Deathisdefeated

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

I received a copy of Bible Matrix II by Mike Bull.  (I would like to thank Mike publicly for sending me a copy free of charge. I very much appreciate it.)

 

Like Bible Matrix, Bull relies heavily on James Jordan's approach and has the same un-questioned young earth creationist presupposition.  On a positive note, this book will open the full-preterist door to many astute readers. 

 

However, I found this incredible quote on page 229:

 

Covenant is the key to Creation.  The original firmament (which I thought was the atmosphere according to the YEC paradigm, my own comment) is the outer shelter, the physical elements, the macrocosmic "Temple"...

 

The next paragraph begins:

So, all Creation is Covenantal, but we cannot divorce Covenant from history.  It began with the physical world and will end with it's physical restoration: (Emphasis his)

 

Haven't we heard that before?

 

I would note that Bull never backs up this claim.  At one point he cites Chilton regarding 2 Peter but then just adds that it foreshadows the "real" new heavens and earth.  Again, with not exegetical proof. 

 

It is becoming apparent that the entire Partial Preterist world is precariously positioned on the incredibly weak foundation of YEC fundamentalism.  It is even more hilarious when one considers the connections between YEC fundamentalism and Dispensationalism. 

 

Add to that, the fact that the people who are winning the origins battle (like Pete Enn's, biologos.org, John Walton) do not have an eschatology that fits their protology and I would say invest in Covenant Creation/Eschatology.  Eventually it will have cornered both markets! There really is no where else to go.

 

 

 


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Comment by John on November 7, 2011 at 8:03am

Thanks Micah,

I haven't read Bull's book but see you can get the kindle version for 3.99 .Mike Sullivan interacted with him a bit last summer and wrote a good article exposing his inconsistency.

A RESPONSE TO MIKE BULL’S PARTIAL PRETERIST ARTICLE “THE LAST TRUMPET”

DEALING WITH A PARTIAL PRETERIST ADMISSION THAT CHRIST’S ONE COMING/PAROUSIA OF MATTHEW 24:27-31 AND 1 THESSALONIANS 4:15-17 TOOK PLACE IN AD 70 

BY MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN

It is not uncommon to find Partial Preterists pushing their “Inconsistent Orthodoxy” and hermeneutic closer and closer to Full Preterism while at the same time trying to maintain their “orthodox” and “scholarly” standing in hopes of keeping their creedal jobs and financial support.[1]  For a few examples (that are documented in our book and off of my site):  1)  Gary DeMar and Keith Mathison do not take a division theory in Matthew 24-25 and accept that the coming of the Son of Man in both chapters took place in AD 70.  2)  Peter Leithart, James Jordan, and Joel McDurmon understand that the resurrection of the just and unjust of Daniel 12:2-3 and the harvest of Matthew 13 took place at the end of the Old Covenant age in AD 70.  3)  Sam Frost is now trying to make a name for him by still hanging onto some FP beliefs - admitting that the millennium of Revelation 20 was between AD 30 – AD 70 – trying to bring some FP through the back door of “Orthodox” Partial Preterism.  And then there is 4) this very important admission coming from Partial Preterist Mike Bull that the typical PP view which teaches two comings or parousias in the NT is “confusing” and that Matthew 24-25 and 1 Thessalonians 4-5 speak of the same event and both were fulfilled in AD 70.  These are all progressive “Inconsistent Orthodox” PP admissions that have always been FP propositions which continue to lead their readers into our view.  They try to deny this, but the testimony of FP, Dispensationalists, Premillennialists, and Amillennialists (all in print) - readily recognize that their hermeneutic leads to ours.    

Let’s now examine Mike Bull’s view that Matthew 24:31 and 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 was fulfilled at Christ’s coming in AD 70 “in the flesh.”[2]  

Continue here

 

Comment by Micah Martin on November 7, 2011 at 8:27am

John,

 

Yes, I had read that article by Michael Sullivan. 

 

One thing I did not include was the fact that Bull has and end to the New Covenant. He has said that many times publicly and spells it out in the book. I am sorry but when the PP world is reaching so far to defend their YEC view's that they posit and end to the body and blood of Christ I think it is time to take a step back and say... really....?

