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

Genesis, the Old Covenant, and Gauntlets for the Critics of Covenant Creation

For nine years now, I have witnessed preterists essentially denying the
validity and applicability of Genesis to New Testament discussions of
the Old Covenant.

Yes, preterists recognized that AD 70 brought an end to Adam's sin and that Adam's death was some undefined
"spiritual" death. But that has been the extent of it.

To the preterist community in general, the Old Covenant started at Sinai and
Genesis had little or nothing to say. Genesis was to the Old Covenant
what Tolkien's Silmarillion was to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Few
care about it.

In the fall of 2006, I coined the term Covenant Creation. The spark for the idea was paring down some ideas by Mike
Sullivan and Ward Finley, removing the part that Tim Martin had
demonstrated was unworkable in the often misquoted appendix of his 2005
booklet, Beyond Creation Science. At the time, Tim told me I was off the
deep end and I told Tim that this was all he had left.

A year later, this is the view of Genesis that went to press in the 3rd edition of Beyond Creation Science.

To date, no one has attempted to refute Tim's 2005 claims about Genesis 1.
All that has emerged is an attempt to refute Covenant Creation based on
the assumption that Tim's 2005 claims are valid.

After nine years, what is the situation today? There are Covenant Creationists and
there are people who deny the validity and applicability of Genesis to
the New Testament discussions of the Old Covenant. Not one critic of
Covenant Creation has bothered to develop a positive case for Genesis as
non-covenantal, that addresses these New Testament issues.

1. An end to sin.
2. Paul's continued reference to Adam in his discussion of the resurrection.
3. The crushing of the serpents head.
4. An actual definition of Adam's death.
5. How Abel, Noah, Abraham, Judah, and even Moses knew The Law (Ex. 18) before The Law was given to Israel in Ex. 21ff.
6. How sin can't be imputed without a law, yet the punishment of sin, death, can be imputed. Rom. 5:13-14.
7. How Abel could have faith in a covenant that wouldn't even be made for another 2600 years.
8. How The Law could be added, when there is nothing to add it to.
9. How Heavens and Earth can pass away.
10. How Jesus can claim something was from the beginning, yet claim it will not exist in the resurrection?

I could go on, but this should be enough for an honest person to conclude
that Genesis, from the very beginning of the book, is critical to the
Old Covenant development. Christ did not put an end to the sin of
transgressing the Law from Sinai, He put an end to Adam's sin. Adam's
sin was the result of violating his covenant/law with God.

It is a major tenet of preterism, that a covenant can not end until all promises in that covenant are fulfilled. When was Gen. 3:15 fulfilled? Yes, there will be covenant deniers. "Gen. 3:15 isn't part of any covenant." Who's going to take them seriously.

I take a lot of heat for Covenant Creation. But where is the alternative? So far, material
creation ignores the issues numbered above. Material creation has no
answers. Those who insist on material creation have not even tried. I
will not ignore these issues
as my opponents do. Neither will any of the others who have adopted Covenant Creation.

Nine years from now, there will be Covenant Creation and it's critics. But
will there be an alternative to Covenant Creation? Will one of my
critics step up and do the work? Either Covenant Creation is right or it
will win by default because no one has an alternative.

Some of my critics claim I will never change my mind, that I have too much
invested in Covenant Creation. Try me. Put together an alternative. Our
critics have produced nothing and as long as they have nothing, there is
nothing to change to.

The Old Covenant, the first Heaven and first Earth, passed away in it's entirety with the destruction of the
temple. The first Heaven and first Earth was/were created in Genesis 1.
The entity that was created in Genesis 1 has ceased to exist. It has
been replaced by the New Creation, the New Heaven and New Earth, the New

If you don't like it, then suggest an alternative that starts in Genesis with Adam, instead of pretending Genesis is not part
of the covenant history.

Views: 138

Comment by Tami on August 2, 2010 at 2:30pm

I really like gist of this post. (I am not sure what it is of Mike's and Ward's that you guys find "unworkable" with regard to Genesis, so feel free to elaborate there. I just know that in 2006--remember when we were all in Arizona?--I pretty much thought all of you people were nuts, ha.)

But back to the gist of your post, it's important to frame this discussion in ways that people can really grab onto. And in ways that are sharply to the point of the foundational issues, and specifically define terminology, so that the critics of CC aren't able to wiggle their way out of answering. That is what your list above does. And I would love to see a discussion here about some of the items on that list. Because again to your point, these questions are not being answered. A *workable* alternative has not been offered. I am also fairly confident that every item on that list is going to be addressed at the upcoming conference, which no doubt will further enhance our discussion here.

