It was God who started to make a covenant with man. He wanted to have a
relation with him under certain conditions. God executed his promises and
was honest in spite of our dishonesty. The covenant of God with man was an
The first covenant that God made was in the days of Noah, before and after
the deluge. The condition that God stipulated was that man should leave the
wicked world that was condemned to death and annihilation, and enter into
the ark. God would grant man life, security, peace and care. Noah and his
sons joined that covenant, and thus they gained God's blessing.
After the ark had come to land, and after Noah had presented an acceptable
sacrifice to God, God was satisfied and said, "And God said: `This is the
sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you, and every living
creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I set My rainbow in the
cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen
in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and
you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again
become 'a flood to destroy all flesh. "'(Genesis 9:12-15)
The second covenant was made between God and the great patriarch- "Now
the Lord had said to Abram: `Get out of your country, from your kindred and
from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a
great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a
blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses
you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed. "'(Genesis 12:1-
Later on, there was another covenant with Abram, that is, the covenant of
circumcision (Genesis 17), of which the Lord said, "This is my covenant
which you shall keep between me and you and your seed after you. Every
man or child (boy) among you shall be circumcised... And it shall be a token
of the covenant between me and you. And the uncircumcised man or child
whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised that soul shall be cut off from
his people; he hath broken my covenant. " Circumcision was a symbol of the death of the body, so that we might obtain
life. A part of the body is cut off to die, and this symbolises death as regards
the body and matter. Circumcision was also a symbol for baptism, in which
we die with Christ so that we may live with Him. The covenant stated that
he who was not circumcised would be cut off from His people, exactly like
anyone who is not be baptised. We notice that the covenant included a
blessing as well as a punishment. The blessing for anyone who entered the
ark was a symbol for the life of anyone who entered the Church, as he would
be under the guardianship and the care of God. There was a punishment for
anyone who broke the covenant, like that which was given to the one who
The blessing as is seen in Deuteronomy 28, is for those who abide by the
words of God, and the punishment is for those who disobey them. This
covenant, which God gave to Moses, was sprinkled with blood and, for the
first time, it was a written covenant for all people, including blessings and
Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read to the people saying: "All
that God said shall he obeyed, " then Moses took some of the blood and said,
"this is the blood of the covenant which God made with you about all these
The Ten Commandments constituted a covenant between God and the
people. They were written on two tablets that were called the `tablets of the
covenant' and these were put into a tabernacle, also called the `tabernacle of
the covenant.' The tabernacle of the coveaant was a symbol for the presence
of God with his people. The observance of the commandments meant that
God was their God and that they were his people. According to this
covenant,God gave them the commandments to obey, and in return, He
would guard and bless them.
All the commandments of God and all the scriptures were a covenant. This
is why the old scriptures have been called `the Old Testament' and the
scriptures after the coming of Christ are called `the New Testament.The
Holy Bible exemplifies a covenant between us and God, and we have
become believers on the ground of our abiding by all the commandments
included in it. Whenever you see the Holy Bible, you should remember that there is a
covenant between you and God. As long as we are the children of God, and
as long as we are believers, we are bound by this covenant. We have to
observe all the rules in that book and say, as our fathers have said before,
"We obey all the commandments of God. " It is a covenant that is sprinkled
Thus, Saint Paul the apostle says of the Lord Christ that, "He is the mediator
of a better covenant which was established upon better promises," and they
are really better promises. The Promised Land in the Old Testament is a
symbol of the Land of the Living in the New Testament. The fact that it is
overflowing with milk and honey is a symbol of what no eye has seen, no
ear has heard of, and of what has never occurred to the mind of any human
being. The abundance of posterity symbolises the spread of faith and the
increase of the number of believers, and the extent of age symbolises
There is another covenant that we establish with God through baptism.
During baptism, we repudiate Satan and all his evil deeds, his tricks,
thoughts and all his hosts and say to him openly, `I renounce you; I renounce
you; I renounce you.'
