Friday, 11 May 2012

The obedience of Adam

This post gives much useful food for thought:

Many things could be said; plenty I agree with (including the overall thesis that there was a covenant of works); but I wanted to point out two common errors amongst contemporary evangelicals, which Taylor makes:

1) He speaks, as an aside, of spending eternity in either heaven or hell. That's not Biblical. I'm sure Taylor does believe in the resurrection body and the new creation, but he seems to forget it here. A much-too-common mistake, and, I have come to see in recent years, a serious one.

2) Taylor discusses the idea of Adam having a "probationary period", of unknown length. If he hadn't sinned, then at some point he would have been glorified (that, I agree with). But when? Taylor, as many, misses the fact that God had announced quite clearly the length of the "probationary period". Adam was given a work to do. He was given a commandment to fill the earth and subdue it (1:28-29). Glory was to be given when that task was completed. This is confirmed by the New Testament; the last Adam, Christ, is presently subduing the earth to himself; and the state of glory will come when he has put down every enemy under his feet (1 Corinthians 15:25-28).

Taylor's "big picture" seems to contain a self-contradiction. He envisions a time of testing for Adam regarding the negative command concerning the tree; meanwhile, Adam presumably is carrying out the positive command he was given; but (in Taylor's scheme) when enough time has passed Adam is glorified solely for his obedience to the negative command, regardless of how far he'd got or not got in relation to the positive one. Confusing. Was the positive command meant to be taken seriously or not; did God intend to see it accomplished or not? As we see the fulfilment in Christ as he sends out his disciples in the Great Commission and tells them to subdue the world to obedience through the gospel, the answer ought to obviously be "yes". Glory comes when that command renewed in the "second man" is complete, confirming that that's when it would come too had our first father not deviated from it.

Both these mistakes seem to have a common factor. It's a less-than-fully-robust doctrine of creation. Creation itself, and its filling with God's glory, appears less important than it really is in Scripture. We escape it for eternal heaven. Adam gets glory with something less than fulfilling the Creator's purpose for his world, but simply by not eating from the forbidden tree. But creation is not simply a backdrop to the Biblical story of redemption in this fashion; it is at the heart of that story.

1 comment:

Anthony Smith said...

Amen (again). I've been thinking along the same lines in recent years too. Have you read "Creation Regained" by Al Wolters? I think you'd like it.