You are hereWhy Creation and Prophecy Can’t be Separated

Why Creation and Prophecy Can’t be Separated

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By Virgil - Posted on 30 June 2009

by Gary DeMar
When I wrote my article “Why Young People are Leaving the Church” I knew it would generate some response. I was taken to task by a few Young earth Creationists (YEC) because I did not point out the dangers of Old Earth Creationist (OEC) arguments and how they create serious theological problems such as disease and death before the fall. Some OECs have attempted to answer this objection exegetically. YECists can and do disagree with OEC arguments, but they can’t accuse OECists of not appealing to the Bible to make their case (see here).My point, however, was to argue against the claim that a church exodus among young people is the result of not teaching YECism. Such a view is simplistic, unproven, and shortsighted. I pointed out in “Why Young People are Leaving the Church” that it is factually and apologetically a mistake to imply that OECists take a compromised position on biblical inspiration, authority, and integrity as compared to YECists. It gets YECists nowhere to argue otherwise and vice-versa. I have fundamental problems with dispensationalists on the issue of eschatology, but I have never accused them of not believing the Bible.

In “Why Young People are Leaving the Church,” I argued that there are exegetical and hermeneutical inconsistencies among YECists who are dispensationalists (e.g., Henry Morris, Tim LaHaye, and Ray Comfort) and among those who speak in these churches and homeschool conventions about YECism (even though they themselves may not be dispensationalists). I contend that prophecy, because it is about the future, has a greater impact on people than does whether the earth is young or old. A person can hold to either position and not have to make a decision about what lies ahead. In fact, some creation/prophecy writers [1] claim that not to believe in a global flood is a sign that the end is near based on 2 Peter 3:3–9. Since there are many who are questioning a belief in a global flood, so the argument goes, we must be living in the last days.[2] There is no way to escape a creation-prophecy connection.

While I was writing this article, I received an email that called my attention to a blog post by Ray Comfort. A skeptic had asked the following question:

“Could anyone of you believers tell me when the end times will happen, besides soon? It seems to me that the end times have been preached by man ever since the time they created their fictional deities.”

I have to say that Ray’s answer was wholly inadequate. He is a YECist who is unaware how his prophetic views, because of the hermeneutical model his uses (dispensationalism), undermine his ability to deal with skeptics on this issue. So what he gives with one hand (creation), he takes away with the other (prophecy). I’ve seen it happen over and over again. Go here for the first in a series of responses to Ray’s answer to the skeptic Jonathan

Click here to read the entire article

Starlight's picture

Gary makes some very good points concerning the problems of getting eschatology wrong and the implications that it bears for our culture and ultimately ones faith. What I believe that doesn’t come through clearly is that Genesis and the beginnings also have ramifications that are negative for our society. The idea that the earth is only 6000 years old causes scientifically minded individuals to severely question the authority of scriptures entirely. If the loss of faith due to this misunderstanding is taken into count then the consequences for faith are enormous losses while the humanist position gains. There is a huge segment of evangelical Christians who are raised in antagonism toward science and likewise there are many that are lost to faith in God when they come of age. A young person entering into earth science for example will be exposed to dating of the earth and examining the science involved so if they are taught that nothing credible exist beyond 6000 years they will not find that field a fruitful endeavor.

Fortunately there are many who are beginning to properly understand the nature of Genesis and that it is not about a material creation of the physical cosmos. In the Preterist camp we have several that have begun unraveling Genesis just as Revelation was unraveled. Also in the biblical scholarly world there is a refreshing new book that may help turn this debate on its ears. John Walton is an extensive Genesis scholar and has a broad understanding of the Ancient Near East culture that the Bible grew out of. John has posited that Genesis 1 when understood properly in cultural context is completely alienated from a material creation account. His book is designed to help the common layman bible student and is an easy read. He boils the discussions down into comprehendible concepts in which those who are somewhat already versed in Genesis and OT theology should be able to follow readily. His conclusions have great correlation with the full Preterist understanding of Covenant Creation yet Walton’s weakness is that he is not full Preterist and hasn’t put everything together as well as it should be yet. But his book helps continue and adds to the process for many that understand fully the Preterist hermeneutic.