Do we still renounce the devil and all his hosts? Besides this renouncement,
during baptism we make a vow to believe in God and proceed in his ways,
and in the new life in which we have worn Christ.
There is another covenant that we keep with God by partaking in the
Eucharist and in repentance. In connection with Communion, God says to
us, "Each time you eat from this bread and drink from this cup you preach
my death, acknowledge my resurrection and remember me until I come. "
What indicates that the Eucharist is a covenant between us and God is that
Maundy Thursday, the day on which God made the covenant with his
disciples and gave them His Flesh and His Blood, is called by the Church
`Covenant Thursday.' We celebrate this day, keeping in our memory a
covenant that we pledge with God each time we take part in the Eucharist.
We also enter into a covenant with God whenever we make a vow. We often
undergo pressure in case of sickness, adversity, demands or desires, and
make vows beyond our capacity and liability of execution, and later, we try
to do away with those vows or try to change or delay them, forgetting the scripture which says, "You had better not make vows at all, rather than make
vows and not execute them. "
A covenant with God should be regarded with seriousness and not
obligation. We should know with whom we are making an agreement. It is
with God, the Creator, the Infinite, the Imperceptible, the God of gods. We
should also know about the punishment for those who break the covenant.
Saint Paul the apostle explained this punishment in his message to the
Hebrews, saying, "Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye; shall he be
thought worthy, who has trodden underfoot the Son of God, and hath
counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy
thing, and who hath done despite unto the spirit of grace? It is a fearful thing
to fall into the hands of the living God. " (Hebrews 10:29-30)
All the covenants of God with the fathers are covenants with us personally.
In this connection, the Prophet Moses says, "The Lord our God made a
covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this covenant with our
fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. "
(Deuteronomy 5:2 & 3)
Our covenants with God are sprinkled with blood and approved with the
Blood of Christ. This is why Saint Paul says about the consecration of the
believer that with the blood of the covenant with which he has been
consecrated, "Our sins are obliterated at baptism by the Blood of Christ,"
and such is the case in the sacrament of Confession and the sacrament of the
Eucharist, in which we take the Blood of Christ, which purifies everything.
How beautiful is the statement of the Prophet David, "O God, bless the
covenants of my mouth." Therefore we ask God to give us the power of
We pray to God to grant us His power so as to be honest towards Him.
A covenant is a contract or agreement between two or more parties. Covenant is how God has chosen to communicate to us, to redeem us, and to guarantee us eternal life in Jesus. These truths, revealed in the Bible, are the basis of Christianity. The Bible is a covenant document. The Old and New Testaments are really Old and New Covenants. The word "testament" is Latin for Covenant.
There is a pattern to the covenants found in the Bible. Basically, it is as follows. The initiating party describes himself and what He has done, then there is a list of obligations between the two (or more) parties. What follows is the section dealing with rewards and punishments that govern the keeping and breaking of the covenant. The Ten Commandments fit this pattern and are a covenant document.
Covenant is how God first decided to deal with Mankind. We know this from studying the Eternal Covenant mentioned in , "May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep" (NIV). In this covenant God the Father and the Son made an agreement with regard to the elect. This covenant was made before the universe was created and it consisted of the Father promising to bring to the Son all whom the Father had given Him (). The Son would become man). The Son would die for the sins of the world) and the Father would raise the Son from the Dead (Psalm 2).
The Eternal Covenant, then, leads to the Covenant of Grace. Where the Eternal Covenant was made between the Father and the Son, the Covenant of Grace is made between God and Man. This latter covenant is where God promises to Man eternal salvation based upon the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The manifestation of that covenant occurs in our world in a sequence of additional covenants that God made with individuals: Adam (), Abraham (Gen. 17), the Israelites at Mount Sinai), believers in the New Covenant), etc. I present the view that there are two main covenants. However, there is disagreement as to the number of Covenants. Some say there is really only one, the Eternal Covenant, with all others falling under it. Some say two, some say three, and others four, etc. There really is no absolute answer.
