The Covenantal Context Of The Fall: Did God Make a Primeval Covenant with Adam? -- By: Robert Gonzales, Jr.

Journal: Reformed Baptist Theological Review
Volume: RBTR 04:2 (Jul 2007)
Article: The Covenantal Context Of The Fall: Did God Make a Primeval Covenant with Adam?
Author: Robert Gonzales, Jr.


The Covenantal Context Of The Fall:
Did God Make a Primeval Covenant with Adam?

Robert Gonzales, Jr.*

* Robert Gonzales Jr. is the academic dean of Reformed Baptist Seminary (www.rbseminary.org) in Easley, South Carolina, where he also serves as a pastor of Covenant Reformed Baptist Church. He has an M.A. in theology and is a Ph.D. candidate in Old Testament Interpretation at Bob Jones University.

Before Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, the world was unmarred by evil and was “very good” (Gen. 1:31; 2:25). In this important respect, the present world differs radically from the original state of affairs. However, in other ways, the pre- and post-fall worlds share much in common. One point of alleged continuity is the idea that God always interacts with humanity in terms of covenant. Indeed, as George Mendenhall notes, “The names given the two parts of the Bible in Christian tradition rest on the religious conception that the relationship between God and man is established by a covenant.”1 This conception led biblical scholars, as early as Augustine, to speak of God’s relationship to Adam as a covenant.2 However, the implications of this idea were not explored until the Protestant Reformation. From that point, theologians have commonly described God’s original relationship to mankind variously as a “covenant of works,”3 “covenant of nature,”4 “covenant of life,”5

“covenant of friendship,”6 “covenant with Adam,”7 “covenant of creation,”8 “covenant in Eden,”9 and “everlasting covenant.”10

This understanding of un-fallen man’s relationship to God as covenantal has been challenged by some Bible scholars. John Murray, for example, notes that the pre-fall arrangement between God and Adam is never designated a covenant in Scripture. He concludes, “Scripture always uses the term covenant, when applied to God’s administration to men, in reference to a provision that is redemptive or closely related to redemptive design.”You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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