are the generations of the heavens

    B. And the earth

        C. In their creation

            D. In the day

        C’. The Lord God made

    B’. Earth

A’. And heavens.

(James Jordan, Trees and Thorns: Studies in Genesis 2-4, 2005, p.5)

Chiastic structure is a well known feature of apocalyptic, and this structure points to more parallelism in the creation account. But if the structure of 2:4 is poetic, then the two references to “heavens” and “earth” in this arrangement preclude the possibility that two entirely different subjects are in view. Chiasm works by “rhyming” unified subjects. The poetic structure is not compatible with the notion that the account switches subjects from one “heavens and earth” to an entirely separate “heavens and earth.”

Frost’s next line of argumentation for his “two heavens and earths” view is based on contrasting the Hebrew verb bara against asah. Frost seems to understand bara as a reference to “creating” and asah as a reference to “making” or “forming” out of what already pre-existed:

2.5-ff relates to “making” (ash) of an earth and a heavens, not the “creating” (bra) of The Heavens and The Earth. (p. 14)

Genesis 2, therefore, is…. the specific formation (not creation) of the Paradise of God on The Earth on the sixth day. (p. 15)

Once again, Frost has overlooked major textual problems. Bara is used in Genesis 1 in reference only to the “heavens and earth” (1:1), the creatures of the sea (1:21), and man (3 times in 1:27). Following the logic of Frost’s argument here, nothing else in Genesis 1 was “created”! For example, the luminaries were not “created” (bara) but were “formed” (asah) on the fourth day in Genesis 1:16.

The predominant Hebrew word used for God’s creation in Genesis 1 is not bara, but asah (1:7, 11, 12, 16, 25, 26, 31). This raises an obvious question. Why would Frost insist that these examples must be understood as “creation,” but the same word in Genesis 2 should not be understood as “creation”? The grammar does not bear this out. Frost’s partial Covenant Creation view employs an arbitrary and inconsistent method. He requires asah to reference “forming” or “making” in terms of covenant purposes of something already “created” in Genesis 2, and yet demands that the details in Genesis 1, which also use asah, speak of original creation! The use of bara and asah in Genesis 1-2 does not even remotely fit Frost’s model.

The next problem for Frost is how biblical prophecy speaks about “new heavens and new earth”:

For behold, I create [bara] new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. (Is. 65:17 NKJ)

Can it be any more obvious that Isaiah draws from Genesis 1:1? The order, “heavens” and “earth,” is identical to 1:1. Even more remarkable is the fact that Isaiah used the same Hebrew verb for “create” (though future tense) as we found in Genesis 1:1: bara. If Frost were to consistently apply his method, then he would conclude that a physical fulfillment of Isaiah 65 remains in our future.[12]

Of course, Isaiah 65 is not talking about a new physical creation in any sense. Isaiah speaks of a new covenant creation. The parallel between Genesis 1:1 and Isaiah 65:17 shows the end result of Frost’s YEC commitment. Frost is, again, forced to resort to a partial Covenant Creation method to argue that Genesis 1:1 refers to the origin of the physical universe, but Isaiah 65:17 refers to a new covenantal heavens and earth even though the language is identical.

In the wider picture, Frost’s model is impossible for another reason. Genesis 1 is as integral to biblical prophecy as is Genesis 2. The sea (which Frost agrees is nowhere in view in Genesis 2 – p. 15) is a prominent theme in 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 viewed through Isaiah 65. (Isaiah 65 implies no sea would exist in the new heaven and new earth; the sea is absent.) Genesis 1 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 in Revelation 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.

Frost claims that the background for Genesis 2 is the Tabernacle/Temple. He noted that there are no fish involved in this covenant context:

(note the fish are not mentioned – the Levitical sacrifices did not have fish offerings, but they did have “birds” and various “animals”). (p. 15)

If the Tabernacle/Temple is the background, then Frost has a major problem. The architecture of the Tabernacle/Temple included the sea! Yet there is no sea in Genesis 2. Where is the background of the sea in Genesis creation? That background is found only in Genesis 1 which tells us about God’s creation of the sea and creatures of the sea.

What Frost has missed with his model is that the contrast between Genesis 1 and 2 is not between two separate heavens and earths, the physical universe and the covenantal heavens and earth in some sort of partial Covenant Creation scheme. Both creation texts relate to the one “heavens and earth” of God’s creation from two perspectives. Genesis 1 corresponds to the outer courts of the Tabernacle/Temple, including symbolism related to the Gentiles (hence the use of Elohim), whereas Genesis 2 is focused on the inner court and holy of holies, correlating to the Garden (hence the use of Yahweh). The Tabernacle/Temple motif lies not merely behind Genesis 2; it also lies behind Genesis 1.

The text tells us this in Frost’s own terms. We mentioned above that the luminaries were “formed” [asah not bara] on Day 4 (Gen. 1:16). The text explicitly gives a worship background as introduction to the “forming” of the sun, moon, and stars: “let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years” (Gen. 1:14). This relates to old covenant worship in the old creation:

The sun and moon were to function for man for seasons. By an analysis of the usage of the word seasons Maunder indicates that it means religious seasons, not the four seasons of the year. The position of the sun indicated the various times for daily sacrifices, and the position of the moon for monthly sacrifices. Seven was very important in the whole Jewish economy and it figured in their astronomy and religious seasons. (Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture, p. 97; see also BCS p. 293-294)

Stars are for signs primarily. Festival times in the Old Creation were governed by the moon (first month, fourteenth day, etc.). The sun determines days and years. (Jordan, Creation in Six Days, p. 212)

By suggesting that the Tabernacle/Temple is the background of creation in Genesis 2, Frost has unwittingly affirmed the full Covenant Creation view. His partial Covenant Creation view (applied only to Gen. 2:4b-ff) is impossible because it presents only one segment of the Tabernacle/Temple scene, the inner courts and holy of holies. Genesis 1 completes the full picture. Here we find the sea (corresponding to the outer courts of the Gentiles); this is the “big picture” of the worship system (involving animal sacrifices, etc.) that God ordained for the entire old covenant age, the old covenant creation.

The subject of Genesis 1 is as clearly God’s covenant people formed in worship as is the subject of Genesis 2:

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

Note how the “host” is associated with the “the heavens and the earth.” English translations interpret “host” in a variety of ways, but the underlying Hebrew word for “host” is a common Hebrew word which is used often in reference to all of God’s people. Israel came up out of Egypt a mixed multitude, 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 all 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 holy people. The universal picture (covenantally speaking) of Genesis 1 anticipates, as did the Tabernacle and Temple architecture, united Jew and Gentile worship around the One true God.

All of creation is covenantal. The prophets and apostles made no distinction between two supposed “heavens and earths” in Genesis. The details of Genesis 1 and 2 are both referenced as covenant context in such passages as Deuteronomy. 32:1, 10-11, Isaiah 51:13-16, and Jeremiah 4:23ff (see BCS pp. 328-330). Only the full Covenant Creation view can explain the sea-context so prominent at key points like Revelation 20:13 and 21:1. What Genesis 1-3 does, Revelation 20-22 undoes, because God created “a new heaven and new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea” (Rev. 21:1 NJK). The entire old creation was dissolved at the consummation, the full manifestation of the new creation. Covenant Eschatology demands Covenant Creation.

2 Peter 3 Considered

This final section in Frost’s review is very difficult to follow from a casual reading. We need the reader to grasp clearly what Frost has concluded in order for us to effectively interact with his criticism of BCS.

Frost’s view of 2 Peter 3 is absolutely central to his entire model. Along with a few other preterist critics of BCS, Frost believes that 2 Peter 3 says “a” heavens and earth was destroyed by the flood. Frost goes on to suggest that another completely separate heavens and earth was awaiting destruction by fire in Peter’s day. That is, covenant history is broken up into a series of heavens and earths. The last of these heavens and earths in the old covenant age was, in Peter’s day, slated for destruction by fire. This concept of a series of heavens and earths forms the wider context for Frost’s conclusions.

Frost’s fundamental belief, to be defended at all costs, is Genesis 1 is a literal account of the creation of the physical universe. Frost’s unique YEC view rests entirely on that foundation. However, Frost’s series of heavens and earths means there must also be “a” heavens and earth to be destroyed by the flood. Since the physical universe (as everyone, including the futurist, agrees) was not destroyed by the flood, Frost needs to demonstrate the existence of another heavens and earth between Genesis 1 and the flood recorded in Genesis 6-9. As we have seen, Frost finds this second, distinct “heavens and earth” in Genesis 2 with the description of the Garden; Genesis 2:4, the supposed “transition text,” takes us from “the” heavens and earth (physical universe) to “a” heavens and earth (local-covenantal). Frost’s YEC beliefs, combined with his series of heavens and earths drawn from his reading of 2 Peter 3, force him to claim “There are two heavens and earths in the Genesis account, just as there must be two heavens and earths in Peter’s account.” (p. 17).

Frost’s model provides “a” heavens and earth that, physically speaking, could be destroyed in the flood. That is, “a” heavens and earth that is completely separate from “the” heavens and earth of Genesis 1. What was destroyed by the flood according to Frost? He has only two choices available by the time of the flood: the physical universe (Genesis 1) or the Garden (Genesis 2). Frost picks the local option from his own model:

We can, therefore, by all means conclude that this heaven and earth was certainly destroyed and perished. But, as we have seen above, this earth and heavens is not the same as The Earth and The Heavens of Genesis 1. (p. 17)

It is Frost’s “two heavens and earths” model that leads him to his “Garden View” of the flood.

We are not to suppose, then, that every single genus of the first animals and fish entered into this Garden – and neither are we to suppose that this was the case with Noah’s arc. (p. 15)

The Paradise of God is what “perished” in the flood: the Garden, the Tree of Life, the gold, the East Gate all “perished” and was “destroyed.” (p. 17)

Frost views the flood destruction in the same context as the Tabernacle/Temple scene of Genesis 2, which Frost earlier stated is not global. (Frost argued for a local context of Genesis 2 to avoid any conflict with his supposed physical-universe context of Genesis 1- see Frost, pp. 12-15). The above comments surprise us because Frost has defended a global flood for years. Yet, with no fanfare he now appears to accept a local flood judgment related to a covenant context, roughly paralleling the views expressed in BCS pp. 111-187. (Frost’s review has no critical comments of the portion of BCS that develops the case for a local/covenantal Genesis flood.) If the animals that entered the ark were not the same as all the animals of God’s original creation in Genesis 1, then the flood was limited to a covenant context. This should be a newsflash. Frost has affirmed a local flood in Genesis! [13]

We want to take a moment to thank Frost for this concession. Genesis teaches a local flood. We hope our readers, as well as advocates in the modern YEC movement, will notice something very significant here. Full Preterists, both YEC and OEC, now teach publicly that the Genesis flood was not a global judgment, but a covenant judgment related to a covenant context. Frost has vindicated a local flood view similar to what was presented in BCS. Frost’s model would lead preterists who embrace his views to abandon (and argue against) the global flood view at the heart of the modern YEC movement. Preterism refutes a global flood according to Sam Frost.

We expect many readers will find Frost’s presentation odd as they think through the implications. The Tree of Life destroyed in the flood? Yes. Frost maintains a “literal” view of Genesis 2, so that physical garden scene must be removed to make room for a “spiritual” garden to come later. (Yet Frost believes “spiritual death” is the nature of punishment for Adam’s sin in the Garden.) The East Gate destroyed in the flood? That implies the cherubim guarding the way were also destroyed by the flood. Would Frost affirm that the flood destroyed the literal snake in the Garden? (Remember Rev. 12:9 references the same serpent “of old” in prophecy.) Frost’s Garden view of the flood leads to even stranger conclusions. Frost claims that the physical Garden scene was the heavens and earth destroyed by the flood, but no one lived in the Garden during Noah’s day! This last point alone should alert the reader that something is terribly wrong with Frost’s model and presentation.

Another serious problem arises for those who think carefully about Frost’s model. Frost’s series of heavens and earths creates a covenantal “gap” between Noah and Moses:

Moses’ Tabernacle/Temple is the first covenantal Temple/Tabernacle/Paradise on earth. It is the first attempt of God to restore the relationship God naturally had with Adam in the original Paradise through blood. It is the first attempt to rebuild what had been “destroyed” through the waters of Noah’s day. (p. 17)

Frost’s view requires a huge gap in covenant history, the entire period from Noah to Moses. The same problem is repeated in his concluding summary listing:

2. Genesis 2.4b – The formation of Paradise on The Earth where God dwells with Man and Man with God. [Which was destroyed in the flood]

3. The Law – The First Tabernacle/First Heavens and Earth through which God reestablished “heavens on the land” through a covenant by which Man can dwell with God. (p. 18)

There is a problem here. Was there no covenantal heaven and earth between Noah and Moses? What about covenant history during this “gap”? Noah inherited a (covenant) world by faith. He dwelled with God by faith through his pleasing sacrifice made after the flood. Abraham received a covenant of circumcision and promises which were passed down to the patriarchs, Joseph, and the children of Israel in Egyptian bondage. Are we to conclude that Abraham and the patriarchs did not dwell with God? Frost’s gap stretches from the flood, past all these people and events, to Sinai. How can it be possible that the “heavens and earth” were destroyed at the flood, but the “The Law” is where God “reestablished ‘heavens on the land” (p. 18)? That would leave Noah, Shem, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph (among many others) without any covenant standing. Frost needs to offer more explanation about this inadvertent “gap” between his supposed destruction of the “heavens and earth” during the flood and the “reestablished ‘heavens on the land’” of the “first tabernacle” which he associates with the Sinai covenant (p. 17-18). It seems Frost has left father Abraham completely out of the scene of covenant history.

