Responding to the Critics – Lance Conley on the Futility of Creation – #7
Be sure to read the previous article in which I demonstrated exegetically, linguistically and logically that any attempt to define “futility” in Romans 8 as physical morality is futile (pun intended). Now, after posting that article, I was hoping that Conley would actually seek to engage the points made. Alas, that was not to be.
It is worthwhile to share with my you some comments between myself and “former preterits, Sam Frost, Ken Palmer, Lance Conley, and Jeff Cunningham in regard to Romans 8 and the articles I have been posting. On the Facebook page: “Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past” I challenged the views of these men that the Redemption of Creation that Paul envisioned is the redemption of physical creation. I was, naturally, castigated and condemned.
I asked a very serious question: “Do you — do any of you– believe that the redemption of creation from the “bondage of corruption” demands the yet future physical resurrection of every living thing that has ever lived, died and decayed? And if you do not believe this, can you please explain for me why you do not believe that?”
Each of the men responded by claiming that my argument / question is a “straw man.” (They threw in several insults as well. It is pretty evident that not one of these men even understand what a straw man argument is! I was not “making an argument; I was asking for them to share their theological convictions!
In the ensuing discussion, Ken Palmer claimed– catch the power of this – that Paul is not discussing resurrection of creation, but the “renewal of creation.”
Lance Conley, to prove that material creation is to be “renewed,” also claimed that Paul actually preached to an 18′ tall talking lion, baptized him, and then observed the Sabbath with him. This story is found in the Apocryphal, “The Acts of Paul.” Now the funny thing is that this work was rejected by the early church fathers that Conley says are authoritative. But, he insisted that it is my responsibility to prove that it is a false work! The logical failure here is astounding! Conley said: “I just wanna see Preston prove to me acts of Paul isn’t scripture with only scripture.” (Sic) So, evidently, Mr. Conley classifies the Acts of Paul as “scripture.” Little wonder his theology is distorted, when it includes such works. I asked Sam Frost, Ken Palmer and Jeff Cunningham, if they believed that account and with Conley’s appeal to it. (Frost actually asked what Conley meant by that reference). As of the posting of this article, I have not gotten a response. Little wonder.
Then, amazingly, Sam Frost essentially gave the farm away when he said that the animals are not resurrected because only man is made in the image of God, and the resurrection is only for those made in the image of God.
Lance Conley, cited Ambrose of Milan, who said: “Paul shows that the grace of the soul is no small thing, for by its strength and power the human race rises to the adoption of sons of God, having in itself that which was given to it in the image and likeness of God.”
Of course, if Conley agrees with Ambrose of Milan, that means that animals are not “renewed”; they are not the object of the “redemption of creation” since Ambrose of Milan was saying that the redemption is for those “in the image and likeness of God.” Well, once again, if the redemption of creation is for only those made in the image of God, then both of these men have totally abdicated their claim that Romans 8 is focused on the redemption of material creation!
Here is what I posted in response to Frost (and Conley):
Sam, it doesn’t say that just those made in the image of God would be resurrected. Where did you get that? It is not in the text. It is “creation.” You make creation to be animals. But, creation – along with Paul – was longing for the resurrection. So, once again, that demands, textually and logically, that if we accept your definition of creation, then “creation”, every bug, slug and mosquito that has ever lived – since Creation – had been subjected to the bondage of corruption and will be set (edit- “free”) from that corruption and turned into a “son of God!” That is what “creation” was longing for.
And again, at the time of this posting, I have not received an answer to this. The reader needs to see how totally self defeating the “arguments” being made by these men truly are.
On the one hand, Romans 8 is a prediction of the “redemption of creation.” That redemption is inclusive of “all creation.” Paul does not say only part or some of creation was eagerly longing for the manifestation of the Sons of God. He does not say that only some of creation was longing for the redemption of the body! And here was another glaring contradiction on the part of these men.
