Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
Journal: Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies
Volume: JIRBS 05:0 (NA 2018)
Article: Book Reviews
JIRBS 5 (2018) p. 195
Covenant and God’s Purpose for the World. Thomas R. Schreiner (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2017, 136pp.), reviewed by Samuel Renihan
Covenant and God’s Purpose for the World appears in a series entitled “Short Studies in Biblical Theology” and must be read with that in mind. This is not a work intending to delve into every aspect of covenant theology, but rather an overview of how the covenants that God has made with mankind form the “backbone” of the biblical narrative (12).
With that purpose in mind, Schreiner follows the natural chronological course of the covenants in the Bible, beginning with “The Covenant of Creation” and moving on to “The Covenant with Noah,” “The Covenant with Abraham,” “The Covenant with Israel,” “The Covenant with David,” and “The New Covenant.” Schreiner defines covenant as “a chosen relationship in which two parties make binding promises to one another,” though he notes that, in covenants where God is a party, this is obviously not a relationship of equals (13).
Schreiner argues for a covenant made with Adam based on the constitutive elements of a covenant being present, the reference to a covenant with Adam in Hosea 6:7, and the Adam-Christ parallel of Romans 5. Adam was a priest-king in a proto-temple, through whose disobedience “sin, death, and condemnation spread to all people” (27). Had Adam obeyed God’s commands in the garden, “it seems sensible to think that…they would eventually have been confirmed in righteousness” (27). Schreiner does not elaborate on the nature of the righteousness in which they would have been confirmed other than that it would have been the “final joy of human beings who know the Lord” (27). After man’s fall in Adam, God gave a promise of salvation in Christ in Genesis 3:15 (28).
In the covenant with Noah, Schreiner begins to develop an ongoing Adamic typology, noting that Noah is portrayed as “a kind
JIRBS 5 (2018) p. 196
of new Adam” in “something like a new creation” (33). This qualified language avoids one-to-one correlations of Noah and Adam. God’s covenant with Noah is not one that brings righteousness. Rather, the covenant with Noah and all creation “guarantees the continuance of the world until the great events of redemptive history are consummated” (36). This covenant includes obligations for mankind, but it will not be annulled if they are disobedient. This is “common grace” for all (37).
Abraham is also called “a kind of new Adam” because so many blessings are...
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