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New Article: The Language of Creation from Genesis to Revelation

The Language of Creation from Genesis to Revelation
By Tami Jelinek



There is much disagreement within fulfilled eschatology regarding the Genesis creation story. What is it about? Those who are futurist in their eschatology, and take a literal, cosmological view of “the end,” understandably view Genesis as the beginning of the same. In other words, if Revelation and other “last days” prophecies describe the end of the physical universe, then Genesis describes the beginning of that same universe. This is logical, and a consistent approach to the Bible as a whole. But what about preterists, who hold to a fulfilled view of eschatology? We see Revelation and other “last days” prophecies as pointing to the end of the Old Covenant age, and not the end of the physical universe. We recognize the language of the prophets, appreciate its metaphorical and symbolic elements and understand the covenant context of this language as it is employed consistently throughout the Bible. Furthermore, we submit our interpretation of this language to Jesus and the apostles, who quote extensively from those prophetic contexts. And if we are to be consistent, as consistent as those who are futurist in their eschatology and view the beginning and the end as the beginning and the end of the same universe; then we will likewise view the beginning and the end as the beginning and the end of the same covenant world. Or, we might say that they are covenantal counterparts. In other words, we will understand that Genesis’ creation is the same in nature as Revelation’s new creation. We will naturally conclude that it is a covenantal, rather than a cosmological creation.

But some preterists make an exception to their otherwise consistent approach to Scripture when it comes to Genesis. They contend that while the Bible tells the story of God’s covenant relationship with His people, a story which culminates with the ultimate and final redemption of His covenant creation; Genesis (the first book of the Bible and literally, “beginning”) is not the beginning of the Bible’s story, but rather the beginning of the physical universe. Even though “the rest of the story” and specifically the end of that story, in no way references universal, cosmological history.

These preterists will say that “the first heaven and the first earth” which passed away in Revelation 21 is not a reference to that which was created in the beginning, but rather to the law given at Sinai. There are many problems with this position, which are discussed elsewhere. But to summarize a primary problem here: the language the prophets use to describe the new creation in contrast with the old does not refer to Sinai; it time and time again refers to Genesis 1-3, as it contrasts the new creation with the first creation, and the redeemed with the fallen. The prophets use creation language directly from the Genesis creation story to foretell a new heaven and a new earth. The parallels are as undeniable as the examples are numerous, as the chart below illustrates.

This chart and accompanying article will lay out a series of contrasts between “the first heaven and first earth,” which I contend is the subject of Genesis creation, and “the new heaven and new earth.” It is my hope to show through the prophets’ use of Genesis creation language contrasting the old with the new, that Genesis creation is indeed the first creation John had in mind when he wrote:

Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

Read the rest of the article here.

Views: 239

Comment by James Kessler on June 3, 2009 at 10:15am
Tami....as always, a great informative article.

Blessings,

Jim K.
Www.InChristVictorious.com
Comment by James Kessler on June 3, 2009 at 10:17am
btw....We speak that same "covenant" language :-)
Comment by John on June 4, 2009 at 5:49am
Tami,
Nice work! I especially like the charts you provided as they really
highlight the Genesis connections to Revelation.

Concerning the ground curse there are some opponents of the CC view that
seem to feel that the ground curse was removed at the flood. .It's almost as if they
have taken the futurist arguments against preterism and tweaked them a
little.You know the search for the silver bullet,the one verse that they
want to pretend destroys the whole paradigm.With the futurist it's
"well what about this and what about that and who are the two
witness"?

Your chart is pretty over whelming in showing the same curse that is
removed in Revelation is obliviously the one from Gen 3:17

Revelation 22:3 There shall be no more curse,...One question comes to
mind,if the curse was removed in Genesis 8..Where did the curse in
Revelation 22 that was removed come from?


I would also like to point out you made @12 connections with Genesis and
Revelation,are we suppose to believe the ground curse is not
connected,but all the other curses given are?
“You are cursed above all cattle”....sorrow in “eating” from the
ground


Tami you said "But some preterists make an exception to their otherwise
consistent approach to Scripture when it comes to Genesis".
I think we need to remember that there are a lot of divergent views
within preterism and that some of theses same folks, "brothers" though
they are,still await a day when sin will be removed.This is something
that I have not found to be backed by scripture.What they are proposing
in my view is a form of partial preterism or maybe it's a mix of
Idealism with it.So i don't think we should be too surprised at their
inconsistency here.

