The Garden of Eden: thoughts from Tim Martin

When I was at Truthvoice 2008 a month ago, the co-author of Beyond Creation Science, Tim Martin, gave two talks that I thought were worthy of discussion on my blog. Here are my thoughts on the first talk.

[Note: I am summarizing based on the notes I took, and I honestly hope I misrepresent nothing he said. I’m going to let him know about this to give him a chance for correction/clarification.]

First, some contextualization. Beyond Creation Science seeks to make the case that the Creation narrative of Genesis is not a historical account about the creation of the physical world, but a metaphorical and prophetic description of the creation of the Mosaic covenant and the coming New Covenant, written a genre quite similar to Revelation. I, like Tim and his co-author Jeff Vaughn, do not see the early Genesis material as an historical account that a literal reading gives, but until recently, this and the fact that we are all full preterists were the closest our views came to coinciding. I reject their contention that Genesis contains “apocalyptic language”, and that we should correlate the “heavens and earth” created in Genesis 1 with the “heavens and earth” that most preterists identify as a term referring to covenant systems. As regards this latter, see Mat 5.18, compare Isa 65.17f and Rev 21.1, compare Heb 1.10-12 and 8.13; all speak of the changed world order that resulted from the fulfillment/completion of the Old Covenant and the full establishment of the New. Although the book is oriented more for newcomers to preterism, they have been confident that other preterists would come to see it their way because of their important argument: since all of us preterists understand that “heavens and earth” in eschatological terms outside of Genesis does not refer to the physical cosmos at all but are spoken of in non-literal apocalyptic language, Tim and Jeff expect that we’ll see that same language in Genesis and interpret it that same way. Tim and I had some great interaction on these issues while they were writing this book, but we never really came to terms with our differences of opinion. This isn’t the place for me to fully interact with that argument, but it’s an important one, and one that has caused a sharp divide in preterism because of the insistence of a healthy contingent of the preterist community that Genesis must be simple history as we know it. Ok, I hope I didn’t lose you there, because all of this is neither here nor there in regards to the following.

In fact, it was because I expected Martin’s talks at the conference to be along the lines of his book that I was so pleasantly surprised by what he presented instead. It was a wise decision on his part to leave the controversial “covenant creation” material from his book out of play and focus on the more practical aspects of what Genesis should mean. The great thing about the material I’m going to summarize is that it works whether you read the Garden narrative as historical, mythical, or prophetic/allegorical.

Martin began with reading from select passages of Eliot’s “The Waste Land” in order to paint a picture of the worldview of hopelessness and purposelessness held by so many unbelievers. He then turned it around and argued that the predominant Christian worldview is not substantially different. To hear many talk, the Church does the best it can, given the incomplete gift of redemption we have been promised that we won’t really receive until a future consummation. Martin blames the hopelessness the world is struggling with right now because the Church itself is still reeling from the effects of “twentieth century wilderness Christianity”. We now lie “between the times,” between the Garden of Eden at the beginning and awaiting the restored Garden pictured in Revelation. Waste Land Christianity is separated from God’s Garden, beginning and end.

Martin then describes how understanding fulfilled eschatology (preterism) is a return to God’s Garden. The garden in Revelation 21 and 22 is not the result of some future apocalyptic event; it is the gospel of Jesus Christ. To embrace the gospel is to live in God’s Garden.

Because the Garden at the end of Revelation is the conclusion of the story of the Garden in Genesis, to understand the Garden at the end is to understand the Garden at the beginning. Martin contends that Revelation 21-22 portrays the Garden of Eden “all grown up”.

It really got interesting for me when he got into his next theme.

God the Gardener

Martin suggested that the role of Gardener is key for understanding much of Scripture. He listed a bundle of Scriptures that use gardening/agricultural imagery, including Ps 80.8-9; Isa 27.2-4; Heb 6.7-8; Isa 5.7; Ps 1.3; Ezk 19.10-14; Mat 3.10, 13.10, 20.1; Rom 11.17-18, but most explicitly, John 15.1, “I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener…”

Martin pointed out that, far from the over-idealized view of the Garden scene held by many Christians, Genesis 2.15 explicitly states that even the Garden of Eden needed tending. Whom did He entrust the care of the garden to? “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Gen 2.15) God put His son in the garden.