We believe that Frost has made a fundamental oversight regarding what 2 Peter 3 actually says. This oversight affects his entire presentation and criticism of BCS. As already noted, Frost assumes that Peter said “a” heaven and earth was destroyed by the flood:

Peter counters this by bringing up a destruction of a heavens and an earth – the Paradise of God, which by all means was totally eradicated. (p. 18)

Frost’s entire model is built on his notion of a series of heavens and earths. The problem for Frost is that Peter does not say that the flood destroyed “a heavens and an earth”? Let us examine the passage closely:

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God's word the heavens existed and the earth [ge] was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world [kosmos] of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5-7 NIV)

Note how verse 5 speaks of the existence of the heavens and the forming of the earth [ge] out of water which alludes to Gen. 1:9-10. Peter references the first heavens and the first earth of Scripture. Consider what Peter says next. By these waters the kosmos, the “governing order” or “arrangement,” was destroyed. Nothing is said about the heavens being destroyed. The Greek words for earth [ge] and world [kosmos] are different words entirely! Peter refers back to the corrupt “ancient world” he mentioned back in 2 Peter 2:5 “… bringing in the flood on the world [kosmos] of the ungodly.”[14] Nowhere does Peter say that the flood destroyed “a” heaven and earth as Frost and some other preterist critics claim, but rather the waters destroyed the “world” or governing order of that time. The flood destroyed a wicked system of men who apostatized from the covenant faith, not a physical garden where no one lived. We presented this context of the flood in BCS as the line of Seth (Gen. 5) who “began to call on the name of the Lord” (Gen. 4:25). The covenant people had become corrupt (like the Jews in the first century) with the exception of righteous Noah. The wicked, not the old heavens and old earth, were destroyed by the flood.

The heavens and earth of 2 Peter 3:5 (reaching back into Genesis 1) is a reference to the entire old covenant creation. The old heavens and earth existed before the flood as well as after the flood. Animal sacrifices were accepted as the ordained way to worship God back in Genesis 4. Abel offered sacrifices from “the firstborn of his flock” (Gen. 4:4) just as Israel was required by the Law (Deut. 12:6). Clean and unclean distinctions were made before the flood (Gen. 7:2) as well as after. The seventh-day Sabbath is rooted in Genesis creation (Ex. 20:11). Yet all of this was reserved for destruction by fire at the end of the old covenant age, the termination of old creation. We sometimes forget that Peter lived in the same old covenant creation as Abel. The New Testament demonstrates over and over how Jesus and the apostles viewed the coming end as the terminus of what began in the earliest chapters of Genesis (e.g., Matt. 23:35; Heb. 12:24). Peter says the world [kosmos] of the ungodly was destroyed by water in Noah’s day, but the heavens and earth [ge] were, at that time, reserved for fire.

Consider another passage that cannot be reconciled with the flawed concept of a series of heavens and earths. (Frost makes no mention of this text in his entire review even though the passage is pivotal for Covenant Creation; see BCS pp. 350-351 and 353-355):

You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but You remain… (Heb. 1:10-11a NKJ)

Where does the Bible talk about what God made “in the beginning”? The language is explicitly drawn from Genesis 1. Yet the writer says that heavens and earth “will perish” – in the future tense. As preterists we know this took place in AD 70, but notice that the author of Hebrews is teaching the same thing as what Peter taught in 2 Peter 3. The heavens and earth, that which was made “in the beginning,” was about to perish. Like Peter, the author of Hebrews makes an explicit link back to Genesis 1. Hebrews 1:10-11 allows no series of heavens and earths in old covenant history. Frost cannot make sense of the passage within his own model! If he were to apply Hebrews 1:10-11 to his supposed “heavens and earth” of Genesis 2, then Hebrews could not refer to its destruction in the future. Frost says that heavens and earth was destroyed in the flood, which would be the distant past from the perspective of Hebrews.

We believe, based upon 2 Peter 3:5-7, Hebrews 1:10-11, and Revelation 21:1 (which all parallel each other), that the old heavens and earth, the original creation, what God made “in the beginning,” entirely passed away at AD 70. Furthermore, the timing of the passing away of the old heavens and earth tells us the nature of the Genesis 1 creation; if the physical universe did not pass away in AD 70, then Genesis 1 speaks about Covenant Creation. The old covenant creation does not merely go back to Sinai. It goes all the way back to the Genesis 1 creation.

Once the reader grasps the fundamental error at the heart of Frost’s critique, we can untangle his main criticism. Frost uses his own flawed view of a series of heavens and earths as an argument against BCS:

Martin and Vaughn move right into the text of II Pe 3.5-7 and note, “Notice how Peter references the original creation when he says the heavens existed and the earth, ge, was formed…” Further, [the Flood] destroyed this covenant world (346 – ital. theirs). But this is precisely what causes the problem. If the first heavens and earth is Genesis 1:1, then what “heavens and earth” was destroyed in Noah’s day? Would that not logically demand that Noah’s destruction was the first destruction? This is an inescapable conclusion. Rev 21:1 cannot, then be a reference to Genesis 1:1, because, according to Martin and Vaughn, the 1:1 heavens and earth was “destroyed” according to their own exegesis! (p. 16)

We see once again how Frost’s case is based on his own view of a series of heavens and earths. Note how Frost thinks we argue from 2 Peter 3:5-7 that the flood destroyed the entire heavens and earth of Genesis 1:1! We never argued that in BCS. Frost cut off our explanation in his fragmented quotation above and misrepresents us. Here is what we actually said:

Notice how Peter references the original creation when he says the heavens existed and the earth, ge, was formed out of water by water. That is a reference to the creation week of Genesis 1, particularly Day 3 (Gen. 1:9-10). Peter then included the flood in his comparison; a flood which destroyed this covenant world with the exception of righteous Noah and his family (who became the new covenant “world” at that time by receiving a “new” covenant). (BCS p. 346)

We stated explicitly that Peter references Day 3 (Gen. 1:9-10). Nowhere did we argue that Genesis 1:1 is in view in Peter’s text. The world of the ungodly was destroyed by the flood, leaving Noah and his family as the remnant who entered a new order (see BCS p. 169). If Peter meant to say that the “heavens and earth” was destroyed, we suggest that he would have said that the “heavens and the earth” was destroyed by the flood. Peter said no such thing. The kosmos was destroyed, not the heavens and the earth. The heavens and earth was reserved for fire at the end of the old creation when God would create a new heaven and new earth, the new covenant.

Frost’s entire model is predicated on a simple, most basic oversight regarding 2 Peter 3. This error leads to some key mistakes in his personal translation of 2 Peter 3:5-7:

For this is concealed from them willingly: that a heavens were of old and an earth by water and through water, having been held together by the word of God, through which things the then world being inundated by water perished, but the Now Heavens and The Earth by the same word are kept in store reserved for fire… (p. 16)

Frost’s translation looked odd to us when we first saw it. What is being “held together”? The heavens? The earth? Both? Frost implies that Peter says both “heavens” and “earth” are “held together by the word of God.” But the Greek text does not say that at all. The word for “having been held together” is a feminine participle that modifies “earth” [ge], a feminine noun. Frost’s translation disconnects the participle from the noun so that both “heavens” and “earth” are viewed together, but that is not the case in Greek. It is the earth [ge] that was “held together.” Peter is talking specifically about the “land” being “held together” or “standing out of water.” Frost’s faulty translation is driven by his preconceived “two heavens and earths” model. Note the difference between Frost’s translation above and these accurate translations:

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 by water… (2 Peter 3:5-6 NKJ)

[F]or this is unobserved by them willingly, that the heavens were of old, and the earth out of water and through water standing together by the word of God, through which the then world, by water having been deluged, was destroyed. (2 Peter 3:5-6 Young’s Literal)

A related issue is that Frost did not use “standing” in his translation. Instead he used the less common “held together.” Peter referred to the earth [ge] “standing” out of the water by God’s word. In other words, Peter wrote that God’s word spoke the land into existence out of the water. Technically, “held together” works as well because God’s word brought the dry land “together” in Genesis 1. As commentaries unequivocally point out, Peter makes an explicit reference to Day 3 of the creation account (Gen 1:9-10). The land that rose up out of the water (or “gathered together” out of the water) was flooded by water. This is a specific portion of God’s covenant creation that matches the inner courts of the Tabernacle/Temple architecture. The land [ge] is symbolic of the covenant people of God (see also Heb. 6:7-8). There is nothing in 2 Peter 3:5-7 about the destruction of the heavens or the destruction of the sea and sea creatures at the time of the flood (or at Sinai). The comprehensive renovation of all creation was reserved for the time of the end: “At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens’” (Heb. 12:26 NIV).[15]

Accurate translations of 2 Peter 3:5-6 reveal why Frost needed his own translation of 2 Peter 3. Peter is drawing from Genesis 1! This violates Frost’s YEC model which requires Genesis 1 to speak of the physical universe. Frost argues that neither the universe nor planet Earth were “destroyed” by the flood. “… [C]learly, it did not ‘perish’ if the meaning is the Universe (p. 16).” Therefore, Frost’s literalism requires him to redirect Peter’s statement toward details in Genesis 2 rather than Genesis 1 to avoid the problem:

The Garden of Eden was formed “out of” water. The LXX reads, “and there arose a fountain out of the earth (ek tes ges) and watered the face of the earth” (Gen. 2.6) (p. 17)

Note the sleight of hand in the above statement. Frost says the Garden of Eden was formed “out of water,” and then proceeds to quote Gen. 2:6 which says that a fountain came “out of the earth”! But Day 3, and only Day 3, matches the detail in Peter’s text. Like we mentioned in BCS, Peter references the rising of the land out of the water on Day 3 as described in Genesis 1:9-10. Contrary to Frost’s model, Peter refers to Genesis 1:9-10 not 2:6.[16]

Why is Frost forced into such shoddy handling of the text? The problem is not essentially different than futurist exegesis. Frost makes his model drive his interpretation rather than allowing sound interpretation to drive the model. Frost simply must have 2 Peter 3 reference Genesis 2 rather than Genesis 1. If Peter points to Day 3 in Genesis 1, then Frost’s model is completely invalidated. As it is, Peter’s link matches Covenant Creation perfectly, a specific part of the Genesis 1 creation, the corrupted land, was destroyed in the flood.

The problem for Frost goes deeper, however. If Peter points to Day 3 in Genesis 1 as what was “destroyed” by water, then the flood-destruction of the land [ge] tells us something about the nature of the “land” created on Day 3 in Genesis 1! The destruction of the “land” is the destruction of ungodly people; Peter is informing us that the “land” in Genesis 1:9-10 is not planet Earth, but a reference to God’s people who once lived in covenant relationship with God. That perspective matches Paul’s concept of “the creation” as God’s people in Romans 8:19-23.


Frost’s final pages need brief comment. Frost makes an emotional appeal against Covenant Creation by saying:

In Martin and Vaughn, the physical earth is not much of a topic in the Bible since it has been excluded from the opening pages of the Bible – dismissed as symbolic – but never addressing at all the purpose of God creating it. (pp. 19-20)

We never addressed the “purpose of God creating” the physical earth? Frost has confounded a description of the creation of the physical universe with God’s purpose for the physical universe. Frost’s claim is that if the Bible does not have a physical description of creation, then the physical universe has no Divine purpose. This is a fallacious argument. We already dealt with this sort of confusion in BCS (one example is pp. 217-236). We believe that all of Scripture models a Divine purpose for the physical universe, irrespective of whether or not Genesis describes how God made the physical world in the first place. In Chilton’s words:

[A]ll creation is primarily symbolic. All creatures reflect the glory of God, and are images of some aspect or other of his nature. God’s personality is imprinted on everything He has made.[17]

Why do we have to take Genesis 1 “literally” in order to believe that? Scripture teaches that perspective consistently (e.g., the metaphorical Psalms, the parables of Jesus, creational imagery in Revelation, etc.). Furthermore, the physical world is a lot more than a “… the Stage upon which God would ultimately bring his created Man into full and complete unity through His Eternal Son…” (p. 20). The entire Bible, including Jesus’ own teaching, shows how the physical world teaches us about God and his kingdom; it was made to “reflect his covenant relationship with his people” (BCS p. 358). We believe there is a profound purpose for the physical universe, and we said so in our book.

Ponder how futurists make a similar argument against preterism as Frost made above. After all, preterists believe that the physical earth is not much of a topic in biblical prophecy, having been excluded from the closing pages of the Bible! Or consider the issue of heaven. Do preterists believe that the Bible teaches the reality of heaven for God’s children after they die? Yes, we do. But do Preterists believe that the Bible gives a “literal” description of what heaven will be like including auto-luminescent cities, streets of gold, and many mansions? No, we believe the Bible was not given for that purpose.

