Anthropology: A Theology of Man
Man was created as a physical being. Never a “Spirit” that was meant to float around in the sky somewhere but created for an Earthly existence. Genesis 1:28 demonstrates his intent of earth being the dwelling place of man.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Earth was created to be the place where God and man dwelt together as Genesis 2 describes the relationship God had with Adam in the Garden. Revelation 21-22 describes again God descending out of heaven to live with man on a restored Earth, a return to Eden.
The works of his hands declares the glory of the Father and was intended to reveal his glory and power to all mankind. (Romans 1:20) A physical display of what and who God is. There is no philosophical argument that proves all of creation was created as a temporary place in the light of an eternal God that is simply purposed for eventual destruction. If fallen man is promised redemption and eternal life and creation as well (Romans 8:19-20) then the promise of restoration is of all things including all that he created. (Acts 3:21)
The physical creation of all things was the revealing of the greatness of God in that his glory is revealed in his creation that he declares is good. All of His creation was Good, including man and his flesh that he fashioned with his own hands and declared it was “good”, and meant for good. Nothing that he created was meant for destruction but after corruption we became vessels of destruction in our rebellion to the creator of all things. Again, God’s plan is of redemption of all things he has made. God does not destroy what becomes corrupted, but God restores, he is a God of redemption. He takes broken things and makes them whole.
Man was created to be flesh and Spirit, in which he becomes a living soul, a self-realized person.
Jesus became, which means he was transformed into becoming also fully man. (A caterpillar can never go back to being a caterpillar once it has become a butterfly). Christ is fully God and fully man with a resurrected glorious body. (Phil 3:21) a body of flesh and bone. (Luke 24:39). Jesus took on a human nature and flesh and became a human in every sense of the word.
The Preterist by denying the physical body of Christ denies the exalted humanity of Jesus that was displayed in the incarnation. Since man was created to be “flesh and blood” to remove any part is to deny what man was created to be, an image or reflection of God. So to answer Larry Siegle statement;
What you are exalting is the humanity of Jesus and inferring that without human flesh his humanity has been compromised and surrendered.
And that is correct. God is Spirit. Man is Spirit and body. Jesus is fully God and fully man. The divine nature dwelling in bodily form. (Col 2:9) The humanity of Jesus is what makes us connected to God, as Christ is not only the mediator between God and man, but the God who experienced what it means to be fully man, who shares in our suffering with the same weaknesses as men yet with out sin. Then experiencing the glory of a resurrected body.
Then there is one more thing we need to correct from Larry who wrote;
When Jesus died the “death of the cross” (Phil 2:8)
1. His physical body was placed in the tomb.
2. His soul went into Sheol/Hades.
3. His spirit was entrusted into the hands of the Father.
Yes, his physical body was placed in a tomb, His Spirit and who he was as a person was entrusted into the hands of the Father where he did not experience corruption, in Hades or in the body in the grave. (not turning to dust).
His soul never went to Hades/Sheol.
The human person is not made up of three parts but two. Body and “spirit”. These two terms, soul and Spirit, are often miss defined and understood. Mathew 10:28 says God can kill the body and soul, not the body, soul and spirit. So what is the distinction between soul and Spirit?
“Spirit”, which means breath, is the life breathed into a person. God is a Spirit which means he is a person who exists with out a body and still is an individual person yet does not “breath” to stay alive. His life is not found in “breath” but in his intrinsic attributes, he is self-existing, fully cognitive and thinking yet without a brain or lungs to breath. The Spirit of man can exist outside the life of a body so is not the “breath” in a literal sense but the cause for the life of the body. It is what makes the body have life. Theologically the spirit of man is the real substance of man that is part and parcel also his soul. A soul or the psuché from which we get the English words “psyche,” “psychology” is the mind and thinking ability of a person, it is the seat of his personality that makes him an individual person separate from others with self-identity. When a spirit leaves the body, the body no longer has life – “Breath” but yet what the person is and who he is remains intact with in the spirit. It does not need a brain to remember, think, or have cognitive thoughts. God is Spirit, without physicality and yet exist and has self-realization.
There is no scriptures that states Jesus “soul” went to Hades and his spirit to God. Soul and spirit is often used interchangeable because they are one in the same with the distinction it is the spirit that gives animation to the body and makes the person “You”, and not someone else.
In I Samuel 28 is the story of where Saul used a medium to bring back Samuel from the dead. His body was in the grave, yet the spirit of Samuel still knew and remembered and even spoke judgment from the Lord. There is no “spirit” in heaven while the soul remained in Hades.
In Revelation 6:9, 20:4 we see “souls” before the altar, dead people who are without their bodies yet cognitive of who they are and where they have come from and what has happened to them, meaning individual real persons.
So what is the bottom line?
Preterist deny the physical body of Christ and the physical resurrection of a body out of the grave and for what reason?
The church has taught for 2000 years that at His second appearing, Christ coming will be a physical bodily appearing and the bodily resurrection of the saints. IF these two events are to happen at his coming then there is no way these events are invisible. Just as Mathew 27:52-53 describes a witnessed physical resurrection of dead people the Resurrection that takes place at his coming must be a visible event along with his appearing. The wording demands that every “eye will see”.
Yet not one person recorded or testified to seeing Jesus second coming, physically or spiritually. Neither for any type of Resurrection of the dead in which these people returned as his army. (Rev 19:19) Therefore the Preterists to insist it happens must prove from scriptures that the Bible never teaches a physical bodily resurrection or a visible return of Christ which is impossible to do BUT if you change the meaning of words and apply spiritual meanings to Paul’s literal teaching you can make scriptures say whatever you want, and you can justify any teaching any way you please.
Don Preston can scream for proper Exegesis all day long but again redefines what is exegesis. No wonder no one can please him. If you change the rules and then don’t tell anyone then how are we to know the rules have been changed?
for the record: Don Preston, Bell and many others have no clue as to what real exegesis is.
For those who want to know the real scholarly process read Gordan Fee’s book, “New Testament Exegesis”
Stephen Whitsett M.Div.