Adam the Son

The notion of Adam being the son of God initially raised my eyebrows, but that very terminology shows up explicitly in Luke 3.38 – “…Adam, the son of God.”
Martin made the case that Genesis 2 shows God’s children in God’s Garden; after the Fall, the question becomes, how is God going to mend His family? John particularly seems concerned with affirming the status of the followers of Messiah as children of God, especially John (see Jn 1.12-13; 1 Jn 2.29-3.10 “…children born…of God”; Rev 3.21 “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son”; Rev 21.7; note also Rom 8.23, which refers to “adoption as sons”, something preterists assert was fulfilled at the time of the Parousia.

Garden Grace and Freedom

Martin emphasized that the relationship between God and his children pictured in the garden as being based on grace in a familial manner. He then asked, “Did Adam have to earn his place in God’s Garden?”

The answer is no: Genesis 2.8 shows that the garden was itself a gift to Adam as a father gives good gifts to his son, and that the threat did not come first, but the gift. In fact, residence in the garden was only the first of many gifts. God provided them with food and water needed for sustenance, and even situated him in a luxurious land noted for being packed with precious stones (Gen 2.8-10). In fact, on this point, we find another parallel between the Garden of Eden and the Revelation 21-22 situation: Revelation 21.21 describes a treasure city made from treasures from both earth (gold and stones) and seas (pearl), all of which are specifically noted to exist in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 2.8-10.

The Garden is a family scene; it is filled with an atmosphere of Grace. Martin asks, “What would cause death? Any and every sin?” To which the answer is, “No.” An overemphasis on the single restriction obscures the paternal aspect of God at work in this passage. Remember, what was the first thing God said to Adam? “You are free…” (Gen 2.16; cf. Gal 5.1). Did God charge Adam for dominion over the animals? (Ge 2:21) Did God charge Adam a bride-price for Eve? Did God require 7 years of hard labor for her hand in marriage? No. These were good gifts from a Father to His son.

Even when the prohibition comes in, Martin argues, we see God’s fatherly concern at work. Following James Jordan, he suggests that God put the tree of knowledge off limits not as an arbitrary test of obedience but because His children were not yet mature enough for that particular knowledge. Scripture elsewhere attributes the ability to tell good from evil to maturity level (Heb 5.14; cf. Isa 7.16).

But there was also an aspect of discipline to the restriction. Martin (probably following Jordan here, too) asserted that the tree of knowledge was a picture of the dietary laws, which were instituted to teach discipline. At this point, Martin remarked, “God was homeschooling his children!”

My thoughts

Martin and Vaughn contend that this narrative was a metaphorical depiction of the inception of the Mosaic covenant and an indication that Adam and Eve are representative, not of humanity as a whole, but of the original recipients of the Old Covenant. They have stated that Adam and Eve are not historical or mythical people, but covenant people. In other words, for Martin and Vaughn, the parallel between the Garden narrative tree of knowledge and the dietary laws is one between metaphor and referent. I, on the other hand, side with the mythical representation, but I am not claiming that Genesis 2 is simply or purely mythological: Israelite religious leaders (possibly including although not necessarily limited to Moses) sought to present the need for and value of the Law and capitalize on the pagan mythology still lingering among the people. They killed two birds with one stone by adapting and sanctifying a preexisting myth, couching what they wanted to convey in a familiar framework, in order to provide an understandable picture of the Covenant and the Law. For instance, I believe there is a high likelihood of an intentional parallel between the prohibited tree of the Garden narrative and the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic covenant, but that doesn’t mean that every single other aspect of the narrative had a specific prophetic fulfillment or metaphorical referent. Genesis 2 isn’t an allegory, but has applicability buried within it. As Tolkien advised, I avoid confusing applicability with allegory. Allegory depends on homomorphism, i.e. one-to-one mapping of metaphor to referent, whereas the Genesis myths were probably originally intended to speak as mythological narrative. Although they were adapted at certain key points to remind the audience of the Old Covenant, I don’t think that we can say that early Genesis consists of a whole bunch of metaphors strung together to form a one-to-one metaphorical narrative.