Understanding Covenant is important for several reasons:
1. We learn that God deals with Man covenant ally.
2. Since a Covenant is an agreement, it is a promise made by God. Since, we can rely on God's word for eternity, we can take great comfort in His covenant promising us eternal life in His Son.
3. It helps us to see the Bible as a covenant document. The Old and New Testaments are Old and New Covenants.
4. With Covenant understood as a framework through which the Bible was written we can better understand it, God's dealings with us through it, and our responsibilities to God as well as His to us.
5. We can better understand the symbols used by God in covenant ratification: The Lord's Supper and Baptism.
1. Requirements and Promises in the Eternal Covenant
A. The Father required of the Son, that He should atone for the sins of those whom the Father had given Him), and should do what Adam failed to do by keeping the law This requirement included the following particulars:
i. That he should assume human nature .
ii. That He should place Himself under the law ()
iii. That He, after accomplishing forgiveness of sins and eternal life, should apply them to the elect).
2. The Relation of the Eternal Covenant and the Covenant of Grace
A. The Eternal Covenant is the model for the Covenant of Grace. The former is eternal, that is, from eternity, and the latter temporal in the sense that it is realized in time. The former is a compact between the Father and the Son as a surety and head of the elect, while the latter is a compact between the triune God and the elect sinner.
i. If there had been no Eternal Covenant between the Father and the Son, there could have been no Covenant of Grace between God and sinful man.
ii. The Holy Spirit, which produces faith in the sinner, was promised to Christ by the Father, and the acceptance of the way of life through faith was guaranteed by Christ.
3. The Covenant with Adam also known as the Covenant of Works
A. This was a covenant made between God and Adam where Adam would have everlasting life based upon obedience to God. This apparently was possible since Adam did not have a sin nature.
B. "And the LORD God commanded the man, 'You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die'God entered into a covenant with Adam.
i. The promise connected to that covenant was life. The condition was perfect obedience. Its penalty was death.
4. The Covenant with Noah
A. This covenant was God's promise to Noah to never again destroy the world with a flood. God gave the rainbow as a sign."I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you -- the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you -- every living creature on earth. I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth." And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." So God said to Noah, 'This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth'"
5. The Covenant with Abraham
God promised a land and descendants to Abraham, who was commanded to "keep" the covenant) and was given circumcision as the sign
On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates"
6. The Covenant with Moses
In the giving of the Law, the nation of Israel was constituted a holy nation and given stipulations to follow to ensure fellowship with God. The covenant was ratified by a covenant sacrifice and the sprinkling of).
"Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, 'We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.' 8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, 'This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words'" (NIV).
7. The Covenant with David
A. God gave a promise to David that his descendants should have an everlasting kingdom and be known as his sons.
i. "You said, 'I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations'").
ii. It was through the descendants of David that Jesus was born.
8. The New Covenant
A. This is the new covenant of the Messianic age where the Law of God would be written upon the hearts of men.
B. "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah... This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people"
C. It was promised in Eden
D. "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel"
E. It was proclaimed to Abraham
i. "I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you").
F. It was fulfilled in Christ
9. "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us -- to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace"
10. The Covenant of Grace
11. This may be defined as that gracious agreement between the offended God and the offending sinner, in which God promises salvation through faith in Christ, and the sinner accepts this by faith, promising a life of faith and obedience
12. Comparison of the Covenant of Works (the Adamic Covenant) and the Covenant of Grace
Covenant of Works Covenant of Grace God is the Creator and Lord. Established because of His love and benevolence. God is the Redeemer and Father. Established because of His mercy Man appears simply as God's creature, rightly related to his God Man appears as a sinner who has perverted his ways, and can only appear in union with Christ and grace. No Mediator Jesus is Mediator Righteousness is based upon the obedience of a changeable man which is uncertain. Based on the obedience of Christ as Mediator which is absolute and certain. The way of life is by keeping the Law. The way of life is by faith in Jesus Christ. The covenant is partly known in nature, since the law of God is written in the heart of Man. The covenant is known exclusively through special revelation: the Bible.
