CREATION, EDEN, AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

EdenPMT 2015-040 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The God of creation is a God of covenant. Scripture structures God’s relationship to and rule over both man and creation in covenantal terms.

Creation Covenant

Though the term “covenant” (Heb.: berith) does not appear in Genesis 1, the constitutive elements of a covenant are there. Jeremiah, however, uses the word “covenant” of creation. In Jeremiah 33:24-25 the creation covenant that secures the regularity of the days and seasons serves as a ground of hope in God’s covenantal faithfulness to his people in the world: “This is what the Lord says: If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them.’”

Hosea 6:7 also indicates a covenantal framework for Adam’s Edenic experience: “Like Adam, they have broken the covenant — they were unfaithful to me there.”

In the creation covenant, God appoints man as his vice-regent over the earth. The Lord creates man in his image and places all creation under him to be developed to God’s glory. Although a rich constellation of ideas cluster around the image of God, textually we know that at least one major concept involves man’s rule over the earth:

“Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. . . .’ God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground’” (Gen. 1:26, 28).

As the image of God under covenantal obligation, Adam and Eve must develop human culture to his glory, exercising righteous dominion over all the earth. This, of course, cannot be done by Adam and Eve alone, so God blesses and commands them: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth” so that they might obediently “subdue it” (Gen. 1:28a). The empowerment to dominion (the “image of God”) for man’s good (“God blessed them”) is followed up with the authorization (“let them rule”) and the obligation (“God . . . said to them . . , Rule’”) to dominion.


Revelation, God, and Man
(24 Gentry Lectures in mp3 on USB)

Formal Christ College course on the doctrines of revelation, God, and man.
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And in that human culture is the sum deposit of man’s normative activities in the world, this necessitates the corporate activity of men working in concert. This requires social order and civil polity to promote the development of civilization and the progress of culture. Contrary to humanistic evolutionary assumptions the Bible infallibly records early man’s development of culture. In fact, it proceeds at a remarkably rapid pace: man begins cattle farming, creates musical instruments, and works with metals while Adam is still living (Gen. 4:17-22). This is man’s holy calling, his God-ordained, creational drive. As Gary North puts it: “Man must exercise dominion. It is part of his nature to do so.” [1]

Tragically though, sin enters the world so that “as a result of the fall . . . man’s urge to dominion is now a perverted one, no longer an exercise of power under God and to his glory, but a desire to be God. This was precisely the temptation of Satan, that every man should be his own god, deciding for himself what constitutes right and wrong (Gen. 3:5).” [2]

Edenic Covenant

In response to man’s rebellious treason, God, who creates the world for his own glory, acts in sovereign mercy to initiate covenantal redemption in order to effect reconciliation with his fallen creature. In the very historical context of the fall God promises redemption and pledges to crush Satan who sparks man’s rebellion. To the serpent used by and representative of Satan, God says: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Gen. 3:15). This is the Edenic covenant, which is the foundation of redemption and supplements the creation covenant.

Here we have the protoevangelium, the first promise of the gospel. This passage anticipates struggle in history: the seeds of the representative participants in the fall will engage in mortal conflict. Ultimately, this is a cosmic struggle between Christ and Satan, a contest played out on earth and in time between the city of man (under the dominion of Satan) and the city of God. Its historical nature is crucial to grasp: the fall occurs in history; the struggle ensues in history; the focal seed of the woman appears in history (the historical Christ who is the incarnation of the transcendent Creator, John 1:1-3, 14).

Significantly for the eschatological debate this historical struggle ends in historical victory: the seed of the woman (Christ) crushes the seed of the serpent (Satan). We know from the New Testamental evidence that the historical crucifixion and resurrection of Christ legally effect Satan’s ruin: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2:15). Indeed, this is a fundamental motive to his incarnation, for “the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8b; cp. Heb. 2:14). We further learn that Christ’s redemptive labor will have consequences in history: “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself” (John 12:31-32). Christ’s historical lifting up, on which his victory is predicated, occurs either at the crucifixion, resurrection, or ascension — or most probably all three considered as a redemptive unit.


Sovereignty of God
(7 mp3 Gentry sermons on USB drive)

In these seven sermons will be found a practical demonstration of God?s absolute sovereignty.
This series serves as an excellent introduction to this difficult doctrine.
See more study materials at: KennethGentry.com


Postmillennialists emphasize the covenantal crushing of Satan in history at Christ’s first advent, with its results being progressively worked out in history on the plane of Adam’s original rebellion, Satan’s consequent struggle, and Christ’s incarnational intrusion. The protoevangelium promises in seed form (no pun intended) the victory of Christ in history, just as the fall and its effects are in history. The First Adam’s fall will be overcome by the Second Adam’s lifting up. God does not abandon history.

Notes

1. Gary North, The Dominion Covenant, 29.
2. Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law, 448.


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One thought on “CREATION, EDEN, AND POSTMILLENNIALISM

  1. alfredsparks May 29, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Reblogged this on AlfredSparks.

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