I don’t really have a problem with any of Tim’s observations that I listed here, and I continue to ruminate on them. My main difference is that I believe the metaphors Martin identifies were contemporaneous to, not prophetic of, their main subject (the Law and Mosaic Covenant). I’d really like to hear your thoughts on this stuff, especially those of you who do not accept Genesis 2-3 to be an historical account. Where are his points the weakest? The strongest?

Tagged with:
Recent Posts:
  • Steve,

    It was a pleasure to meet you in Ohio a few weeks ago.

    I am very encouraged that you found my presentations at TV 08 to be thought-provoking. The recordings are available online here should anyone want to listen to them directly. I have the corresponding PPT slides available there as well. BTW, Jeff should get a lot of credit, too, because we put a lot of that material together jointly.

    I would like to clarify a couple of things regarding your post. I see some confusion at key points. First of all, you explain that BCS argues that the early chapters of Genesis is “a metaphorical and prophetic description of the creation of the Mosaic covenant and the coming New Covenant.” Not exactly. Note that you’ve joined two distinct (and incompatible) things – the Mosaic covenant and the New Covenant.

    What Jeff and I suggest is that the original created order, the “heavens and earth” of Gen. 1:1f is a theological description of human life in covenant relationship with God. What it boils down to is that we see the early chapters of Genesis as the first unveiling of the New Covenant. Genesis teaches the gospel.

    Neither Jeff nor I believe that it is proper to state that the Mosaic covenant exists before the fall (i.e. Gen. 2). The Mosaic economy is a ministration of death, and death entered the world at the fall not before. We are committed to a historical view of the fall that matches our historical view of the consummation. God did not create Adam and Eve in a state of bondage. That was the point I was trying to communicate through my presentations.

    Our argument is that the “new heaven and new earth” is a restoration or resurrection of the original created order that God called “very good” at the beginning. This should be clear because the new heaven and new earth (that is fully unveiled at the “passing away” of the old heaven and old earth — Mosaic covenant) is literally “kainos” heaven and “kainos” earth in Greek. It is new in quality, not in time. Technically, it is a made-new heaven and made-new earth. You can see how we phrased the issues on p. 343-359 of BCS.

    All of this is not to say that there is no difference between the original (gospel) order in Genesis and the final (gospel) order in revelation. It is first presented to us in “infancy” in Genesis and “maturity” in Revelation, though the principles of gospel life are uniform. I sense that John is explicitly following the pattern of Gen. 2 in Rev. 21-22.

    The Mosaic covenant, on the other hand, is a shadow of Christ. We believe the same functionality would also apply in the relationship between the Mosaic covenant and the original, pre-fall condition. So it would be improper, in our view, to orient creation around the Mosaic economy. (John Sailhamer, as good as some of his material is, makes this precise mistake.) The problem is that presenting the Mosaic covenant in the garden would, in essence, deny a historical fall.

    That leads me to the second issue that needs clarification. Jeff and I believe that Genesis predates Moses. In fact, we talk about the original authorship of Genesis on p. 237-240. We believe that the authors of Genesis are the people directly involved in the stories. I think we agree with you in our perspective of Genesis as a compilation. Genesis, as we have it, may have been edited by Moses, but the sources of Genesis goes much further back in covenant history. A surprising number of “conservative” authors state much the same view.

    One of your criticisms at the end of your post is, “My main difference is that I believe the metaphors Martin identifies were contemporaneous to, not prophetic of, their main subject (the Law and Mosaic Covenant).” Once you more fully understand our view of “covenant creation,” then I think you’ll see that we are actually saying much the same thing as you. I believe that Adam was created in covenant relationship with God. He had “the life” that Jesus came to bring back into the (covenant) world (as the last Adam) and Adam experienced “the death” that Jesus came to defeat.

    Covenant creation, as we present it in BCS, emphasizes the contemporaneous nature of the creation in a gospel sense. Adam lived in a gospel setting because the atmosphere of the garden was fundamentally familial between God the Father and Adam the son. We see this terminology reflected all over the New Testament as a description of the gospel. Jeff and I also see the early chapters of Genesis as prophetic of the New Covenant because of the apocalyptic/prophetic dimension (which I know you disagree with). But if Gen. 1 & 2 is a revelation of the gospel, then it cannot properly be equated with the Mosaic covenant without a de facto denial of a historical fall.