Why doesn’t the same principle apply to the physical origin of the universe? Do those who hold Covenant Creation believe in the reality that God created the physical world? Yes, we do. Do advocates of Covenant Creation believe that the Bible gives a “literal” description of how God created the physical world? No, we believe the Bible was not given for that purpose (BCS pp 358-359).

The reader should understand that Frost intends to make his own particular literal interpretation of Genesis 1 a matter of faith (see BCS p242-245):

The God that speaks and in an instant: it is. This blows our minds. In fact, it cannot be true it must mean something else: God didn’t really didn’t do it that way, did he? That is the question that confronts us: it is a question of faith. (p. 21)

This kind of innuendo regarding BCS never ceases to amaze us. However, this approach is commonly encouraged by the modern YEC movement. Some of us now believe that Covenant Eschatology has profound implications for Genesis. From the very first edition of BCS released in 2001 by Tim Martin, the goal has always been to reach a better understanding of what the Bible teaches about the creation and the flood. We can deal with Frost’s criticism by asking a simple question of our own: How much faith does it take to believe that God created the physical universe even if God never tells us how? It seems that if Frost is not told all about God’s original creation in precise order and literal detail, then he finds it hard to believe!

The irony is that, sooner or later, YEC advocates will inevitably ask Frost the same questions. It is only a matter of time before someone dedicated to an even more “literal” reading of the earliest chapters of Genesis confronts Frost on the same point. The questions will sound like these:

  • Didn’t God say that death entered the world by sin?
  • Didn’t God curse the earth with thorns and thistles, and increase physical pain in childbirth.
  • Don’t we sweat today because of Adam’s sin?
  • Isn’t all human pain a result of God’s curse for sin?
  • Why doesn’t Frost believe in a “mind-blowing” global flood?
  • Why does Frost believe that “God didn’t really do it that way”?
  • Why doesn’t Frost have faith in God’s Word?

The simple fact of the matter is that tens of millions of YEC supporters don’t see much difference at all between the views of Martin, Vaughn, and Frost when it comes to Genesis. If Frost (top of p. 21) wants grab the Evolution club to use on us (even though we made our views on Evolution clear in BCS, pp. 83-92), then perhaps he should consider that millions in the modern YEC movement will be happy to do the same to him. Consider the diagrams below and ask yourself what they say about Frost’s view of Genesis… and Revelation:

Belief in evolution and/or millions of years necessitates that death has been a part of history since life first appeared on this planet… In this system of belief death, suffering and disease will continue on into the unknown future. Death is a permanent part of history.

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

From a perspective of the literal history of the book of Genesis, there was a perfect world to start with—described by God as ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31)….The death of man and the animals was not part of the original creation.

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

In reality, the battle between Creation and evolution, between young Earth and old-Earth views, is in fact a battle between two totally different histories of death.

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

For the Christian, which history of death you accept has major theological implications.

File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

However, if a Christian accepts the history of death as given by a literal reading of the Genesis account, then this history can be represented by the following diagram:


File written by Adobe Photoshop® 4.0

Where does Frost’s view of the past and future fit in those diagrams? Will the tens of millions of YEC Christians who define their worldview by those beliefs consider Frost as a young-earth creationist or an evolutionist? How will Frost convince them that preterism and YEC beliefs do not conflict? How will Frost convince them of a local flood that matches his partial Covenant Creation model?

Frost’s attempt at a “synthesis” on this issue has been a very fruitful exercise from our perspective. We explained clearly what we intended with Beyond Creation Science:

We will argue against the three pillars of modern young-earth creationism from the perspective of a preterist view of New Testament prophecy. We believe that preterism offers a refutation of: (1) the belief that the Genesis flood was global; (2) the belief that no biological death existed before the fall; and (3) the belief that Genesis 1 is a literal record of God's creation of the physical universe over six 24-hour days. (BCS p. 109)

Frost now agrees that pillars (1) and (2) have been refuted. His “synthesis” is a last-ditch effort to preserve pillar (3) together with preterism. Frost’s partial Covenant Creation model was designed to preserve pillar (3) at any cost. However, synthetic approaches (like partial preterism for example[19]) tend to be inherently unstable. The details outlined above demonstrate why Frost’s “synthesis” will not survive careful examination.

Again we would like to thank Frost for his generous review, his acknowledgement that we have accurately developed Milton Terry’s view, his adoption of a local flood, and his development of the partial Covenant Creation approach. For many of us in Covenant Eschatology today, partial preterism was a way station, a rest area or bridge from futurism to a consistent, fulfilled eschatology.

Sam Frost has now provided that service for the creation account.

(Editor’s Note: Tim and Jeff can be reached through their website,



[2] see “The Hermeneutic of Covenant Creation as Taught by A. Berkeley Mickelsen” available online at:



[5] John Sailhamer, Genesis Unbound: A Provocative New Look at the Creation Account (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996)


[7] A detailed examination of these details, along with many others, can be found in BCS pp. 281-359.


[9] As we will see below, Frost’s model goes counter to the entire framework of historic Christian theology. Frost’s view of the relationship between the beginning and the end overturns the entire table. His approach dumps the puzzle pieces on the floor and constructs a novel framework which relies on an untested approach to Genesis creation (see also BCS pp. 351-354).

[10] see and and


[12] Frost proposed something like this in a recent article available online at: In Frost’s words, “This, of course, could take millions of years…. Isaiah 65.17-ff literally fulfilled as it is already spiritually fulfilled.” The irony here is that Frost denies a million years passed during God’s original creation of the physical universe. Yet he suggests that the new creation (in a physical sense) will be completed over a million years! (see BCS pp. 287) What is the root problem? Frost’s insistence of a physical-universe creation as the topic of Genesis is spilling over and forcing a supposed “literal” fulfillment of Isaiah 65.

[13] We could state this the matter a different way. If Frost were to place the flood into the “universal” context of Genesis 1, then his partition between two heavens and earths as two separate subjects, Genesis 1 and 2, utterly fails, for then we would have “universal” destruction. Frost’s model does not allow Genesis 1 to be in view anywhere in the flood account; Genesis 1 must speak about a different heaven and earth, and Frost maintains that Peter says “a” heaven and earth was destroyed! Furthermore, Frost’s model requires him to oppose a global flood, for a global flood would bring a universal context to the garden scene in Genesis 2! Frost has sacrificed the global flood doctrine in order to defend a YEC-preterist synthesis.

[14] It is interesting to note Peter lists both the flood and the fiery judgment of Sodom together as an example of the day of judgment coming upon the unrighteous in Peter’s day. See BCS pp. 465-468.

[15] Notice that the author of Hebrews goes on to speak of “the removing of what can be shaken – that is created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain” (Heb. 12:27 NIV). What is being finally removed at AD 70? “created things”!

[16] Every commentary we have seen acknowledges the explicit link to Genesis 1:9-10.

[17] David Chilton, Days of Vengeance, p. 11.

[18] “Two Histories of Death” by Ken Ham. Full article available online at: or

[19] We expect that the future growth of old earth creationism will play a major role in the demise of partial preterism. The big hang-up for most partial preterists is a biological resurrection which is inescapably tied to a biological view of the fall, a central pillar of modern YEC doctrine. Old earth creationism demonstrates powerfully that the fall had nothing to do with biology, and if the fall is not biological, then neither is the resurrection. Old earth creationism is preterism applied to the curse and preterism is old earth creationism applied to biblical eschatology.

Starlight's picture

There is an interesting discussion going on over at the SGP site discussing the relationship of science with the bible. Sam and Jason are taking the anti science positions.

Jason makes the following statement … “Mike, just for the record, i would never say that science can confirm truth. I would agree with Clark that all science is false. Science plays no factor for me whatsoever. …
Jason continues … “Usually, their response is, "But Jason, read our commentary on Genesis 1 and 2. We don't quote any scientists." I understand that, but see, that wasn't my complaint. My complaint is that prior to ever opening Genesis, Jeff Martin's commitment to science IMMEDIATELY LIMITS our options.”

Here is where we seem to have a misunderstanding in that Jason believes that Jeff and Tim have placed presuppositions concerning science in place thus it “limits our options”.

Folks Jason and Sam are the same Preterist who deny the literal reading application in the NT concerning eschatology scriptures. They deny Ed Stevens literal reading of meeting Jesus in the air at AD70. They deny the plain literal reading of 1 Cor 15 concerning a physical bodily resurrection. They deny the physical destruction of the Heavens and Earth discussed in 2 Pet 3. They deny that there is going to be a literal physical cube descend from the heavens as discussed in Rev 21. They do so because a contextual reading of biblical scriptures points to their conclusion being correct.

Now when we reverse the course and start looking at Genesis somehow this Preterist method of investigating scriptures no longer is fully applicable in their view. Except in Sam’s case where he has decided that he can no longer hold on to a literal biological death of Adam under discussion in Gen 3. Now why does Sam allow this special exception and decide that Adam’s death was a spiritual separation from God. Is it because of his full Preterist interpretation of Paul’s analysis of Adam in Romans and 1 Cor 15? Sam has overridden a completely literal scientific reading of Adam’s death because of his Preterism and not science.

Now along come Tim and Jeff and they also believe that due to their understanding of full Preterism derived from the NT that they also see non literal applications to Genesis scriptures. They see that the Heavens and Earth discussed in Rev 21 is the same one that is mentioned in Gen 1:1. They also agree with Sam about Adam’s death as spiritual so they decide to explore more of Genesis in relation to what they have learned from an investigation of NT eschatology.

But now Sam says I’m not comfortable with all of this so he decides that Tim and Jeff may have a deeper presupposition which propels their further Genesis investigation. Sam declares that he has found the cause in all of this. It is SCIENCE, that circumspect realm embraced by those who are suspect in his evaluation. Sam though simply would like to have it both ways for him. But when it comes to others who end up challenging his deep heartfelt and faith understanding of Genesis then there may be an ulterior motive present in his estimation. Even with Tim and Jeff going to the scriptures to demonstrate their understanding of a covenant creation they are still criticized as using SCIENCE to help drive their purpose.

Sam and Jason state that they do not trust science and there are enough anecdotal and real stories out there concerning the misuse of science that one can sure consider it suspect when misapplied. Why though it is even a discussion for a full Preterist examination is entirely overstated in my estimation? Preterist can continue to explore what the scriptures reveal about themselves and should have no need like the YEC and OEC crowd to go to a scientific demonstration to understand scriptures. NT and OT biblical language alone provides within their own context of discussion all the needed means to shed light upon the meaning of both the end and the beginning of scriptures.

Sam is concerned with the proper attributing to God of the creation of light in Gen 1 and rightfully recognizes that the Bible speaks of light in many ways. Sam is about to step on the explanation there as indeed the answer resides in the description of light found within scripture. Is it possible that the light that is being spoken of here in Gen 1 is the same light that the Gospel of John says was from the beginning? Why would Sam go to science then to seek the meaning of Light when scripture tells us its true meaning? Why is there a need to seek a scientific answer for a biblical issue?

Joh 1:1-5 ESV
(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
(3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(4) In him was life, and <THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT> of men.
(5) <THE LIGHT SHINES> in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

2Co 4:6 ESV
(6) For God, who said, "<LET LIGHT SHINE> out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Sam is correct that science propels many a Genesis expositor, namely from both the YEC and OEC crowd. I would state thought that using the science argument against a Preterist covenant creation discussion is neither logical nor accurate in its approach. The quicker we dispense with this red herring argument the sooner we can concentrate upon what the scriptures actually say about Genesis which happens to be much more fascinating than the science approach.



tom-g's picture


Do you really want to go there with the cults? The word was the first thing created? Or is that not what Genesis says?

"In the beginning God CREATED the heavens and the earth" "And God said let there be LIGHT/THE WORD/THE LIFE WAS THE LIGHT/THE LIGHT SHINES OUT OF DARKNESS.

Is that where you are going, for if it is then you are saying that is where God went when HE created the WORD. Too bad you can't take Jason's logic course.


Starlight's picture


I am simply arguing for a biblical application of light derived from scripture interpreting scripture. Sam seeks to understand Genesis 1 light in the realm of physical science without regard for what the OT or NT says concerning the origins of light.

My scriptures below say that Christ was the light which was from the beginning which Paul in 2 Co 4:6 says that God says “let light shine out of darkness”. Where do you think John and Paul was referencing from concerning their discussion of Light? How about Genesis.

Sometimes logic is on the tip of the nose if one opens their biblical eyes instead of their science ones.

Joh 1:1-5 ESV
(2) He was in the beginning with God….
(4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
(5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

2Co 4:6 ESV
(6) For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light …

Gen 1:4 ESV
(4) And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

PS. Tom I understand you graduated from Jasons logic school. Have you found gainful employment yet? ;-)

tom-g's picture

Hi Norm,

Yes I have graduated, thank you. You really ought to enroll at the beginners level it would greatly benefit you.

It seems you still really do want to go there don't you? Well, you are certainly in step with your JW, BCS and Mormon brethren and the other cults, But, I do want to give you credit for your mentors for not claiming they found their new doctrine on some golden plates underneath a tree somewhere. At least your scientific guru mentor says Genesis was just recopied from an ancient Sumerian tablet.
The light was created by God.
Jesus the Word, a god, was the light.
Jesus the word, a god, was created by God.

