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Before Genesis: An Overwhelming Response Already…and Increasing by the Day

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Online Series based on background research behind groundbreaking new book BEFORE GENESIS

By Donna Howell

It is September 27, 2023, at 4:02 in the late afternoon as I write this article, and frankly, my head is spinning. Somewhere between shock, awe, wonder, disbelief, humble (and reserved) anticipation, and just a touch of trepidation is a sweet spot called “confidence” I’m trying to find. The most amusing part about this: Nobody outside my family really knows this is how I feel, and I’m sharing it with every reader with complete and total abandon.

So, what’s going on?

Oh, not much. It’s just that I’ve co-written alongside Dr. Thomas Horn what is being called “the most controversial but important book we’ve ever published,” and even before its release date, the buzz about this book is spreading…everywhere, and fast.

Last night, I wrapped up a major-media interview with hundreds of thousands of listeners covering the key bullet points in Before Genesis: The Unauthorized History of Tohu, Bohu, and the Chaos Dragon in the Land Before Time, and it’s just the beginning. Today, I spent at least two hours responding to emails, texts, and phone calls from the hosts of radio and television programs who caught wind that we’ve dared to write such a thing and want to know just how soon they can have me on to explain how on earth Tom and I managed to come to the conclusions we did within that work. Their reactions to the book’s outline varied—everything from “This answers everything! It all makes sense!” to “You’ve got to be kidding. Are you guys really saying what I think you’re saying?”

You know how they say, “one step forward; two steps back”? That’s kinda how my day went. I couldn’t keep up. I would hit the “send” button on one email response regarding an interview on this book and three others had arrived in its place, in addition to a few texts and two voicemails, all in a matter of minutes. Then, a few hours ago, I received confirmation through a screenshot our ministry shared on social media that Before Genesis actually is—as was rumored yesterday—listed as the #1 top selling book at Amazon…the largest book market on the planet with more than 60 million titles competing for attention.

I don’t know what God is doing with this title yet, but, yeah, today was a circus. I told Tom in the beginning, back when a famous theologian told us this book would “start a war”—when this illustrious lingual expert of ancient Hebrew (including obsolete dialects in use at the time the Old Testament was written) said we were “hilariously outnumbered” in our theology—that I would be willing to write it. Not because I just thoroughly enjoy my name and face being dragged through the mud-flinging that typically glues itself to any project going against the Church’s mainstream grain, but because I believed in it. Not only do I believe the message of the book to be true; I trust the message is far more evangelistic than anything else I’ve written to date.

Oh, and that “famous theologian” I mentioned? He agreed with those sentiments. Within the same conversation that he uttered his grave warnings about “war,” Tom asked him if our conclusions could be “possible.” His response was: “Tom, it’s not only possible, it’s likely.” Though he could not be convinced to write this book himself (for good reasons related to the direction of his ministry), he ultimately told us we had discovered the missing link that has the power to tear down a major wall that separates Christians and simultaneously reaches the lost on a path very few Christians have trod.

What’s the big-deal-reveal? Why is everyone, well…freaking out about this book?

It’s hard to take a project as massive as Before Genesis and squash it down in an article of this length, but I’ll share a couple key elements heavily contributing to the public’s shock factor.



Since time immemorial (or at least since the early 1600s), due primarily to the powerful voice of Bishop James Ussher, the overwhelmingly popular Christian narrative in American Christianity has been that Planet Earth is about six thousand years old, and any scientific dating methods that contradict this view is considered dead wrong. Ussher added up the length of each character’s life as listed in biblical genealogy and traced it back to Adam as the planet’s first father, concluding that since the Word says he was made from dust on the last day of Creation, Adam and Earth came about at the same time: 4004BC, according to the human lineage calculations heavily based on Genesis 5. The King James Version translation—which was severely influenced by the still-living Ussher’s teachings—also contributed to Ussher’s estimations of Earth’s age by translating the Hebrew yom throughout Genesis 1 to “day,” representing all of Creation as happening in seven literal, twenty-four-hour days and marrying that paramount event to Adam’s birthday (even though that word can also be translated “age”…an argument that ends up being almost entirely irrelevant once the “big picture” of the first few verses in the Word of God is brought to the forefront, as I will note in a moment). Since this theological development, the Church has almost unanimously embraced Ussher’s teaching as a tradition that can never be challenged lest the scholar be deemed a “liberal interpreter” who “wants to make the Bible agree with science.” Scholars or theologians scattered throughout the past four centuries have challenged the mainstream interpretation, only to be told they are conspiracy theorists deserving of the tinfoil hat they brought upon themselves by “going against the Word of God.” Many of them have thus chosen to remain quiet about all this, making the mistake of assuming that the age of the Earth is a nonessential topic in reaching the lost…a supposition that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Actually, the age of Earth is likely one of the most important issues in today’s scientific age that we could ever endeavor to tackle! If we don’t, we will only be repeating the same blunder we caused in Galileo’s day that led to uncountable losses of precious souls.

