Responding to the Critics:
A Look At Ronnie Wade’s Rejection of Covenant Eschatology #8
Resurrection and the Death of Adam
by Don K. Preston D. Div.
This is the eighth in a series of articles responding to Ronnie Wade. Mr. Wade wrote an article setting forth his objections to Covenant Eschatology. Wade has engaged in numerous debates and has long been considered a leading “defender of the truth.” However, I contacted him inviting / challenging him to debate me on the question of the coming of the Lord. Wade refused, stating that such a debate would “not be unprofitable.” Since he refused to debate the topic in formal public, or written, manner, I will offer in a series of articles responding to and refuting what Wade says. This is my sixth in that series.
Wade offers some comments on 1 Corinthians 15 claiming that this great chapter negates true preterism. But Wade is wrong. 1 Corinthians 15 establishes Covenant Eschatology beyond refute.
I have already demonstrated that Wade totally ignores the fact that whatever Paul is discussing, it was inextricably tied to Israel and her Old Covenant promises. This is a fundamental falsification of Wade’s eschatology, since as an amillennialist, and especially as a member of the churches of Christ, the foundation of Wade’s theology is that God was through with Israel at the cross and that the Old Law was completely removed at the cross. By approaching 1 Corinthians 15 with a false set of presuppositions, Wade’s “exegesis” is prima facie false.
Here are some more of Wade’s comments on 1 Corinthians 15:
“Paul argues, the resurrection of Christ from the dead is an assurance and guarantee that all who die shall be raised. We are assured that our resurrection will be the same kind as his. His was bodily, so shall ours (sic) be.
Nowhere is there even the slightest hint of a Judaism-Christianity contrast in this passage. It is nothing more than the figment of some man’s imagination.”
Response: In our last article we demonstrated the inherent fallacy of Wade’s argument. He emphasized that Jesus was the first fruit and that as in the quote above, the Christian’s resurrection must be like Jesus’.
However, as we have shown, Jesus’ resurrection body was not a transformed, immortal body, as Wade believes will occur!
Also, Paul and the NT is emphatic that Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead. There is never a qualification placed on that statement, that juxtaposes Jesus biological resurrection against others who he raised physically. The affirmation is simple and profound: Jesus was the first to be raised from the dead.
Now, since Jesus was patently not the first to be raised from biological death, there is something else at work here, and it is found in the context of 1 Corinthians 15. It is the death of Adam.
Without any controversy, the story of redemption, and the story of resurrection, is deliverance from the death introduced by Adam: “As in Adam all men die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
What is fascinating and revealing about this fundamental fact is how confused the theological world is about it. God’s words to Adam and Eve were clear and unambiguous: “Of every fruit of every tree that is in the midst of the garden, you may freely eat. But, of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat, for in the day that you eat you will surely die.” Could words be any clearer? God told Adam and Eve that they would die the very day they ate the forbidden fruit.
Then, along came the Devil.
When Satan approached Eve she reiterated God’s threat to them. Satan said “you will not sure die.” Okay, so here is the test: Who told the truth? Was it God, who said, “If you eat, you will die that very day” or, was it Satan who said, “No, you won’t!”
Well, about this time the presuppositions of the traditional paradigms come creeping in and all sorts of explanations are offered. “God did not really mean that they would die that day”, we are told. All God really meant was that if they ate they would die….someday. Really?
Just how do the words “In the day that you eat you will surely die” communicate the idea that death would eventually, someday, by and by, come on them? What is there in the words that communicates any kind of ambiguity about when they would die? To help answer this, notice the words in Genesis 3:1-5 (again): And he (Satan, DKP) said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Take note of the fact that Satan used the identical term “in the day that” utilized by YHVH. Satan told Eve that if she and Adam ate the fruit that their eyes would be opened, and they would know good and evil, in that day. So, here is the question: If “in the day that you eat you will surely die” can mean that Adam and Eve would not actually die for hundreds of years, why does not the identical term” in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened…knowing good and evil” not likewise mean that they would not actually come to know good and evil that day, but, sometime in the future, perhaps hundreds of years away, their eyes would be opened?
As far off from “in the day that you eat” that you put their death, that is how far off you must put their eyes being opened! The terminology is the same. When were their eyes opened? Was it hundreds of years later? The opening of their eyes and their death was to occur on the very same “in the day.” If the opening of their eyes occurred in that very 24 hour day, then there is no hermeneutical, grammatical, contextual reason to extrapolate their death beyond that same day. Furthermore, there is a direct link between their eyes being opened and knowing good and evil, their awakening conscience, and the realization of that threatened death.
I have said all of this to say this: the death that Adam and Eve died in the garden, the death that is the focus of Christ’s redemptive work, was not physical death. The death that Adam and Eve died “that day” was alienation from God, separation from His Voice / Presence.
What this means is that to get resurrection from biological death out of 1 Corinthians 15 you must be able to prove that the death of Adam was biological death. Yet, the undeniable, irrefutable fact is that Adam did not die biologically that day of his sin. He died spiritually, by losing fellowship with God.
Since the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 would be to overcome the death introduced by Adam, and since the death introduced by Adam was clearly not physical death, it therefore follows that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is not resurrection from biological death.
Once again, the presuppositions underlying Ronnie Wade’s view of 1 Corinthians 15 are shown to be false. As the Psalmist said long ago: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
The foundations of amillennialism and futurism are false.
Ronnie Wade’s foundational belief that the resurrection of 1 Corinthians 15 is about the church and the end of the church age, divorced from the OT and from Israel, is false.
Ronnie Wade’s foundational belief that Paul was disputing with some in Corinth that denied the fact of resurrection is false.
Ronnie Wade’s foundational doctrine that Jesus’ physical death demands the resurrection o
f biologically dead bodies out of the ground is false.
Ronnie Wade’s foundational assumption that 1 Corinthians 15 is about physical death is false.
More to follow.
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