You should be very popular and well received in the local Kingdom Hall.


Starlight's picture

It appears that Sam and others are really getting into Jason’s’ logic article on his blog.

Now Jason’s article is written in response to Tim and Jeff’s response to Sam but it appears that Sam has responded with a post directed to futurist and dispensationalist as it seems he may have lost track of who Jason was responding to. Let me illustrate for you.

Sam has listed what I call some truisms and I’m not sure if he is directing them toward Tim, Jeff and Company or some nebulous person out there. But here are his four truisms.

Sam says … “1 Do not equate a person's ability to read the Bible with WHAT the Bible actually says.”

…” 2 Understand that the Bible CAN BE manipulated, so that this alone should make us QUESTION, not the Bible, but what we say ABOUT the Bible. There is a difference.”

… “3 As with any good theologian, "study to show yourself approved." This takes years.”

…”4 Just read the Creeds and Confessions, and you won't have to study the Bible....(oh, wait, that's what our opponents do...sorry, strike that)....”

Now what Sam has stated above has some good truisms in it. But is it logical to assume that these truisms are 100% rock solid truism’s for every situation. Well let’s consider each one of them separately.

#1 seems to make sense as a truism but we know that no one has completely mastered the scriptures so yes we should beware of listening to any and everyone who has an opinion upon the scriptures. Why, because we all are aware that there is absolutely no one individual that has completely mastered all the theology of the scriptures. Now does that mean we ignore everything from every single person who presents us with an opinion on Biblical theology? No that would be absurd because we all realize that many theologians have some very good insights into scriptures. Now how do we decide whether to accept those theologians’ particular insights? That is the question at the heart of Sam’s response.

It takes a significant amount of knowledge for oneself to discern the reliability of others biblical insight. For instance I find Gary Demar a very competent and useful Preterist author but since he is not a full Preterist do I keep my eyes open for areas that may influence his thoughts concerning the timing of the resurrection. Yes indeed because so far Gary has not embraced an AD70 resurrection or a corporate bodily view of the resurrection. Do I still honor and appreciate Gary’s work? Yes indeed. Do I depend upon him for extensive full Preterist views concerning the AD70 resurrection understanding? Of course I don’t.

The same analysis can be made concerning some of my favorite theologians such as James Jordan and Meredith Kline’s work, as they were both futurist which limits the usefulness of their work.

One of the main benefits of coming to the full Preterist perspective is how it enhances our understanding of more of NT and OT scriptures that eluded us while we were futurist. So is there a principle that needs to be applied alongside Sam’s first truism? Yes indeed there is as we recognize that Biblical knowledge is not always governed effectively by how much a person studies or how much they know. They are also influenced by the presuppositions upon what they apply to the Bible on certain topics that can influence their work and perhaps taints it. So is Sam’s first truism a 100% truism? No it cannot be so it should be understood as an imperfect truism which should be viewed practically with limitations.

Sam’s next truism is #2 … “2 Understand that the Bible CAN BE manipulated, so that this alone should make us QUESTION, not the Bible, but what we say ABOUT the Bible. There is a difference.”

Now much of what I covered in the preceding point applies just as significantly to this second truism of Sam’s. Yes the Bible can be manipulated. But who can we identify as manipulating the Bible? I propose that every one of us at one time held to incorrect beliefs about the scriptures, but many of us in Preterist circles have been trying to put aside some of those past dispensational and futurist ideas as we become more knowledgeable.

But again does everyone who comes into Preterism come to a perfect understanding of some of the more difficult positions like the “corporate body view”? I think many of us would say that coming to the “corporate body” understanding took some hard work and still there are many full Preterist who have not accepted it. Some like Kurt Simmons are very diligent students of the word but Kurt will not accept it as he believes it leads to Universalism and causes other problems with a 1 Cor 15 view of the timing of when one enters “Heaven”.

So what causes one to embrace the “corporate body” view point or to reject it? Is it study alone? Is it a willingness to embrace something new that challenges long held traditional beliefs? But wait if one accepts it when it challenges a long held traditional viewpoint are they not messing with well established thousands of years Christian confirmed understanding of the scripture. Aren’t they these “liberals” who accept things without well founded reasoning and study according to the traditionalist? So is Sam Frost a negligent liberal scholar for accepting the “corporate body” viewpoint?

Well it depends upon who you ask doesn’t it. Has Sam been accused of manipulating the scriptures because he accepts the “corporate body” approach? Indeed he has by fellow Preterist as well as futurist and a couple of old acquaintances who now deride him constantly on their web sites. So can we say that Sam is a manipulator of scriptures? Well it depends upon who is evaluating Sam doesn’t it.

Sam’s truism #3 … “3. As with any good theologian, "study to show yourself approved." This takes years.”

You know I agree with Sam on this point very substantially. Which is why when I came into Preterism I started reading and studying and discussing everything I could get my hands on concerning things Preterist? I devoured the articles on Preterist Archive and other sites and ordered many full Preterist books. This is the only way to address the situation if one is going to ender into full Preterist debates and discussions. Do I have 27 years of Preterism behind me like Kurt Simmons? Of course not, do I understand the “corporate body” viewpoint better than Kurt does. I would say undoubtedly yes. Why do I get it and Kurt doesn’t, can we attribute it to long years of study? I don’t think we can make that a 100% correlation can we.

Or how about the AD70 rapture understanding; Ed Stevens has forgotten more than I know concerning Preterism, so why does he chose to believe an off the wall theology that doesn’t hold up under good Preterist hermeneutic principles. Shouldn’t his years and knowledge have put him head and shoulders above me? It seems that this 3rd truism of Sam is not 100% effective either does it. Does Sam believe it 100% himself, I don’t think so as I have seen him dismantle scholars that have years of experience over him as well. In fact some of them have been his teachers whom he must challenge.

There must be something else driving the problem of this truism not holding forth 100% of the time mustn’t it. I believe it might be called holding on to fond and personal presuppositions that are integral to ones personal biblical world view.

How do we get rid of those old misplaced viewpoints in the long run? Well folks that is the question at hand we would all like to have the special tonic for. If we as Preterist could manipulate that principle then we would convert the world to Preterism in a very short while. But we all know that people move slowly.

Preterist have already exposed themselves to heresy charges by embracing an AD70 resurrection. How many are willing to expose themselves over the corporate body viewpoint. Some can handle it and some cannot right now. How many are ready to accept that Adam’s death was not a physical biological death but was a spiritual death of separation from God. Some Preterist cannot make that jump even with full Preterist like Don Preston, Jack Scott, Larry Siegle and Sam Frost leading the way.

There is resistance in the rank and file of full Preterist even over that subject. Why because emotionally people cannot jump more than one paradigm fence at a time and if they do then they typically have to be spread out over extended time to give the person an opportunity to gather his wits. Sometimes folks can never move further as they begin to question their judgment on such matters as they know the truism that scriptures can be “manipulated” and they have no confidence in even their own judgment as they internally just can’t cope with the idea that they were wrong on all these ideas. This means if they keep finding new things they were wrong about that there must be a stopping place and they need to find it sooner rather than later to stop the theological bleeding.

Finally there is Sam’s truism #4 … “4. Just read the Creeds and Confessions, and you won't have to study the Bible....(oh, wait, that's what our opponents do...sorry, strike that)....

Well it looks like I don’t need to elaborate on that truism as Sam seemingly has that one down pact. But does Sam really understand these truisms entirely as infallible truisms? I’m not sure Sam applies them properly though as he encounters Covenant Creation in debate. I believe Sam has run into people who have studied the issues more diligently and with less detrimental presuppositions than perhaps he has. Sam seems to be banking on his Hebrew skills to drive his theology in Genesis, well we should realize from the examination above that scholarship when inhibited by defective presuppositions is of minimum benefit to the expositor inhibited with biblical worldviews that are not compatible with the Hebrew reality of the scriptures.

Diligent studies in Genesis over many years currently position some of us full Preterist ahead of Sam concerning intimate knowledge of Genesis from the full Preterist perspective. Sam is a Johnny come lately to a Genesis full Preterist examination, he is playing catch up as demonstrated by his physical Genesis 1 and covenantal Genesis 2 concept. Sam is moving in the right direction but he doesn’t realize that Gen 1 is a literal overview of the complete Covenant Creation. Genesis days 6 and 7 are to be considered as THE LAST DAYS OF THE OLD COVENANT. IT IS REALLY THAT SIMPLE FOLKS. But sometimes the obvious will be deemed unacceptable. Peter tells us the key in 2 Pet 3:8 … “with the Lord ONE DAY is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as ONE DAY.”

The 1st century Christians are in the last days of Genesis 1-2:4a. This day six is the day that man will be created fully in the Image of God. This is achieved when we put on Christ becoming like God through Christ blessed as sons of God. This is why John in Revelation states that the 40 years from the Cross to AD70 was the 1000 year reign of the saints. It was the last day six of Genesis 1 overview. This is exactly what the epistle to Barnabas written circa AD70 tells us is how Genesis 1 is to be considered as well. Go read Barnabas and especially chapter 15. Finally the Hebrew letter flat out tells us the same thing about the seventh day of Genesis as well. The saints of the first century were looking forward to the Seventh Day Sabbath rest. John and Peter knew the day as a thousand years meant they were in the final last days which is why John described it (day 6) as 1000 years.

Heb 4:4-6 ESV
(4) For he has somewhere spoken of THE SEVENTH DAY in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works." …
(6) Since therefore IT REMAINS FOR SOME TO ENTER IT, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,

Now with Sam’s scholarship skills he should be able to jump ahead of many but it will take him time to catch up. If Sam restricts himself to a partial Preterist approach to Genesis then he will never catch up to Tim and Jeff. It’s that simple. Kurt Simmons will never catch up to Sam in understanding the “corporate body” viewpoint until he is willing to step across the emotional gulf that is binding him at present. We full Preterist know all to well about that mental handcuffing as we run across it constantly with our futurist friends. Education and scholarship is not enough to cross that barrier. It requires something else which can only come internally when one is ready.

I just thought it would be good to look at Sam’s truism list and apply some good ole fashioned country boy logic to them since we are discussing the implications of logic.

Norm Voss

davo's picture

Starlight: There is resistance in the rank and file of full Preterist even over that subject. Why because emotionally people cannot jump more than one paradigm fence at a time and if they do then they typically have to be spread out over extended time to give the person an opportunity to gather his wits.

Ah Norm, your gathering wits give me cause for great hope… this is why I am exceedingly patient with you as to the truly inclusive implications of our fulfilled view, implications that as you "catch up" will become all the more obvious for you ;).


Starlight's picture


Yes indeed I have great hope for you and your Universalism leaning friends as well.

Hopefully you will start to see the light concerning why an understanding of Covenant Creation and the "corporate body" viewpoint are biblical anti inclusive of all mankind at large. The "corporate body of Christ" is a called body just as Adam/Israel were a called body distinguished by "calling on the name of the Lord" (Gen 4:26). They were seperate and distinct from mankind at large from the begining and continue in that regard.

I realize that it may be hard for you though like Sam to drop a pet personalized system that one has constructed.


davo's picture

Lol Norm… I do hope that you could tell I was being just a tad facetious i.e., tongue in cheek. That said, there was a kernel of truth in my remarks…

Starlight: They were seperate and distinct from mankind at large from the begining and continue in that regard.

Norm, what you said about the CC and CB viewpoints being "anti inclusive of all mankind at large" is to still misunderstand the Pantelist position in favour of my "Universalism leaning friends". To be honest, I think it is clearly much harder for you to drop your own personalised view of my view than anything else; I can say this because of your demonstrated belief above, supposedly in contradistinction to my own, however you are misguided on this.

Pantelism agrees that there was and always has been a separate and distinct people from beginning to end. Where Pantelism departs from Particularism, be that your version of it or what ever, and also that of Universalism, is that Pantelism understands the exclusive calling of God in terms of those being exclusively called to minister on behalf of the rest of mankind inclusively, whether on the micro or macro level – one simply translated to the other through the Gospel ["greater things shall ye do" et al]. This really was the biblical pattern of Israel on behalf of the rest of the world, of those within Israel on behalf of the rest of Israel etc…

For whatever reason it is Norm, you have never been able grasp this and always interpret my "inclusive" comments as per your last post, i.e., you're still NOT getting it. I have even demonstrated in a number of responses to your own comments on other articles in the near recent past how following your own interpretative logic around CC leads to an inclusive end, so much so that to date you have been unable to refute my arguments around this. But like I said – I am patient :).


Starlight's picture


Listen friend I love you and care for you and wish the best for you and you are one of my favorite people to interface with. You may or may not be right about what you believe but in my estimation I do not deem you have ever made a compelling biblical case for your understanding. Your language is always in the nebulous realm and could mean anything and that is great for keeping people confused and is a great defensive style but it serves little purpose if you can’t explain your concepts in simple concrete and convincing biblical terms what you are talking about.