Just as in the covenant of works, so in the covenant of grace God is the first of the contracting parties. He takes the initiative and determines the relation in which the second party will stand to Him.
It is not easily determined who the second party is, but in general it may be said that God naturally established the covenant of grace with fallen man.
The idea that the covenant is fully realized only in the elect is a perfectly scriptural idea and appears, for instance, from . It is also entirely in line with the relation in which the Covenant of Grace stands to the Eternal Covenant.
THE ADAMIC COVENANT: The Covenant of Commencement HIS GLORY REIGNS B. Childress March 28 Under the Edenic Covenant man was put on probation to test his commitment to the terms of the covenant. The one prohibition to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil constituted the test of faith and obedience (Genesis 2: 16,17). The test was occasioned by God's permitting the serpent's entrance into the Garden. The temptation to break the covenant came from Satan as he attacked the terms of the covenant. His aim was to break the covenantal relationship between the Creator and the creature by deceiving man into violating the covenant. He knew this would rob man of the blessings and put him under the curses of the covenant. Satan's attack was upon the covenantal God and the covenantal man, but his approach was to attack the covenantal language. Genesis 3:1-6 records the serpent's tempting of the woman and their progressive undermining of the words of the covenant. 1. The serpent questions the Word, "Yea, hath God said..." (Verse 1) 2. The woman adds to the Word, "...neither shall ye touch it..." (Verse 3) 3. The woman weakens the Word, "...Lest ye die." (Verse 3) 4. The serpent lies against the Word, "...Ye shall not surely die:" (Verse 4) 5. The serpent misinterprets the Word, "...ye shall be as gods..." (Verse 5) At this point, being deceived by the serpent, the woman partook of the forbidden fruit and gave to Adam also. This unbelief and disobedience broke their covenantal relationship and brought them under the curse of the covenant (Genesis 3:6,7; I Timothy 2:13-15; Romans 5:12-21; 14:23; Hosea 6:7; I John 3:4). The results of the fall of man were that man's covenantal relationship was broken, his character was corrupted by the entrance of sin, his dominion was lost and he and his offspring came under the dominion of sin and death (I Corinthians 15:45-49; Romans 5:12). This set the stage for the revelation of the Adamic Covenant. God came in grace to fallen man seeking to restore him back to covenantal relationship. This Adamic Covenant was the beginning of the covenants of redemption. Upon the foundation of the Edenic Covenant the Adamic Covenant constitutes the most comprehensive prophecy that God ever gave to mankind, in that it encompasses all successive covenants of redemption. It is a "seed" covenant to the others which follow. I. The WORDS of the Covenant A. The Promises of the Covenant The promises of the Adamic Covenant are expressions of God's purposes in redeeming man and judging Satan. 1. Promises of Blessing (Genesis 3:15) The seed of the woman would bruise the serpent's head. This seed would crush, conquer and subjugate Satan and all the realm of his authority. This promise involved the chosen seed of Israel, the virgin birth of Christ, His ministry, the Church and the eternal judgment of Satan and his kingdom (Joshua 10:24; Psalms 60:12; Luke 10: 19; romans 16:20). This seed promise is progressively unfolded in the succeeding covenants and consummates in Christ and the Church. a. Curse on the Serpent (Genesis 3:14) The natural serpent which was used as a tool of Satan is irrevocably humiliated to the dust of the earth. The serpent has ever since borne the stigma of its association with Satan (Revelation 12:9). b. Curse on the Devil (Genesis 3:14) The curse extended beyond the natural serpent to the Devil himself who is "that old serpent" (Revelation 12:9; 20:1-3). An irrevocable curse was put upon him leading up to his ultimate crushing (Romans 16:20; Revelation 12;20:10). c. Judgment on the Woman (Genesis 3:16) The judgment on the woman involved multiplied conception, sorrow in child-birth and subservience to her husband (I Timothy 2:13-15; I Corinthians 11:7-9). d. Judgment on the Man (Genesis 3:17,19) The judgment on the man involved