Comment by John on November 9, 2011 at 11:24am

Micah,

 

Mike Bull has read your comments here and made a response at Preterist Blog.

"In the book, I included a slightly revised version of the chiasm of history presented here, plus an expanded explanation of it. The problem with the Covenant Creationists is their insistence that the Creation account and the Noahic flood were not global Covenantal events, but only local Covenantal events.

I can see their argument, but there are two problems with it. Firstly, Creation and Noah are brackets around one era, an era that defines the terminology of the rest of the Bible. After the failure of Babel, history moves to a “social” definition of Covenant, a nation that is separate from the other nations, a national “Land” raised above the international “Sea.”

So, although there are parallels between the flood and AD70 (as Jesus states), this is because there are other structures going on within this chiastic history. The Gentile “flood” of AD70 and the Gentile “flood” of Babylon are equivalent floods. And guess what? Both of them use Noahic symbols. [2] So to claim that the Great Flood and AD70 are equivalent events shows an ignorance of the Old Testament.

So, where dispensationalists understand the Great Flood as a physical judgment, and misunderstand Matthew 24 as physical judgment, Covenant Creationists understand Matthew 24 as social, but misunderstand the Creation and Flood as basically social.

If we remove the physical element from the initiation of Covenant history (to open the door to bogus science based on Baalistic philosophy) and from the end of Covenant history, we make the death and resurrection of Christ at its centre unnecessary. If the original curse of death wasn’t physical, and somehow death has already been defeated, actual physical history is stuck in an eternal rut of death.

And a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out.

Covenant Creationism makes a mockery of the Bible, of the death and resurrection of Christ, and of the very physical hope of mankind. It asserts that there will be no future union of heaven and earth.

_____________________________________
[1] The Noahic firmament did come down, but there is obviously a greater one. This would be because the Creation-to-Noah Covenant was a microcosm of all history, a world within a world. But both these “Veils” are physical. See A Firmament of Flesh.
[2] See The Wolf and the Lamb.

 

Comment by JL Vaughn on November 9, 2011 at 12:09pm
Comment by Michael Bull on November 9, 2011 at 9:46pm

Thanks for the membership acceptance, John. It's much better to discuss it here.

 

Dear JL,

I did read your book (Micah kindly sent me a copy). The problem is mostly (not entirely) one of terminology. I use the term local when I should have been more consistent and called it "social." You've pointed out where I've been a bit fluffy on terminology, but you haven't really dealt with the thrust of my argument at all.

Would a flood judgment against the sons of Seth be classed as physical or social? From later judgments, a social judgment is by a flood of people. This was judgment by water, and you assert that some people were not judged, which means there was never a Covenant that covered all of humanity, and the actual physical Creation was not Covenantal.

If it was social (local-physical), then the human race was already somehow bifurcated (i.e. not all people were judged). There was a bifurcation between Sethites and Cainites, but were these two races already separated from other nations under the Adamic Covenant? I have read your arguments for there being other people who didn't go through the flood and they are agenda driven. Not only is there no substantive indication in the text, but it messes up the structure of the history of the races. Jordan has done a lot of work on this.

The problem with separating Adam from a previously existing humanity is that it limits the second Adam from dying for all humanity. If we were not all descended from Adam (or Noah), there are, or were, people who were never under Covenant. But being human itself is Covenantal. Were there really people who were not made in the image of God?

I will go and have another look at your arguments. I found some of your basic arguments were unreasonable, such as vilification by association with Adventists, etc. Even Catholics get some things right! 

Your main assertion seems to be that the Creation Covenant was a Covenantal "appropriation" of the Creation, which is not what the text says at all.

Your argument against the biological death of Adam totally overlooks the Covenant structure of the events, with its "Day of the Lord," God's courtroom scenario, and the actual physical biological death of animal substitutes. Not good biblical theology, especially considering the in-Adam's-face Levitical sacrificial system. 