Like Preston says"sacred cows die hard".I think YEC along with futurism
is dying the death of a thousand cuts.Following a true preterist
hermeneutic there is no way you can continue to look at Genesis as the
creation of the physical earth,heavens and stars IMO! I know i sure can't.

Here are a couple quotes by Gill from him commentary..no preterist by
the way!

Rev 22:3 And there shall be no more curse,.... As there was in Eden

Gen 8:21"that God would no more curse the earth; for by his sacrifice
the curse of the law is removed, with respect to his people; they are
redeemed from it, and shall inherit that new earth, of which this earth,
renewed after the flood, was a type, in which there will be no more
curse, Rev_21:1
which sense, though evangelical, cannot be admitted, because of the reason following, unless the first word be rendered "though", as it may:


Thanks again Tami

John
Comment by Tami on June 4, 2009 at 6:30am
Thanks, John.

And of course I would agree that proof-texting on one point, with an interpretation of one passage (an interpretation which in this case ignores a myriad of other prophetic texts and in fact blatantly contradicts them) isn't a very potent challenge to what I have presented. In fact, by pointing out a supposed hole in my paradigm, they have simply revealed many more and much bigger holes in theirs.

As you suggested in your comments, there are many facets of the curse in Genesis 3, and even several aspects of the "curse on the ground" specifically, which can't be parceled and separated one from another. For example, "thorns and thistles" are the evidence of the "cursed ground." Therefore, if this curse was removed by the flood (which is itself described in the text as a curse!) then after the flood, there were no more thorns and thistles. Again, this puts those who hold this view squarely at odds with the prophets. Certainly, if they are correct, someone forgot to tell Isaiah and Ezekiel. And of course we can now abandon the idea that these prophets were inspired.

(You know, I have this picture in my mind of testing spaghetti to see if it's done. You simply toss the noodles against the wall and see if they stick. In the case of "the ground curse--ie, the Adamic curse, because Genesis 3 doesn't allow it to be parceled-- was removed at the flood so that the cross was not needed after all!?"....the noodles all fell off.)

It's also interesting that no attempt is made to identify the nature of the ground curse in any of those discussions. My article however, does discuss this.

Or to another point of yours, to answer what I believe is a preeminently important question:

To what curse is Revelation 22:3 referring, and where in Scripture do we find the pronouncement of this curse?

The commentary from Gil you cited (thank you for this!) really approaches how I am viewing that context in Genesis 8 (to summarize briefly here, we should of course discuss it in more detail):

Gen 8:21 "that God would no more curse the earth; for by his sacrifice the curse of the law is removed, with respect to his people; they are redeemed from it, and shall inherit that new earth, of which this earth, renewed after the flood, was a type, in which "there will be no more curse" Revelation 22:3)

First, it should be noted that it is unclear whether Gil is fully convinced of this view, or whether he is simply acknowledging it as a view others hold, but regardless, he enunciates two important points:

1. The curse on the earth (ground) is removed by the sacrifice of Christ. In other words, this text is prophetic, which completely coincides with Noah being a type of Christ. And certainly earlier in Genesis when Noah was said to be a comfort to his people, this was speaking of (prophesying) the Messiah who would come from his line.

2. The curse on the ground is equated with the curse of the law. And again, removed in Christ, by His sacrifice (the only thing sufficient to remove it!), when his people inherit the "new earth" of the new covenant kingdom. (Gil is perhaps unknowingly referring to a covenantal reading of Genesis creation here.)

Thanks again for your comments, John. Glad you enjoyed the article. I put it up hoping it would contribute to our ongoing conversation.

Tami
Comment by Tami on June 4, 2009 at 7:50am
Thanks, Jim! You wrote:

We speak that same "covenant" language :-)

Indeed we do. Here are a couple of examples of the language we now speak:

Isa 11:9 They shall [do] not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be [is now]full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Isa 33:24 And the inhabitant will [does] not say, "I am sick"; The people who dwell in it will be [have been] forgiven their iniquity.