sweat, toil, and sorrow in labouring with a cursed earth until his death. e. Curse on the Earth (Genesis 3:17,18) The soil of the earth was cursed to bring forth thorns and thistles. Instead of readily bringing forth food for man, it would of its own accord hinder man's efforts for food. f. Curse on the Animal Kingdom Romans 8:20-22 indicates that the creatures of the earth were affected by the fall of man and became wild and carnivorous (Contrast this with Genesis 2:19,20). g. Judgment of Sin by Death (Genesis 2:17; 3:19) As stated under the Edenic Covenant, God confirmed under the Adamic Covenant that the wages of sin is death. This involved physical, spiritual and eternal death (Romans 6:23; Ezekiel 18:19; Ephesians 2:1,5; I Timothy 5:6; Revelation 14:11; 20:11-15). h. Judgment by Expulsion from Eden (Genesis 3:23,24) The final act of judgment upon the man and the woman was to expel them from the Paradise that God had placed them in. This was to keep them from partaking of the tree of life and living forever in an unredeemable state (Revelation 2:7; 22:14). B. Terms of the Covenant In that man had fallen from the obedience of the Edenic Covenant, the covenant of creation, God sought to restore man back to that obedience through the Adamic Covenant, the covenant of redemption. Adam's disobedience was the result of his unbelief. Thus the emphasis of the terms of the Adamic Covenant (as in all covenants) was upon faith and trust in God (Hebrews 11:6; Romans 14:23; John 16:8). The evidence of Adam and Eve's faith is seen in: 1. Adam's naming Eve as "the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20). 2. Adam and Eve receiving the coats of skin in exchange for their self-made covering of fig leaves (Genesis 3: 21). 3. Eve's faith-response at the birth of Cain (Genesis 4:1). 4. Adam's communication of faith-sacrifices to his children (Genesis 4:1-4). C. The Oath of the Covenant There is no Biblical record of an oath being attached to the Adamic Covenant. D. The Book of the Covenant Although no book was written at this time, this covenant was later recorded in the Book of Genesis by Moses under the inspiration of the Spirit of God. II. The BLOOD of the Covenant A. The Sacrifice of the Covenant After Adam and Eve fell from covenantal relationship and their conscience was awakened and smitten with guilt, they sought to cover their own sin and make themselves acceptable to God and to each other. The law of conscience led to the law of works (Romans 5:12-14; 3:27). The man-made fig-leaf coverings were an attempt to make themselves righteous and acceptable before God. However, God judged self-righteousness to be insufficient (Isaiah 64:6). It was up to God to move in grace to deal with man's sin and provide an acceptable covering. In that man had broken the life commitment of the Edenic Covenant, and was deserving of death, death had to take place in order for his sin to be covered. God introduced a substitutionary sacrificial death in order to cover man's sinfulness. This is implied in Genesis 3:21 when God clothed them with coats of skin, which had to have come from a slain innocent animal. Thus, based on substitutionary body and blood Adam and Eve were clothed in the death of another. The innocent died for the guilty, and the sinless animal was sacrificed for sinful man. This covenant sacrifice was the first of all animal sacrifices that pointed to the New Covenant sacrifice, the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:29,36; Hebrews 10:1-12). B. The Mediator of the Covenant 1. The Priesthood of Christ It is evident from Genesis 3:21 that God Himself acted as the mediator of this covenant. He slew the animals, He made the coats of skin and He clothed Adam and Eve with them. Although the creatorship name of Elohim (God) was used in relation to the Edenic Covenant of creation before the entrance of sin, it is the redemptive name of Jehovah (Lord) that is used in relation to the Adamic Covenant of redemption after the entrance of sin. The name attached to this covenant is "the LORD GOD" which embodied in itself both creation and redemption (Genesis 3:14,21,22,23). 