I purposely write so that people can grasp the big picture of what I am trying to put forth, and until you shed your vaguely disguised language I’ll not take your message seriously. If you truly believe you have the correct message then you need to go back to school and revamp your style so that it is demonstratively precise and biblically consistent and conherent. Right now I doubt if 99 out of 100 people could really explain back to you what you just stated in simple understandable biblical terms. Don’t take this personal Davo but consider it as advice for you to demonstrate fully a consistent biblical backing of what you understand. If you cannot accomplish that then it is doubtful you have God’s word in hand properly. You simply are writing for defensive purposes and do not put forth compelling propositions bound with strong biblical support.

I’m not going to discount everything you say Davo but some of your good recognitions appear to be undermined by your overall lack of concrete biblical backing. Prove your case convincingly from Genesis to Revelation and then come back and let’s see if you still are pushing your Pantelism as confidently as you are at present.

Let me give you a homework assignment Davo, take a look at the following verses and come back and explain them theologically correct to me. Tell me how they fit into your view of Pantelism from the Hebrew perspective. And Davo remember to write with the KISS purpose in mind.

Gen 1:28-30 ESV
(28) And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."
(29) And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.
(30) And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.

Dan 7:22 ESV
(22) until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom. …
27 and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.'

1Co 15:49 ESV
(49) Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.


davo's picture

C'mon Norm what I wrote was very plain and straight forward. This is all a little too convenient for someone claiming to be light years ahead in understanding over counter views; you're simply doing a "mr_nobody" – claiming a superior knowledge then charging "confusion" contrariwise, then rolling out your own list of diversionary questions, all in an attempt to NOT deal with what you struggle to grasp. This at least this is how you are appearing and it is hardly the stuff of a theological progressive who says things like "Diligent studies in Genesis over many years currently position some of us full Preterist ahead of Sam concerning intimate knowledge of Genesis from the full Preterist perspective. Sam is a Johnny come lately to a Genesis full Preterist examination, he is playing catch up…". Norm with all due respect, you need to check whether you aren't running ahead of your own self here.


Starlight's picture


Yes, I agree you are probably right that my language was a little over the edge on some of that. Of course Davo I’ve seen similar confidence from you in the past also on some subjects. You see Davo I don’t get as worked up when you call me down because I respect you and I will be more apt to listen to someone that can frame their discussion well. I have been a little worked up here lately because of what was going on over at the SGP BCS discussions. Sorry to take it out on you.

Here is the bottom line on what I was looking for from you. I presented those particular verses to you because in my estimation they “may” tie into your idea of believers being a called priesthood. Believers are created in the spirit of God through Christ and according to those scriptures they will share in dominion over the created world as the “body of Christ”. I was trying to give you an opening to explain how you viewed this statement from Daniel “all dominions shall serve and obey them”. How exactly would you describe what is meant spiritually or theologically speaking when it says “all dominions shall serve and obey them”.

Now here is the catch, since only believers are spiritual and have a heavenly abode what benefit does the world receive? They obviously will never come into the Heavenly or spiritual realm to abide with God. If they don’t have that what do they have?

Php 3:20 ESV “But our citizenship is in HEAVEN”

Sam, sorry about the derogatory put down but it sure would help if you lay off joining in over at SGP BCS discussion forums that serve no good purpose. I was out of line and I apologize to both you and Davo.


davo's picture

Hey Norm, no worries with the apology as I don't mind a bit of argy-bargy, but appreciated anyway. I know you me and Sam etc are all big fellas…

Starlight: I was trying to give you an opening to explain how you viewed this statement from Daniel “all dominions shall serve and obey them”. How exactly would you describe what is meant spiritually or theologically speaking when it says “all dominions shall serve and obey them”.

That's an interesting one – of the two dozen translations I consulted, including Heb, LXX and Peshitta, apart from the ESV you quoted, the only others versions translating "obey Him" as "obey them" was the RSV, NCV and Message; all the rest had "obey Him". I can only assume they do so because of what they feel is the predominant subject matter of the verse, i.e., "the people" [??]. Following this line of reasoning E. J. Young notes on Dan 7:27 that – "Their kingdom] ––the antecedent is people, not Most High." So it may have merit.

So, that said, I think such "spiritual dominion" as mentioned here by Daniel speaks to the end of the OC age and the consequent reward/s for the faithful in attaining the new covenant age [Dan 12:13 et al]. That the non-covenanted serve the covenanted ones further makes my position that creation beyond those called are NOT just readily and automatically swept aside in condemnation, BUT rather receive goodness and blessing BECAUSE OF and through the covenanted ones they serve. Some of the non-covenanted ones "outside" in the process duly enter more fully into the benefits of reconciliation and so serve on a higher plane in the Kingdom, and thus like all believers rejoice.

We have examples of non-covenanted people fulfilling such roles as per "the first shall be last" etc with regards to Jacob and Esau where the older "served" the younger. The likes of Cain, Ishmael and Esau were all refused or rejected as covenant bearers but not as being under the grace of God.

Starlight: Now here is the catch, since only believers are spiritual and have a heavenly abode what benefit does the world receive?

I'm not convinced at all that "only believers are spiritual" – all humans are "spiritual" just not all humans are attuned to call of God. The greatest biblical example of this was fleshly Israel herself who carried the spiritual things of "the adoption; the glory; the covenants; the law; the service; the promises; the living oracles" [Rom 9:3-4; Act 7:38] etc. It was these very spiritual things of fleshly Israel that Gentiles in coming to Christ partook of, as per Rom 9:17; 15:27.

As for God's "abode" – surely that is His fullness – something we recognise now as believers as "His presence".

Starlight: They obviously will never come into the Heavenly or spiritual realm to abide with God. If they don’t have that what do they have?

Certainly that is your assumption, but I see it in terms of degrees. Those called are those who enter – entering simply to move out again with the healing presence of God – the very thing the world needs. So what do "they" have? Not as much as they can have – hence our most relevant Gospel. Which is why when Paul says: "But our citizenship is in HEAVEN" he is pointing out the fact that covenant citizenship comes only from GOD, and such leads to joy in this life and not the weeping and destruction of wandering in a life of darkness that so many grope through, though He is not far from anyone [Act 17:27] – hence once again our most relevant and glorious Gospel.


Starlight's picture


Thanks for the reply.

You said … “I'm not convinced at all that "only believers are spiritual" – all humans are "spiritual" just not all humans are attuned to call of God.”

Davo this is where you and I are obviously greatly at odds and naturally bring us to conflicting conclusions. My complete reading and understanding of scripture from Genesis to Revelation is that Adam (representative of Israel) as the first covenant man of God was a called priesthood specifically to work the spiritual ground. Adam/Israel was ineffective in performing the work adequately. This is attested to in Gen 3’s declaration to Adam that his work will produce only thorns and thistles and Heb 6:7-8 reaffirms.

In fact the idea of the ineffective and old dead body of Adam being transformed into the spiritual (life) body of Christ is what the section of 1 Cor 15:40-50 is all about. The old body was Israel alone but not all Israel was true Israel (Rom 9:6-9). The coming judgment day would separate the followers of the evil one from the body permanently thus from then on the pure spiritual body of Christ would be comprised only of those who followed in the spiritual realm and didn’t hang on to the fleshly of the Jew and Gentile realms. The body would continue as the pure spiritual body of Christ.

1Co 15:40 ESV
(40) There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another.

Paul declares that Adam’s (corporate) earthy body will be transformed into Christ spiritual heavenly body.

1Co 15:47 ESV The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.

Php 3:21 ESV who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body,

Rom 7:24 ESV Who will deliver me from this body of death?

The old body that depended upon man’s strength is put aside to be replaced with the spiritual Heavenly body of Christ.

1Co 15:49-50 ESV Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
(50) I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

Paul constantly reinforces the idea that being created in the image of Christ means that one cannot continue to live in the fleshly/physical nature of man whether Jew or Gentile and abide with God.

1Co 3:1 ESV But I, brothers, could not address YOU AS SPIRITUAL PEOPLE, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

1Co 15:44 ESV It is sown a natural body; it IS RAISED A SPIRITUAL BODY. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Again Paul when he says our citizenship is in heaven is not speaking to those outside the body of believers. There is not any biblical scholar that I know of who would identify citizenship in heaven to those outside of the body, to do so is a stretch well beyond support in scriptures as far as I can determine.

Php 3:20 ESV But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Gen chapter one in my opinion is a declaration of the days of creation with day 6 and 7 being the “Last days”. In day 6 God will complete his creation account by creating the Adams’s into His Image. You will notice that the animals of Gen 1:26-31 are not discussed being created with the same image as the Adam’s were. These animals are the same classification that we find in Daniel and Ezekiel representing or picturing mankind at large beyond body life. What lies ahead is simply day 7 of the Sabbath Rest. (Heb 4:4)

Heb 4:4 ESV For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: "And God rested on the seventh day from all his works."

Paul and NT scripture confirm Gen 1:26 prophetic completion of God being true to prophecy and now the Adams truly are in His Image.

2Co 4:4 ESV In their case the god of this world HAS BLINDED THE MINDS OF THE UNBELIEVERS, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the IMAGE OF GOD.

Col 3:9-10 ESV
(9) Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have PUT OFF THE OLD SELF with its practices

Davo, our conclusions are diametrically opposed to each other on what I consider the essence of the scriptures revelation. It is difficult at best to draw conclusions on the question I put forth when we see the result of God’s work in scripture so differently. We simply are working off of different biblical worldviews of the end result.

I appreciate so much the effort you put into your response to me but I believe that the “body of Christ” lived beyond AD70 and still exist for us to enter into so that we can live in spiritual relationship with God and not through the old manner that produced only “thorns and thistles”.



davo's picture

Starlight: The old body was Israel alone but not all Israel was true Israel (Rom 9:6-9).

This verse is often mishandled and trotted out by "replacement theology" as a means of dismissing Israel, but what Paul was simply saying was that "not all Israel" were being "true" to their priestly calling, i.e., they were not being Jews circumcised of the heart [Rom 2:28-29]. IOW, all Israel were all Israel, just some [many] were NOT living up to or in their holy convocation; and they needed to be because only through the calling would the promised seed be reckoned – nothing more and nothing less. But again Norm… the seed was always ON BEHALF OF all:

Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, NOT ONLY to those who are of the law, BUT ALSO to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all…

Did you catch this Norm… "the father of us all" – even those miserable ones clinging to the law became beneficiaries of grace BECAUSE OF the faithful first-fruit saints – the true Israel of God.

Starlight: Paul declares that Adam’s (corporate) earthy body will be transformed into Christ spiritual heavenly body.

You've just made an incredibly comprehensive and universalistic statement, which in regards to Israel, I completely and fully agree with. Those of corporate, earthly and disobedient Israel who would perish literally in the Parousia [Jn 8:21, 24; 3:18, 36; Lk 13:3-5] were simply chosen to be "vessel of wrath" as per their divinely initiated "partial hardening" [Rom 11:25]. They were made "enemies of the gospel" or "enemies of the Cross" [Rom 11:28; Phil 3:18] in God's redemptive plan, but like the first-fruit saints, always ON BEHALF OF all Israel, which is exactly why Paul speaking about disobedient and fleshly Israel insisted that these his brethren according to the flesh were held in God's LOVE because of their election as promised to their forbears – an irrevocable gift and calling of high cost, as they the disobedient ones were to find out; yet whose end was always in the merciful hands of their creator:

Rom 11:30-33 For as you [Gentiles] were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel's] disobedience, even so these [enemies of the gospel] also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may now obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

I'm at a loss Norm how you cannot see the total inclusiveness of God's redemptive dealings with earthly Israel through those called, i.e., spiritual Israel. Do you just ignore these texts??

Starlight: Paul constantly reinforces the idea that being created in the image of Christ means that one cannot continue to live in the fleshly/physical nature of man whether Jew or Gentile and abide with God.

Yeah, which is why in the transition of the covenants age THEY the first-fruit believers were in that continual position of putting off the old man [OC] while at the same time putting on the new man [NC] – they were in the process of an "unto the age" [eternal] resurrection.

Starlight: Again Paul when he says our citizenship is in heaven is not speaking to those outside the body of believers. There is not any biblical scholar that I know of who would identify citizenship in heaven to those outside of the body, to do so is a stretch well beyond support in scriptures as far as I can determine.

Yeah… and go back and reread carefully what I actual wrote about heavenly citizenship and you'll see I said NO such thing as you are here intimating.

Starlight: In day 6 God will complete his creation account by creating the Adams’s into His Image. You will notice that the animals of Gen 1:26-31 are not discussed being created with the same image as the Adam’s were.

I think you'll find Norm that it is good logic to then see that this created in God's image Adam was "called" to dress, till and keep the earth, that is, to look after, tend and care for the rest of God's "good" creation, i.e., the animals, they being, those outside… Again Norm this is comprehensive.

Starlight: …I believe that the “body of Christ” lived beyond AD70 and still exist for us to enter into so that we can live in spiritual relationship with God and not through the old manner that produced only “thorns and thistles”.

From a consistent prêteristic hermeneutic I see the "Body of Christ" as primarily applicable to the first fruit saints. THAT however does not become the end of the matter. There IS continuity of the priestly calling and service BEYOND the Parousia, just as there was before; but now in terms of all things fulfilled.

