Fulfilled Theology - Preterist

Discussion All Areas Of Systematic Theology

It seems to me that most Preterists (also Futurists) believe that “death” in Gen. 2:17 is speaking of “spiritual death” but I am not convinced. If this was so, then what is the point that Jesus had to die on the cross, physically? Also in Gen. 3:19 is talking about physical death as God warned to Adam. I already compared Gen. 2:17 to other passages in the OT which are very similar: Gen. 20:7; 1 Sam. 22:16; 1 Kings 2:37 & 42; Jer. 26:8; Ezek. 3:18; Ezek. 33:8. So, I think this would fit nicely with 1 Cor. 15 (it is not about corporation resurrection as many Preterists believe).

Only thing that separate from God is sin (Isa. 59:2) and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23, physical, not spiritual). Through Christ, the believers were able to have an access into heaven with God.

Now we turn into the New Testament and I’ve selected a few: John 3:16; 11:24-27; Rom. 5:12; 6:23; Heb. 2:9-17.

I have seen some preterists who hold the “corporation resurrection” or “covenantal change” in 1 Cor. 15 but I don’t think they are being consistent with what Apostle Paul wrote. Paul was talking about the resurrection of Jesus and the saints were going to be like him when He came with the angels. The dead persons were going to be raised and the living persons were going to be changed. Both groups were expecting to put on incorruption and immortality so that they would defeat the death like Jesus did. Therefore, Paul was not talking about those in post-parousia of Christ (IBD or IBN).

 

About the “spiritual death”, which passages it would support this view? Most would define this as spiritual separation from God but throughout the Bible history, He still communicated with them or filled them with the Holy Spirit. Of course Adam and Eve did eat and they didn't die that day. The Lord's statement was a pronouncement of the penalty for sin. On that day Adam and Eve's status would change. They would certainly die, whereas before then they would either live on endlessly or die, depending on their choice. Rejection of the source of life means only death.

 

Gen. 3:22 And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand, and have taken also of the tree of life, and eaten, and lived to the age,' -- 23 Jehovah God sendeth him forth from the garden of Eden to serve the ground from which he hath been taken; 24 yea, he casteth out the man, and causeth to dwell at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flame of the sword which is turning itself round to guard the way of the tree of life.

 

It doesn’t tell us if they already ate the tree of life but the point is that they were forbidden to have an access to the tree of life in order to live to the age (long time).

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Comment by Rivers Of Eden on February 11, 2010 at 9:46am in other forum:

Donald,

I don't see any basis for "spiritual death" in scripture for several reasons:

First, there is no explicit reference to "spiritual death" anywhere in scripture.

Second, the words "spiritual" and "death" are opposite concepts in the original languages and they are never used to modify each other anywhere in scripture. Hence, when someone says "spiritual death", it is like saying "hot ice." It makes no sense linguistically. Just as "ice" is never "hot", so "death" is never "spiritual" in scripture.

Third, God explicitly explained to Adam that his "death" for the transgression in the garden was "to return to dust from where (he) came" (Genesis 3:16-19). Since we all agree that Adam was physically made from "the dust of the earth" (Genesis 2:7-8) in the first place, we also know that his subsequent "death" was a physical dissolution of the same physical form.

Fourth, as you have shown, the idiomatic expression "dying, you will surely die" (Genesis 2:17; Gen. 20:7; 1 Sam. 22:16; 1 Kings 2:37, 42; Jer. 26:8; Ezek. 3:18; Ezek. 33:8) is used throughout scripture to refer to the impending physical death of a human being. This is consistent with God's explanation of physical death as the result of Adam's transgression in Genesis 3:16-19. Your references also show that the Hebrew idiom does not require that the person(s) "die" at the moment of sin, but that it was simply something that would inevitably occur at some subsequent point of time.