    I did find your reference to my strategy at TV 08 a bit humorous: “In fact, it was because I expected Martin’s talks at the conference to be along the lines of his book that I was so pleasantly surprised by what he presented instead. It was a wise decision on his part to leave the controversial “covenant creation” material from his book out of play and focus on the more practical aspects of what Genesis should mean.”

    I actually believe that all of my material at TV 08 was the next logical progression and implication of covenant creation. Sure, I didn’t re-package details in the book and regurgitate them in that venue, but everything I presented in Ohio came from a wider covenant creation paradigm. I think you’ll see that more clearly if you look at the case in Beyond Creation Science more closely.

    Covenant creation is actually vindicated if we can show the legitimacy of looking at the original garden scene as an unveiling of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, if the garden scene is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ, then I cannot see how a covenant creation conclusion (of some form) could possibly be avoided even if we quibble about genre issues. I argued for covenant creation, though in a slightly subversive manner, during every part of my presentations. I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

    Thanks again for your blog post. It is very encouraging that you found the presentations to be stimulating. I sense that we actually have much more in common in our approach to early Genesis than we differ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the ANE perspective could be perfected if those involved in that developing that approach became preterists. From my perspective, a proper understanding of the biblical “heaven and earth” absolutely revolutionizes everything in creation as surely as it revolutionizes everything in eschatology. Every New Testament author understood their eschatological message in terms of Genesis creation.

    Ponder the implications.

    Keep up the great work!

    Your friend,

    Tim Martin
    co-author, Beyond Creation Science
    http://www.beyondcreationscience.com

  • Steve,

    It was a pleasure to meet you in Ohio a few weeks ago.

    I am very encouraged that you found my presentations at TV 08 to be thought-provoking. The recordings are available online here should anyone want to listen to them directly. I have the corresponding PPT slides available there as well. BTW, Jeff should get a lot of credit, too, because we put a lot of that material together jointly.

    I would like to clarify a couple of things regarding your post. I see some confusion at key points. First of all, you explain that BCS argues that the early chapters of Genesis is “a metaphorical and prophetic description of the creation of the Mosaic covenant and the coming New Covenant.” Not exactly. Note that you’ve joined two distinct (and incompatible) things – the Mosaic covenant and the New Covenant.

    What Jeff and I suggest is that the original created order, the “heavens and earth” of Gen. 1:1f is a theological description of human life in covenant relationship with God. What it boils down to is that we see the early chapters of Genesis as the first unveiling of the New Covenant. Genesis teaches the gospel.

    Neither Jeff nor I believe that it is proper to state that the Mosaic covenant exists before the fall (i.e. Gen. 2). The Mosaic economy is a ministration of death, and death entered the world at the fall not before. We are committed to a historical view of the fall that matches our historical view of the consummation. God did not create Adam and Eve in a state of bondage. That was the point I was trying to communicate through my presentations.

    Our argument is that the “new heaven and new earth” is a restoration or resurrection of the original created order that God called “very good” at the beginning. This should be clear because the new heaven and new earth (that is fully unveiled at the “passing away” of the old heaven and old earth — Mosaic covenant) is literally “kainos” heaven and “kainos” earth in Greek. It is new in quality, not in time. Technically, it is a made-new heaven and made-new earth. You can see how we phrased the issues on p. 343-359 of BCS.

    All of this is not to say that there is no difference between the original (gospel) order in Genesis and the final (gospel) order in revelation. It is first presented to us in “infancy” in Genesis and “maturity” in Revelation, though the principles of gospel life are uniform. I sense that John is explicitly following the pattern of Gen. 2 in Rev. 21-22.

    The Mosaic covenant, on the other hand, is a shadow of Christ. We believe the same functionality would also apply in the relationship between the Mosaic covenant and the original, pre-fall condition. So it would be improper, in our view, to orient creation around the Mosaic economy. (John Sailhamer, as good as some of his material is, makes this precise mistake.) The problem is that presenting the Mosaic covenant in the garden would, in essence, deny a historical fall.

