Seeing Evolution Through New Covenant Eyes

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of conducting a 90-minute radio show with New Covenant Eyes Church (Ft. Meyers, Florida) staff Alan Bondar and Bob Lucas.  (It can also be downloaded directly.)  Since New Covenant Eyes Church is a thoroughly preterist congregation, the opportunity was absolutely well-timed considering I had that weekend just revamped my Creation of an Evolutionist blog into its current format with the intention of discussing my journey from premillennial eschatology to preterism.

It was an eye-opening experience for me because I was interacting with some of my preterist brethren who hadn’t yet been exposed to the concept of evolutionary creationism.  In fact, the congregation is much more familiar with covenant creation, as detailed in the book Beyond Creation Science:  New Covenant Creation from Genesis to Revelation by Timothy P. Martin and Jeffrey L. Vaughn (Whitehall, Montana: Apocalyptic Vision Press, 2007), a publication with which I was involved quite intimately during my transition away from young-earth creationism. (Instead of being theistic evolutionists, Martin and Vaughn are merely old-earth creationists and, taking cues from 19th-century biblical scholar Milton Terry, propose that Genesis 1 is apocalyptic literature that finds its primary prophetic fulfillment in the book of Revelation.  According to covenant creation, Genesis 1 is not an ancient Hebrew account of material creation that uses mythological language, as I believe, but rather a purely literary account, with anchors in what is thought to be actual human history, of God’s original covenant with man, filled with symbolism intended to find one-for-one correspondence with various elements in the New Covenant instituted by Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry.)

I must admit, it is a challenge to explain to someone why it is that I, as an evolutionary creationist, believe Genesis 1 to be a material creation account (vice purely functional/teleological a la John Walton) at the same time that I reject the foundational, pre-modern scientific cosmology that pervades the Hebrew account.  The “secret” to my approach, as I explained in a pre-broadcast discussion with Alan, is the fine balance of intellectually rejecting Genesis 1′s ancient Hebrew cosmology and respecting the literary genre in which Genesis 1 was written and the ancient Near Eastern worldview with which the account is infused.  With this literary appreciation in hand, it becomes an academic exercise in separating the infinitely more valuable theological message of Genesis 1 and the fallible literary vessel in which the theology finds itself.  We are, in essence, to avoid keeping new wine (theology) in old wine skins (ancient cultural paradigm) for too long, or else the wine skin may burst and you find yourself spending valuable time and money trying to remove the wine stains from the plush carpet that is our faith.  It is better, then, to store new wine (theology) in new wine skins (modern cosmology), to adopt new techniques of applying our theology within modern scientific paradigms, and allowing our theology to expand and reform along with new scientific discoveries, all the while keeping Jesus Christ at the center.

As a result of this interview, I’ve decided to create a new Q&A page that will address what I believe Genesis 1-3 to be teaching.  Therefore, I invite my readers (both old and new) to submit questions about Genesis 1-3 for inclusion into a permanent Q&A page, answers for which I will provide over the course of time.  Even if you agree with my approach to Genesis 1, I still invite you to submit questions that you struggled to answer during your own scientifico-theological journey.

9 Comments

Filed under ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cosmogony, eschatology, evolutionary creationism, preterism, protology

  • Daniel

    Looking forward to your Q&A page. Hope it gets added to your blog’s RSS feed!
    Daniel

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Daniel,

      If you go to the actual Q&A page, there is an RSS feed for the page. I’m guessing that clicking it is all you’ll need to do to keep updated. Please correct me if I’m wrong. :D

  • http://www.reachingoutministry.org Wanda Short

    I was very glad that Mike L allowed you all to go long that night! Lots of info and it is hard to keep the bigger picture or overview of you view with snippets like that. I look forward to you using this site to lay out the details!

  • John

    Hi, I am from Australia.
    Please find a unique Understanding of the meaning and purpose of “creation” stories via this reference.

    http://www.dabase.org/creamyth.htm

    The above essay (and book) are discussed at this site

    http://science-and-religion.avatar-adida.org/index.php

    Plus Einstein Meets Jesus at:

    http://www.dabase.org/christmc2.htm

    Also on Adam & Eve, Trees, and the Garden of Eden

    http://www.beezone.com/adidajesus/adamnervoussystemeveflesh.html

    http://www.dabase.org/tfrbkgil.htm

    http://www.fearnomore.org/trees/main.php

  • Actormw

    Mike,
    It’s great to see you back with a new site and a broader focus! I’m particularly looking forward to your Q&A page. I’m the only person I know of in my congregation, although there are likely more, that is open to, let alone believes, that our understanding of the scientific side of our faith needs some “rethinking”. Our pastor took a survey a while back that asked about origin beliefs. He is very traditional in hits views, embracing a creationist perspective. He us now following up with a series of sermons which will outline the falsehood in evolutionary belief. I’m sure there will be questions that I am unprepared to answer when my friends ask me so I fully expect to be contributing questions to your Q&A section.

    I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing all of your hard work!

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Thanks, Actormw!

      Feel free to submit questions right here in this blog post. I can’t promise I’ll answer them fast or thoroughly enough to help you defend against strawmen questions, but I’ll sure try.

  • Dunwithdumb

    So have you seen Alan’s newest series? “The Sexuality of God.” This man is a false teacher and an apostate. Open your eyes to the truth people! May God have mercy on his soul.

    • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

      Dun,

      No, I haven’t seen it. At the risk of derailing the conversation, what is it in particular about his series that would cause you to call Alan a false teacher and apostate? Them’s strong words …

      • dunwithdumb

        Read his sermon “How to Date Like God.” He repeats the word “sex” or variations of it no less than 44 times in one sermon. That’s an average of one time per minute if he even preaches for 45 minutes. Although he wraps it in a “spiritual” context, he says”…natural implication that this image drives us to is that God has sex. That’s how you produce offspring.” This whole series is titled and written to titillate people into wanting to come to his church. He as much as admits it in a prior sermon. One female member of his congregation posted how excited she was to listen to his upcoming series on The Sexuality of God. This member also commented on Alan’s great dance moves. Really? This is just one example of his inappropriate, seeker sensitive methodologies of gaining new followers. It’s also interesting that someone took down YouTube videos from a couple years ago when their church members had a Halloween (not fall festival) celebration. One young girl was dressed like a vampire. The church’s worship leader gave the two finger horned sign of the devil to the camera a couple of times. He did that on another one of their videos too. Well, at least they have a lot of fun at their church and make sure everyone feels comfortable. That seems to be an important element at their establishment.