House Divided Chapter Seven The Resurrection of the Dead Amillennialist Robert B. Strimple Vs. Full Preterist David A. Green Part 8 Genesis 3:19

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House Divided

Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to

When Shall These Things Be?

Chapter Seven
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 8 Genesis 3:19

David A. Green
Copyright 2009 and 2013 All rights reserved.  No part of this book (or article) may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the publisher or author of this chapter/article (Vision Publishing or David A. Green), except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Strimple Argument #8: Genesis 3:19 (and Rom. 5:10, 14) teaches
that biological death was part of the curse. Therefore, resurrection
from biological death will be part of the reversal of the curse (317-318).
Answer: We must all agree that physical death was at least involved
in the curse. Genesis 3:19 cannot be interpreted any other way:
In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to
the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and
unto dust shall you return. (Gen. 3:19)
Because Adam had sinned, he was doomed to labor in vain over
a cursed earth of thorns and thistles all the days of his life, separated
from the presence of God, until he returned to his place of origin and to
the substance of his identity, which was “dust.” Because he had sinned,
Adam was dust. That is, he was defined by dust because his life had
come from the dust instead of from the tree of life.
Because he was condemned and alienated from God (i.e., dead),
Adam had no higher point of origin or higher identity than the earth. He
was earthy, not heavenly. Therefore his ultimate destiny as an earthbound
sinner alienated from God was to remain what he was and to
return to the dust from whence he came. Adam could not rise up and
enter again into the presence of God when he died (John 3:13), because
he was dead in the bondage and futility of Sin.
Though physical death was thus involved in the curse, Adam and
Eve’s Death was not physical or biological death. Their Death was the
Death that they experienced in the day that they ate of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. God promised Adam and Eve that they
would surely die in the day that they ate of the tree. Therefore, we can
rest assured that Adam and Eve surely died in that day (cf. James 1:15),
regardless of the difficulty that Genesis 2:17 presents for futurism, and
regardless of the elaborate schemes that futurists devise in order to insert
physical death into the verse.
To say that Adam and Eve did not die or that they only began to die
in the day that they ate of the tree is to force fit Genesis 2:17 into the
futurist framework. And this is what Strimple attempts to do (317). Let
us note the contrast between the clarity of Scripture and the labors of
futurists to make Scripture fit futurism:
God: “ . . . in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”
(Emphasis added)
Strimple: “ . . . surely . . . the seeds of psycho-physical death were
sown in [Adam’s] body and began to go to work.” (Emphasis added)
One might just as reasonably argue that in the day that they ate of
the fruit, “the seeds of openness were sown in their eyes and began to
go to work.” Futurist absurdities aside however, Genesis 3:8 indicates
that Adam and Eve’s Death was their Sin-consciousness, their condemnation
before God, and alienation from Him. Paul echoes this doctrine
in Romans 7. It was as a result of that Death that their existence became
a futile drudgery/slavery (a “body of Death”) that led inexorably to a
futile, sub-heavenly defeat (“dust”). Solomon reiterated the curse centuries
later in the book of Ecclesiastes where he cried out concerning
the pointlessness of both physical life and physical death in the Sin-dead,
Adamic world:
As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to
go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labor, which he may
carry away in his hand. And this also is a sore evil, that in all
points as he came, so shall he go: and what profit hath he that
hath labored for the wind? (Eccl. 5:15-16)
That was the dusty wilderness of futility in which the saints lived
under the reign of Adamic Death (from Adam until Christ). Despite
the discouraging claim of consistent futurism, this is not the state of the
universal body of the saints in Christ today. In Christ, the saints have
been born of (i.e., have originated from and are identified by) the Spirit
(Gal. 4:26), not the dust. They are no longer defined by Adam but are
defined by the heavenly Man, the life-giving Spirit. The saints in Christ
today have a higher point of origin and a higher identity than the saints
had in Adam.
Because God’s faithful ones are now reconciled to Him in one body
in the new covenant world, neither their life nor their labors in Christ
begin or end in “dust” or futility or defeat. God’s covenant-creation
(the world of His people) has been set free from the Adamic bondage
of the futility that God imposed upon it in Genesis 3:17-19 (Rom. 8:20).
The curse of Death and Hades has long been lifted through faith in the
reigning Savior.
And there shall be no more curse. . . . And he said unto me,
These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the
holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things
which must shortly be done. (Rev. 22:3a, 6)
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from now on [c. AD
70]: Yea, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors;
and their works do follow them. (Rev. 14:13)
Note that Revelation 14:13 implies that after men are rewarded according
to their works at the eschatological judgment, generations will continue
to come and go and to be judged for their works: “Blessed are the dead
which die in the Lord from now on . . . and their works do follow them.”
Ever since the destruction of Adamic Death in the Parousia in Christ’s generation,
those who die in Christ are immediately rewarded for their works
and are greatly “blessed.” As the verse implies, and as Solomon said in
Ecclesiastes 5:15-16, this was not the case for those who died previously.
The coming of Christ in the end of the age did not merely “reveal”
the condition of the saints in Sheol/Hades, as Strimple supposes (292-
293). It altogether “changed” it. In the Messianic/Christian (post AD
70) world, our loved ones in Christ are not in Hades under the curse of
Sin, Death, and corruption as were the saints before Christ (319). They
do not suffer the pre-Christ fate of Ecclesiastes 5:15-16. Their righteousness,
life, and works are not Adamic, corruptible, and “ futile” (Rom.
8:20). Their service to God did not end in dust. They did not labor for
the wind. Instead: “ . . . from now on [since AD 70] . . . their works do
follow them.”
Compare the wonderfully comforting, preterist doctrine of Revelation
14:13 with Strimple’s dispiriting and hope-deferring claim that,
“attempts to establish a contrast between the afterlife of Old Testament
saints and that of New Testament saints are misguided” (293).
Jesus said that the Old Testament saints had not ascended up to heaven
(John 3:13). Strimple does not seem to realize that if the resurrection
of the dead did not take place when Christ and the apostles said
it would, then our loved ones today have also not ascended to heaven
and are no more blessed than were the unredeemed Jews who died
before the advent of Christ.