Deathisdefeated

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

Partial Preterist Futurism: Going the Whole Way on Creation

          There is a problem in the partial preterist world.  They are slowly running out of “unfulfilled” passages of Scripture.  It is not necessary to go into great detail, because any honest observer will admit that over the past 30 years "fulfillment" has been the course de jour.  Beginning with passages such as Daniel 12 back in the 1990's and even up into the present day with Joel McDurmon's new book,  Jesus vs. Jerusalem, partial preterist exegetes have slowly and methodically moved previous "non-negotiable" passages from the "future to us" category to the "fulfilled" column. 

         

          With every consistent step towards full preterism, the remnants of the scattered partial preterist herd eventually coalesce into the next seemingly secure shelter to find safety within the walls of "creeds" and "orthodoxy."  

         

          The latest such shelter seems to be Romans 8:19-21:

19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (NKJV)

 

          The argument is simple:  the creation that Paul has in mind in this passage is the material universe. The claim is that salvation for the individual is complete in Christ, but the full benefits of that salvation won't be attained until a long gradual renewing of the material universe takes place. At that point, sin and it's effects will finally be removed from the material universe.  "The creation [read material universe] itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21).

           

          It is crystal clear that Paul is referring back to the Genesis account in this passage. In the conservative reformed world, the effort must be made to protect the young earth creation presupposition (and the futurism it breeds) by matching up the creation of Romans 8 and the creation of Genesis 1.  Old earth scholars such as N.T. Wright, use this passage to protect their futurist "orthodoxy" in a slightly different way.

         

          By defining the "creation" of Romans 8 as the material universe one can simply fulfill most, if not all, of the rest of the Bible and still hold on to some sort of yet future consummation. This greatly reduces the need to exegete any other yet future unfulfilled passages which allows the partial preterist to slide just inside the gates of creeds.

         

          There is a strangeness to this view that few seem to notice. Does it seem odd that many who promote it insist that God created the universe in six literal days, yet they declare that the new creation, the new heavens and new earth, has been "under construction" for nearly 2000 years and counting? Or consider another oddity:  They claim that Jesus' complete work of redemption is incomplete and ongoing even while claiming that Adam's first sin completely transformed the world overnight. Something is terribly wrong with this picture. Doesn’t young-earth partial futurism impugn the work of Christ and power of God as weak in comparison to what Satan accomplished in one brief interview? Who is the truly powerful worker in this scene? 

         

          Apparently the surrounding context, pronouns, and time statements included in this passage are not enough for some partial preterists to consider an alternative definition of the "creation" that Paul had in mind.  What if Paul's "the creation" doesn't reference the physical universe at all?  

         

          In the rush to find shelter for their futurism, the partial preterist world has run smack dab into a far more sinister villain:  UNIVERSALISM.

         

          If Paul means that the entire physical universe (the creation) will be freed from the bondage of sin, then it necessitates that every single human being must be forgiven and redeemed in the end because human beings are a part of the material creation.  

       

          The problem is much worse for the reformed world.  The Westminster Confession states that all the dead will be raised with self same bodies and the self same bodies of the non-believers will spend eternity in the torment of Hell.

       

          How can Paul claim that the entire creation is freed from the bondage of sin yet some of that material creation will spend eternity paying the penalty for sin, in a Hell created by God?  You see, a universal view of "the creation" leads logically to a universal view of salvation.  And what about the devil?  Wasn't the serpent in the Garden a part of the material universe?  Is he going to be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God?"

         

          Some could say that God creates a completely new material universe, but that contradicts Paul in Romans 8, not to mention the big problem that the original creation God cursed would never be redeemed, handing satan the final victory over God's original work. No, Paul says "the creation" is liberated from its bondage.

         

          There is simply no logical way to argue against universalism when it is claimed that the entire physical/material universe will be delivered from sin. 

         

          There is a fork in the road for the partial preterist world.  If they continue to rely on Romans 8:19-21 for their futurist hope, they will be forced to either stick with the YEC definition of "the creation" and accept the logical conclusion of universalism, or they will apply the consistency of Paul and the full-preterist, and interpret "the creation" as a covenant creation rather than the material universe. After all, there is no physical definition that can make sense out of Paul's claim elsewhere that believers in Jesus Christ have become a new creation. Paul's theology of creation in other passages should at least give us a hint at the proper interpretation of Romans 8:19-21.

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Comment by Michael Bull on January 8, 2012 at 9:08pm

Sorry, MOST Holy Place surrounded by troops. My next book will cover this "fractal" architectural pattern through the Scriptures in a fair bit of detail.

Comment by Michael Bull on January 8, 2012 at 9:13pm

That's a strange charge. It's full prets that are copping heat for universalism from what I can see. Micah's construct is flawed - or at least it's not playing out that way in doctrinal practice.

