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POSTMILLENNIALISM AND ADAM’S FALL

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  Leave a comment

Postmillennialism holds an optimistic view of history. While recognizing the enormity of the fall and the intrusion of sin into God’s created order. How can this be?

Postmillennialists argue that God does not give up on man when Adam falls into sin. For immediately after the fall God establishes redemption. And he designs this redemption to secure the postmillennial hope.

When God approaches Adam and Eve after the fall, he declares what scholars have called the protoevangelium, “the first promise of the gospel.” In Genesis 3:15 we read of God’s curse on Satan (through the serpent), which promises that Satan will be crushed by the coming Redeemer (the seed of the woman, Christ):

 And I will put enmity / Between you and the woman, / And between your seed and her seed; / He shall bruise you on the head, / And you shall bruise him on the heel.

As we read the record of the fall and God’s response to it, we note some aspects of the narrative that necessarily impact eschatology.

In recognizing the eschatological implications of the fall account, we must understand that: God created man as an historical creature from the very dust of the earth (Gen 2:7); that Satan appeared to Adam as an historical creature (the serpent, Gen 3:1a) in the context of history (Gen 3:1–5); that the fall involved historical realities (the tree that God created, Gen 2:16–17; 3:2–3); that the fall would have historical consequences (the enmity and struggle between the two seeds, Gen 3:15a); and that the Redeemer would come in the context of history (the New Testament record presents Christ as the fulfillment of this redemptive expectation, Mt 13:17; Gal 4:4).

Now if all of these features of the fall are historical, why should we not expect that the crushing of Satan would be historical and lead to historical results? In fact, postmillennialism does. Though Genesis 3:15 forecasts the struggle between Christ and Satan in history, its main point is actually the victory of Christ over Satan.

Postmillennialism holds that Christ’s redemption is more powerful than Adam’s fall. Indeed, redemption was not only designed to overcome the effects of the fall but actually does so: are you not saved from the fall? Your redemption is a subtle declaration of the postmillennial hope.

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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 100 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

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