Fifth, we all agree that the death and resurrection of Jesus were "physical." It was the physical death and resurrection of Jesus that constituted the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Thus, it was the physical death and resurrection that provided reconciliation and redemption of Israel. Again, the deaths of Adam and Jesus are never said to be "spiritual" anywhere in scripture, even though there are many reference to the physical nature of their deaths.
Comment by Rivers Of Eden on February 11, 2010 at 2:04pm from other forum:

Donald ... I think your list of the uses of "dying you will surely die" throughout the OT shows that it plainly referred to physical death and that it meant something that would inevitably happen to people in their future (as a consequence of what happened on a certain day). Thus, Adam was told that he would "certainly" die as a consequence of his transgression, but the scripture is clear that his actual "death" did not happen until over 900 years later. This agrees with what God said would happen in Genesis 3:16-19 ... Adam would not "return to dust" until he had "toiled" for many years.

This is why I think it is so important to pay attention to God's own explanation of Adam's "death" (as physical - "returning to dust") in Genesis 3:16-19. If Adam was physically made from the "dust", then he physically died when he "returned to dust." It's that simple.

Also, Adam certainly wasn't "separated from God" on the day he sinned because God came right into the garden and spoke face to face with him (Genesis 3:16-19), just as He later did with Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the Apostles. God is described throughout the OT as a "father", a "lover", and a "friend" to Israel. These terms connote the very opposite of "separation" and indicated that God had intimate fellowship with His people since the beginning.

Unfortunately, the early Church Fathers managed to combine poor exegesis with pagan Greek philosophy and came up with nonsense like "spiritual death." In the biblical languages, the concept of "spiritual" is equivalent to "life" and is the opposite of "death." Death cannot be something "spiritual" in biblical Hebrew or Greek any more than "ice" can be "hot" in English.

I also like what you say about Hebrews 5:7-9. A lot of folks do not see that Jesus needed God to save him from death just like everyone else. The apostles certainly taught that Jesus was "without sin" (i.e. transgression of the Law), but they also taught that he was subject to the same "death" (i.e. physical) that had passed from Adam onto all men regardless of the Law (Romans 5:14-16).

Everybody agrees that Jesus never died "spiritually" so there's no question that the whole gospel is about his physical death and physical resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The physical always precedes the "spiritual" in scripture, so Jesus could not have died "physically" to redeem his people from a "spiritual" death. Jesus died physically to save Israel from the inevitable physical death and national extinction that would have occurred at the hands of the heathen nations if He did not protect them (Ezekiel 37-39).
Comment by Rivers Of Eden on February 12, 2010 at 1:03pm from other forum:

Larry,

I have a couple of thoughts with regard to your reply.

1. It doesn't necessarily follow that seeing the death of Adam sometime after the day of the transgression makes the serpent's words true. For example, the driver's handbook tells you that "when" you drive over the speed limit, you "will receive a fine." However, we all know and understand that the word "when" is referring to BOTH the time of the infraction itself, as well as looking forward to the later time when the "fine" is paid up in court.

This is the sense of the language in Genesis 2:17 and Genesis 3:16-19. The phrase "when you eat you will certainly die" or "dying, you will surely die" was the common Hebraism for the inevitable consequence of death. It does not require that the "death" take place at the time of the statement ... just like you may become guilty of the speeding fine on the day of the infraction, but you do not pay the consequences ($$$) until a later time. The serpent was proven wrong because God immediately pronounced judgment upon Adam and assured him that he would "return to dust" on account of his transgression (Genesis 3:16-19).

In Genesis 3:16-19, God plainly told Adam that the consequence of the Genesis 2:17 transgression was "toiling in vain until you will return to dust." This is another way of saying "dying, you will certainly die" and is God's own interpretation of its meaning. Furthermore, the Bible explicitly documents that Adam "died" 900 years after he left the garden.

2. With regard to what you call "sin-death." Keep in mind that is a theological term coined by Max King and not a biblical term. I think Ephesians 2:2 should be understood in the same way that God explained the "inevitable" death of Adam (Genesis 3:16-19). In the same way that God told Adam that all of his "toil" (i.e. works) could not save him from the punishment of physical death, so were the Jews and Gentiles of the apostolic era "toiling" in vain as they were dying the same way. There's no need to add a non-biblical concept of "spiritual death" to any of these passages.

