Jordan and Fesko

Dr. Fesko also takes issue with Jim Jordan on the subject of death and maturity. Before defending Jordan’s point, let me agree with Dr. Fesko’s objection on his use of terms. To use the word death to describe the transformation/glorification/maturation of Adam, had he not sinned, is, in my judgment, prone to do nothing but mislead. This is so on two counts. First, one of the driving themes of the federal vision is that we must be allowed to speak as Scripture speaks, and we should strive to function within those categories. But, as Dr. Fesko points out, the Bible describes death as an enemy, something introduced to the world by Adam’s sin. (Incidentally, I am looking forward to Dr. Fesko using this point, which is a very good one, to critique all the old-earthers out there who think that the fossil record of death somehow could predate Adam.) To use the term death to refer to an unfallen transformation to a higher degree of glory is, at the very least, a non-biblical way of speaking. And this leads to the misunderstandings that are likely to occur among the saint as a result, which is my second point. This is comparable to saying something like, “Had the serpent not sinned, and had Eve not been deceived, and had Adam not rebelled, they would have all walked in the garden in warm satanic fellowship, which, as we know, is the best kind of creaturely fellowship there is. Therefore, let us promote a godly satanic fellowship today.” There are too many ifs here, and our theology starts to inch out on to the skinny branches. What is the use in saying that if we had some ham, we could make a ham and cheese sandwich, if we had some cheese?

That said, Jordan’s point, to which Dr. Fesko also objects, should be considered incontrovertible. There should be no disagreement among the Reformed that Adam’s condition was probationary. Had Adam not sinned, is there any doubt that he would have been glorified? Is there any doubt that this transformation would have resulted in Adam coming to full maturity? In fact, I think that Jim’s point is so obviously true that the only thing that could have thrown Dr. Fesko off the point is the use of that word death.

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