Sunday, 10 April 2016

Paradise Restored, by David Chilton

David Chilton, Paradise Restored: An Eschatology of Dominion, 1985 Reconstruction Press

This book is an exposition of the Theonomic Postmillennial view. Like other Postmillennialists, Chilton holds that the Kingdom of God will triumph through the Gospel over all nations, however, this will be accompanied by submission to the civil law of Moses. The author states that the book is about hope. He stresses that the Christian has a hope, not only in spiritual things, but in a Biblical promise of the restoration of paradise on Earth. This is not established, as Jehovah's Witnesses hold, through an apocalyptic destruction of the present order, but through the conquest of the Earth by the Kingdom of God, a kingdom that is spiritual, yet also present in human society through the church. The Christian can hope for the transformation of human society. He demonstrates that this hope is promised in Biblical prophecy. Chilton rejects a literal interpretation of those prophecies and advocates a preterist reading of Revelation and Matthew 24.

I particularly like the way that Chilton, following the Book of Revelation, sees the church and its worship as central to the establishment of the Kingdom of God. Reconstructionists have sometimes emphasised educational institutions and political activity at the expense of the church. I also liked the quotations of Saint Athanasius which occur at the start of every chapter, giving the book a foundation in historic orthodoxy. St. Athanasius appears to have been an early exponent of Postmillennial eschatology.

The author believes in Young Earth Creationism. Hence he makes the completely unbiblical claim that the nature of animals was altered after the Fall, making some of the predatory. Such a change would be so radical that it would amount to a second work of creation. The Bible says nothing about a second creationa after the Fall. Furthermore, the predatory behaviour of animals is shown in Psalms to demonstrate the glory of God (Psalm 146/7: 9) Otherwise this is a good introduction to Postmillennialism.

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