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.