Frost responded by claiming that my problem is with the word “all.” He cited some examples where “all” is not universal, but limited. He said that I fail to see that Paul was talking qualitatively, and not quantitatively. So, for Frost “all creation” is not All creation. Of course, this quickly backfired since Jeff Cunningham had argued vociferously that in Acts 17:30-31 the “all men, everywhere” must be universal! I asked Frost if his argument on “all” in Romans applied to Acts 17, and I asked Cunningham if he agreed with Frost’s qualitative and not quantitative definition of all. I received not answer. These men make it easy to Respond to the Critics!
But wait! That means that all creation was longing for “the redemption of the body” (v. 23). And that proves, whether these men like it or not, that their doctrine logically demands that at the so-called “end of time” that every single living thing that has ever lived, died and decayed will be redeemed, restored, renewed, resurrected! This is absolutely inescapable. No wonder those men refused to answer my question, and sought to avoid it.
But, Ken Palmer tried an “end run” by assuring us that all creation is not resurrected, but only “renewed.” Frost and Conley seemingly agreed, claiming that only those made in the image of God are the subjects of the redemption.
But wait! That flies directly in the face of the text– and it is a rejection of their own claims! Paul did not say that part of creation (man, made in the image of God) was awaiting the redemption of the body (i.e. resurrection) while the rest of creation was awaiting “renewal.” That is simply not in the text. You cannot say that man is awaiting the resurrection but that “creation” is not awaiting resurrection! There is no such dichotomy in Romans 8! So, if only man, created in the image of God, is awaiting the redemption, then that means that material creation is not awaiting redemption, and the eschatology of Sam Frost, Ken Palmer, Lance Conley and Jeff Cunningham is false. By limiting the “redemption of creation” to the resurrection for those created in the image of God, these men have abandoned their claim that Romans 8 is about the entirety of physical creation!
I responded to Palmer’s claim as well as Frost and Conley:
Creation would become “sons of God.” Paul’s “we” and creation was longing for the adoption, the redemption of the body– that is resurrection, guys. Thus, your claim / denial that creation was not longing for resurrection is simply false. The text falsifies your claim. That means that creation– whatever it is in the text– was eagerly awaiting the resurrection, resurrection into son- ship! Since you make “creation” to be material, physical creation, and bugs, slugs and mosquitoes, then there is no way to avoid the issue of animals being resurrected!
And since that resurrection would be into the status of “sons of God” (In full agreement with Luke 20) that means that one day, every animal that has ever lived will become brother slug, brother lion– (Like Palmer suggests!– LOL!) Sister baboon, etc. etc. etc). And you see, Sam agrees in principle with this by telling us that there will be animals in the New Creation. (How about bringing forth your scriptural support for this claim so that we can examine it, Sam?) Well, are the animals that are privileged to be in the New Creation resurrected or not? Or, are you saying that only the animals that are alive at the imaginary end of time the only bit of “creation” that is privileged to enter into the adoption and the redemption of creation?? That won’t work, because the “creation” per your definition, was subjected to corruption at the moment Adam was kicked out of the Garden. So, if material creation– all the way back to Creation– will be delivered from the bondage of corruption then logic demands that all material creation– all the way back to Creation– will in fact be resurrected!
As of this posting, the only “response” I have gotten is more claims that my post is a straw man, full of ad hominems. I am ridiculous. I stand opposed to church history. I am a heretic and “losing it.”
As the reader can see, Conley, Palmer, Frost and Cunningham have severely contradicted themselves. They have claimed that Romans 8 is the redemption of all material creation. Unable to avoid that this logically demands that every bug, slug and mosquito that has ever lived, died and decayed will be resurrected, they then claimed that creation is not the subject of the resurrection – just some kind of “renewal”! None of them dared to explain what that “renewal” might be! Then, they have changed the definition of “creation” to only those created in the image of God, which logically destroys their claim that Romans 8 is about the redemption of “all creation.”
Then they have posited the authority of an apocryphal fantasmagoric writing. Hey, we are supposed to believe in a 18′ tall, talking lion that was baptized by Paul, and observed the Sabbath with him! At every turn, they have controverted one another and the actual text of Romans 8. I am not sure how anyone could take such an “argument” seriously.
