††† We will be honest with you from the start. Our goal is to challenge the way millions of Christians think about the beginning and the end of the Bible.
††† Two of the most controversial topics in the Church today pertain to the two ends of the Bible, Genesis and Revelation. They are controversial precisely because they are important. What Christians believe the Bible teaches about origins and prophecy is what Christians will teach about origins and prophecy. It is crucial, for the sake of the Christian gospel in the modern world, that Christians get the beginning and the end right. Who wants to believe nonsense just because Christians teach it?
††† We wrote this book because we are convinced that the majority of conservative Christians in America have got it wrong about both Genesis and Revelation. We say that as conservatives ourselves; this book is not another whining complaint against conservative Christianity penned by modern liberals. We believe the Bible is true. We believe the Bible can be understood through careful consideration, intelligent inquiry, due diligence, and effort. If we did not believe this, then we would not have written this book.
††† Our thesis is that the common mistakes Christians make regarding origins and prophecy are deeply connected. If the popular Christian view of the beginning is in error, then there is little hope that the popular Christian view of the end will be accurate. The reverse is also true.
††† We are optimistic about a coming change in the future because there is growing uneasiness among conservatives about current views of origins and prophecy. This book was written for Christians who have an interest in either topic. Some readers will have more interest in what we present about the beginning of the Bible. Others will have more interest in what we present about the end. If you have interest in both issues, then great! Whether or not you agree with all of our conclusions, we hope this book will stimulate you to think anew about the profound connection between origins and prophecy, the beginning and the end.
Meet the Authors
††† Before we talk about the content that fills the pages to come, we would like introduce ourselves and mention the history of this book.
††† In some respects, we are an odd pair to write a book together. Tim Martin lives in Montana with his wife, Amy, and their eight children. Tim and Amy met for the first time in the summer of 1993 during the Life Preparation Conference hosted by American Vision in Atlanta, Georgia. Jeff Vaughn lives in the suburbs of Los Angeles with his wife, Karen, and their five children. We come from different church traditions. We live and work in different environments. It is our mutual interest in theology, prophecy, and the wonders of Godís creation which made us partners in this project.
††† Timís main interest and area of study is theology, biblical prophecy, and practical worldview Christianity. After he was home schooled for many years, Tim graduated from Bob Jones Academy in 1992. He studied Liberal Arts at Christ College (currently located in Lynchburg, Virginia) and spent three summers on staff at Summit Ministries in Manitou Springs, Colorado. He is currently active in congregational ministry at Covenant Community Church. Tim wrote the original edition of Beyond Creation Science in 2001 which focused on the relationship between New Testament prophecy and the Genesis flood.
††† Jeff is a professional scientist. He earned his PhD from the University of California and works in telescope optics. He has spent his life in conservative Restoration Movement churches, first the independent Christian Church and now the Church of Christ. Growing up with young-earth creationism, Jeff first learned there was a debate over creation in the Church from Hugh Ross around 1990. Jeff read a book by J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, in 1992. This book changed his end-times views. Within a short time, Jeff realized that the two issues of prophecy and creation are related, and has dedicated his theological study to developing a common and consistent view of both ends of the Bible.
††† Though we have different backgrounds, we also have much in common. Tim operates an established window cleaning business in southwest Montana. Jeff straightens out atmospheric distortions for telescopes. What do these two things have in common? Well, Tim and Jeff both help people see Godís creation better! It is ironic, because that is the end goal we have in mind for this book; our passion is to help people see Godís creation better.
††† We have other things in common, too. Tim and Amy Martin were both home schooled for a portion of their education and now home school their eight children. Jeff and Karen Vaughn are nearing completion of the home schooling of their five children. Another item you might find interesting is that this project began in earnest years before Tim and Jeff ever met in person. This book would not have been possible before the arrival of the information age; we did it primarily through the internet and e-mail. Modern technological progress made this book possible.
Meet the Book
††† The following pages are divided into three parts:
††† Chapters 1 through 4 offer a fresh investigation into what Jesus and the apostles taught about the great tribulation, last days, and coming of Christ. Part 1 also includes historical documentation from Josephus, the first century historian who provided detailed accounts of the Jewish War with Rome. This part of the book argues that, when understood within its own context, key elements of New Testament prophecy relate predominantly to what happened in the first century, particularly the Roman invasion of Judea and Jerusalem in AD 66-70.
††† Part 2 opens with a historical overview of how modern prophetic views impacted the rise of the current Genesis debate among Christians. This material is covered in Chapters 5 and 6. Once this background and contemporary scene is set, the implications of Part 1 are systematically explored as they relate to key areas of the Genesis debate: the Genesis flood Ė Chapters 7 through 9, the Tower of Babel incident Ė Chapter 10, the question of biological death and the fall Ė Chapters 11 and 12, and the nature, purpose, and meaning of Genesis creation Ė Chapters 13 through 18.
††† Chapters 19 through 21 are Part 3. This section focuses on the practical implications for Christian theology and worldview practice in the modern world. We discuss a biblical approach to the relationship between the Bible and science and offer a closing biblical presentation for a contextual understanding of biblical prophecy. Our final chapter explores the implications applied to a full Christian worldview for the future of Christian culture.
