We have noted and documented the explicit denial of what theology refers to as the “continuing incarnation” of Christ. That is, that “the man, Christ Jesus” still retains the body of his incarnation, glorified, residing “in heaven”. The denial is held by those who call themselves, “Full Preterists”. Now, to be fair, not all FP hold to this view. There are some who teach that we will “get” a new body upon our death. Edward Stevens represents this view, and he understands that Jesus still retains his individual human body. Needless to say, this wrecks the FP scheme as Jason Bradfield has pointed out here. However, there are those who attempt to mutilate the plain meaning of I John 4:2, which we have documented as well (see here).
There is another verse, however, which plainly teaches that Christ continues to dwell in the body of his incarnation, Colossians2:9, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (NIV). Seems straight forward. The Greek tense for “dwells” is Present Active. Andrew Lincoln notes the comparison to 1:19, “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” There is no mistake here. 2:9, then, is an addition of a present tense (“dwells”) and the adverb, “bodily” (somatikos).Quite plainly, “…the totality of diety is embodied in Christ.” Finally, Lincoln notes, “What is more, there is no dualism between the God of the higher world and the body viewed as some prisonhouse of the soul in the lower world. The apostolic gospel holds together the two concepts the philosophy deemed incompatible, because all the fullness of the diety not only dwells in Christ but dwells in him bodily – that is it dwells in one who became incarnate in a body of flesh (1:22)” (Andrew Lincoln, “Colossians”, New Interpreter’s Bible, Volume XI, Abingdon Press, 2000, p.623).
We can site other commentaries on this point, but Lincoln has summed up our issues. The denial of the continuing incarnation supports a Greek concept of “dualism.” We also note that the FP has and does use the phrase, “prison house of the soul” for the body. Creation (physical matter) is not to be redeemed, and even Jesus sloughed off his body, we are told, upon his Ascension. Of course, there are no specific verses that teach this, but it is an implication of the FP heresy (one that leads right to another).
Considerable confusion has arisen in FP circles. Namely, why does the Christian still sin? Alan Bondar, a FP pastor and teacher, has answered: “The righteous are freed from sin when our biological bodies die and we go to heaven” (Reading the Bible through New Covenant Eyes, 189). I was recently sent a book from Michael Miano, another FP. This is what he wrote in a email dialogue with Alan Bondar:
“Mike: A low view of the body- Gnostics felt all flesh was evil and Greeks “body is the prison of the soul” (Plato). Didn’t early Christianity and even Paul dispute that?”
“Alan: Yes. Full Preterists do not believe that the body is the prison of the soul. Ironically, it’s the futurist position that ends up with the Gnostic view. If you think about it, futurists maintain that the biological body is still evil, and that’s why it has to die. So, in futurism, the soul is righteous but the body is evil. That’s the whole spirit is good and matter is evil heresy of Gnosticism. Either way you spin it, that’s what futurism teaches” (Michael Miano, Freaked Out by the New Covenant, 2011, 138).
This is an example of spin. Question: do these men believe in the resurrection of our biological bodies? No. Did the Gnostics? No. Why? Because matter was not ever what God was after in terms of redemption, and plays no real part in redemption. What you indefeasibly end up with is Greek dualism, no matter how you spin it. The sheer fact that we believe, and the early church turned the world upside down with such an idea, that the body will be glorified and stamped with resurrected power utterly denies that the body is a prison house. However, leaving the body to rot in the dust utterly affirms it. In one breath, Bondar can say that we are “freed from sin when our biological bodies die and we go to heaven” (freed?), and then say, “oh, no, we don’t say this at all.” Absolutely amazing.
Some have tried to use Calvin’s remark that we are “imprisoned in the body” (Institutes 3.25.1). True. However, the chapter is on resurrection of the body, and is explicitly aimed against Plato (3.25.2)! Calvin, then, is not arguing the Platonic concept at all. Rather, the groaning and longing of our present existence is due to the fact that we have already been set free in Christ Jesus, yet we have not ”attained to complete fruition” in terms of “things seen”. We are obtaining and shall obtain, for the keys of freedom have already been given to us. The complete realization is the resurrection of our very bodies, of which we see that Jesus, the Incarnate Lord in heaven, has already obtained in reality, and by our union with him, we are promised the same attainment. The longing is produced not because we are wishing to escape creation for “heaven” (Dualism). Our longing is to see the uniting of creation and heaven: heaven on earth. How Bondar, Miano and others attempt to spin this into “Gnosticism” and “matter is evil” is beyond my comprehension. Their view leads inescapably (and admittedly) to the fact that we are “set free from sin” when we die. I could have sworn we were set free from sin when we believed and the gifts of the meritorious works of Christ were imputed to our account. For the true Gnostics, though, we are not set free until we die. Creation will never be redeemed. Matter is never allowed to enter heaven. Heaven is a higher place of existence, apart from matter and all the difficulties living in a material world brings. In short: Full Preterism is an escapist religion.