Thanks, Jeff!

Comment by MoGrace2u on August 2, 2010 at 2:51pm
Like you said no one would deny that Gen 3:15 is a covenant with Adam. But how is Gen 1 a covenant when in the beginning everything was good and Adam walked in peace with God? It is when that peace is broken that a covenant is needed to keep the peace between the offended parties.

Comment by JL Vaughn on August 2, 2010 at 4:08pm

When a covenant is established, at the beginning of a covenant, everything is good and everyone walks together. No peace was established in Gen. 3.

Jesus died to set us free from Adam's sin and Adam's death. Paul goes straight to Gen. 3:8-10 when he discusses the general resurrection. Adam's sin, death, and need for a resurrection occurred before where you claim the covenant started.

The heavens and earth that passed away in Rev. 21:1 includes Gen. 3. The covenant (in Hebrew, "created thing") was established before Adam's sin.


Back in 2006, Ward and Mike both had what appeared to be a confused mess of physical creation and covenant creation. That is, they saw and added the correct view (covenant creation) into their old incorrect view (material creation). They didn't make a clean break, but mixed the two ideas.

Sort of like many of those who become partial preterists on the way to full preterism. The difference here was Ward and Mike were stepping into territory that had not been tested, they were on the verge of a breakthrough. They are more careful scholars than I am and stepped carefully.

If it wasn't for Tim's 2005 book, I would not have seen the brilliant new insight these two added. Tim didn't see it. When I understood what Ward and Mike were saying, I made the jump instantly. I made a sudden and fairly clean a break. It took Tim several months before he made the break. He was initially hostile to the idea and was going to prove it wrong.

My impression is Ward continued to inch over slowly over the next year or two. So did Mike. By the time they had BCS in their hands, they were either there or so close that it didn't matter. What they had discovered and what Tim and I had discovered were essentially equivalent and compatible.

Comment by Tami on August 2, 2010 at 4:39pm
OK, gotcha.

That is essentially what was going on for me all the way back in 2004 when I heard the recording of
Ward's talk at Sam's conference. He made an incredibly bold statement regarding what Genesis was "about." (Tim knows the one.) I wouldn't presume to speak for Ward, or how far he had already explored the larger implications of what he was saying at that time. I just know that for me, even though I agreed with his statement, i was a brand new preterist and hadn't even begun to realize how unworkable what he was suggesting (essentially a covenantal view of the garden story itself) was with YEC, OEC, or any other view which sees the creation account as referring to the material universe. The "big picture" wasn't all put together in my mind yet. It was through my review of the BCS manuscript that the picture began to come together, and I began to see the relationship of all the various parts to the whole. The whole of one story, which begins....well, at the beginning. Then I went *back* to a lot of Ward's stuff and had many "aha!" moments (for example the work he had done many years before on the curse, Adam and resurrection). And I think we will continue to find that some of the earlier work that was done tracing redemptive themes through Scripture and showing all of those beautiful connections which prove fulfilled prophecy is going to fit much better into a consistently covenantal framework than it did when the scholars themselves were assuming or presupposing a material creation in Genesis 1.
Comment by JL Vaughn on August 2, 2010 at 4:46pm

To clarify, the reason Ward and Mike were testing this dual material/covenant view of Genesis was because the material view alone could not answer a long list of questions including the ones above.

Unlike Tim, they did not yet realize that no material view would work and were still trying to patch up material creation.

At the time of the Page conference and for 2, maybe 3 months afterward, I was still looking for a loophole in Tim's analysis, some material view Tim had missed.
Comment by Tami on August 2, 2010 at 5:32pm
"the material view alone could not answer a long list of questions including the ones above."

Exactly, and it never can. They will be backed into a corner every time they try to make it work. That is essentially what I pointed out here, specifically regarding a material/physical view of the curse. They didn't like it. They didn't like *me* for saying it. But all I was doing is taking their view posited by their own statements and tracing it through to it's inevitable conclusions....thus proving that it does not, and cannot work. Certainly not with a fulfilled view of redemption. (Now, it's a marriage made in heaven with dispensationalism.)