As one can see, Lance Conley’s insistence that the corruption to which “creation” was subjected (and don’t forget that he applies this to the material, physical creation) literally has no basis in the text. In fact, it violates the text. His definition forces him to believe in the yet future resurrection of every living molecule, every whale, every bug, slug and mosquito!
The “Creation” of Romans 8:19f is inclusive of all physical creation, including animals– Lance Conley.
The Creation of Romans 8:19f was eagerly longing to be released from the bondage of corruption- and the reception of the redemption of the body, i.e. resurrection. (Conley quoted from several patristic authors to this point).
The corruption to which the Creation had been subjected is physical mortality, physical decay and death– Lance Conley.
Therefore, the “Creation” of Romans 8:19f – inclusive of all physical creation, including animals – was eagerly longing to be released from the bondage of corruption – and to receive the redemption of the body, i.e. resurrection.
On 2-19-19 I also presented the following similar argument in response to the claims that Romans 8 is not about resurrection but renewal:
Creation in Romans 8 is not resurrection, but renewal– Says Ken Palmer, Lance Conley, Jeff Cunningham, etc.
Man is part of the creation in Romans 8.
Therefore, man – in Romans 8- is not resurrected.
Very clearly, these men are manifesting their desperation. They are making up their arguments as they go along, without thinking or regard to the text.
Consider the following in light of the newly invented doctrine of “renewal and not resurrection” in Romans 8:
Corruption (phthora) in Romans 8 is physical mortality– Conley, Cunningham, Palmer, Frost, etc..
The resurrection is when corruption (phthora) is put away – 1 Corinthians 15:54f).
But, Creation – which is the entire physical creation per Conley, Frost, Palmer, Cunningham– was to be delivered from corruption– Romans 8.
Therefore, the entire physical creation (per Conley, Frost, Palmer, Cunningham) – was (is) to be delivered from corruption– resurrected from the dead!
(For the record, on 2-20-19, I posted this syllogism on the FaceBook Page of “Full Preterism: A Thing of the Past,” run by the men mentioned here. I asked that they address it exegetically, hermeneutically, and logically, without insults and slanders. The responses that I got were mere insults, claims that my argument is “a straw man,” claims that I was trying to set up a false “either or”, “it is ridiculous”, “all sharts”- (whatever that is), “malarky” and other adjectives. What is so revealing in their responses is that the rules of that page specifically forbids the use of slander, personal attacks or insults. Yet, that is seemingly all that they know how to do. Not one of those men tried to address even one of the propositions.
On 2-21-2019, 2-25-2019, 2-26, 2-27 and 2-28 I reposed the argument once again asking that anyone of those men would please provide a serious exegetical answer / response. As I post this, not one of these men has even attempted to substantively respond. One of them responded renewal is for creation, resurrection is for man. But, look at the argument again. My argument refutes this objection, using their own definitions and their own arguments).
Thus, to reiterate, these men have taken a position that logically demands that one day, at their imaginary “end of time” every living thing that has ever lived, died and decayed (having been subjected to the futility of corruption, physical mortality) will be resurrected! To say that this is a ludicrous doctrine is a huge understatement. These men know this is not a Biblical doctrine, and thus, they are forced not to take the unprecedented view that Romans 8 is not about resurrection of creation – all creation – that has ever died and decayed– but is in fact some sort of “renewal.” But, they refuse to tell us how much of “all creation” is or will be involved, whether it is only that creation that is alive when the end comes, or, whether it involves all living creation since the fall. They simply refuse to deal with their problems. They choose instead to throw insults, call names and act like spoiled children, all the while making up their new doctrines.
When one attempts to define corruption, and “futility” in Romans 8 as physical mortality, physical decay, the futility of the human existence, they are violating the text.
Mr. Conley’s entire article- and the claims of his cohorts on the FaceBook page mentioned above, are fundamentally flawed. Their failure and refusal to engage the arguments calmly, without abusive, caustic language, with at least an effort at exegesis, demonstrates their utter inability to refute the arguments. They make my work of Responding to the Critics extremely easy!
Source: Don K. Preston