You create problems where there are none. If Noah was still alive when Abraham was fifty, so what? There are many other examples of this (which Jordan observes in his chronological work). And then you go and base your arguments on this "impossibility," reading them back into Genesis 1. It's plain unbelief. These aren't problems. And the ancients weren't idiots. What kind of a person would write or contribute to a chronology that was so apparently idiotic? Geneologies might not matter to us moderns, but they mattered a great deal to the ancients, and to many tribes around the world today. My pastor was a missionary in New Guinea in the 70's. The gospel of Matthew was translated and read to a particular tribe, but chapter one was omitted from the reading as being irrelevant. The people were not impressed, and asked if there was any more. So chapter 1 was read to them. The people responded that now they new the rest of the story was true. So to assert that geneologies didn't matter is, shall we say, a bit bold?

You rip into the historical "global" view of Babel, (while making some good points that I agree with) but seem to miss the implications of a unity that was only "local." If there were other peoples living outside the Noahic Covenant, who cares about Babel's unity? Yes, it concerns the compromise of the sons of Joktan, but the scattering and confusion of tongues (and religious "lip") lose their import entirely.

You argue that "all mankind" in Revelation is not literally "all mankind," but the text differentiates between Jewish "Adams" and Gentile tongu

Comment by Michael Bull on November 9, 2011 at 9:48pm

You argue that "all mankind" in Revelation is not literally "all mankind," but the text differentiates between Jewish "Adams" and Gentile tongues, tribes, etc. This is quite obviously a "social" judgment, and one based on circumcision, so you can't read it back into Genesis 1-11.

There's much that I agree with in your book, but the chiastic understanding of history: Physical - Social (Israel) - Personal (Christ) - Social (Church) - Physical doesn't ride roughshod over Genesis 1 and have to redefine such basics as "death," which divorces Covenant from the real world. Full preterism could only thrive in a culture like ours where we are not faced with the ugliness of death every day.

This understanding makes sense of the "global" language (such as Land and Sea) being applied to the "social" world of men, yet does not limit God's work -- both de-Creation and re-Creation -- to this world of men. You've mistakenly aligned a social judgment with a Creational one.

By the way, I didn't steal your line and twist it. In my book, Covenant is the key to a lot of things, not just Creation. Imagine how James Jordan feels since you took his understanding of Covenant Creation and "twisted it" to your own ends. I do believe Covenant is the key, but I don't come to your conclusions at all.

Jordan doesn't believe that the physical universe ended in AD70, but its Covenant administration, which ties in perfectly with my Covenant chiasm of history.

I can understand your frustration with dolts like me who still don't get - or agree with - your arguments, but there's no need to be insulting. Please lighten up.  : )

Cheers,

Mike

 

Comment by JL Vaughn on November 10, 2011 at 11:34am

Mike,

 

You said, "Covenant Creationism makes a mockery of the Bible, ..." and you tell me to lighten up.

 

God's judgment was always against people.  Is that what you mean by social?  Or do you mean the sociable people who killed those being judged?

 

A covenant is inherently social.  By definition, it is social.  The parties to a covenant are persons.

 

Judgment is judgment.  It doesn't matter whether it was done by armed hordes, flood, famine, or disease.  If God promised judgment, and it was followed by judgment, people died.  Numerous unnamed people died immediate, physical death in every one of God's judgments found in Scripture.

 

Your claims about my beliefs about physical creation do not follow from anything I have ever written or said.  In articles since Tim and I wrote BCS, Tim, I and others have documented several covenants God had outside the Old Covenant.  God is a God of covenants.  Every judgment in Scripture is a covenant judgment.  This includes Sodom and Gomorrah, the Canaanites, the Giants/Nephilim, Babylon, Edom, etc.  To deny that Genesis 1 refers to the creation of the physical universe says nothing about God's relationship to the physical universe or any part of that universe, except that Genesis 1 doesn't tell us about its creation.

 

Your claims about my beliefs and their consequences goes downhill from there.  I disagree with you.  Therefore, by definition (according to you), I make a mockery of the Bible and everything in it.  You have made yourself the standard by which all things are judged.  You have put yourself in the place of God.  You are not God.  Please lighten up.

Comment by Michael Bull on November 10, 2011 at 3:46pm

JL

 

I'll brush up on your views on Creation, but do you not assert that Genesis 1 is not the actual Creation? and that the wages of sin is not actual death? That's the context of the mockery, because everything goes downhill from there.

