O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Response to Sam Frost’s Critique of Beyond Creation Science

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.

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I appreciated many of your points from your post. It is refreshing to see that others are familiar with ancient writings such as the Epistle of Barnabas. Like you I’m not sure Barnabas belongs in the distinction of recognized scripture mostly due to your point about the Temple discussion. I have looked at that section from about every angle imaginable and it is a problematic section to get a grip on. I’ve even had Greek scholars look at the original Greek but there seems to be no clear cut consensus on it. Because of the Temple uncertainty discussion I would not push for its reinstatement by a set of new church fathers. But it does lend itself as a great full Preterist writing emanating from the cauldron of circa AD70.

There is a strong likelihood though that the discussion of the temple in Barnabas 16 is mostly spiritual in nature as the writer is speaking of building the Temple of our hearts through Christ. It may be helpful for one to read this chapter looking closely at not a physical Temple being built. Also we have to keep in mind that Jesus describes himself as the Temple that would be destroyed and rebuilt in three days so there is some language that we have to keep in mind as we read Barnabas chapter 16 that the writer was possibly referring to and makes more contemporary sense for the times of AD70.

Bar 16: 3 Furthermore he says again, "Lo, they who destroyed this temple shall themselves build it." 4 That is happening now. For owing to the war it was destroyed by the enemy; at present even the servants of the enemy will build it up again.

You notice it says that it is happening now as far as building it (the temple) look now at Jesus and Paul’s discussion of destroying the temple and rebuilding it into those who comprise the “body of Christ”. Building the temple into the “body” took place after Christ was resurrected so the language fits into that recognition.

Joh 2:19-21 ESV
(19) Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up."
(20) The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?"
(21) But he was speaking about the temple of his body.

1Co 3:16-17 ESV
(16) Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
(17) If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.

I think if we keep these perspectives in mind that the Barnabas temple discussion may make more sense and so we need to be careful to not fall into the trap that literalist do in thinking that the writer is talking exclusively about rebuilding and destroying a physical temple. Because of this perception some want to date Barnabas to nearly 135 AD and the second Roman desolation of the Jews.

Mag concerning your quote of Barnabas 21:3 take a look at Lakes translation of that verse. I would really like to see some strong Greek Preterist go through Barnabas and evaluate the Greek and provide us with a full Preterist perspective or new translation. It tends to make a difference when Preterist who are interested get involved with sorting through translator bias of futurist in scripture.

Barn 21:3 THE DAY IS AT HAND when all things shall perish with the Evil one; "The Lord and his reward IS AT HAND."

All through Barnabas it seems that the writer is inferring that they are in the very climax of the last days and this makes sense if this epistle was indeed written very close to 70 AD. Just look at the language below and it appears very much like similar NT scripture that is looking forward to the day of consummation. Barnabas is just chock full of statements like the ones below.

Barn 4:1 … Let us then utterly flee from all the works of lawlessness, lest the works of lawlessness overcome us, and let us hate the error OF THIS PRESENT TIME, that we may be loved in THAT WHICH IS TO COME.
Barn 6: 19 If then this DOES NOT HAPPEN AT PRESENT he has told us the time when it will; -- when we ourselves also HAVE BEEN MADE PERFECT as heirs of the covenant of the Lord.

I like to use Barnabas in the same manner that the Apostles used the Book of Enoch. Even thought Post AD70 Jews threw Enoch out of their cannon and later Christians also followed suit it was referred to extensively by writers such as Jude, Peter and probably Jesus himself according to researchers. I can really get off track by pursing these left behind writings which is a fascinating discussion in themselves but the bottom line is I use them as ancient commentaries that present to us the mindset of Jewish and very early Christian thinking but I do not apply scriptural inerrancy to them.

The point that I was drawing on my PP post was that Peters quote in 2 Peter 3:8 … “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” appears to be a very common expression that the Barnabas writer and Peter seemed to indicate that their readers may be familiar with. That is why I also referenced the book of Jubilees which was popular for Jews and Christians in the times up to AD70. We also find the wording in the Jubilees saying even closer to Peters and Barnabas than we do in Psalms and so I wasn’t depending upon Barnabas alone. I think we need to keep in mind that early Christians and Jews prior to AD70 were not influenced by our canonization reverence. This is heavily illustrated by the writings that are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls of which Enoch is matched in frequency by Isaiah in volume discovered and Jubilees was not far behind. Sometimes we need to step back and insert ourselves into the times and see what the realities were at those times.

Also Mag regarding Adam’s eyes being opened at his death. You will notice that Adam did not live to the eternal 1000 years of those we find in Revelation. Adam died during that 1000 year day according to the Jubilees account.

Jubilees 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.”

If one remembers Paul says that at the consummation that there would be a covenantal change in the twinkling of an eye. I believe this clearly is referring back to Adam and Eve and the covenantal beginning of the body of “Death” when their eyes were opened and they entered into a new but less than perfect covenant world. Paul says there would be a twinkling of the eyes again when it was completed.

