Skip to main content

How does the idea of covenant intersect with Creation, the Flood, and Abraham?

"When we ask the question, 'How does the cosmos work?' We seek an answer that discusses physical laws and structures. In our worldview, function is a consequence of structure, and a discussion of creation therefore must, of course, direct itself to the making of things. In contrast, when Israelites asked, 'How does the cosmos work?' They were on a totally different wavelength, because in the ancient worldview function was a consequence of purpose.”1
Therefore, let us not ask, “What is the structure of a covenant?”, but "What is the purpose of a covenant?".  The function of a covenant is to make a solemn commitment or guarantee of promises and/or obligations by one member of the covenantal party or both.2 There is much discussion, but little agreement on a covenant at creation.3 So, in the beginning, was there a covenant between God and man? Man was already given life, so there was no need for God to promise life to man. But since a covenant is a promise, I would say that a covenant existed in the beginning between God and man.  The covenantal promise was death, "but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."4 The protoevangelium in Genesis 3:15 alludes to a future hope.5  
The Noahic covenant was a promise of life for Noah, his family, and all the living things that he brought on the ark.6 The covenant with Noah was a ancestral covenant, because it applied to all of Noah’s descendants as well as the animals on the ark. After the Fall God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife.7 This also alludes to a future covenant ratified with the offering of a sacrifice. The postdiluvian Noahic covenant begins with the offering of animal sacrifices after the flood.8
While the Adamic promise of death spread to all men and alludes to a future hope (universal), and the Noahic covenant was to his descendants (ancestral); the Abrahamic covenant brought a new level to the covenant between God and man (national). It is through a nation (Israel), and an ancestor of Abraham (Jesus), that God would ultimately establish a new covenant with His elect that is universal in purpose.9




Notes
1. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, “Dictionary of The Old Testament: Pentateuch” Creation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 164.
2. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, “Dictionary of The Old Testament: Pentateuch” Covenant (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 139.
3. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, “Dictionary of The Old Testament: Pentateuch” Covenant (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 141.
4. Genesis 3:5 (NASB).
5. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, “Dictionary of The Old Testament: Pentateuch” Genesis (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 354.
6. Genesis 6:18-20 (NASB).
7. Genesis 3:21 (NASB).
8. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, “Dictionary of The Old Testament: Pentateuch” Covenant (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 140.
9. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker, “Dictionary of The Old Testament: Pentateuch” Covenant (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 149.



Bibliography
Dictionary of the Old Testament Pentateuch. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, (2003).
The Holy Bible, Updated New American Standard Bible. The Lockman Foundation, ((1995).


Popular posts from this blog

Suffering and Death in the ICU

Suffering: The state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship.[1]Death: The end of the life of a person.[2]Intensive Care Unit: A department of a hospital in which patients who are dangerously ill are kept under constant observation.[3] I cannot continue doing what I have done for the past 21 years. My last day in the intensive care unit will be January 4, 2019. I will be transitioning to Cardiac Rehabilitation. This will be a completely different type of nursing. Cardiac Rehabilitation combines my love of aerobic exercise, knowledge of cardiology and love of people suffering with heart disease. I will be able to invest in their lives in a way that I was never able to do before.  These past 5 days are an example of what my work has been like for the past 21 years: I worked 4, 12 ½ hour shifts. I took care of 10 persons, all of whom suffered but some greater than others. A woman 10 years younger than I suffered a myocardial infarction (heart attack); a woman suffered greatly in the i…

Please, Please, Please Open Your Mouth and Preach the Gospel!

Please, Please, Please open your mouth and preach the gospel! Recently I was asked to do two things: 1) Think back to my own experience of how I was evangelized and describe the experience. 2) If I could go back and give advice to the person or people who ministered to me what would it be?  I began running as a young child. At the age of 5, I ran my first mile with my dad. At the age of 10, I wanted a pair of running shoes like the big runner’s wear. My dad challenged me, if I could run 5 consecutive miles at less than 8 minutes per mile he would by me a pair of running shoes. I met the challenge and he bought me the shoes. While at the runner’s store there was a flyer for an upcoming 10k race. My dad signed us both up for the race. The next year my dad was too busy with work to run with me, but we had new neighbors across the street. I noticed that this man would come home every evening and go for a run. I began running with him, at the time he was pursuing a doctorate at D. T. S., …

Evangelism and Discipleship

The defining mission of the church is to make disciples of all the nations, initiate the new disciples into fellowship through the ordinance of baptism in the name of the Triune God and teach them to observe all that Jesus commanded the first disciples; doing so by the power of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, Matthew 28:18-20 has been called the great commission because Jesus, who has all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18) commissioned his disciples to do just that. There is an utterance of this great commission at the end of each gospel account and the beginning of Acts. (cf. Mk 16:15, Lk 24:46-48, Jn 20:21, and Acts 1:8) Why? Because evangelism and discipleship are the church’s purpose for existing. For this reason, evangelism and discipleship cannot be separated. They are wholly dependent on one another. Jesus did not commission his disciples at the beginning of his ministry, but at the conclusion, and before his ascension. However, He did send them out on practice evang…