Tami
Comment by Norm on June 4, 2009 at 9:46am
Tami,

That is a great article and one that is sorely needed for Preterist especially to understand the consistency of scripture. This consistency is one of the hall marks of validation for the Holy Scriptures. Alas there are many who kick against the goads and refuse to fully embrace this consistent observation. There has been recent discussion that Gen 1 should be both covenantal and cosmological and the reasoning given is that is just the way it is. There is no scriptural analysis or backing from the scripture to demonstrate this perspective but just the heart felt feeling that this must be so.

There is also a reference to James Jordan who embraces much of the covenantal language of scripture and there is an observation and quote that Jordan believes that Genesis 1 encompasses both aspects. Of course the reference is to Jordan’s heart felt belief itself and not to any exegetical work that Jordan has produced that validates his findings. After all Jordan is an author who on one hand explains that the Great Sea Monster language of Gen 1 is similar language that is used to describe Powerful nations such as Egypt and Babylon and then he turns around and says that it also describes the “dinosaurs”. Of course a word search of the OT quickly dispels the idea the notion of dinosaurs unless one thinks that they were living in Babylon and crying in their palaces as we have the same Hebrew word (tan-neen’) found there and in many other scriptures.

Isa 13:22 KJVA And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

The other problem is that the use of James Jordan to prove that one doesn’t have to be consistent in using the Covenant Creation understanding backfires in a grand fashion. Jordan is a consistent partial Preterist as he fully embraces a cosmological argument for Gen 1 and a cosmological ending in Revelation. He is basically Covenantal on everything between Gen 11 and Rev 21. So by the use of Jordan as the poster boy for Gen 1 Tami’s consistency point has been driven home even more forcefully. Jordan embraces full Preterism until he gets to Rev 21 and then because of his cosmological understanding of Gen 1 he discards all that he stands for and teaches. He reverts to the heart felt belief that Gen 1 must somehow be cosmological and therefore understands Rev 21 & 22 as cosmological and rejects embracing full Preterism.

Bingo.

Norm
Comment by Tami on June 4, 2009 at 10:07am
Bingo is right Norm...Jordan, to the exact point of my article, is consistent in his view of the beginning and the end! My charge of inconsistency was of course not directed at Jordan. :)

And yeah....those dragons (dinosaurs) had some pretty fancy digs, not sure what they had to cry about. ;)

I'd also like to take this opportunity to say though, in the vein of your words here:

"this consistency is one of the hall marks of validation for the Holy Scriptures"

that magnifying the Scriptures, and affirming their authority, is a primary motivation behind the articles we write at NCMI, including this one. Because the Scriptures all speak of Christ and His cross. And that is our only glory.
Comment by John on June 5, 2009 at 10:33am
Tami,
If your stuck with a physical creation in Genesis then to be consistent you'll believe the Adamic curse for sin was *physical* then you'll have to look for another definition for the curse and avoid dealing with the fact that thorns and thistles are the evidence of it.

Norm mention"There has been recent discussion that Gen 1 should be both covenantal and cosmological and the reasoning given is that is just the way it is".
This was my last hold out and i finally had to admit that i agree with Norm"There is no scriptural analysis or backing from the scripture to demonstrate this perspective but just the heart felt feeling that this must be so".
Comment by Norm on June 5, 2009 at 1:06pm
John,

I agree that it’s difficult to just jettison our past belief system but there comes a time that the intellectual needs to override our emotional attachments. Our friends that are striving to disprove the thesis of God’s Covenant Creation realities really have to ignore some very countervailing scriptures to do so. When I read Ezekiel 34 and 36 I see many of the constituent elements concerning the ground productivity from Genesis 2 & 3 being reversed at the coming of Christ. But they are not physical but spiritual reversals. For one to ignore these essential OT teachings that are found throughout the OT scriptures is incredulous when they posit and proof text that a poetic and prophetic verse or two can seemingly override these straight forward prophetic realities.
Ezekiel 34 & 36 is about the time of the Messiah there can be no doubt and he uses language that speaks of undoing what happened to Adam that led to his expulsion from the Garden. He says now (speaking in spiritual metaphors) that the trees shall yield their fruit and the Land shall yield its increase contrary to the curse when it would not yield its bounty. He will break the bondage of their yoke and there will be no more hunger in the land (spiritual metaphors again) due to the curse upon its spiritual fruitfulness.