Also I would say this about the Barnabas Epistle that it is one of the strongest pieces of early Christian writings that support a full Preterist understanding. The key to it like Revelation is determining its dating and therein lays the rub just as it does with Revelation. The internal evidence for Revelation is clearly pre AD70 and for Barnabas it appears it could be even closer to or during AD70. Now those who do not like Revelation earlier than AD95 are the same types who try to build a case for Barnabas being later as well. There is a plethora of internal evidence though within Barnabas that points to this Pre AD70 or thereabouts dates.

So again even though the first two or three centuries believers accepted Barnabas as part of their cannon it does not diminish its usefulness to us as a look into the mindset of those early Christians who were right on the cusp of the New Covenant. They were heavily influenced by the apostles teaching rather than later futurist leaning Hellenized Christians who were already being influenced by Jewish canonization determinations. You see the Jews didn’t like Jubilees or Enoch because it spoke of the messiah coming just as predicted he would in the NT. The later Christians didn’t like Barnabas because they had already started the slide down into a futurist second coming, something Barnabas does not support.



Did you read Sam's review of BCS? Did you read our response? Did we misread what Sam wrote? It is certainly possible. We found it 1) surprising and 2) difficult reading. But we tried to be very careful. It took us a month to produce this response. It was not hurried.

The local flood question came up immediately. Sam failed to answer it then. So Sam and company should not be surprised that we read things the same way.

As Jason said, "It really makes you wander."

The strangest thing to me is Sam's endorsing the LXX in Gen. 2:4, then making essentially his entire case of his separation between the Genesis 1 creation account of "the heavens and the earth," vs. the Genesis 2 creation account of "a heavens and an earth," based on the presence and lack of definite articles in the Hebrew. He ignored the fact that the presence of the definite articles is precisely reversed in the LXX. Why?
One glaring thing, though. The LXX of Genesis 2.4is REJECTED in favor or the Massoretic text - NOBODY accepts the LXX here and its obvious flaw of using "heaven and earth" instead of the majority reading, "earth and heaven." However, you guys appear to accept the LXX reading! Based on what textual witnesses? There are NO Hebrew witnesses that would help you. Comment on the Hebrew text in 2.4, not the LXX.

Sam has assumed that the LXX contradicts the Hebrew. Regarding the same verse, he had earlier blessed the care and skill and skill of the LXX translators.

Sam has assumed that since the two textual traditions differ, they must be contradictions.

It is a common method of liberal critics (such as Gunkel who Sam quoted and used) to invent contradictions where none exist. They argue things like, "One gospel claimed there were two men, another only mentioned the one Jesus healed, so there must be a contradiction."

This is what Sam has done in Genesis 2:4. The LXX confirms Sam's interpretaion, therefore the LXX is correct. The translators "knew better." The LXX denies Sam's interpretation, therefore the LXX is wrong. "NOBODY accepts the LXX."

We would not have brought up the LXX had Sam not done so. It is not a matter of what we accept or don't accept, as Sam accused us, but of what Sam endorsed and then denied. Either the LXX is good and Sam's second point fails or the LXX is bad and his first point fails. Sam can't have it both ways.


PS. There are no ancient Hebrew witnesses to the "majority text" either. This verse is missing from the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Latin Vulgate, which was translated from a much later Hebrew than the LXX also has "the heaven and the earth" in 2:4b, not "earth and heaven" as the modern Hebrew does. This brings up a legitimate question, did the translators of the LXX and Vulgate separately make the same accidental reversal mistake? Or did some later Hebrew copyist? We do not have the means to know. And a second question, does it matter to the actual intended meaning?
JL, I have a couple of really basic questions, which I hope will bring this discussion to a very fine point and define one of Sam's arguments very clearly, so that it can be evaluated.

Regarding this:

"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)"

Is Sam's entire case for there being two separate "heavens and earths" in Genesis creation, based on his claim that in one place it is called in the original language "The Heavens and the Earth" and in another place it is called "earth and heavens," and due to the difference between those two phrases, we must believe that two entirely separate subjects are being dealt with?

Second question:

Have I understood you in this discussion correctly to say that Sam finds the LXX reliable in one point, and unreliable in another point, and that these two occasions are in the same verse?


First question: Essentially yes. You read it. Did you see anything else?

Second question. Yes, yes, and yes.

Tim quoted Sam here in response to Sam complaint I quoted above.

