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Covenant Creation, Covenant Eschatology
Those of us who believe Covenant Creation, are often accused of denying type vs. anti-type or the principle, first the physical then the spiritual.When I coined the term Covenant Creation, my thoughts were basically, dispensationalists accuse preterists of not taking Scripture literally, but in fact we do, often more literally than the dispensationalists do. The problem is, the early church had a different definition or understanding of various terms than we have today.
That is, the early church culture was different and understood things differently from us today.
Initially, my thoughts were not on the term "heaven and earth," but that term has become the focal point. The dispensationalists claim the term always means the physical universe. Preterists, specifically those who believe Covenant Eschatology, understand the phrase "heaven and earth" to never mean the physical universe in an eschatological passage. We have disagreements and uncertainty as to what the term precisely means, but we are pretty much in the ball park.
Does "heaven and earth" mean the covenant, the covenant people, the corporate body of people in the covenant, the temple? Is it all four? Is it something else related? Individually, we who believe Covenant Eschatology have our personal views and we accept each others nuances here as not really disagreements as much as not clearly knowing.
The majority of Christians since Augustine have accepted "heaven and earth" in Genesis 1 and Revelation 21 as the physical universe. That is, they have held the same view as the dispensationalists. During most of that time, most Christians have believed Matthew 24 was fulfilled. We can reasonably infer that this same majority accepted "heaven and earth" in that passage in the same, vague, not fully defined way as do modern preterists.
(There are cultural differences between us and those before Augustine that need to be carefully considered, as Walton is attempting to do in his work. This is the very essence of original audience context and relevance.)
What happens if we apply a preterist/Covenant Eschatology definition to "heaven and earth" and apply it to the rest of Scripture?
Does a term like "heaven and earth" have a single definition? Is "heaven and earth" always the physical universe as the dispensationalists insist? Is it always used the way preterists see it used in eschatology?
Does it have a primary definition and a secondary definition? Does "heavens and earth" primarily mean what the dispensationalists claim and secondarily mean what the preterists claim? If so, then we should take the dispensationalist meaning unless the context won't allow it. Or is the preterist meaning primary and the dispensationalist meaning secondary?
Or is the dispensationalist meaning "literal" and the preterist meaning "metaphorical?" What is literal and what is metaphorical, depends on the culture. I can imagine a "literalist" 2000 years from now insisting that a Mercedes Benz was Mr. Benz' daughter. Those claiming it was an expensive car will be accused of "metaphor."
Covenant Creation assumes that the preterist usage of a term is the primary definition. It is not a secondary metaphorical use in the original culture, but how they generally used the term.
The preterist definition or preterist understanding of each term is the primary definition or understanding throughout Scripture.
In contrast, our anti-Covenant Creation friends simply and generally hold that the dispensationalist definition or understanding is primary and the preterist definition or understanding is secondary.