    That leads me to the second issue that needs clarification. Jeff and I believe that Genesis predates Moses. In fact, we talk about the original authorship of Genesis on p. 237-240. We believe that the authors of Genesis are the people directly involved in the stories. I think we agree with you in our perspective of Genesis as a compilation. Genesis, as we have it, may have been edited by Moses, but the sources of Genesis goes much further back in covenant history. A surprising number of “conservative” authors state much the same view.

    One of your criticisms at the end of your post is, “My main difference is that I believe the metaphors Martin identifies were contemporaneous to, not prophetic of, their main subject (the Law and Mosaic Covenant).” Once you more fully understand our view of “covenant creation,” then I think you’ll see that we are actually saying much the same thing as you. I believe that Adam was created in covenant relationship with God. He had “the life” that Jesus came to bring back into the (covenant) world (as the last Adam) and Adam experienced “the death” that Jesus came to defeat.

    Covenant creation, as we present it in BCS, emphasizes the contemporaneous nature of the creation in a gospel sense. Adam lived in a gospel setting because the atmosphere of the garden was fundamentally familial between God the Father and Adam the son. We see this terminology reflected all over the New Testament as a description of the gospel. Jeff and I also see the early chapters of Genesis as prophetic of the New Covenant because of the apocalyptic/prophetic dimension (which I know you disagree with). But if Gen. 1 & 2 is a revelation of the gospel, then it cannot properly be equated with the Mosaic covenant without a de facto denial of a historical fall.

    I did find your reference to my strategy at TV 08 a bit humorous: “In fact, it was because I expected Martin’s talks at the conference to be along the lines of his book that I was so pleasantly surprised by what he presented instead. It was a wise decision on his part to leave the controversial “covenant creation” material from his book out of play and focus on the more practical aspects of what Genesis should mean.”

    I actually believe that all of my material at TV 08 was the next logical progression and implication of covenant creation. Sure, I didn’t re-package details in the book and regurgitate them in that venue, but everything I presented in Ohio came from a wider covenant creation paradigm. I think you’ll see that more clearly if you look at the case in Beyond Creation Science more closely.

    Covenant creation is actually vindicated if we can show the legitimacy of looking at the original garden scene as an unveiling of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, if the garden scene is all about the gospel of Jesus Christ, then I cannot see how a covenant creation conclusion (of some form) could possibly be avoided even if we quibble about genre issues. I argued for covenant creation, though in a slightly subversive manner, during every part of my presentations. I’m so glad you enjoyed them!

    Thanks again for your blog post. It is very encouraging that you found the presentations to be stimulating. I sense that we actually have much more in common in our approach to early Genesis than we differ. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the ANE perspective could be perfected if those involved in that developing that approach became preterists. From my perspective, a proper understanding of the biblical “heaven and earth” absolutely revolutionizes everything in creation as surely as it revolutionizes everything in eschatology. Every New Testament author understood their eschatological message in terms of Genesis creation.

    Ponder the implications.

    Keep up the great work!

    Your friend,

    Tim Martin
    co-author, Beyond Creation Science
    http://www.beyondcreationscience.com

  • Regarding my misunderstanding that the Garden narrative relates directly to the Mosaic economy:

    I’m really sorry I misrepresented you there, and thanks for clarifying. It’s hard for me to keep it all straight, what with Norm, NCMI, and RCM all giving their interpretations/their interpretations of your interpretations, etc.

    Neither Jeff nor I believe that it is proper to state that the Mosaic covenant exists before the fall (i.e. Gen. 2). The Mosaic economy is a ministration of death, and death entered the world at the fall not before. We are committed to a historical view of the fall that matches our historical view of the consummation. God did not create Adam and Eve in a state of bondage. That was the point I was trying to communicate through my presentations.

    Of course, and this has been clear to me in the past, but I have recently gotten confused due to the conversations I’ve had with other CC advocates/critics. Let me see if I’ve got it:

    In some pre-historical state, an unspecified Adam and Eve (who could have been a real couple or an unspecified people group) were brought into the family of God. They were blessed with all the benefits of covenant, but ultimately failed when tempted to disregard some single prohibition analogous to the later dietary laws. So do you believe there were other people before/contemporaneous with “Adam and Eve”? If so, have you ever commented to the charge that you advocate a Fall that involved less than the sum total of humanity, and so leads to the idea of a non-universal Fall? I didn’t notice anything in your book that speaks to this (but then again, I probably missed it); perhaps you could help clear this up for me.

