People, preterists in general, are very quick to dismiss any alternate views on Genesis creation. In fact, 9 out of 10 of them will quickly label you confused and lost if you even so much as suggest that Genesis isn't speaking of the creation of material earth and the creation of the first biological man.
They usually appeal to an argument that sounds like this....
"WHEN ONE TAKES THE PLAIN AND LITERAL MEANING OF THE WORDS, YOU CANNOT UNDERSTAND GENESIS ANY OTHER WAY THAN LITERAL CREATION".
But what is strange is that these same "literalists" in Genesis, use a totally different approach when they get to the other end of the bible.
If we were consistent with that interpretation method, NONE of us would be preterists.
We would most likely be futurists who believe in a bodily visible future Second Coming of Christ. We would most likely believe in a literal destruction of the literal cosmos and a literal creation of a totally new heaven and earth in our future. We would believe in a future "caught up" type rapture. We would believe in a literal physical bodies popping up out of dirt resurrection. And so on.
The point is that we use our brains and we use what the text gives us to form our views. We look at the full story and let the scripture interpret scripture. If we are confused about one portion, we let other portions shed more light on it until we work it out. This is just what we as preterists do and by doing that, we have come to very strong and very undeniable conclusions. However, if we were to just read the New Testament texts at face value, and as the 9 out of 10 people above would say, "just interpret them for what they say", we would all be futurists today.
Preterists do a good job of connecting dots. They are able to find links and common phrases, words, statements in the scriptures, and connect them to other portions of scripture to gain further clarity and piece the story together.
What if I told you that one portion of scripture contains SIX statements that match up to Genesis creation language? Not one, not two, not even three, not even four, no not five, BUT SIX.
Six descriptive statements in succession in another chapter of scripture that link up and match six descriptive statements that we find in Genesis creation language?
If it were one or two statements, then ok, perhaps it's a stretch. But when we have 6 statements, in succession, which mimic what we read in Genesis creation, we should take a closer look and consider what that could mean.
The book of Jeremiah has always been one of my favorite Old Testament Prophets. It contains many topics to write about. But a while back, chapter 4 blew my mind and really confirmed for me that I am pointed in the right direction with my take on Genesis creation. Of course I don't have it all figured out and nobody does. But there is PLENTY there to suggest that not everything is as meets the eye as so many people would argue.
I had always recognized Jeremiah chapter 4 (especially around verse 23) as important to understanding the Genesis chapter 1 creation language but recently something really clicked for me when taking a look at Jeremiah 4:22-26
In this study I want to briefly take a look at those passages and see if I can help others recognize the incredible similarities.
The chapter begins with Jeremiah giving warning to Israel about her wickedness and evil. God warns the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem that their wickedness is piled high and judgment is imminent. God says that because of His fierce anger, their cities will be laid desolate.
In verse 19 we start reading about the sorrow for those people. The trumpet was going to sound and war would rush in and they would be judged. Verse 22 then says the following...
“For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.”
So the main thing to keep in mind here is that the entire context of chapter 4 is what?
PEOPLE. The wickedness of PEOPLE who were alive in that day. PEOPLE.
But now take a look at what the next passage says. Verse 23 reads...
"I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light.
Now, it doesn't take a theology degree to recognize the clear Genesis language being used here by Jeremiah the prophet. He is still speaking about the condition of THE PEOPLE in that day in Judah and Jerusalem is he not? Of course he is. This is the whole context of the chapter.
But he says that "the earth, was WITHOUT FORM AND VOID".
That is the EXACT SAME Hebrew phrase used in Genesis 1 when we read the condition of "the earth" BEFORE the creation days begin.
The world in Genesis 1:1 was "without form and void" (Hebrew- "Tohuw Bohuw") meaning "in confusion and chaos"
The world in Jeremiah's day was also "without form and void" (Hebrew- Tohuw Bohuw) again meaning "in confusion and chaos".
So if Jeremiah uses this Hebrew phrase to refer to the wickedness, darkness, sinfulness, and ignorance of the people of his day in Judah and Jerusalem, then why is it so far fetched to believe that the author of Genesis isn't doing the same? It is not far fetched at all.
The latter half of verse 23 in Jeremiah 4 reads...
"and the heavens THEY HAD NO LIGHT"
Does that ring any bells? It should!
The condition of the PRE-GENESIS CREATION earth was what?
Remember that we see in the very beginning that "DARKNESS WAS ON THE FACE OF THE DEEP"?
What did God do?
He said "LET THEIR BE LIGHT!"
He gave illumination of Himself. Of the One true God in the midst of all the darkness and paganism and ignorance and all the "Tohuw Bohuw" (confusion and chaos)
So we have Jeremiah saying that "the heavens had no light" to refer to the state of the darkness of the people in Jerusalem and Judah.
And we have the author of Genesis using this same imagery of darkness and God giving "light".