††† We have also included appendices which offer aid to the reader on key points. Our first appendix offers an explanation and defense for the hermeneutic or interpretive approach we use throughout this book to understand what the Bible means by what it says. Another appendix deals with common objections to our view of Noahís flood. Our final appendix gives an overview of various old-earth views of creation that have been popular since the 18th century.
How to Read This Book
†† † Be aware that this book is designed to be read sequentially from beginning to end. We highly recommend reading the book as it has been constructed. Following the order will help you understand the progression and development of our thoughts and conclusions.
††† This book was written differently from other Bible-Science or theology-prophecy books. This book attempts to integrate these two fields as they interact with history, philosophy and Christian worldview. Themes introduced in the opening chapters reappear and are expanded in later chapters.
††† Many books are written in a linear fashion much as a freight train is a compilation of box cars lined up one after the other on the tracks. Our book follows more of an incremental approach. Each section builds upon and reinforces the previous material. Rather than presenting the reader with a set of ideas and beliefs resembling a string of boxcars filled with ordered content designed to ďmoveĒ information, our approach would be more akin to taking off in an airplane and circling higher in elevation to view a wide panorama of the multi-dimensional landscape below. The reader will not need to agree with our particular conclusions in order to see the relationships at issue in contemporary debates. We anticipate that many of our critics will actually agree with the logical parallels we develop. We offer something for everyone; even to those with whom we disagree.
A Group Effort
††† No project like this can be completed without the help of many individuals. We first thank our wives, Amy and Karen, for tolerating our long hours of research, writing, and conversation that went into this book. Their sacrifices have made this book possible.
††† We also thank Walt Hibbard who became an early advocate in spite of some criticism. The world needs more men like Walt Hibbard who stand on principle for the truth of Godís Word no matter the cost.
††† We thank Virgil Vaduva for providing an online forum where a wide variety of topics can be discussed openly in light of Godís Word. Tim and Jeff first met at Planetpreterist.com many years ago. Thanks, Virgil, for all your tireless work maintaining the site, and thanks to the entire online community at Planetpreterist.com for the lively discussion which complemented our research.
††† We thank James Robert Kessler for his impressive artwork on the cover as well as the sketches used at the heading of each chapter. You can view more amazing artwork by Jim at www.InChristVictorious.com.
††† We thank Mike Beidler for his superb editing talent which took the quality of the manuscript farther than we thought possible. The readability of this book owes a great deal to Mikeís many hours of tedious editing. We also thank Randy Sommer for his help on the final editing and Jack Gibbert for his work on the proof-reading.
††† We thank Mark Chiacchira for the cover design and layout. Thanks to his ability, we hope that you judge this book by the cover! We have worked hard to provide content inside that lives up to the high standard of workmanship that Mark models on the outside of the cover.
††† We thank Luis Lovelace for his efforts on the typesetting and index construction. His work has made this book a pleasure to read and more useful as a reference.
††† We thank Norman Voss for his intense dedication and support for this project over the years. His presence demonstrated to us the true potential for this project in real life.
††† We thank all of our reviewers who offered feedback and suggestions. Special thanks to: Don Stoner, John Holzmann, Terry Hall, Tami Jelinek, Jennifer, Rebecca and Victoria Vaughn, John Hedges, Mike Palevo, Rich Duncan, Andre and Missy Snitko, Sam and Bethel Wagner, Bo and Maggie Stuart, Prescott and Ruth Wagner, Dave Klem, Jesse Ahmann, Timothy King, Tony Pomales, Max Sotak, Mike Sullivan, Stephen Douglas, Dennis Zwonitzer, Mickey Denen, David Vaughn, Dennis Piilohla, Kevin Bywater, Aki Taniguchi, Patty Vaughn, Ron Wagner, Charles Shank, Jack Parry, Jay and Bernette Wagner, Ed Burley, David Snoke, and Robert Newman. This in no way suggests these individuals agree with any of the particular details or ultimate conclusions of our presentation. Thanks to Jane and Gabi at the Legion Street Grille in Whitehall, Montana, for all of the great food during Timís initial work on the manuscript.
††† Tim gives special thanks to Steve and Donarae Wagner who provided office space, tools, and much more to make this project come together. And thanks, mom, for your support and encouragement.
††† Jeff gives a special thank you to Terry Brennan who introduced Jeff to Hugh Ross and Rob Dueck who introduced Jeff to J. Marcellus Kik.
††† We also thank our critics who have forced us to develop a fuller presentation. Samuel Frost and Kurt Simmons challenged us on many different levels. We could not have done it without them. The case in this book is thorough and comprehensive as a direct result of their criticisms and spirited opposition.
Further Discussion and Interaction
††† We hope you enjoy the book. If you are interested in further discussion and developments as we continue to learn about Godís Word and Godís world, then come join us at our website: www.beyondcreationscience.com or contact us at [email protected].
Full Table†of Contents