    I sense that we actually have much more in common in our approach to early Genesis than we differ.

    I agree. But the areas in which we don’t see eye-to-eye (e.g., the applicability of the covenantal interpretive principle or genre distinctions) are, unfortunately, central to how we read Genesis. I look forward to continued dialog on this issue. For now, I am quite happy with the areas of our commonality: we see the Garden narrative as instructive to the Jews under Torah; we see John’s purpose in Revelation to recapitulate the benefits of the Gospel in the same terms as we see in the Garden narrative; we conclude that an apocalyptic return to a literal garden in Revelation would be disjointed from what we should understand of the garden at the beginning. My post on the second talk will be interesting to anyone wondering the “so-what” of everything we’re talking about here.

    Thanks for taking the black flag off my morning. 😉

  • Regarding my misunderstanding that the Garden narrative relates directly to the Mosaic economy:

    I’m really sorry I misrepresented you there, and thanks for clarifying. It’s hard for me to keep it all straight, what with Norm, NCMI, and RCM all giving their interpretations/their interpretations of your interpretations, etc.

    Neither Jeff nor I believe that it is proper to state that the Mosaic covenant exists before the fall (i.e. Gen. 2). The Mosaic economy is a ministration of death, and death entered the world at the fall not before. We are committed to a historical view of the fall that matches our historical view of the consummation. God did not create Adam and Eve in a state of bondage. That was the point I was trying to communicate through my presentations.

    Of course, and this has been clear to me in the past, but I have recently gotten confused due to the conversations I’ve had with other CC advocates/critics. Let me see if I’ve got it:

    In some pre-historical state, an unspecified Adam and Eve (who could have been a real couple or an unspecified people group) were brought into the family of God. They were blessed with all the benefits of covenant, but ultimately failed when tempted to disregard some single prohibition analogous to the later dietary laws. So do you believe there were other people before/contemporaneous with “Adam and Eve”? If so, have you ever commented to the charge that you advocate a Fall that involved less than the sum total of humanity, and so leads to the idea of a non-universal Fall? I didn’t notice anything in your book that speaks to this (but then again, I probably missed it); perhaps you could help clear this up for me.

    I sense that we actually have much more in common in our approach to early Genesis than we differ.

    I agree. But the areas in which we don’t see eye-to-eye (e.g., the applicability of the covenantal interpretive principle or genre distinctions) are, unfortunately, central to how we read Genesis. I look forward to continued dialog on this issue. For now, I am quite happy with the areas of our commonality: we see the Garden narrative as instructive to the Jews under Torah; we see John’s purpose in Revelation to recapitulate the benefits of the Gospel in the same terms as we see in the Garden narrative; we conclude that an apocalyptic return to a literal garden in Revelation would be disjointed from what we should understand of the garden at the beginning. My post on the second talk will be interesting to anyone wondering the “so-what” of everything we’re talking about here.

    Thanks for taking the black flag off my morning. 😉

  • “Thanks for taking the black flag off my morning.”

    King’s X fan, Steve?

  • “Thanks for taking the black flag off my morning.”

    King’s X fan, Steve?

  • How could I claim to be so awesome otherwise? 8)

  • How could I claim to be so awesome otherwise? 8)

  • Wow,

    More friends with King’s X backgrounds!?

    Steve,

    No sweat. There is a lot of fresh discussion going on right now.

    At this point, I do take Adam and Eve as real flesh and blood human beings just like Jesus and everybody else in the New Testament. I’m not ready to commit to whether or not Adam and Eve were the first physical human beings or not. I am still thinking that through and studying the issue. I may write something on that at a later date.

    What I can say is that I see the issue of the fall primarily in a covenantal sense rather than a biological sense. We are not brethren with Christ because of a biological connection, so I do not view biological descent from Adam as necessary to have a covenantal relationship to the likeness of Adam who transgressed the commandment. Covenantally speaking, “sonship” is a reality whether we have biological descent of all human beings from Adam or not.