"Believers" post fulfilment are the blessed offspring and fruit of the great end-time union between the chosen Bridegroom Christ and His chaste first-fruits Bride the NT Church. IOW Norm… with regards to AD70 – the great consummation of this marriage was not its end, but its glorious beginning. Believers are God's ambassadors of His all encompassing Kingdom. The Church itself is not the Kingdom; the Church is that growing body of believers always called to minister the goodness of God within the kingdom, ministering to and on behalf of others – what Jesus did, believers still do. We do the "greater works" because we minister from a completed redemption, which in that pre-Parousia period was still in the process of coming to maturation.

So yes Norm the wedding has occurred, but like all good marriage celebrations of those times the festivities continue long after the actual "event." Life therefore post Parousia continues to be about feasting at the Table of the Lord:

And in this mountain [the commonwealth of Israel Eph 2:11-13]
The LORD of hosts will make for all people [inclusive]
A feast of choice pieces,
A feast of wines on the lees,
Of fat things full of marrow,
Of well-refined wines on the lees.
And He will destroy on this mountain [Israel]
The surface of the covering cast over all people, [inclusive]
And the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever, [1Cor 15:54-57],
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces;
The rebuke of His people
He will take away from all the earth [Jn 1:29; Rom 11:2627];
For the LORD has spoken.
And it will be said in that day:
"Behold, this is our God;
We have waited for Him, and He will save us.
This is the LORD;
We have waited for Him;
We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation." Isa 25:6-9

These glad and joyous celebrations of redemptive fullness as told by Isaiah have become the perpetual feast of the Cross-Parousia event. The apostle John describes this accordingly:

Rev 19:6-9 And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”

Now this is something possibly you've overlooked Norm, but it is interesting to note that John mentions a number of quite separate and distinct identities: the Lamb – Christ; the Wife – first-fruit saints; a great multitude – OC saints; AND "those who are called…". These invitees to the "marriage supper" are quite obviously NOT the believers constituting "the Bride" but are those said to be "blessed" BECAUSE OF the Bride and Groom's great marriage, and are consequently invited to enjoy the great marriage supper, i.e., the great festal celebrations flowing on from this great covenantal union.

Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride [first-fruits church] say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

Finally we have those designated by John's as "him who hears" from among "those who are called" – these then are the continual offspring of the great union of Christ and His first-fruits Bride, those who respond in faith and run with this endless invitation saying "COME!!"


mazuur's picture


"Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, NOT ONLY to those who are of the law, BUT ALSO to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all…

Did you catch this Norm… "the father of us all" – even those miserable ones clinging to the law became beneficiaries of grace BECAUSE OF the faithful first-fruit saints – the true Israel of God.

Dave Dave, you just abandoned what I thought you firmly understood.

"Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed (both Jew and Gentile), NOT ONLY to those who are of the law (Jew), BUT ALSO to those who are of the faith of Abraham (Including Gentiles), who is the father of us all (both Jew and Gentile)"

Paul's whole point it is not the physical lineage of Abraham that are accounted as righteous, but all (whether Jew or Gentile) who is of the faith of Abraham. Just look back to verses 9-12.

"Rom. 4:9   Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, “FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 10 How then was it credited? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised; 11 and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while uncircumcised, so that he might be the father of all who believe without being circumcised, that righteousness might be credited to them, 12 and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also follow in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham which he had while uncircumcised. "

"Rom 11:30-33 For as you [Gentiles] were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Israel's] disobedience, even so these [enemies of the gospel] also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may now obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! "

The Gentile were once disobedient to God yes, and have now obtained mercy, but what does that mean? Does it mean that God just accepts them, or is now willing to accept them when because of their faith in Him? I think the latter is clear. So, now the coin is flipped on Israel. They have now become the disobedient one, and just as God was now willing to show them (gentile) mercy, he is also willing to show those unbelieving Jews the same mercy, but the acceptance is based upon them turning back to God (placing faith in Him). That is why Paul states in Romans 11

"Rom. 11:17   But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith...23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is ABLE [not just does it] to graft them in again. "

Just because God is willing to show mercy (verses not willing to before) doesn't mean one is accepted. It simple means HE is willing to offer it. It is like if somebody were to punch me in the face. I can choose to never offer them mercy so they can be reconciled to me. Or, I can decide to show them mercy, but it is depended on them turning to me and asking for forgiveness. It is ALWAYS depended upon placing faith in Him. Without it, no one will be credited with righteousness. And it is not just about while they are walking around on earth. If they fail to accept his mercy in this life, they will not get it when they physically die. To get it anyway after the die, whether they turn to God or not, is completely unattainable in the Scriptures.



davo's picture

mazuur: Dave Dave, you just abandoned what I thought you firmly understood.

"Rom 4:16 Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed (both Jew and Gentile), NOT ONLY to those who are of the law (Jew), BUT ALSO to those who are of the faith of Abraham (Including Gentiles), who is the father of us all (both Jew and Gentile)"

I think Rich your reading is a little skewed – you have "the law (Jew)" = Jewish believers, but then ascribe "(Including Gentiles)" as "those who are of the faith of Abraham" – why IF your reading were correct, would Paul not describe Jewish believers also as truly "those who are of the faith of Abraham" instead of your "the law (Jew)"? That makes little sense IMO. But regardless of either reading, it was those of "faith" who would ultimately reign as heirs [kingly priests] – but who do you suppose they would reign over – their lonesome selves? Hardly… but this is where you have start transferring everything past the other side of the grave to make sense in your thinking. Rich… this is where both you and Norm have this huge evangelical mental block – you both ultimately tie "acceptance" or "non-acceptance" to one's post-mortem security, or the lack thereof. Now I know Norm sometimes denies this but it is true nonetheless.

And THIS Rich is where you are both getting it horribly wrong – you struggle with the whole inclusiveness / exclusive argument because you can only see it in terms of ultimate destinies, whereas pantelism is viewing it in terms of the call to priestly service and what that meant and ultimately led to through Christ THE first-fruit and His first-fruits saints, i.e., total reconciliation of man.

You see Rich I don't think you're grasping let alone really considering the role of BOTH the first-fruit saints AND the disobedient ones in bringing about the fullness of Israel's promised redemption as a whole – BOTH the sheep and the goats functioned in the redemptive process. Those passages you quote about being grafted or not have NOTHING to do with ultimate destinies past "this life" BUT have everything to do with who was being grafted into the priestly calling to outwork Christ's redemption ON BEHALF OF all Israel. This would in turn have reconciliatory ramifications for God's creation at large.

mazuur: Just because God is willing to show mercy (verses not willing to before) doesn't mean one is accepted.

Ok… so perhaps Rich it comes down to how you are defining "accepted"?? Anyway, which texts of Scripture are you saying actually says what you are claiming above? Certainly there are a number of texts inviting wayward Israel to turn and return [repent] to her God, and yet these are all predicated on the FACT that they were already redeemed [past tense]; and only this made such turning possible:

Isa 44:22 I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.”

You see Rich, traditional evangelicalism confuses God's justice and mercy with that of God's punishment…

Israel's disobedient unfaithfulness was in this life and so likewise was her consequent punishment in this life. Though in Christ Israel's sins had finally been "once for all" atoned for, this did not negate the outworking of the temporal consequences of their temporal rebellious actions under the OC from which Israel was to be raised. You see Rich, their "weeping and gnashing of teeth" etc was the temporal consequence of their poor life choice in rejecting their Messiah – typically reflected in Jesus' words here:

Lk 13:3-5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent YOU will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent YOU will all likewise perish.”

You see when we consider "audience relevance" I find it incredibly strange how you can argue so fervently [and rightly] for a prêteristic eschatology, BUT THEN completely jettison a completely consistent prêteristic hermeneutic with regards to the redemption and reconciliation such eschatology wrought – the very and whole of aim of it.

Again, none of this diminishes in any way the punishment that rebellious Israel of that time suffered in the loss and destruction of their lives. What God deemed adequate and just punishment for those whom He loved dearly i.e., Israel, was NOT just lightly swept aside. However, FORGIVENESS relates to SIN, NOT to punishment – there is a difference Rich. You can very well forgive your child, yet there may still be some consequent penalty applied. THIS distinction and understanding is important to grasp: Jesus was announced as the one who would "save his people from their SINS" – NOT from punishment – THIS is an important distinction to see and acknowledge. God's judgment was a two-sided coin – after the JUST consequences of their rebellious actions was experienced and expired, that is, the conflagrations of AD66-70 [Mt 23:31-36] i.e., "you shall die in your sins", then God's equally JUST and yet MERCIFUL and pardoning forgiveness wrought Israel's redemption [Rom 4:7-8; 2Cor 5:19], as promised and prophesied in the Scriptures, and testified to by the inspired Paul [Rom 11:26-27]. The following Scriptures demonstrate this perfectly:

Psa 99:8 O LORD our God; You were to them God-Who-Forgives, THOUGH You took vengeance on their deeds.

Lam 3:31-32 For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief, YET He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies.

Thus Pantelism understands Israel's divine punishment in terms of the temporal outworking of temporal their actions, that is, their actions had real consequences in this life. As per AD70 for example, their fiery situation was the fruit of their trespass, thus their judgment, but all this never without hope of mercy and restoration:

Isa 54:8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.

Isa 60:10b For in My wrath I struck you, but in My favor I have had mercy on you.

That most haven't realised this does NOT negate its reality – it does however say something about what has become the "traditional" gospel message, which in reality has more bad news than good news, i.e., "God loves you BUT…".

I think it is time you dealt with these things Rich, you can no longer be ignore them. Again… the loss of life suffered in Israel's end of the age 'lake of fire' was exactly that of those who after the similitude of Siloam "perished" [physical annihilation], it was temporal judgment on their temporal misdeeds, but to the highest degree – the cruel loss of their lives. God's unilateral forgiveness of SIN on the covenantal plane ["behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"] is quite distinct from the temporal consequential PUNISHMENT that was meted out, and IN NO WAY negates the covenantal redemption that Christ brought to Israel – as promised in the Scriptures.

Thus a CONSISTENT prêteristic understand of the punishment involved in the Parousia sees this in terms of the temporal fiery outworking of their temporal trespasses i.e., their actions had real consequences in this life.

mazuur: If they fail to accept his mercy in this life, they will not get it when they physically die. To get it anyway after the die, whether they turn to God or not, is completely unattainable in the Scriptures.

This again Rich is pure evangelical speculation – show me the money; what texts of Scripture actually say this? You might consider reading this HERE before answering.


Paige's picture


You posted,
"Rom. 11:17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith...23 And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is ABLE [not just does it] to graft them in again. "

Please note as to how Israel found herself blinded and in unbelief:

Rom. 11:7-8, "What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded. Just as it is written: 'GOD (emphasis mine) has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day.'"

So the blindness of Israel was, in fact, a work of God.

Rom. 11:32, "For GOD (my emphasis again) has shut them all up in disobedience, that He might have mercy on all."

There is no escaping as to Who is at the root of why they were the way they were. If God blinded them and shut them up in disobedience, the only way they were going to get out of it would have to be God's doing as well. So now, please explain to me why you believe God will continue punishing someone for being what God made them to be, and then how that reconciles with mercy???


Paige's picture


You asked (davo), "Now here is the catch, since only believers are spiritual and have a heavenly abode what benefit does the world receive? They obviously will never come into the Heavenly or spiritual realm to abide with God. If they don’t have that what do they have?"

My 2 cents here...

Does God gift us with an ability not only to receive agape, but also to give it? Can we share agape with those who don't know God in exactly the same way we do? You know, scripture says that God loves His enemies and tells us to do likewise. Personally, I see that love has been revealed, and even little children are able to recognize it.

As for the heavenly abode, does it not exist where I exist? Jesus was able to enable others to experience a taste of it before even completing His work of restoration. With restoration now complete, I see wide open possibilities for all.

Maybe not the answer you were looking for.


Starlight's picture


Thanks for the reply and it’s good to hear from you again. Yes the first part of your answer was what I had in mind as well.

Now to your second part. Here are my thoughts , if we are the “body of Christ” then we are Christ in essence, so the world outside should be able to see Christ when they interface or are around us. So do we agree so far?

Now you will need to be more specific though when you say there are wide open possibilities. I have a little trouble understanding “wide open possibilities” generically.

Paige, don’t forget my main question though which delves around the Dan 7 excerpt “all dominions shall serve and obey them”. I am really intrigued by the implications of that meaning which frankly I do not have a grip on yet as it seems to indicate more than you and I are inferring but I’m not sure. I’m looking for thoughts on the subject.



Paige's picture


I've been thinking about your post a bit, and have the sense that none of my answers will satisfy from the get-go. At the outset, I don't see us, or anyone today, as the body of Christ from the first century, that was actually perfected (matured), and participated in the consummation.

From what I see in Romans (especially focusing on 9-11), God would make a short work on the earth. The called out ones were participating on behalf of the whole until the end.

The work of the called out ones was to bring the message of reconciliation. That was that Christ had already reconciled.

Today, we who understand the finished work, and the fulfilled gospel, can certainly witness to that, but we are not participating in the completion of it, as it has already been completed.

I think this post may be a bit redundant, but hope you can bear with it anyway.