Eze 34:23-31 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. (24) And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken. (25) "I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. (26) And I will make them and the places all around my hill a blessing, and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing. (27) And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land. And they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them. (28) They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them. They shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid. (29) And I will provide for them renowned plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. (30) And they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Lord GOD. (31) And you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord GOD."

In Chapter 36 again Ezekiel makes it plain that he is speaking of the time of the Messiah and will sprinkle them with clean water and new hearts not of stone but of His Spirit. He fully establishes again that at this time that the grain will again be abundant and there will be no famine and hunger (Spiritual famine). Again he speaks of the fruitfulness of the trees and the increase of the field and is by no means inferring that at the Cross and AD70 that these are physical realities.


Eze 36:23-36 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord GOD, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. (24) I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. (25) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. (26) And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. (28) You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. (29) And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you. (30) I will make the fruit of the tree and the increase of the field abundant, that you may never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. (31) Then you will remember your evil ways, and your deeds that were not good, and you will loathe yourselves for your iniquities and your abominations. (32) It is not for your sake that I will act, declares the Lord GOD; let that be known to you. Be ashamed and confounded for your ways, O house of Israel. (33) "Thus says the Lord GOD: On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be rebuilt. (34) And the land that was desolate shall be tilled, instead of being the desolation that it was in the sight of all who passed by. (35) And they will say, 'This land that was desolate has become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are now fortified and inhabited.' (36) Then the nations that are left all around you shall know that I am the LORD; I have rebuilt the ruined places and replanted that which was desolate. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.

Finally Ezekiel summarizes everything by saying that the desolate land will be tilled and he says that when that occurs the land will then become like the Garden of Eden. Any unbiased theologian and especially a full Preterist one would notice immediately that Ezekiel is speaking of undoing what transpired at Adam’s fall from the Garden. The idea that the flood rendered the Gen 3 curses null and void is clearly refuted by Ezekiel. Proof texting or not there is absolutely no way to get around OT scriptures such as this which are also found in Isaiah and other locales which Tami has identified can be ignored. Doing so puts one in the realm of the literal dispensationalist that we Preterist shake our head at. It’s amazing when supposed full Preterist cannot grasp the spiritual language of the scripture and instead hang on for dear life to a physical reading to soothe their anxieties caused by their attempt to embrace Full Preterism.

Norm
Comment by davo on June 6, 2009 at 12:43am
John: If your stuck with a physical creation in Genesis then to be consistent you'll believe the Adamic curse for sin was *physical*…

WHY John? Most prêterists I'm aware of have held to a "covenantal" understanding of the "Adamic curse" and did so long before any notions of a "covenant creation" arrived on the scene. This idea floating around between "prêterists" that demands one MUST accept a somewhat either/or proposition on this matter seems rather short-sight IMO. This "pantelist" at least is in no way bound to such a hamstrung view.

My question is this – where does this supposed "consistency" disappear to that says there can be NO consistent physicality relative to the Gen1 story – when every proponent that I've seen, thus far, who say they hold to the purely metaphoric understanding the creation account ALL turn around and confess belief in a "literal Adam" – go figure ?? IF one is to trumpet "consistency" then surely Adam along with the rest are just as metaphorical as the "trees" etc.

As a pantelist I take a position that acknowledges BOTH the local and covenantal aspects of Genesis history. As I understand it – a local flood somewhat replicates a local creation that preceded it. This view fully accepts the relevant metaphoric understanding of Ezekiel and Co, realising that theirs was the all important underlying redemptive narrative.

I accept Jesus' very local death, burial and resurrection was encompassed by the more important covenantal reality of this that wrought Israel's redemption and thus humanity's reconciliation. This whole scenario does NOT have to be framed as one against the other, but rather, we have one BECAUSE OF the other – they are inseparable. In fact, to deny one is to diminish the other IMO.

So, my view would be described as "old earth by special creation" – but I don't buy the dismissive argument sometimes espoused, that as such, anything "literal" with regards to Gen1 must be somehow "scientific" and thus invalidated. My present view could be explained something like this:

I view the metaphoric understanding behind covenant creation as the "deeper" or greater story behind the very literal happenings as recorded, and these seen wholly and solely in localised terms of Israel creation or beginnings. As I presently see it… the "heaven and earth" of Gen 1:1 could [??] be both a stand alone global statement relative to the physical universe itself en toto, and yet also encompass or be pointing towards the creation of Israel specific. And thus… Gen 1:2ff simply being descriptive in somewhat vivid terms of the creation of the Promised Land [Eden] wherein the promised people [Adam/Israel] began, and so the story unfolding accordingly.