So yes. Exactly. :)
Comment by Tim Martin on August 3, 2010 at 12:26am

Yes, I remember Ward's statement at the conference held in Florida a few years ago. Initially, I was appalled.

What people who are new to this discussion need to understand is that the Covenant Creation view was not formed out of a desire to be novel. Nor was it formed in haste to satisfy some fetish with a bent toward aberrant theology. Nor was it determined by issues of modern science. This is the (developing) product of 10 years of Genesis studies with the thought in mind that Genesis has to be mastered for the complete full-preterist view to be established in generations to come.

Full-preterism that does not incorporate Genesis is incomplete full-preterism.

For me, Covenant Creation was the last option that I fell back to in order to honestly do justice to the multitude of creation texts that can only be taken covenantally if we remain advocates of covenant eschatology. I was kicking and screaming along the way. I tried to rebut the view in many different ways and many different times before I ever went public with a fully covenant creation view at the second New Creation Ministries conference (2007?) held in Michigan. I didn't like giving up a material view of Genesis creation. But I realized that in order to follow what the writers of Scripture were saying, in quite direct ways, then I had to give up my comfort zone in Genesis in order to honor their teaching.

I had no choice. Look at how the Biblical authors handle creation.

I have seen the critics try to make a negative case against Covenant Creation. It is pathetic, from a full-preterist perspective. The problems they generate they will not even acknowledge, let alone resolve.

Here is one biggie: If the covenant world passing away was the one inaugurated at Sinai, then biblical eschatology is purely Jewish. The Law given at Sinai was not given to Gentiles, it was given to Israel. If the "Sinai view" of eschatology is true, then it means the Gentiles are beyond the scope of Biblical eschatology.

My last session of the 2009 Covenant Creation Conference was titled "The Promised Land of Lot: Deep Structure of the Old Covenant Creation." That session undercut any version of "Sinai view" by showing how integral the Gentiles truly were in biblical eschatology. The Sinai view cannot account for that. And to date, critics of Covenant Creation who advocate the "Sinai view" have yet to even acknowledge that they have a major problem when they divorce Genesis from Exodus. In making the covenant world begin with Sinai, they have left Abraham (not to mention Noah and Abel) completely out of the context of biblical eschatology! Yet where does Jesus go in his teaching? Where does the writer of Hebrews go with his history of God's people who lived by faith (Heb. 11). Why was Paul so focused on Adam?

Can't wait for the conference. Jeff, I've got #10 dialed in and can't wait to put it out for the audience to objectively consider.


Tim Martin
Comment by MoGrace2u on August 3, 2010 at 11:38am
Hi Tim,
But the covenant that ended was Jewish. That was the only covenant in the world that brought man into the presence of God. And ending that covenant had no effect on the promise given to Abraham which superceded that covenant, since the law could not make the promise void. Faith is in the promise not the law. But because of sin the law stood in the way enforcing the penalty of death upon sin. And to Adam in the ante-deluvian world as well as to Abraham in the post flood world, the promise for our hope was affirmed. For it is the fulfillment of the promise that would bless the many nations who came from Abraham's seed - because that Seed that would come into the world came thru the Jews. The New Covenant far surpasses the Old Covenant both in its scope and its application for who it covers for the very reason that His brethren are related to Abraham thru his same faith and not his bloodline. I suspect you are trying to make the promise the covenant, but grace is ruling the promise thru faith - not law. And we know there is nothing we must do to 'earn' the grace of God but believe on Christ for it.

Comment by JL Vaughn on August 3, 2010 at 11:54am

Where does Scripture say that this "Jewish Covenant" brought man into the presence of God?

Why so much of talk of God's presence (parousia) being future, if the Old covenant accomplished this?

Why is God's presence tied to the resurrection, which is tied to Adam being unable to stand before/with God?

Why did Paul imply that the 1st century Jews were still naked?

Why does Scripture use the same word covenant for Abraham's relationship with God if it is merely a promise and not the covenant?
Comment by MoGrace2u on August 3, 2010 at 2:50pm
Exo 25:21 - And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.

Exo 25:22 - And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

Do we still need a stone temple?

How is anybody standing in the presence of God if they are dead?

He is not the God of the dead but of the living, therefore Abraham, Isaac & Jacob had to be raised from the dead to stand in His presence that the promise might be fulfilled.

"Merely" a promise? Where did I use that word? Without the promise which God alone would fulfill, there was no need to covenant with men who sinned. God would have been perfectly just to let them stay dead!


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