O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
For those who found Tom Holland’s work “Contours of Pauline Theology” useful, you might be interested in Tom’s new Romans Commentary “Romans: The Divine Marriage”. Tom makes some mistakes but by and large his work gets as close to the Preterist hermeneutic of Max King’s as anyone out there. This is especially true in regards to his exploration of Romans concerning the corporate understanding of “body”. I was hoping that he would tie his Rom 5-8 discussion into 1 Cor 15 concerning the “body” in but it seems he won’t touch 1 Cor 15 with a ten foot pole in either of his two books. He likely realizes the implications and just steers clear of opening up that can of worms; however it is glaring that he sidesteps it so completely.
I am going to quote a section from one of Holland’s chapter excursions which many of you might find useful. I found it on this review link and it’s an extensive article from which I quote this snippet from.
The link is found here: http://christmycovenant.com/wordpress/?p=1031
Sin in the theology of Paul
Paul has much to say about humankind’s sinful condition. His understanding has huge implications for how Christians understand the Bible’s teaching on the state of man, i.e., how he stands before God and how he relates to the rest of creation. The following discussion is an attempt to highlight the danger of absorbing ideas from the culture which Paul would have never owned, particularly about sin, and reading them back into Scripture. These non-Hebraic thought-streams have become so embedded in Western Christian thinking that we unintentionally misrepresent what Paul and the other Scripture writers actually teach.
OT background of NT sarx (NIV translation: “sinful nature”)
The Greek word σὰρξ (sarx) is used in the LXX to translate the Hebrew םָשָר (bāsār), the accepted English translation of both sarx and bāsār being “flesh.” It requires a close study of each OT passage in which the term is found to understand how it should be interpreted because it has a number of meanings. This brief OT survey will attempt to show the various ways in which the term was used by the OT writers.
The use of “flesh” to describe a covenant relationship
An important use of “flesh,” is found in the latter part of Gen 2:23-24, where we find Adam saying of Eve: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” The writer of Genesis continues: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Here, “flesh,” implies the covenant relationship a man has with his wife. She was “one flesh” with him. The provision of this relationship was Yahweh’s response to Adam’s loneliness and frailty. Despite it being a holy relationship (it was approved by God before the fall), it did not change the creaturely vulnerability of man.
The use of “flesh” to describe human frailty
The condition of human frailty is also called “flesh” in the OT. It is found in the writings of prophets such as Isaiah and Ezekiel. Isaiah, with his lofty view of Yahweh, emphasized that flesh was weak compared to the might of God. He paints a powerful picture of man’s frailty: “all men (flesh) are like grass … the grass withers and the flowers fall” (Isa 40:6). The prophet Ezekiel promised that the great gift of the new covenant would be a “heart of flesh” which would replace a “heart of stone” (Ezek 36:26-27). Clearly, Ezekiel does not liken “flesh” to sin but to a heart dependent on God.
The biggest mistake that I believe Holland makes is equating Adam as an ongoing futurist entity in which those who do not profess their faith in Christ are still bound up in Adam’s “sin and death”. He fails to recognize fully that Adam is tied covenantally to the Law and with the ending of Old Covenant Law. Adam has become the “dead husband” leaving Eve to marry another; namely the last Adam Christ. However don’t let this detract you because Holland explores so much of these ramifications of Rom 5-8 that we CC recognize lay the foundation of our understanding and despite his missteps does a wonderful job for the serious bible student and I find this book highly recommendable. However if you are not well studied in the implications of tying Adam wrongly to an ongoing covenant entity beyond the Law Holland may confuse you even more. It would have helped if he had paid closer attention to 1 Cor 15:56 and realized that the end of Law was the death of Adam which could have helped him avoid his mistake. Again this is likely the reason he avoids 1 Cor 15 almost exclusively.
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
What constitutes those outside of Christ post old covenant law is not those in the first Adam because those are being thrown back permanently into the realm of Darkness from which Adam was taken and placed in the Garden. Adam was placed in the Garden out of this realm of Darkness yet when he fell he was relegated back to the “mortal” dust of the earth until the redeemer lifted him out of this dust to stand again. This fallen realm of Adam is also equated to “darkness” by Paul and this is because those under law were associated with the rest of lost humanity because they were not in a complete relationship with God. The coming judgment demonstrated through the sign of condemnation upon the Temple and Judaism is the last breath of the old covenant people. Either they were found in the New Covenant or they were relegated to outer darkness where there was gnashing of teeth. This is a position that means the old covenant people were no closer to God than the Pagans.
Eph 2:12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
Mat 8:12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
2Th 1:7-9 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (8) in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (9) They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,
So Adam died and with him the law, the temple made with hands and animal sacrifices. They have been relegated back to the original Darkness and chaos from which the First Adam was to bring the light to the Gentiles. Yet he could find no helpers among those animals. ;-)
Holland gets the basics right but he mixes it up in the process but it’s still quite a bit better than most futurist out there.