I thought some of our readers might like to read a review of John Walton’s latest book specifically on Genesis chapter 1.

Here is the link to the two part review InterVarsity Press web site.

http://addenda-errata.ivpress.com/2009/05/the_lost_world_of_genesis_one.php

The Lost World of Genesis One (Part One)

Excerpt from part one of review.

Begin quote:

“This week we are releasing John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. Davis Young has read Walton’s book and says this:
Every theologian, every pastor, every Christian in the natural sciences, indeed, every Christian who loves the Bible must put aside all other reading material this minute and immediately begin to absorb the contents of John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis One. Walton closely examines Genesis 1 in light of Ancient Near Eastern literature and offers a compelling case that the creation account is far more concerned with the cosmos being given its functions as God’s temple than it is with the manufacture of the material structures of the earth and universe. In the process, he has blown away all the futile attempts to elicit modern science from the first chapter of the Bible.

Not to put too fine a point on it, John Walton has laid an explosive charge at the foot of the main weight-bearing column of the YEC superstructure. We can talk about all those other things YECs would like to discuss, but first we need to talk about Genesis 1—in its ancient Near Eastern context.

One of the truly disheartening things for me, as an evangelical who has spent his career in biblical studies, is that so many of our brothers and sisters are stuck in an untenable reading of Genesis 1. I have finally reconciled myself to the fact that it will always be so, and that it is the never ending responsibility of the church’s teachers (from scholars to ministers and educated lay leaders) to teach. And how can you responsibly teach this “creation text” if you do not pay heed to its ancient Near Eastern context. Or if you continue to let contemporary issues and pressures (including pressures from your ecclesial community) determine the outcome of your interpretation of Genesis 1 (or 2, for that matter). In some evangelical communities this takes courage. But if our hermeneutical courage can’t be aroused here, then where and when?”

Excerpt from part 2 of review.

“This is a book for students, laypeople, teachers (including, say, high school science teachers), pastors—just about anyone on any side of this issue who wants to sharpen their understanding of this fundamental biblical text and is open to new evidence. For those who fear that giving up cherished ideas will be a disappointment, I challenge you to come to this book with an open mind. I wager that you will come away with a new-found satisfaction in and a theologically richer appreciation for Genesis 1. And I trust you you will agree that the world of Genesis 1 has been lost and now rediscovered.”

End Quotes.

Here is an excerpt from an Amazon review of Walton’s book. Notice how similar this writer’s enthusiasm is to what many of us full Preterist embracing a Covenant Creation account have been pointing out about early Genesis. Once you start unlocking Genesis it becomes akin to wanting to complete the greatest of Jigsaw puzzles because you know it is supposed to fit with the rest of scripture. And it does!

It takes hard work for those who embrace this quest of rediscovering Genesis again. Many a full Preterist has encountered the same feeling on the other end with Matt 24 and Revelation and know the exhilaration that finding true answers brings such satisfaction. No more wondering about the Bible’s reliability concerning Revelation and Genesis. No more science investigations into Genesis. No more excitement about the coming planetary inferno and the end of the world at the rapture. No the lost world of Genesis One is being unmasked right before our eyes in this new 21st Century. Preterist and partial Preterist are both helping unveil that lost world.

Quote:

“To be sure there is a bit of irony in all of this. If Walton's scholarship is right, and I think it more or less is, we are forced to say that all sides have been wrong in taking the scalpel to the text and seeking to justify their view because of this or that word, or this or that phrase. It can no longer be about the definition of "yom" and how much time you can or cannot fit into it. And it can no longer be about finding a scientific cosmology that allows the day and night to exist before the sun in some convenient fashion. And although many of us who have worked hard to travel such roads will find it hard to turn around and go back, it is time for us to accept that they lead to false destinations. It is time to change our perspectives and see that Genesis speaks to its intended audience on an entirely different wavelength than what we are accustomed or want it to. It is time to accept the Bible on its own terms.”