See, Galileo challenged the Church to accept heliocentrism (the belief that Earth circles the sun), based on a scientific space-observation tool just emerging in his time. It was called a “telescope,” and it facilitated the human eye to plainly see that geocentrism (the belief that the sun circles Earth) was demonstrably false. The Church of Galileo’s day insisted that some Old Testament verses like Psalm 104:5 (“the earth…cannot be moved”) was in conflict with the telescope’s findings, and Galileo was branded a heretic for three hundred years following a forced recantation of his life’s work.

Don’t miss this: It took three centuries for Christians to admit they were wrong, while every day, people were passing into eternity believing the Bible had to be in error since science supported heliocentrism. It makes me wonder: How many folks are passing into eternity today believing the Bible is in error since science supports an ancient planet and Christians persist “the Bible says” Earth is six thousand years old (when it honestly doesn’t say that anywhere)? If you can’t trust the very first chapter in all of God’s Word to be true, how can you put your faith in anything following it?

It is far beyond time for traditional interpretations regarding our planet’s earliest ages—and what occurred between God and Lucifer during those eras—to be updated in light of what we observe today. Once this is done, the evidence overwhelmingly stacks in favor of a harmony between not only science and theology but between the Young-Earth Crowd and the Old-Earth Crowd.

Wait a sec, Donna… Did you just say the Earth is old and young at the same time?

No, I said the two can finally be brought into harmony: There is no error in seeing real, true evidence of a Creation event at the time of Adam (the Young Earth view); the error is in assuming it was the first and only Creation event, and that there couldn’t have been any form of Earth at all prior to that point. (It is at this juncture that the argument between the Hebrew words bera and bara comes into the picture. One means “created out of nothing” and the other means “created out of preexisting substance.” While Young Earthers insist on the “created out of nothing” interpretation, vowels didn’t exist in Hebrew at the time the Old Testament was written, so if we’re honest [as we should always be], we cannot rightfully insist on either bera or bara. So, although there is no question of whether God was the One who created everything in existence from the beginning [John 1:3], it is also admissible that He created the Earth at the time of Adam from the substance of a former Earth. This is the same reason the day/age debate is often of marginal importance to Hebrew scholars, because they see the possibility of an initial Creation however long ago science demands, and a Restoration event in the time of Adam, and conclude that both “day” and “age” are admissible, since God had plenty of time between Lucifer’s early-Earth fall and Adam’s later-Earth birthday to restore this planet to what we have now from the uninhabitable wasteland it had once been under Lucifer’s rule. All of these raging Hebrew-word arguments—and many others—are addressed at length in Before Genesis.)



But why are Christians so intimidated by revisiting Scripture in light of science anyway? One does not have to blindly accept all human-originated scientific opinion in order to at least allow—like we should have in Galileo’s time—for some science to be true. Not all observations about our planet that originate from the scientific community are correct just because some dude in a white lab coat with his name embroidered in fancy red script said so. Anytime the Bible and a human-led “scientific discovery” are in conflict, it’s okay to say “the Bible wins” and humbly admit we will never know everything about the world anyway, so where’s the threat? Didn’t God, Himself, create Earth and all that there is to observe upon it? Didn’t God also—through the guidance of the Holy Spirit—write the Bible? If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” as any true professing Christian will agree, then weaving a congruous thread between reality and the Word is nothing short of an act of worship to the Master Scientist who reigns over both His Creation and Word in the first place! Why make those with faith large enough to see that feel as if they have done something wrong or sinful by glorifying our Maker in this way?!

What a shame this is.

Therefore, what an honor it is to have been assigned to this book project, knowing full well that I’m “going against the grain” and “outnumbered” and “starting a war”…while I likewise know that trading obedience to God for popularity among mankind is to no longer be a servant of Christ, as Paul wrote (Galatians 1:10).

