Progress on Heaven and Earth

Well, the indexes of The Generations of Heaven and Earth have now gone off to the publishers, which is my last literary input before the book comes out.

Only the cover yet remains to be done, which can be good fun compared to the chores of proof-reading and so on, as there is an opportunity to collaborate with the graphic designer and do something creative. If the result looks anything like as beautiful as the cover of God’s Good Earth was, I shall be well pleased.

After that it’s up to Cascade to set a release date, and the book will be sent out into the world as the first specific application of the Genealogical Adam paradigm, following in the footsteps of Joshua Swamidass’s presentation of, primarily, the science a fortnight ago in The Genealogical Adam and Eve. Lacking the networking and contacts that Joshua has forged, I will be surprised if mine has such an immediate impact on reviewers and (to judge by Amazon’s figures) purchasers.

Still, I hope it will find its place in placing a thoroughly biblical theology into real space-time. It has at least one thoroughly new idea (if I am permitted to regard Genealogical Adam itself as old hat, having been working with it for nearly ten years!). That is the recognition that the temple-theology of Genesis and the Old Testament, now pretty much mainstream in biblical studies, actually contains two streams of temple theology, corresponding to the old and new creations.

It’s my hope that this insight will help resolve the remaining controversy about the validity of the temple imagery seen in Genesis 2-4, the Eden account, as popularised particularly by Gordon Wenham and endorsed by Greg Beale. Opponents have pointed out the various non-correspondences with the tri-partite pattern of the Hebrew tabernacle and temple, but it is my contention that this is quite deliberate, because Eden represents not the Hebrew temple of the old creation cosmos, but the universal union of heaven and earth in the new creation.

That leads me to my thoughts for Hump readers this Christmas, apart from the venial reminder, once my book comes out, of Tom Lehrer’s Christmas Carol:

Angels we have heard on high
Tell us to go out and BUY!

In the Incarnation we see the beginning of the climax leading to the inauguration of the new creation in the resurrection of the crucified Jesus. And that is the greatest news ever heard on earth, Brexit not excepted.

Despite the latest onslaught of doom-mongering amongst the awoke, the old creation is still looking in pretty good condition as the sun shines in my eyes through my study window. We’ll see in due course if the 60-year cyclical warming trend reaches the heights of the 1930s, or whether those scientists are right who consider that the current Grand Solar Minimum will allow unopposed cosmic rays to form more clouds and begin another period of global cooling.

It will take a while before we know as a society which alternative is true (if either), because given the massive financial and cultic investment in the climate change mythos, it is quite certain that for a few years, at least, any global cooling would be widely attributed to global warming. Even after that, the prediction models could be adjusted, perhaps, to show that increasing greenhouse gases were always predicted to cause a new ice-age (and that the majority of papers have claimed that).

Nevertheless, in theological terms, though the present world’s continuity is safeguarded by the divine covenant with Noah, in my view the world is still past its sell-by date. That is because (as my book argues) the new creation was actually intended, at least from the time-bound human perspective, to begin with Adam in the garden.

It is the abortive nature of that new divine initiative that forms the entire framework of the Bible narrative. It describes the unfolding plan of God in remedying the curse of sin on the cosmos, which has held back the consummation of all things in God for millennia. In God’s inscrutable providence, of course, that tale of woe redounds to his greater glory, both by necessitating the Christmas event, and in revealing the self-giving love of the Triune God in so graciously revealing it.

The New Testament shows (as a finally disclosed mystery) that, unlike the climate-change papers, God had in mind the ultimate result from the beginning: and that is why Jesus is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”

It’s worth meditating on that, because the time will not be long, in cosmic terms, before the final, everlasting, act of the drama. Happy Christmas to you all.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.


And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Look now! for glad and golden hours
come swiftly on the wing.
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing!


For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendours fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
This entry was posted in Creation, Genealogical Adam, Theology, Theology of nature. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Progress on Heaven and Earth

  1. Robert Byers says:

    Lord bless with your book in the new year. All this contributes to understanding and wisdom .While we have freedom of speech, attacked at every turn, then truth will prevail over error as reflection takes place.
    Merry Christmas from Canada.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Thanks Robert. And a Happy New Year to those in the Northern climes.

      The Scripture says that iron sharpens iron. Once you eliminate free speech you never even notice that your knife has gone blunt, until the bear eats you.

Leave a Reply