Haven't thought much about Dan. 7 in a way that I could clearly explain it. However, my thoughts lean in the direction of a semi-calvinist understanding. For example, Pharaoh was raised up by God to function a certain way in the story of Israel. Pharaoh then, could be seen as serving God, or playing his part. In that sense, who then today, is not "serving" God? I say "semi-calvinist" because quite a number of calvinists would have Pharaoh burning in an endless fire for his service to God. Nor do I see a person serving one way for a certain portion of their life is necessarily "set in stone" to serve that way for as long as they live. I do understand that someone set in an arminian based theology will have much trouble with my thoughts shared here.


Starlight's picture


Again whether they satisfy me is not important. Let’s just enjoy our conversation.

You said. … “At the outset, I don't see us, or anyone today, as the body of Christ from the first century, that was actually perfected (matured), and participated in the consummation….

“The work of the called out ones was to bring the message of reconciliation. That was that Christ had already reconciled.”

I addressed much of this difference in my reply to Davo but let me mention a point or two more. The “body” was God’s established people from Adam/Israel for hundreds if not thousands of years. The “body” was a fleshly one with the stigma of “death” attached to it operating under the futility of one’s own effort. Christ transformed that old body of death into the spiritual realm and now the body of life is to be realized through His Headship instead of Adam’s. Now some like Ed Stevens believe that the “body of Christ” was “raptured” out of the physical world.

Other than that method I’m not sure there is a way to remove the pre AD70 body of Christ unless one believes that in the twinkling of an eye in 1 Cor 15 is a reverting back to a Garden world of Adam without a husband and wife relationship. There we find that the animals were not suitable as helpers to Adam thus the need for Eve the mother of all the living as the wife. The animals in Biblical Hebrew scripture represent mankind at large and they were not suitable for relationship with Adam nor would they be suitable for Christ without entering a covenantal relationship bonded together like the Husband and the wife. Only when men come to God through covenant marriage bonding is there relationship. That was the plan for Adam’s old body and also the manner for the New Heavens and Earth of Christ body.

Rev 21:2-3 ESV
(2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, PREPARED AS A BRIDE ADORNED FOR HER HUSBAND.
(3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. HE WILL DWELL WITH THEM, AND THEY WILL BE HIS PEOPLE, and God himself will be with them as their God. …

Paige, indeed you are correct we did not live in the days of consummation and fulfillment but we are the recipients of the Heritage of the “body” which continues to call on the name of the Lord. I do not see anywhere in scripture that the “body” of believers would be exterminated especially since it was through the new body life that one can live spiritually with God in the heavenly realms.

Paige “"Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are Calvin and Arminius? ;-)



Paige's picture


I'm not sure where you would get from my post that I believe that body would be exterminated???

I believe it is no longer being "added to." (Rom. 11:25) Can I be a recipient of the completed work of Christ and His Bride, without actually being a part of the Bride? I think so. To take what you present further, the work of the Groom and His help-meet has already been accomplished. "Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: 'Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant will be saved. for He will FINISH the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a SHORT work upon the earth.'" (Rom. 9:27, 28)

I do not believe that entering into "rest" implies extermination.

"Paige, indeed you are correct we did not live in the days of consummation and fulfillment but we are the recipients of the Heritage of the “body” which continues to call on the name of the Lord."


We are the nations of those who are saved walking in its light. Perhaps the kings of the earth who bring their glory and honor into it? (Rev. 21:24)


We are just part of the new creation that has nothing to do with the first heaven and earth that passed away. This implies that there is no clean/unclean, light/dark, land/sea dichotomy. In this case we can thank the Groom and the Bride for their joint work with God in making all things new as they continue to rest from all they have done?


Starlight's picture


Sorry if I misinterpreted what you meant. I was looking at this following statement of yours is how I derived what I thought was a leaving of the “body of Christ” behind.

Paige said … “At the outset, I don't see us, or anyone today, as the body of Christ from the first century, that was actually perfected (matured), and participated in the consummation.”

Well the BRIDE BECOMES A WIFE doesn’t she, which is reflected in the Rev 21 quote I presented.


Paul in Rom 7 appears to establish that the wife is joined to the new husband once the old has died.. So indeed she does become a new wife at the consummation, the old husband dies but the wife continues to live with that new Husband after the Parousia living the new way of the Spirit.

Rom 7:2-6 ESV
(2) For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage.
(3) Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.
(6) But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, SO THAT WE SERVE IN THE NEW WAY OF THE SPIRIT and not in the old way of the written code.

So if the old wife Israel cannot be joined to a new husband until the Parousia then immediately though her relationship as a wife is also completed then she as a wife never amounted to anything. That seems to be a major flaw in the idea that the wife’s existence is no more and so we have a husband “Christ” without an ongoing wife.

Paige I’m just having a difficult time wrapping my mind around how this concept will work scripturally in context.

Thanks again for your time Paige.



Paige's picture


You said, "That seems to be a major flaw in the idea that the wife’s existence is no more and so we have a husband “Christ” without an ongoing wife."

Please remember, in my view I do not say that the wife's existence is no more, but that the wife is no longer being added to. There is a difference between the two. Also, the wife's role as help-meet has been fulfilled, else the Husband's work has not yet been finished?


Paige's picture


I'll have to get back to this when I have some more time. Today, I've pretty much used up what free time I have.

I'll be giving it some thought, and will get back to you.


Sam's picture


as a christian, I just found out that the book of genesis existed....tongue in cheek


Starlight's picture

Jason has written a provocative article on his blog this morning detailing his reason why a conversation with Tim and Jeff is not going anywhere as far as he is concerned.

Here is one of Jason’s statements … “Second, there was a paragraph in Jeff Martin’s latest response to Sam that I found extremely troubling and may have helped answer for me why this whole conversation never gets very far and why I don’t think it ever will.”

Jason quote … “(1) Notice they point out from Daniel that “Greece is a leopard” in one chapter and then “Greece is a goat” in another….”same Greece.” And then they follow with that statement: “To the logician’s mind this would be a contradiction.
No it wouldn’t.”

Another Jason quote … “but friends, if they began this whole conversation with no understanding of the basic rules of logic, then that is all they did – stumble.”

I’ll let the readers check out Jason’s complete article but the bottom line is that Jason has chosen to debate the logic of Tim and Jeff’s “leopard and goat” statement instead of dealing with a scriptural analysis of their article. Jason believes that he has mastered recognizing others making contradicting statements and when he thinks he has found what he distinguishes as contradictory then according to Jason everything that person says or does is discredited.

This has been a common modus operandi for Jason as long as I can remember and instead of Jason dealing with the scriptures in Tim and Jeff’s article in which they completely debunked Sam’s logic Jason goes off on his contradiction hunting mantra never dealing with the devastating points of the article itself. Jason in effect says “aha” I can make a contradiction in my own mind so that I can justify to myself why I don’t have to deal with the complete 20 plus page response against Sam scriptural logic.

Folks this is a common ploy amongst weak debaters who must scramble to develop straw men arguments to throw the discussion off course and not have to deal with the realities of the discussion.

So yes Jason now has created an excuse to not deal with the 20 plus page response of Tim and Jeff’s. Jason believes he has found a contradiction in Tim and Jeff’s usage of comparing Greece with a leopard and a goat and then proceeds to demonstrate through logic why their fallacy in his mind is grounds for ignoring their 20 plus page refutation of Sam’s scriptural logic. Talk about a contradiction.

Jason is simply diverting the discussion away from the heart of the matter which is Tim and Jeff’s presentation that overwhelms what Sam has previously presented.

Jason’s full article “What is a Contradiction, Jeff Martin?” may be found at this link.


KingNeb's picture

Norm is still in the business of making stuff up. What i do with audios, what i do with accounts, and now this. And THIS is why - not his BCS view - he's not allowed on our site.

You will not find one place in that blog where i said or even hinted that i will "ignore" the rest of the response.

NOT ONE PLACE. Notice Norm doesn't provide a single quote of me saying this.

It is is slander. It is the Norm.

In fact, i have another blog in the works. What Norm doesn't share is that the blog is part of a whole section on our site where we post BCS related responses, as we see and get to them.

Lastly, i never created a contradiction. The blog was in response to the claim of Jeff Martin who claimed a contradiction - "To the logician’s mind this would be a contradiction."

Jeff Martin is wrong - plain and simple - and i have demonstrated that thoroughly.

Starlight's picture

Jason your logic has missed the forest for the trees. You completely overlooked the context of that discussion concerning Greece as a Leopard and Goat. Tim and Jeff were making a supposed comparison of how a logical minded person might theoretically view the two animal concepts. You yanked the context out and have gone off on your own tangents trying to make something out of nothing. I believe unbiased readers can easily under stand the context of the discussion which seems to have eluded you.

Jason all one has to do is go back and read the full framework of these sections of Tim and Jeff and will readily see that you have departed from the background of what was the intended purpose of their Daniel example of Greece as a Leopard and Goat.

Again Jason you are off chasing your own windmills while most can discern for themselves the necessary context of the articles section in question. They don’t need your trying to exploit it with your obsessing over things you do not understand because you refuse to read without bias.

Context Jason, it’s all about context.

The problem was that Tim and Jeff comprehensively demonstrate the complete lack of a biblical logical approach by Sam concerning Genesis. That is what you should be worried about Jason.

Oh by the way you are welcome to continue to respond over here on Virgil’s “open” to all forum.

I know you do not like having to mix with Covenant Creation folks but now since Sam has developed his own Gen 2 partial Covenant Creation approach you may need to change your bylaws to keep Sam in the fold over there on that forum: covenantal animals and all. LOL


KingNeb's picture

Norm, i'm fully confident in what i wrote - let the chips fall where they may.

As for mixing it up with CC folks - again, you ignore the part that there are CC folks over there. There are certain CC AND NON CC folks that i won't let over there because they, like you, like to create things out of thin air.

I would love to have Tim Martin over there to discuss this. But Tim Martin has a bad habit of lying about me.

Tim accused me over here of deleting a question on my site because i didn't want to deal with the CC ramifications...only to find out that the author (Ted) deleted his own question. I have asked Tim multiple times on another Ning site and in email to address this...nada.

He has ignored it like the plague. Interestingly, same crowd that made up a whole story about what i supposedly did with a podcast.

I don't want people like that on my site. Jim Kessler is CC. Jim doesn't do stuff like that.

Figure it out bro.

Starlight's picture


Your retort is not worthy of a reply and should be an insult to any who frequent Planet Preterist.


dwhochner's picture

I have a question about the "heavens and earth" for Tim or Jeff or anyone who know this stuff. Does it referring to the Genesis creation or the Mosaic covenant or both? Which one is actual "old" covenant?


JL's picture


"The first heavens and first earth" that "passed away" in Rev. 20:1 is "the heavens and the earth" of Genesis 1:1. It was "created" at the time of Adam and ended in AD 70.

We see "the heavens and the earth" as the covenant people, not the covenant.

The various covenants, including the Mosaic, were given to the covenant people or added to the previous covenant provisions and are not technically "the heavens and the earth."

I hope this clarifies.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

dwhochner's picture

Thanks for clarifies. The reason I brought this up is that there is a little confusion when I was re-reading your book in page 76-79, The "Heavens and Earth". It seems you/Tim is talking about the establishing of the Heavens and Earth at the Mt. Sinai rather than in Genesis 1. Maybe I misunderstood or this book should be a little bit more clear.

MiddleKnowledge's picture


I would re-phrase things a bit in that section to make it clear that the Law of Moses was "added to" the original law given to Adam. Our later chapters and our response to Frost work from that perspective.

We'll catch it in the second printing.


Tim Martin

dwhochner's picture

JL and Tim, thanks for clear this up. When do you think the second printing coming out? I'm sure there is some room for improvement for this book.

Are you guys planning to work in depth on Genesis 1 to 5 in near future?

JL's picture

No actual plans yet. We still have several boxes left, enough to get through winter and on into the conference season. Maybe spring 2010. We ought to put together an "errata" sheet.

In the mean time, we are looking at a lot of things. Abraham and Lot are probably first up. Have you thought much about God's covenant with Lot and Lot's promised land?


JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

dwhochner's picture

Well, you just gave me something to think about God's covenant with Lot and Lot's promised land. I don't think I've seen anywhere from the scriptures unless you're referring to Abraham's covenant and the promised land. Both Sodom and Gomorrah were within the promised land. So, I'm curious about what is your point about Lot.

JL's picture

You'll see a bunch of interesting parallels when the article comes out.


JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

dwhochner's picture

I have a question for JL or Tim Marin.

What is your take on "serpent" in Gen. 3?


JL's picture

Thanks Donald,

The confusion might have been ours. We hadn't quite settled on what H&E meant at the time we wrote that part. We probably missed something when we got it settled and went back through that part.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Starlight's picture

Tim and Jeff,

Thanks again for the work on your response to Sam’s article. You covered so many points so well and really hit on some very salient differences. I was especially pleased to see you continue to distinguish between the modern YEC viewpoints which are rooted in the seventh day Adventist/Henry Morris marriage post 1960’s. Many folks just aren’t old enough now days to remember the origins discussion prior to the late 1960’s and early 70’s and remember that this current form of YEC was not in vogue before those times.