3. I'm disappointed that you regard my (ROE) endeavor to "interpret scripture with scripture" to be "bad exegesis." I think Donald has also simply shown that all the other uses of "dying, you will certainly die" in the OT are undoubtedly referring to physical death. I think it's admirable to determine the meaning of biblical words by examiningg the way they are used in various contexts.

4. Again, the only "death" that is "separation from God" is physical death. This is why Jesus cried out for God not to "forsake" him when he died physically on the stake. All living creatures have "the spirit of life from God" (Job 33:4) residing in them, so even the unbelievers could not be separated from God! It isn't until physical death that "the spirit returns to God who gave it" and the soul perishes in the ground (Ecclesiastes 3:21; 12:7). This consequence of physical death sounds a lot more like a "separation from God" to me!
Comment by Rivers Of Eden on February 12, 2010 at 2:43pm from other forum:

Sam and Larry,

The reason that I avoid the "sin-death" concept is simply because it doesn't appear anywhere in scripture (in vocabulary or explanation). My understanding is that this term was coined by Max King about 20 years ago because he needed it to compensate for the problems he had explaining the resurrection in his Covenant Eschatology paradigm.

I can only speak for myself, but I prefer to think of biblical theology in terms of what is actually stated in scripture. I'm sure that you are all trying to do the same, but I think we need to be extremely careful not to pollute the interpretation of the original languages with modern philosophical concepts and vocabulary words that are impregnated with theological implications that are far removed from the cultural context of scripture.

The entire apostolic gospel is based upon the physical death and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) because that is what was required to satisfy the Mosaic requirement of propitiatory blood sacrifice to atone for the physical death that characterized all of Adam's descendants (Romans 5:14-16).

Jesus did not have to die "spiritually" to remove any curse because the curse was not "spiritual death." Scripture says that Jesus pleaded with God to "save him from death" because he was "flesh and blood" and made like his Hebrew brothers "in every way" (Hebrews 5:7-9). All of this is common language for physical life and death in scripture. I don't see any need to add anything to the plain sense of the original words.

Also, I think it's important to consider that Paul made numerous references to the physical change that would occur for those whose bodies were raised to immortality at the Parousia (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:52-56). These passages make perfectly good sense if they are taken in their simply literal sense (as the same words are always used elsewhere in scripture). As D.A. Carson once told me..."if the plain sense makes good sense, then seek no other sense!”
Question 1:

You said: "If this was so, then what is the point that Jesus had to die on the cross, physically?"

Why does Christ's physical death imply that the 'death' of Adam was physical? What is your logic here?
You said "Most would define this [spiritual death] as spiritual separation from God but throughout the Bible history."

Adam was expelled from the Garden of Eden the day he sinned. This indicated broken fellowship, broken communion with God. This is spiritual separation. (please note: i agree that physical death is indicated here due to no longer having access to the tree of life)>

After this event we always see some type of separation between God and Man. The tabernacle clearly represented this. Moses being hid in the cleft of the rock shows this as well. The book of revelation shows the reversal of this by the transformation of the tabernacle into the garden (physical restoration of communion with God) where they have access to the tree of life (physical immortality). But this was first preceded by spiritual restoration. Our body becomes the tabernacle of the Holy Spirit. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit (spiritual separation removed) is the guarantee of our future physical restoration with God (or their restoration in your scheme).
Patrick,

Only thing that separate from God is sin (Isa. 59:2). Adam and Eve were not able to have an access to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden which was a type in heaven.

It seems to be that the Bible says God created Adam a body from the ground and breathed his nostrils and he became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). Without breathing, he perished (Gen. 7:21-22). The holy spirit was "down payment" only for the saints in the first century before the parousia of Christ (Eph. 1:13-14). I do not hold the Trinity view.

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