    I would suggest that biological descent has been over-rated in Church history in regard to both believers and unbelievers. Covenant is primary. What that means in the nitty gritty details of Genesis and the rest of the Bible and anthropology, etc, is what I am still working out in my own mind and studies.

    I’m not sure that I could say “an unspecified Adam and Eve (who could have been a real couple or an unspecified people group) were brought into the family of God” because I believe God’s family (i.e. covenant relationship) in a human sense began with Adam and Eve. Your comment seems to imply that the family of God (in a human sense) existed prior to Adam and Adam and Eve were brought in to something that already existed. I really do believe that Genesis 1-2 is a beginning. The question is the beginning of what, precisely?

    I’m also still thinking through the relationship between Adam in the Garden and Israel under Torah. I think we do have to honor Paul’s statement that the Law came many years after the promise (Gal. 3:16-17). On the other hand, there is some sort of relationship between the original garden scene and Israel under Torah. Right now I’m leaning toward the idea of the relationship where the Law is a shadow of both Christ and the original creation order since Christ’s work is one of redemption (made-new heaven and made-new earth). That would make the Law (formally speaking) an intrusion into history, but reflecting the ultimate (new) covenant that lies below everything in Scripture from Gen. 1-Rev. 22.

    You are right, though. The second presentation I offered in Ohio is where a lot of these details become effective in their outworking, practically speaking.

    Enjoyed the discussion,

    Tim Martin
    http://www.beyondcreationscience.com

  • Wow,

    More friends with King’s X backgrounds!?

    Steve,

    No sweat. There is a lot of fresh discussion going on right now.

    At this point, I do take Adam and Eve as real flesh and blood human beings just like Jesus and everybody else in the New Testament. I’m not ready to commit to whether or not Adam and Eve were the first physical human beings or not. I am still thinking that through and studying the issue. I may write something on that at a later date.

    What I can say is that I see the issue of the fall primarily in a covenantal sense rather than a biological sense. We are not brethren with Christ because of a biological connection, so I do not view biological descent from Adam as necessary to have a covenantal relationship to the likeness of Adam who transgressed the commandment. Covenantally speaking, “sonship” is a reality whether we have biological descent of all human beings from Adam or not.

    I would suggest that biological descent has been over-rated in Church history in regard to both believers and unbelievers. Covenant is primary. What that means in the nitty gritty details of Genesis and the rest of the Bible and anthropology, etc, is what I am still working out in my own mind and studies.

    I’m not sure that I could say “an unspecified Adam and Eve (who could have been a real couple or an unspecified people group) were brought into the family of God” because I believe God’s family (i.e. covenant relationship) in a human sense began with Adam and Eve. Your comment seems to imply that the family of God (in a human sense) existed prior to Adam and Adam and Eve were brought in to something that already existed. I really do believe that Genesis 1-2 is a beginning. The question is the beginning of what, precisely?

    I’m also still thinking through the relationship between Adam in the Garden and Israel under Torah. I think we do have to honor Paul’s statement that the Law came many years after the promise (Gal. 3:16-17). On the other hand, there is some sort of relationship between the original garden scene and Israel under Torah. Right now I’m leaning toward the idea of the relationship where the Law is a shadow of both Christ and the original creation order since Christ’s work is one of redemption (made-new heaven and made-new earth). That would make the Law (formally speaking) an intrusion into history, but reflecting the ultimate (new) covenant that lies below everything in Scripture from Gen. 1-Rev. 22.

    You are right, though. The second presentation I offered in Ohio is where a lot of these details become effective in their outworking, practically speaking.