Of course you are going to continue to be accused of applying the 7th day Adventist to all Young Earth viewpoints no matter how many times you demonstrate that most adherents of the modern YEC of today are drastically different than the young earth understandings we find historically for 2000 years. For some reason some think they have caught you in a falsity because they profess some nuanced differences in some aspect of modern classical YEC. What many may not realize though is that I doubt that anyone of them would have come up with Sam’s partial Preterist/covenantal explanation to backup their own YEC. Basically many are probably waiting for Sam to flesh out his own version of a Preterist YEC approach so that there can be a rallying around a new version even though most would have never dreamed up Sam’s covenantal Genesis 2 and universal Genesis 1 approach.

Secondly I appreciate your continued pointing out how Sam tries to wrongly bolster his arguments by constantly accusing the development of Covenantal Creation to science. I have stated over and over again until I am blue in the face that my work in determining the truth of scripture wants nothing to do with a scientific approach, unlike the modern YEC who are all over a pseudo scientific method. I abandoned the Old Earth Creationist method over 10 years ago when I saw the same distorted method of trying to apply science to the scriptures. I’m an equal opportunity despiser of both Young earth and Old earth scientific creationism. Neither of them is versed in sound hermeneutics, Sam probably realizes this to an extent and this may be why he is trying to develop his own covenantal approach to Genesis as it becomes obvious to many Preterist that the scripture interpreting scripture hermeneutic of Preterism just doesn’t mix with modern classical versions of either Young or Old earth creationism. Sam really should be embarrassed though of continuing to use that straw man approach which has nothing to do with proper biblical exegesis. I will venture to guess though that he will continue to use it in the future as well as it’s cheap and quick and brings in the emotional crowd without any exegetical work. I hope I’m wrong though and I don’t have to address this issue with Sam any more. Time will tell.

Thanks Tim and Jeff for all your work on this article. I may come back with some more thoughts as I have time.


Starlight's picture

I almost forgot concerning my discussion of using science as the driving force for my understanding of Genesis 1. Actually the driving force is a nearly 2000 year old approximately 70 AD epistle called “The Epistle of Barnabas” Here it is and notice how the author explains to his readers “what this meaneth”.
This author had no science bias but he discards Sam’s literal understanding of Genesis chapter 1. This author thought that the seventh day Sabbath rest was imminent for his time and refers back to Genesis to demonstrate this understanding.

Barnabas 15:3
Of the Sabbath He speaketh in the beginning of the creation; And God made the works of His hands in six days, and He ended on the seventh day, and rested on it, and He hallowed it.
Barnabas 15:4

Give heed, children, WHAT THIS MEANETH; He ended in six days. HE MEANETH THIS, that in six thousand years the Lord shall bring all things to an end; FOR THE DAY WITH HIM SIGNIFYETH A THOUSAND YEARS; and this He himself beareth me witness, saying; Behold, the day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years. THEREFORE, CHILDREN, IN SIX DAYS, THAT IS IN SIX THOUSAND YEARS, EVERYTHING SHALL COME TO AN END.
Barnabas 15:5

And He rested on the seventh day. this He meaneth; when His Son shall come, and shall abolish the time of the Lawless One, and shall judge the ungodly, and SHALL CHANGE THE SUN AND THE MOON AND THE STARS, THEN SHALL HE TRULY REST ON THE SEVENTH DAY.

I also go to a 2200 year old Jewish writing to define how the Barnabas author, Peter and John came up with the “day as a thousand years” meaning. Well take a look at the book of Jubilees in Chapter 4 in the discussion of Adam’s death. This was a favorite Jewish writing which was well known in the first century as it was found in the Dead Sea Scrolls quite often. Notice though the near perfect match with Peters words and Barnabas wording concerning the day meaning a thousand years. This is why Peter could use this term for the last days of the old covenant and so did John by equating the last days to 1000 years. Notice also that Adam did not complete the 1000 year “Day” as he died during it. When one makes themselves acquainted with the Jewish and Christian writings of the time you don’t need science to drive your theology.

4: … “Adam died, and all his sons buried him in the land of his creation, and he was the first to be buried in the earth. 30. And he lacked seventy years of one thousand years; FOR ONE THOUSAND YEARS ARE AS ONE DAY in the testimony of the heavens and therefore was it written concerning the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE: "On the day that ye eat thereof ye will die." For this reason he did not complete THE YEARS OF THIS DAY; for he died during it.”

I hope folks don’t accuse the Barnabas author of being unduly influenced by science since he probably couldn’t even spell the word science. So my question to our good friends who want to accuse everyone who looks at Genesis 1 differently than a literal examination is “what was going on with the Barnabas author”. Since you can’t use science to discredit him what reasoning drove him to abandon a literal 24 hour meaning of day in Genesis?


Virgil's picture

I appreciate your continued pointing out how Sam tries to wrongly bolster his arguments by constantly accusing the development of Covenantal Creation to science.

Norm, I don't see Sam doing anything like fact Sam has come a long way, and as far as I am concerned has approached this dialogue with an open mind recently. Why accuse someone of wrongly bolstering arguments when he is not doing such a thing? All you are doing with these claims is forcing him in a corner and that is not conversation or dialogue.

Starlight's picture


With all due respect I'm not sure you are paying close attention to these two articles of Sam's and Tim and Jeff's. Did you not read Tim and Jeff's article where they have to refute Sam's insinuation about science driving their theology?

Why don't you venture over to Sam's site and read some of his latest post there. Here is an excerpt from Sam’s latest post only 45 minutes ago.

Sam quote … “They say science does not drive them, but when you have read them as much as I have, one cannot but get that point. Genesis 1, if taken as history, is an embarrassment to Christians when faced with the mountain of science. Their refusal to see this is glaring. I did not take Milton Terry out of context, as they asserted. The DISCOVERIES OF SCIENCE has "effectively EXPLODED" the literal six day creation model. That's what Terry said. It's a REASON he did not take Genesis "literally." They appear to want to deny this fact, and are perhaps blind to its implications. I hear them talk about geology and earth sciences.”

You see Virgil I can’t respond to Sam over there so why do you think I wrote what I did? Yes it is because there is a continued exploitation of the science club by Sam and his friends. Sorry if this offends you but I am hoping that by refuting Sam consistently he will put a stop to this misapplication. Sam doesn’t have to bring up the science club but he did in his article and it is a major portion of his approach to debating Covenant Creation.

We have no recourse but to respond and I am sorry that I had to accuse Sam of “wrongly bolstering” his argument. I actually rewrote that sentence to reduce my frustration after venturing onto Sam’s site. I want this conversation to reside on a lower level myself but sometimes you can’t just ignore the attack on one’s motives.


Sam's picture


Again, read carefully what I wrote in the paper:

"It may not be the case that Martin and Vaughn start with Science, but argue, rather, that
they start with the Bible...." See that?

And, again, Terry was not used "deceptively." I gave the page number to his book from where I quoted for any and all to read for themselves. What am I hiding? I concluded that, "If, afterall, empirical earth sciences have “effectually exploded” the
notion ofa young universe, then it follows quite logically that Genesis cannot be talking about
creation that would impact S cience at all."

That is true. I did not say "the one and only reason" as Martin and Vaughn try to make that out. But, unquestionably, it was a REASON for Terry as he so clearly, clearly said. If the "discoveries of science" have "effectively exploded" a YEC view, then, for Terry, the Bible CANNOT be teaching what science has exploded. It MUST be teaching something else. Why can't you get that point?

The fact of the matter is, is that science cannot be absolutely separated from Genesis REGARDLESS of how you interpret it. If someone believes that science has "effectively exploded" a six day creation, and science is given the weight of truth, then Genesis 1 cannot contradict science, since we also believe in the Bible. Therefore, ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE to Genesis must be sought that preserves the science that has effectively exploded literal creation in six days AND maintain the truthfulness of the Bible. That's exactly what Tim and Jeff do. It's no shame...Kline, Waltke, several theologians do it.

I just don't know why it is so, so important that at all costs Genesis 1 cannot be physical creation..Why? Because....what would happen if it were literal? Well, the impact on science is immediately felt, that's why. So...why? Why is this such an important issue?

Let me ask this another way: What is the HARM in taking Genesis 1 as physical creation?

Starlight's picture


I have a question for you concerning your following statements which get back to some of the uncertainty we are seeing concerning some of your understandings.

Sam said … “T his Paradise had specific animals (note the fish are not mentioned – the Levitical sacrifices did not have fish offerings, but they did have “birds” and various “animals”). We are not to suppose, then, that every single genus of the first animals and fish entered into this Garden – and neither are we to suppose that this was the case with Noah’s Arc.”

You specifically state that not all fish and animals are part of Paradise in Genesis 2 and then you state that “AND NEITHER ARE WE TO SUPPOSE THAT THIS WAS THE CASE WITH NOAH’S ARC.” Are you saying that not all the animals that were created in Genesis 1 made it on to Noah’s Arc? Were the great sea monsters and fish of Genesis 1 destroyed in the flood because they were “unclean”? Were these great sea monsters and the beast of the earth in your estimation the dinosaurs? Did all the animals, fish and Great sea monsters of today originate from Noah's Arc?

Sam said … “T he arc also is a type of “coming in” from the “outside” with “clean and unclean” animals – after all, it called an arc – a word used solely for the Arc of the Covenant.”

This is a puzzling section and I would appreciate a little more insight on what you are saying here.


Starlight's picture


Thanks for taking the time to respond. I hope you realize that your contribution to Preterist discussions is fully appreciated.

Sam, I believe we are all in different stages of discovery concerning the scriptures. Some have stepped beyond the comfort level of others. We do need to give each other grace in many of these matters. Yes you are correct in some of your analysis concerning science and its affect upon the evaluation of scriptures. I would have strong reservations perhaps though as viewing it’s influence as dogmatically as you appear to.

There are many personal reasons that we all come to these issues with varying experiences and expectations and it is very problematic to make far-reaching conclusions concerning others motives. It may simply be that one can underestimate and cannot appreciate others point of view because we haven’t arrived there yet. I should know because I like all of us over generalize frequently, it seems to be our human nature to an extent especially when we are debating and trying to make a salient point we often somewhat overstate our position.

I posted today another response that stated that I am driven theologically less by science than just about anyone I know of. I come to this understanding because of the breakthrough I had with understanding the Preterist hermeneutic 3 years ago. I find that Genesis can be fully explained by going to the scriptures and letting the scriptures reveal its purpose. The scriptures alone have not failed to divulge much of the meaning of Genesis in my estimation. I find the problem is that many people do not trust the scriptures to explain Genesis because they want science or the physical to override its revelation. Virgil pointed out this concerning Revelation and I simply posit that it is the very same for Genesis. It has very little to do with science but everything to do with searching for biblical truth where ever we may find it.

Is understanding Revelation the Holy Grail of biblical theology? I don’t think so, but again as Vigil pointed out it does have ramifications. I can and did live in the Spirit of Christ without fully comprehending Revelation. Can I live without fully comprehending Genesis? Yes I can and I have in the past. Can I live with people misunderstanding Revelation, yes I can and do. Can I live with people believing Genesis 1 is literal, yes I can and do as well. But here is the problem for me Sam. It was proven to me that Revelation was not about the end of the world and that turned out to be a very liberating experience for me and I want to share that freedom with others. As you well know we will be scorned by many when we take the full Preterist position on Revelation.

Likewise it is for me concerning Genesis. I am fully convinced through theological examination of the meaning and purpose of Genesis and I do not believe it is to be literally understood in the classic evangelical mode that permeates society now. Sam you also are not reading it in the classic mode that is the evangelical model at present. I heard you at Ardmore discuss Adam’s death completely different than a typical YEC evangelical would. So we have a little in common so far in Genesis. You seem to have come around to something of a covenantal view of Genesis 2 which again is moving somewhat closer to my understanding. I perceive you are doing so because you are more comfortable as you perceive that things may be unfolding for you especially concerning the theology of what Adam’s death entails. You probably would not have moved to that position though until you understood Romans and 1 Cor 15 and the corporate death of Adam as presented by Paul. In other words Sam you have made strides concerning Genesis which are putting you at odds with contemporary evangelical Christians. You are really not that far behind and I agree with Virgil that we may be actually closer than we realize.

Would I give up presenting what I believe about Genesis? Would you give up presenting what you believe about Revelation? I don’t think either one of us could expect the other to put aside what we have come to believe firmly is true. I believe Revelation taught wrongly has detrimental effects for Christians, likewise I believe the same about Genesis. Do I think it is absolutely critical to ones salvation? Emphatically I say No.

Christians existed for millennia thinking the earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around the earth. As far as I can tell it only kept them from discovering American sooner rather than later and had little to do with their faith in God.



Virgil's picture

Sam, to answer to your last question, I would point out the harm caused by a physical/literal interpretation of the events taking place in the book of Revelation. This alone should motivate you to consider Tim and Jeff's points - not fully agree with them, but at the very least develop a conducive conversation with them on the topic.

They ARE onto the very least you should agree with that. I think it would be a good point to start the conversation and we are getting to that point which is very encouraging to me. :)

Sam's picture


Thanks again, Master. I don't agree with you here, but since you have made me famous (wait, you didn't publish Misplaced Hope, did you? Oh, that was Jay Gary), then who am I to disagree?

(Hey, if you don't "get" what I just wrote, it's for the fly that can't keep from trying to stay relevant. I need some more mentoring from you...)

Your Apprentice Forever.

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