What have I got to lose? Popularity and intellectual hobnobbery, which matter little to me. What have I got to gain?

Perhaps let’s rephrase the question: What does the lost have to gain by seeing that the Bible is not competing with demonstrable science and both could be true? Well, if Genesis is true, then Genesis 3:15—the first promissory note from God that a Messiah will come to save us all—can also be true, and Jesus, with his literal hundreds of fulfillments of ancient prophecy (many scholars say thousands) can also be true. Suddenly, the question of Earth’s age is no longer a “marginal issue.”

It’s an evangelism opportunity.

Again: What an honor… And, actually, the feedback thus far hasn’t all been quite as scary as the famous theologian warned. Already, only a few days after the public became aware of this project, we’ve received a ton of emails and phone calls from Christians who have long suspected there was more to this picture of Genesis than their Church had taught them, and they are grateful for our willingness to face this “untouchable” theology head on.

If Tom and I (and so many of our friends past and present including Steve Quayle [who was way ahead of the rest of us by years], Dr. Chuck Missler, Noah Hutchings, Gary Stearman, Michael S. Heiser and many others) are correct in our research—involving a massive mountain of journals, books, articles, and other media by Hebrew experts who also see the profound implications of the words tohu va bohu and understand that they absolutely could not mean simply “without form, and void” (Genesis 1:1–2) to the original audience of Genesis—then Lucifer actually was the destroyer of cities and kingdoms during the tohu va bohu era of Earth’s history…just like the Bible says he was (and in the same language, I might add; Jeremiah 4:23–27; Isaiah 14:16–17). We can stop resisting the Hebraic, linguistic evidence that far more responsibly renders tohu va bohu as “an uninhabitable wasteland of chaos,” and admit that these words describe an era of Divine but wrathful judgment upon God’s initial design due to the workings of the enemy and his fallen angels. We can finally approach Isaiah 45:18 from a more straightforward, “Occam’s Razer” angle, which states God was “not” the One responsible for creating Earth tohu (translated in KJV to “in vain” in this instance). We can at last see the ruins of Earth’s oldest ritualistic serpent-worship structures and other religious phenomena—like Puerta de Hayu Marca, Gobekli Tepe, Karahan Tepe, Baalbek, Catalhoyuk, the Gate of the Sun in Tiahuanaco, “alien-originated” OOPArts (out-of-place-artifacts that should not exist based on the intelligence it took to produce them in an age when humanity couldn’t even create a clay pot), astronomically aligned cart ruts all over the globe, and countless other anomalies—in light of the Luciferian, fallen-angel worldview that the Bible also repeatedly teaches as a fact of our corporate history. And because we know God did not create carnivores (Genesis 1:30), we can, at long last, stop assuming that Genesis 6:1–4 was “the only time” the enemy would have tried to warp God’s Creation and, instead, we can bring bizarre carnivorous beasts into the framework they belong—like dinosaurs, which, according to scientific dating were driven into extinction 66 million years ago and thus dated to before the fall of Adam that wrecked the animal kingdom. (By the way, readers, scientific evidence also attests to the fact that something very weird [translation: evil] happened to dinosaurs, since the largest of them were originally about the size of a German Shepherd and likely herbivores… If they existed anywhere close to what the dating evidence shows, and if we already know the satanic agenda involves taking God’s design and making it abhorrent as it’s outlined in Genesis 6, then dinosaurs belong to an ancient, sin-stained era of fossils that has also produced strange “monkey men” while this planet was tohu va bohu. Much more about that in the book!) And so, so many other previously incompatible issues finally piece together in an orchestrated conclusion of the events of Genesis that shockingly merges all contributing voices (Young and Old Creationist groups, as well as science) into one balanced and agreeable climax.

So, am I nervous? Well, sure! Who wouldn’t be?! I don’t want to “wage war” on anyone any more than the next peaceful scholar. But I am willing, and as the interviews pour in, Tom and I both appreciate every prayer from our reading audience that the secular world out there—the world that goes as far as to replace God with science, thereby making it their god—receives this message and gives the True God of the universe a second look.

If we accomplish this goal for even one lost soul, we’ve achieved what we set out to. Please pray for Tom and I. It’s eminently clear that we’re about to embark upon quite the journey with this project…

UP NEXT: BEFORE GENESIS—PART 1: The “War” We’ve Started: Will it Be Worth it in the End?

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