The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

A Flood of Consistency (Part 2)

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Not content to show how we are supposedly inconsistent within the dispensational hermeneutic, Ice attempts to show how we are at odds with a consistently preterist hermeneutic as well. He quotes full-preterist Timothy Martin who argues in favor of a local flood understanding in Genesis 9, based on the preterist hermeneutic of a local judgment of Israel in AD 70. Ice and Martin are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Both have radically different views of the beginning and end, because one (Ice) interprets the entire Bible through his view of the beginning, while the other (Martin) interprets the entire Bible through his view of the end. This is the fallacy of the excluded middle. Ice would have us believe that these two views are the only logically consistent ones. But nowhere does the Bible itself give us this one-way hermeneutical model, in either direction. Not to mention the fact that the Bible is very scant in its details of the antediluvian world. In fact, 2 Peter 3:6-7 contrasts the “world that then was,” with the “heavens and earth, which are now.” It is not a simple “apples to apples” comparison.[1]

In an interesting sleight of hand, Ice turns the last part of his critique into a slam of reformed (covenant) theology. “Dispensationalist Charles Clough notes that the presuppositional differences between the covenant of those like DeMar and the dispensationalism of Whitcomb and Morris is the real issue.” Well of course it is. Any mildly-interested reader of Biblical Worldview would be able to make the same statement. All issues are presuppositional at their core. Covenant theology takes Hebrews 13:8 seriously, God doesn’t change or veer from his Garden promise to Adam, Eve, and the serpent in Genesis 3:15. It is the dispensationalists who have God inserting parentheses, changing His mind and His methods and readjusting His plan based on the course of man and his actions here on earth. For the dispensationalist, the physical world is the important one. But the Bible tells a different story. God is a Spirit (John 4:24), the physical world is a replica of the spiritual world (Luke 11:2), the spiritual world makes sense of the physical (Romans 12:1-2), the kingdom of God is spiritual, not physical (John 18:36), etc.

Ice further states: “Dispensationalism approaches the Bible as real history, thus its ability to deal with science and history in the modern world. On the other hand, covenant theology views things through a preconceived framework of otherworldly and abstract covenants, thus, not able to deal with the real world of science and history” (emphasis mine). In Ice’s own words, he gives us the ultimate presuppositional tension between covenant and dispensational theology. Ice believes the “real world” is this one here on which we find ourselves, the physical world. As we’ve already pointed out, the Bible views the created world as a classroom, designed to teach us about the real “real world,” the spiritual. Christ came to this world to repair the spiritual damage done by the first Adam, not to give us a shiny, new planet. If this was Christ’s goal and mission, then even Ice would be forced to admit that He failed miserably. The issue is not the physical stuff, as dispensationalists are so infatuated with, the issue is the relationship between God and man, the spiritual condition of our love for Him. The main reason that dispensationalists are wrong about the end, is because they are expecting something the Bible never promises. The physical does not inform the spiritual, the spiritual informs the physical.[2] Any system that gets this wrong, will inevitably get many other things wrong as well. Ice fails to see that his own concluding words sum up the theology of the Bible, and that they have already been completed. “…[D]ispensationalism treats creation and the future as real historical events in history that are going somewhere in God’s plan—from a Garden to a city, with a tree (cross) in the middle.” All Christians are preterists when it comes to the cross. The spiritual relationship has been repaired (reconciled) through the finished work of Christ (read 2 Corinthians 5:16-21). However, dispensationalists like Ice are still looking for an earthly king and an earthly kingdom, just like first-century Israel.

Endnotes:

[1] Henry Morris, in his notes on 2 Peter 3:6 admits that perished means: “not annihilated but utterly devastated and transformed.” Henry Morris (Ed.), The Defender’s Study Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: World Publishing, 1995), 1406.
[2] Being “spiritual” basically means thinking God’s thoughts after Him. For a series of articles that explore this concept further, click here.

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