End quote.

Norm

Islamaphobe's picture

Norm,

Thanks for taking the time to post this comment, with which I am in full agreement. As a long-time resident of academe who spent considerable time as a student in the study of geology and physical geography, I can attest to what a mighty turnoff the YEC perspective is to many people lacking firm religious convictions who might otherwise be open to taking the Bible very seriously.

John S. Evans

cinper's picture

Have been listening to Hank Hanegraaff this week as he covers "the essentials" of the Christian faith. At no time does Hank claim YEC as an essential.

BUT...

He does list belief in the physical return of Christ as an essential. Am curious how many here believe that to be an essential of the faith, or a debatable? Knowing Hank's partial preterist position, I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

I have a philosophical difficulty with his position (not really his only, probably widespread) that we are awaiting the Great Hope which is a literal New Heaven and a New Earth. In this place, Hank says, are glories unimaginable, where we will be continually learning about God, exploring His creation, etc. in our resurrected bodies. Again, another BUT...

I am a result of my life's experiences. "Me" includes everything, good and bad. In Heaven, where will the "bad" part of me go? Will I be a Stepford version of "me," with my "bad" parts removed? If so, then, I will cease to be "me." See the problem? I cannot resolve this. If I'm not "me" in Heaven, then what's the point? Annihilationism sounds just as good; in fact, preferable.

Would welcome any thoughts. Thank you!

Perry Shields

chrisliv's picture

Yeah,

Those guys have their lists that you "must believe" to get to go to Heaven someday.

Goody, goody! The Gospel of going to Heaven when you're dead. The pagan Greeks and Romans believed that, too, long before Christ.

I think about the only cardinal doctrine Christ pronounced, was when He said, "If you believe not that I AM, you will die in your sins."

I don't think "Heaven" was being contemplated there.

I mean, there's a lot of people dead in their sins right here.

But, about your "me". It's past, thus dead, anyway.

The "me" of you is the sum of your past, like you say, both good and bad.

Your "me" it's not really you.

You do change, unless you're dead in your sins.

Your "you" is self-expressed as "I".

Forget about "me".

There is probably no "me" in Heaven anyway, and for good reason.

You know, the "me's" with all of the lists.

So, debating within yourself about which you might someday prefer most: Heaven vs Annihilation, seems like more of what the Futurists like to focus on, which is not Christ's fully-establish Kingdom, on Earth, much like it is in Heaven. No, they all want to go to Heaven someday, the one in Outer Space somewhere, or to a Millennial Utopia at the end of the World, with a hostile Christ as the global dictator.

You see, ideally, there is no separation between you and Heaven, right now. Then, when your physical body stops functioning, you'll still be where you always were, in Christ.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

cinper's picture

Thanks for your response, Chris.

"You see, ideally, there is no separation between you and Heaven, right now. Then, when your physical body stops functioning, you'll still be where you always were, in Christ."

This is a profound statement, one I have not heard from the mainstream of Christianity. Must contemplate for a while.

chrisliv's picture

Well,

This is not new or original stuff.

I mean, look, down below, at John 14:

Those "rooms" in Father's House are not talking about Heaven or the death of the body before residence begins.

That's the Dimension in the Holy Spirit, which was the long-awaited Blessing of Abraham.

And Christ's "commandments" are not the Ten Commandments.

So, there's some more old, biblical, sappy stuff.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

----------------------------------------------
14:1 ¶ Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father’s house are many rooms: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 ¶ And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.
5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
12 ¶ Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
15 ¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 ¶ I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

davo's picture

G'day Perry… as I see it, the less desirable aspects of who we are, as we view them, are no less under the grace of God than the rest of us – God doesn't pick and choose. Looking at "heaven" in spatial terms of "where we go" will always leave us flat-footed. IF we understand [believe] God's acceptance of us in this life as somehow magically changing to non-acceptance beyond this life then we'd be relying on our estimation of how God sees us in stead of His.

And as for "annihilation" it is even less a credible option IMO as I point out HERE.

davo

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