Yes, all Covenants are social, there are people involved in all cases. But you've not understood the point of difference, which is that the first Covenant not made with "all flesh" was not begun until Genesis 12. Circumcision was the "division" of Adam on a global scale. The Creation of Adam was not a similar division. Was humanity divided before sin?

The flood judgment involved the entire physical world because Adam was the representative of the entire physical world, not simply of "the Adamites." His Creation was a part of its Creation. He was made of world. He was the world "doing Covenantal stuff." At the beginning and end, the judgments (negative and positive) are social, but they also involved and will involve the physical creation. The flood was the end of Adam's representative role of the physical creation.

The social "Land and Sea" began with Abraham and ended in AD70. Abram was cut off from the physical creation. As a new nation, he represented, not the physical world, but the nations. AD70 was the end of Israel's representative role of the world. You have misaligned AD70 (and the Babylonian invasion) with the flood.

Yes, a Covenant is social, but a local flood means that all did not die in Adam. If someone's paradigm involves the redefinition of so many factors (most importantly, claiming that death is good), surely it's suspicious?

The reason the Sodomites were judged is because they were under the Noahic Covenant (plus their destruction was linked to the conception of Isaac: barrenness and fruitfulness in one hit - we also see this with Elisha stopping Jericho's miscarriages while Jezebel's Bethelite children are cut off by bears.) The reason Canaanites were judged is because they were evangelized by God's people. Tyre and Sidon and Nineveh were converted but apostatized, and were judged. Abraham evangelized the Canaanites, and they were later judged under Joshua. None of these relationships makes it possible to assert that the flood was not a judgment on all humanity.

I wasn't arguing from my own standard but from what I understand of the Bible, as you do. I made some strong statements and backed them up.

You still haven't dealt with the arguments in my article.

Cheers,

Mike

Comment by JL Vaughn on November 10, 2011 at 10:58pm

Mike,

 

Genesis 1 is the actual biblical creation.  Bara, translated create is the verb form of berith translated covenant.

 

The wages of sin is the death that Adam died on the day he ate.

 

It is up to those of us with a Berean attitude to attempt to determine what was covenanted in Genesis 1:1 and what was the nature of the death in Genesis 3.  That is what you refer to as mockery.

 

Your comments about Genesis 12 are common.  Believe me.  I understand well and have understood for over 30 years.  If I reject that view, then please consider that I do so for a reason and not from ignorance.

 

Humanity was divided in Genesis 1.  Your denying that is not an argument against the case I have made.  (Don't look in BCS, we weren't there then.)  Your claiming that to say anything different than what the dispensational church of the last 50 years has said makes a mockery of the Bible is not an argument.

 

God is not a gentile, that He should lie,
      Nor a son of Adam, that He should repent.

      Numbers 23:19

 

God plainly stated the division to Balaak through Balaam's mouth.  God expects men to lie, but he expects the sons of Adam to repent.

 

There is no point in me discussing your other numerous points of error.  You can't get my view correct.  Calling it mockery shows you don't even care to try.  Lecturing me on views that are common knowledge demonstrates you have no respect for those who disagree with you.

 

The social "land and sea" began when?  Rev. 21:1 says, "for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no more sea."  The first heaven and first earth began in Gen. 1:1 and ended in Rev. 21:1.  It did not begin in Gen. 12.

 

The Sodomites were under Abraham's covenant, not Noah's.  They were added in Gen. 13.

 

I wasn't arguing from my own standard but from what I understand of the Bible, as you do. I made some strong statements and backed them up.

 

You just admitted that your own understanding is your standard.  That was the standard you used to judge me.  It's a false standard.  You are not God.

 

And you still haven't represented my arguments or beliefs correctly.  Your arguments are made of straw.  They do not address what you pretend they address.  I have once again dealt with them.

 

I really don't care if you post a hundred false arguments.  You claim to have read our book.  Clearly then not carefully.  You assumed my view mocks the Bible and everything in it.  No need to read since you have already come to your conclusion.