    Enjoyed the discussion,

    Tim Martin
    http://www.beyondcreationscience.com

  • Doug Moody

    Tim,
    I am a big fan of you and Jeff, and especially the quality of your writing style. I was a writer in another life, so I can enjoy it when the craft is employed well.
    I devoured your BCS book, and then very much enjoyed the notes I read in your PPT slideshow on the garden. Then, I am being treated to this blog! Can it get much better?
    All that aside, let me say that I am an undecided preterist, meaning that there are some very important points which I feel you haven’t proven conclusively. If you could prove them beyond a doubt, then I no doubt would be a preterist. Your book showed the evidence, but not enough, IMHO. But the other covenantql material in the book…WOW! I am still pondering it a month after I finished your book and thinking of more and more implications for the Christian life. This isn’t just theoretical stuff. This is gospel stuff for living!
    In fact, I started a thread on another christian website (full of futurists 😉 ) arguing for an old earth based on what I got from your book. Needless to say, I got a frosty reception, but I don’t care. I argued for a non-exclusive non-historical Genesis. What I mean by that is that Genesis can be BOTH. It can be historical, and yet it can also be allegorical and metaphorical, as well as covenantal. Arguing that one has to exclude the other denies the richness which scripture gives us in all dimensions.
    So, keep it coming! I am growing greatly. It’s too bad that I don’t have anyone locally with whom I can discuss these things without great hostility. It doesn’t have to be that way – but it is. That’s why I turn to the Internet for material. Thank you and thank God.

  • Doug Moody

    Tim,
    I am a big fan of you and Jeff, and especially the quality of your writing style. I was a writer in another life, so I can enjoy it when the craft is employed well.
    I devoured your BCS book, and then very much enjoyed the notes I read in your PPT slideshow on the garden. Then, I am being treated to this blog! Can it get much better?
    All that aside, let me say that I am an undecided preterist, meaning that there are some very important points which I feel you haven’t proven conclusively. If you could prove them beyond a doubt, then I no doubt would be a preterist. Your book showed the evidence, but not enough, IMHO. But the other covenantql material in the book…WOW! I am still pondering it a month after I finished your book and thinking of more and more implications for the Christian life. This isn’t just theoretical stuff. This is gospel stuff for living!
    In fact, I started a thread on another christian website (full of futurists 😉 ) arguing for an old earth based on what I got from your book. Needless to say, I got a frosty reception, but I don’t care. I argued for a non-exclusive non-historical Genesis. What I mean by that is that Genesis can be BOTH. It can be historical, and yet it can also be allegorical and metaphorical, as well as covenantal. Arguing that one has to exclude the other denies the richness which scripture gives us in all dimensions.
    So, keep it coming! I am growing greatly. It’s too bad that I don’t have anyone locally with whom I can discuss these things without great hostility. It doesn’t have to be that way – but it is. That’s why I turn to the Internet for material. Thank you and thank God.

  • Doug,

    Thank you for your kind comments. They are very encouraging to me.

    Please consider that our goal with BCS was to focus on the Genesis debate from a preterist perspective. That mandated we offer a brief explanation and broad defense of preterism, but it was not our intent to make a comprehensive case for that view. There are other authors who have done that work very well in my opinion.

    I would recommend some of Don Preston’s books if you are interested in studying out the preterist view in detail. You can find them here: http://www.eschatology.org/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=18&Itemid=209 He also has quite a few recordings that are always informative. For a more basic look at preterism, you might want to check out Gary DeMar’s Last Days Madness available at: http://www.americanvision.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1559

    The fact that we made a case that was good enough for you to want to further investigate preterism means that we accomplished what we set out to do with BCS in regard to preterism.

    Thanks again for your kind words. May God bless you as you continue to study the Scriptures.

    Your friend,

    Tim Martin

  • Doug,

    Thank you for your kind comments. They are very encouraging to me.

    Please consider that our goal with BCS was to focus on the Genesis debate from a preterist perspective. That mandated we offer a brief explanation and broad defense of preterism, but it was not our intent to make a comprehensive case for that view. There are other authors who have done that work very well in my opinion.

    I would recommend some of Don Preston’s books if you are interested in studying out the preterist view in detail. You can find them here: http://www.eschatology.org/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=18&Itemid=209 He also has quite a few recordings that are always informative. For a more basic look at preterism, you might want to check out Gary DeMar’s Last Days Madness available at: http://www.americanvision.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1559

    The fact that we made a case that was good enough for you to want to further investigate preterism means that we accomplished what we set out to do with BCS in regard to preterism.

    Thanks again for your kind words. May God bless you as you continue to study the Scriptures.

    Your friend,

    Tim Martin