Thus the "physical" aspects of the Gen1 story rings true "universally" when applied to Israel – this then being the underpinning "covenantal" basis of the creation story. As such, the tangible nature of the story has its "physical" outworking more on the "local" plane, not dissimilar to the local scene where Noah's new creation literally came up out of the water – full of metaphor and covenantal reality and yet also very much rooted in "this world". So all very "physical", YET all very applicable directly to Israel and so inherently "covenantal".

So while acknowledging "metaphor", trying to read everything in Gen1 as pure metaphor and as devoid of anything tangible IMO misses the woods for the trees – IOW, IF the flood was both local AND literal, so too can Gen1 be seen as both local AND literal – and yet BOTH FULLY "covenantal" as to their meaning.

I could be wrong, but I can see how Gen1&2 can be viewed in terms of Adam's/Israel's formation out of the chaos of darkness [ignorance of humanity] into those in whom the light of God's presence and revelation was to shine – something that was to be inherently filled with blessing [order]. This again being the story within the story – where the chosen are appointed [election] to serve [dress and till] the wider creation; and so understanding the literality of the Gen1 creation account though vivid yet quite true-to-life; again, being descriptive of the birth or formation of Israel in the Land of Promise [Eden]. So, this is how I roughly view it:

The creation language of Gen1 is descriptive of the clearing of a desolate wasteland [the Promised Land] via a flood so it would become viable and habitable for Adam, and his Israelite descendants to whom the Land would be given by way of God's promise through Abraham [Gen 12:1-8; 17:1-8].

At the time of the "beginning" [Gen 1:1-2] the Land was flooded, not dissimilar to that of Noah's time; the waters then receded and the Land is prepared for new life to begin. These "days of creation" describe this time of clearing rains, storm clouds and flood waters, so that the Land would became a place where vegetation, animals, and Adam could live, prosper and propagate:

Day One: The skies [the heavens] and the land [the earth] were in darkness because it was night [evening] and nothing was visible because deep flood waters covered all the Land and dark rain clouds filled the skies. Then, with the coming morning came the light of day where the sun's light became visible through the storm clouds.

Day Two: The light of day made the horizons visible so one could distinguish the difference between the flood waters that covered the Land and the rain clouds that filled the skies. Thus were the "waters" divided.

Day Three: From this the flood waters began to recede so that the Land became visible and vegetation began to grow up from out of the ground.

Day Four: With the rain clouds now dispersing the sun [the source of the light of Day One] is revealed; along it the lesser lights of the moon and stars – all becoming visible so providing light for the night.

Day Five: Now with the flood waters finally settled and the storm filled skies clear, marine life flourishes and bird life returns to the skies of the Land where there is now abundance of vegetation and insects for food.

Day Six: With the flood waters now fully dissipated animal life returns to the Land to also feast upon the growing vegetation. It was into this setting that Adam [Israel's progenitor] having been taken out of the ground [humanity] was planted – into a Land where he could now live and prosper with his family.

Read in this fashion, "creation" like "Noah's flood" becomes prêteristically both local AND literal, and yet also carries the deeper covenantal meanings [metaphors] beyond just the surface level story; where in time, Israel being taken out of the ground [Deut 7:6] becomes God's vice-regent servant nation of kings and priests [Ex 19:5-6] to impart God's blessings to the world beyond [Gen 12:3] from whence they were first taken. I think this proposition could fit the mindscape of the ancients' geocentric "world" more consistently than just a metaphor ONLY model; that is, in the recounting of their story [history] they had something firm to grasp and so understand.

Now I'm not saying the above is water-tight but IMO is feasible, and it is not beholden to some obligatory or arbitrary "any sort of physical creation requires a physical fulfillment of Rev. 21:1" mandate.

So John… I haven't posted this to argue but simply to say "I can see" both sides of a relevant argument that doesn't require an either/or approach – again this is just my opinion…

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