Again, clearly showing that it is not far fetched at all to understand the condition of the world BEFORE Genesis creation, as evil, wicked, darkened. If the "heavens had no light" refers to people in Jeremiah 4, then it's plausible to consider that the darkened state we read about in Genesis 1 is the exact same concept.
So already we have 2 of the same statements and same concepts here in Jeremiah 4 to describe PEOPLE and their wickedness and their having no fear of the true God. These 2 statements are mimicked in the Genesis account and we see the same condition there BEFORE the creation days begin.
Verse 24 reads...
"I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth."
Jeremiah in verse 24 then sees the mountains trembling and the hills moved back and forth. This is the opposite of the forming of the dry land that we see in Genesis. This may represent the instability and chaos of Israel in Jeremiah's day because as we know Israel is often called the "land" or the "earth" in scripture. The mountains trembling and hills moving could speak of Israel's chaos in that day. No peace, no stability.
Why would Jeremiah choose to use "mountains and hills trembling and moving" as his way to describe the wickedness of PEOPLE in Judah and Jerusalem? That doesn't really make much sense does it?
Well again, the imagery he uses is mimicked in Genesis 1. If Jeremiah uses this language to speak about people and conditions involved with people, then it is again plausible to consider the same for Genesis.
Verse 25 reads...
"I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled."
Now the funny thing is that when people read this, they automatically assume that it's not literal. Why? Well of course there were men alive in Jerusalem when Jeremiah said this because the whole point is mans wickedness. This "no man" means there was no man who worshiped God. Evil was rampant. There was "no man" who feared God.
We see the exact same language in Genesis creation when God said there was "no man" to til the ground.
Again, Jeremiah is taking us back to before God called His people out of darkness in Genesis 1. He takes us back to the state of the world before God gave a people "light". There was no man who knew Him in truth. Same thing was true of Jerusalem in Jeremiah's day. That is why Jeremiah uses Genesis language to describe the lack of righteous men in Jerusalem.
Jeremiah also in that same verse, verse 25, says "and all the birds of heaven fled".
Clearly drawing off of Genesis language again. In the garden scene we see birds of heaven present. Whatever they represent, they were mentioned as part of the garden blessing. So Jeremiah is taking us back PRIOR to God creating His people and blessing them and he (Jeremiah) is comparing that day in Genesis to his current day again.
So far we have 5 of the same Genesis creation language references used here in Jeremiah to describe the state of the people in the day God would judge them.
In verse 26 Jeremiah then says ...
"I beheld and the fruitful land was a wilderness"
Clearly yet again drawing from Genesis 1 creation language. It wasn't until God was forming His people/His first creation, that we see the creation of the seeds and the fruits and the beautiful fruitful land filled with every good tree and seed for food....
Jeremiah says that the people of his day bore no fruit and their land was a wilderness. Again, symbolizing the wickedness and comparing that to the world before Adam was created. There was no "garden" before God called Adam into light. The world was a wilderness with no fruit. Same thing in Jerusalem in Jeremiah's day.
What's the point here?
The point is that we need to recognize what Jeremiah was doing in this portion when describing the state of evil and wickedness in Jerusalem during his day sometime in between 625bc and 586bc....
Jeremiah was using the picture of the Genesis PRE -garden world, to describe Jerusalem in his day.
To the finest detail his description matches the Genesis PRE- garden world. He uses 6 of the same descriptions.
But what do we know FOR A FACT is present in Jeremiah's day?
The whole context is people.
Jeremiah 4:22-26 shows us the state of Jerusalem in Jeremiah's day. They were wicked. They had no light. They worshiped idols and false gods.
Jeremiah 4:22-26 also shows us CLEARLY what the Genesis account is really all about.
Genesis shows us a world steeped in wickedness and pagan worship before anyone had any true knowledge of the One true God.
It shows the calling of a people out from those nations who were in darkness and confusion.
What is interesting is how Jeremiah uses the same seemingly Universal Cosmos sounding language that we see in Genesis 1 but yet Jeremiah is only describing the judgment of a very local area. Judah and Jerusalem. Yet he says that the "earth was without form and void". Jeremiah's prediction had nothing to do with the entire earth at all.
As a side note, I found this comparison very interesting...
In Genesis 1 we read that darkness was over the face of the deep "And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
What is interesting is that the "waters" there in my opinion represented people. People in darkness. Remember, that darkness was over the face of "the deep". Surely God isn't speaking about literal darkness on literal water right?
Well, if we go to the other end of the story in the book of Revelation in chapter 17 we read this...
“The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. Rev. 17:15
So in Revelation we are told that the "waters" were actually people, nations, tongues etc.
To me that is interesting because it seems that the waters in Genesis 1 also represent peoples, nations, and tongues. Darkness was upon them. The Spirit of God hovered over them and eventually God said....
"LET THERE BE LIGHT"
Which by the way, light was created on day 1. The sun didn't come about until day 4. How is there light without sun for the first 3 days? Something just doesn't add up.
Thanks for reading. If you've enjoyed it please give it a like and feel free to share.