 

If you really read it, then you would know our argument for full preterism.  Yet you never touched on our argument to show us where it was flawed.  You would know our argument for a local flood.  The one point you addressed, you butchered.  You didn't argue against our point, but against something you imagined.  Our argument for a limited covenantal judgment at Babel comes essentially from James Jordan.  Except we removed his Global Flood inspired contradiction.  You ignored our arguments for the nature of Adam's death.  And you didn't correctly read our case for Genesis 1 being God's covenant with the heavens and the earth.  Did we really do such a poor job of writing that we failed to get our point across?  Well it is a difficult point.  People have recited our own words back to us and failed to grasp it.  But you have failed at every point.  Not just a few difficult points, but every single point.  No, we didn't write that poorly.

 

You have no interest in discussing any view contrary to your own.  Any such view makes a mockery of the Bible and everything in it.  The Thessolonians said the same thing to Paul, but the Bereans were more noble-minded

Comment by Michael Bull on November 11, 2011 at 1:57am

JL

Surely I am discussing it. I haven't dealt with some of your arguments simply because they're not very good ones. There are illogical leaps and redefinitions of so many things.

Perhaps I don't understand from your book. You class Genesis 1 as apocalyptic. So Genesis 1 not speaking about the creation of the physical universe. It is somehow a "backwards prophecy" contained in the Adamic Covenant, which divorces its account from actual history, i.e. the events in Genesis 1 (and you say possibly up to chapter 11) did not really happen as recorded. How have I got this wrong? Making a Covenant with the heavens and earth is not the same as making the heavens and earth by Covenant.

The problem with the assertion of apocalyptic is that prophetic language uses symbols from actual history (such as the prophets' de-Creation language, Isaiah and Jesus using flood symbols, and Revelation's use of 666 and 1000.) The "springs and rivers" of Revelation refer to the Temple sanctuary and its spiritual outflow, but the spring and rivers of Eden were not historical? In Revelation, an Adam is a Jew, (mankind) because like historical Adam, they represented the world before God. All symbols have physical, historical referents.

What I referred to as mockery was the idea that death was good, an idea that is foreign to the Bible. It's a position one has to take to dissociate Covenant from physical Creation. When a murderer's blood was upon their own head, was this spiritual death? If death is not death, at a fundamental level Covenant history achieves very little that is tangible. It mocks the real, physical results of sin in the world and the real tragedies experienced by real people.

The day Adam ate was the first "Day of Coverings." If Adam died a not-really-death, why were animals sacrificed to cover him and his bride? The chain of events even follows the pattern of Israel's feasts. Adam's death was postponed because substitutes paid in blood. Atonement averted Israel's destruction every year. And God postponed the destruction of North and South until nothing more could be done. Did He break His promises?

This one issue alone is a huge problem for your paradigm. You must claim that Adam's sin was not covered, that no mercy was shown. Sorry, but the entire Bible is built on this structure. Happy to send copies of my books so you can see it laid out. It's consistency is against you.

I didn't ignore your arguments about the nature of Adam's death. They ride roughshod over the sacrificial pattern, which begins in Genesis 2-3. Yes, the Bible speaks about different kinds of death, and uses death as a symbol, but see above about the origin of symbols in history.

In your book, you somehow align the idea of a temporarily cursed world with the gnostic idea of an inherently evil world. (Perhaps these terms are confusing, but I hope you get the drift.) These are not the same at all. This is an incredible leap, yet you go on to build your arguments upon it. And your book contains many such leaps. Your paradigm is a very often steamroller.

I'm really interested in your case for humanity being divided in Genesis 1.

I can see your logical argument for full preterism in aligning Genesis with Revelation. It looks logical on the surface, but it fails to take into account the actual Covenant structures in the Bible, particularly as they appear in the Revelation. 

The last section is the "Succession" of the Old Covenant saints, but Revelation 20 itself follows the Covenant pattern, and contains a New Covenant Succession. This gives us a "world" end. The Success of the New Covenant was not simply the destruction of the Old. The anointing of David was not merely for the overthrow of the dynasty of Saul.

Those who have their tears wiped away in Revelation 21 are the Old Covenant saints, not Christians living in the gospel age. They inherited the heavenly Land that was promised. That

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