Thanks, Jeff!
"The Bible is not a science book ,but when it speaks on science it speaks correctly.The Bible is not a history book,but when it speaks on history,it speaks correctly". Theses words were spoken by Jack Scott a few years ago at a Preterist conference.They opened my eyes to yet another way to look at the scriptures and took me on a road that i still travel.
Why do we believe Jesus walked on water healed the sick and raised the dead? Because it's in the Bible? To some degree yes,but without our faith its just another ancient book for ancient people.I determined long ago that i was never going to be able to understand everything in the Bible nor would i be able to answered every question someone might have.
When Tim and JL came out with book Beyond Creation Science i didn't think it was going to be that hard to prove their views good for a study..but lacking in being able to totally convince me that Gen.1 was not speaking of the "literal Heavens and Earth". Am i totally convinced?? Not yet,but the more i read through their book and the responses to their book and their answers to those i mover closer.
At the bottom of page 255 "Day6-The Longest Day".They list nine things that God and Adam did that day. Then they ask,"How on earth is all this activity physically possible in one 24 hour day? Now remember this is not just God being active so answering with "all things are possible with God" will not cut it!
Should we be afraid or worry what the majority of Christians will say about us (preterist) by believing the BCS view? I won't and don't.I won't be influenced by worrying about hearing"Look at the preterist,they will believe anything". Hey they already think were heretics.What is harder to believe ,that Jesus was resurrected from the dead or that Gen. 1 is not about the literal creation? Do you see the position that this will put those that disagree?
My faith is that i can look out the window and see the creation and i know there is a God that created all things. I don't need the Bible to explain how he did it . My faith is not determine by me having every question answered completely.If the purpose of the Bible was for God to explain how he created everything or when, i think it would been written differently.
On the back of the book Preston wrote"sacred cows die hard". And i thought all prophecy had been fulfilled!! I really do appreciate the willingness that JL and Tim have shown by putting this work out there,taking time to answer all the questions.It's not an easy thing to be scrutinized by your peers.Especially when your shaking the "heavens and earth". I also respect and appreciate those that are writing responses and asking questions.I agree that this is an important study and hope the debate continues with a Christian attitude.That doesn't mean we can't take light hearted jabs at one another.Sometimes i think we are too sensitive about what our critics say.It's so easy to take things the wrong way.
Lets not forget..Heb 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
John wrote:
My faith is that i can look out the window and see the creation and i know there is a God that created all things. I don't need the Bible to explain how he did it . My faith is not determine by me having every question answered completely.If the purpose of the Bible was for God to explain how he created everything or when, i think it would been written differently.

This is where I am too, John. And I really think you hit it on the head with that last sentence. I am to the point in my study where there is no doubt that Genesis uses the language of prophecy. There are so many parallels not just between Genesis and Revelation, but also between Genesis and other Old Testament prophets to deny this. And once we start to see more and more connections, the Bible begins to appear even more marvelous in our eyes! Contrary to what some have suggested, when we see that Genesis is not about the creation of the physical universe, but rather the creation of God's covenant relationship with His peculiar people, and prophetic of the ulitmate glorification of that creation in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are not left without evidence that God created what we see "out the window." We are directed to a fuller appreciation of the purpose of of that creation. And "The Heavens Declare the Glory of God" becomes infinitely more meaningful as a result. This is an article I hope you will consider revisiting as you contemplate this new perspective of "creation":

Creation and Its Eternal Purpose

Also, several points that Tim and Jeff bring up in their article parallel some discussions in our Exploring the Garden Scene podcasts, for anyone who is interested.

"But, can we please do away with "Sam is dishonest intellectually" or "Sam is using sleight of hand." It's uncalled for. You do not find a SPECK of this type of thing in scolarly journals. That's the standard I want to bring into this discussion....."


Jeff and I are saving the substantive discussion for the formal exchange. I do have one question related to the side issue you raised in your post. In your paper you wrote:

"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 really didn’t do it that way, did He? That is the question that confronts us: it is a question of faith."

Do scholarly journals contain this type of innuendo regarding the opponents' faith in God's Word?


Tim Martin
Thanks Sam.
I think what you have shared is important and hope we all will take a breath and remember what were doing here.I can't speak for those who wrote things but have to say that when i read the remarks like "Sam is using sleight of hand." I laughed,not because it was funny but i saw it as friends taking light hearted jabs at one another in a friendly but yet hotly contended debate.

After all the years you have written books, articles and shared with us in chat rooms and conferences i don't think and i sure hope no one is questioning your integrity.

I also think remarks from the peanut gallery sometimes add some unnecessary fuel to the fire.I know we all want to support "our" guy in the discussion but one sentence remarks with no other added information to the discussion serves no purpose.I point no fingers here,i am as guilty as well from time to time.

You may feel like Norm has attacked you,but he has raised valid points along with his remarks.To be honest yours and Norms writings remind me of one another in that your both capable and do take (pop shots) friendly jabs.Sometimes we can let the heat of the battle get the best of us and i hope we can temper that.I'm not trying to take sides just express what i see and hope we can continue the study.I really do thinks it's important for us and it's just as important that we remember others are watching how we act and treat one another.

Your last post here shows your more then willing to continue in a "Christian" fashion and i appauld you for that.

I'm not sure what to make of some of those remarks.This is what i would call "from the peanut gallery".

I can only thank Tami,Norm,JL and Tim for keeping things scholarly here and asking pertinent questions.

I felt Sam was trying to re-establish that tone.I'm not sure if i misread him or not.That said i am not sure if we can tag him with remarks others make.

There is still a lot of great discussion left on this topic and i hope it will continue.I know i have benefited greatly from the Q&A's as has others who have contacted me and thanked me for trying to kept things on an even keel.


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