Comment by Michael Bull on January 8, 2012 at 9:16pm

"If Paul means that the entire physical universe (the creation) will be freed from the bondage of sin, then it necessitates that every single human being must be forgiven and redeemed in the end because human beings are a part of the material creation."

This conclusion is illogical. The "two goats" division process runs right through the Bible. The word translated "redeemed" also means "avenged." You can't have one without the other. Salvation through judgment. AD70 was the salvation of Israel (first resurrection), thanks to the longsuffering of God for one extra 40 yr generation. The final judgment will be our salvation, or at least the end of the process - the second resurrection (vindication of the New Covenant).

Comment by Charles Shank on January 8, 2012 at 9:19pm

'Vindication of the New Covenant'? I wasn't aware that Jesus needed vindication!:)

Comment by Michael Bull on January 8, 2012 at 9:29pm

Every Covenant has:
Initiation (Transcendence)
Delegation (Hierarchy)
Purification (Ethics)
Vindication (Sanctions)
Restoration (Succession)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1449723756/

Happy to send you a free book so you can get a handle on this process. Close as I am to you gents on the interpretation of many key "AD70" texts, the Old Testament and its Covenant structures show full preterism to be out of step with the way God consistently works.

 

Comment by Micah Martin on January 8, 2012 at 10:14pm

Mike,

You are sidestepping the problem I have presented in my article.  Either God redeems ALL of the material universe (including all humans) or he doesn't.  You can't have it both ways. 

You really should present something that at least attempts to refute what I pointed out, that is, the logical conclusions of your own position and definitions.  


On your side note:

Joshua = Jesus /  Jericho = Jerusalem

David is after Joshua.  How can you say David represents Christ?  It seems that you should be looking for another Messiah for "the world." 

Also, OC Israel was cut off from the land.  Are you prepared to argue that the New Israel (Jesus) is eventually killed and removed from "the promised land."  All of that happens after "Jericho."


As far as universalism is concerned.  Covenant creation destroys universalism within preterism.  The problem is that some full-preterist agree with you that the creation of Genesis 1 is the material universe... ergo... universalism. 

See, it is young earth creationism that leads to universalism, not full preterism.  

You won't find many universalist debating with covenant creationists.

Thanks. I will look forward to your new book.

Blessings,
Micah 

Comment by Micah Martin on January 8, 2012 at 10:18pm

Tim,

Those are some great quotes. I am amazed at how little thought people put into the logical conclusion of their ideas.  Here is a part of the article that I left out but it points out another problem for people like Engelsma. 

Consider this point.  A deer is essentially grass that has been eaten.   Years later that same grass turned deer eventually will take another form.  Perhaps it will end up as part of my body through the ritual of hunting, cooking and eating. The molecules that make up my physical body right now will be somewhere else 100 years from now, perhaps even a part of another human being. 


The very same matter could be recycled into a multitude of forms over thousands of years. What "moment in time" will be resurrected as the redeemed universe? Do people from all time get resurrected, but not all plants and animals? If the curse touches all of these things, as young-earth futurists claim, yet God does not redeem it all, then wouldn't satan be able to claim a permanent victory over them?  


         We are told by the young-earth creationists that the Bible gives us a detailed scientific record of how the material universe began, but God never gives us the same details about how it is renewed.  

 

Comment by Michael Bull on January 8, 2012 at 10:24pm

Micah

My point was that "redemption" is a two-edged sword. The Hebrew word includes the destruction of the wicked. If we have no future judgment (vengeance), we have no redemption.

Jericho was the end of the THAT particular cycle. The same process was repeated again and again in greater and more mature ways. If you remember, first century Jerusalem was also Egypt, Sodom and Babylon.

Comment by Michael Bull on January 8, 2012 at 10:28pm

On creation, we are shown that the curse is progressively being removed - architecturally - from the three-level house. But of course you gents deny the physical aspect of the curse. "What curse?" deathisgood

Comment by Micah Martin on January 8, 2012 at 10:35pm

Mike,

You say:

My point was that "redemption" is a two-edged sword. The Hebrew word includes the destruction of the wicked. If we have no future judgment (vengeance), we have no redemption.

Verse 21: "because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."


Are you saying that this is accomplished by sending people to Hell? 

Also:

Jericho was the end of the THAT particular cycle. The same process was repeated again and again in greater and more mature ways. If you remember, first century Jerusalem was also Egypt, Sodom and Babylon.

You just destroyed your previous argument.  If "Jericho" was the end of the cycle, then the destruction of Jerusalem was the end of the cycle.  If the "repeating" cycles are the same in nature then you shouldn't have any problem with full-preterism. If the next cycle in the order is a different cycles, you need a new Messiah corresponding with that "new and different" cycle. 

What about outside of planet earth? Is there a fourth "recapitulation" for our solar system?  Possibly a 5th and 6th for our galaxy and the rest of the universe? Maybe we can figure a way to get 7 in there!

;)

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