Postmillennialism: A Victorious Eschatology, Part V

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

First, let us look at Creation.

What is the purpose of creation? According to Genesis 1, the purpose of the creation is two-fold: a) First, God creates man to have dominion over the earth and b) and to take delight in His creation (Gen. 1:31). In Genesis 1:31, God says that His work is very good.

We read also in Genesis that this world that God created is not in and of itself bad. It cannot be bad because nothing God created was originally bad. It was all very good. Postmillennialists affirm that God created an essentially good creation and that man’s sin marred creation. However, we do not believe that cursing the earth is part of God’s continual purposes for this world. He cursed the world through Adam, so too; we believe that He will bless the world through the Second Adam.

In fact, God gives us a promise in Genesis 3. In verse 15 He says that someone will crush the head of the Serpent. It is in this promise that we begin to see God’s purposes for Redemptive History. In Genesis we see the great distinction between Sin and Redemption. Sin affects more than the soul of man, it affects his surrounding. The action of the First Adam brought a curse to Adam’s spirit (he was separated from communion with God) and to Adam’ surrounding. The text says that there shall be conflict between husband and wife. Sin causes relational problems. Redemption, on the other hand, also affects more than the soul. It affects the person’s surrounding. If someone is redeemed, not only is his soul made new, but his surroundings are made new. Redemption affects the way we live and think. The Bible tells us that all things are made new. The individual who receives new life is called to live differently in his relationships, in his thinking, etc.

What does the promise of redemption have to do with Eschatology? To put this into perspective, the Amillennial position believes that the kingdom of Christ has only spiritual benefits. Therefore, the gospel will not affect our environment. In fact, many Amillennialists will ridicule Postmillennialists as “Transformationalists.” They think that political activism is not the task of the church. The Church is a spiritual body; the kingdom is only a spiritual kingdom. Some Amillennialists will say that we are not in the business of transforming culture. In fact, Professor Richard Gaffin, one of the greatest Amillennial scholars in the 21st century says that the church “wins by losing.”[1] In other words, she will win by not speaking out; by only minding her own business of preaching the Gospel and administering bread and wine.[2]

Last year, Peter Leithart joined a panel discussion at the Evangelical Theological Society.[3] The other two scholars on the panel were Amillennial scholars. Peter pressed them on the nature of the Psalms. He told them that when we sing the Psalms we are engaging our culture and making a political statement. One of the Amillennial scholars replied, consistently I might add, that they do not sing some of the Psalms because they believe that political psalms (imprecatory Psalms), that is Psalms that convey that the civil government ought to live according to God’s Law belongs to the theocratic nation of Israel, but in the New Testament, the Bible is primarily concerned about our inner being; our spiritual lives.

The Postmillennialists believe that the promise in Genesis to have dominion carries itself throughout the Bible and certainly in the Psalms. My primary criticism of the Amillennial position concerning the Psalms is that I believe that all of the Psalms are political in nature. They all have implications for how we ought to live. Yet they are Christo-centric. Christ carries and is carrying these Psalms into completion in a progressive manner.

In Summary, Genesis affirms that the creation is very good; that God delights in His creation and He asks us to have dominion over it.  He calls us to be His vice-regent on earth. As Keith Mathison observes, “…man was created to be God’s representative, ruling under God and over the creation.”[4] Further, all 150 Psalms are war tools for the people of God to sing, memorize and apply. This is the Postmillennial view.

The Bible continues to develop this theme in the Abrahamic Covenant. God makes a covenant with Abraham. There are three main encounters[5] between God and Abraham, and in every encounter God reveals more about the Promises to Abraham and to His seed.

There are five promises made to Abraham in Genesis:

a)      The first promise is that Abram will become a “great nation.”

b)      The second promise is that Yahweh will make Abram’s name great.

c)      The third promise is that Abram will have divine protection.

d)     The fourth promise is that Abram will be the mediator of divine blessings to all the nations.

e)      Finally, God promises in Genesis 12 to give the land of Canaan to Abram’s descendants (Gen. 12:7).[6]

All of these promises have implications for eschatology. All these promises guarantee God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises to Abram and His seed. According to Paul in Romans 4, Abraham is the father of all who share His faith. There are two implications for the apostle Paul in Romans:

a)      First, since Abraham represents the Old Covenant saints, Paul ties the New Covenant saints together with Abraham. This means that the people of God are one people from Genesis to Revelation. There are not two peoples, but One people of God, saved by grace through faith in all Redemptive History.

b)      The second implication is found in Romans 4:13. It tells us that the promise to all God’s people, who share the faith of Abraham, is that we would be heirs of the world. The land of Canaan was only the beginning of the fulfillment. But the ultimate fulfillment of land is the whole world and nothing less. The earth is the Lord’s and what is the Lord’s belong to the covenant people.

Therefore, what differentiates Postmillennialism from other positions is that Postmillennialists believe that God’s promises come to pass in history, because it only makes sense if they are fulfilled in history.

There are many passages that could be used as a defense of Postmillennial eschatology, but I would like to focus on two Old Testament passages and two New Testament passages. To be continued…

[1] Comments made in debate with Kenneth Gentry.

[2] Of course, this is central to the Postmillennial view point as well.

[3] Discussion can be downloaded from Discussion with Peter Leithart, D.G. Hart and Michael Horton.

[4] Mathison, pg. 58.

[5] Genesis 12,15,17.

[6] Mathison, pg. 62.

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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1 Response to Postmillennialism: A Victorious Eschatology, Part V

  1. Pingback: The Preterist Blog ~ 100% Hyperpreterist Free » Blog Archive » What’s New on The Preterist Site

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