2. The Priesthood of Adam This scene also initiated the development of the patriarchal priesthood. As the Lord God demonstrated His own priesthood on Adam's behalf He set an example for Adam to follow in being the priest of his own household. This was later substantiated in that the Levitical Priesthood, under the Mosaic Covenant, were given the coats of skin of certain animal sacrifices (Leviticus 7:8). It was also illustrated in Job's priesthood for his own family (Job 1:1-5). C. The Sanctuary of the Covenant The place where the covenant was given, the sacrifice made and the mediatorial work of the covenantors fulfilled was the Garden of Eden. However, the focus in Genesis 3:21-24 seems to be on a place at the east of Eden's garden. The revelation of the sanctuary under the Mosaic Covenant confirms the sanctuary language of the Adamic Covenant. 1. God placed (Hebrew "caused to swell") His presence (Genesis 3:24; 4:16 with Exodus 25:8). 2. This place was at the east (Genesis 3:24; with Leviticus 16:24; Ezekiel 43:1-4). 3. The Cherubims were placed there as guardians (Genesis 3:24 with Exodus 25:17-22). 4. A flaming sword was placed there also to keep the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 26:33). 5. This is the most suitable place for Cain and Abel to have brought their offerings unto the Lord (Genesis 4:1-4; Hebrews 12:4). III. The SEAL of the Covenant Having forfeited the seal of the Edenic covenant, Adam and Eve received the coats of skin as tokens to them of their faith in the atoning sacrifice of the Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3:21). This pointed to the faith-righteousness that the Holy Spirit brings to the New Covenant believer who accepts the body and blood of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 61:10; Romans 4:1-5). The Adamic Covenant is a "seed" covenant introducing the covenants of redemption. The covenantal language that is expressed in "seed" form in this covenant is developed in fullness in the covenants which follow, leading up to its ultimate fulfillment in the New Covenant. Jesus Christ as the seed of the woman fulfills this Covenant in redeeming man back to perfect and eternal covenantal relationship with God. The 'First' Covenant of Redemption The covenant of redemption is established immediately in conjunction with man's failure under the covenant of creation. God had bound Himself to man by the special orderings of creation. Man ruptured that relationship by eating the forbidden fruit. However, God's relation to His creature did not terminate with man's sin. The wonder of the gracious character of the Creator manifests itself immediately. Judgment indeed must fall. But even in the midst of judgment hope for restoration appears. God binds Himself now to redeem a people to Himself. The very words that pronounce the curse of the covenant of creation also inaugurate the covenant of redemption. This inseparable connection of the covenant of creation with the covenant of redemption stresses the restoration goal of the covenant of redemption. From the very outset, God intends by the covenant of redemption to realize for man those blessings originally defaulted under the covenant of creation. A further overlapping of these two covenantal administrations may be seen in that man continues to be responsible to function in the context of the original responsibilities given Him at the time of His creation. The particular test of probation is present no longer. Yet man still remains responsible to consecrate the whole of creation to the Creator. Marriage, labor, and the ordinance of the Sabbath continue as principal responsibilities for man despite his fallen character. The remainder of human history finds its key in the provisions made by God under this original covenant of redemption. The divine commitment in this hour solidifies the significance of history from this point onward. As history progresses, the fuller implications of the covenant of redemption become manifest. Ultimately this redemptive purpose reaches its consummation in the appearance of Jesus Christ "in the fullness of time" (Galatians 4:4). The unified purpose of the covenant of redemption binds together the gradual unfolding of the varied aspects of this single bond. At the same time, the progress of history clearly manifests significant diversity in covenantal administration. The first of these administrations may be designated as Adam: The Covenant of Commencement. The first declaration of the covenant of redemption contains in seed form every basic principle which manifests itself subsequently. God reveals in a most balanced fashion the various elements constituting His commitment to redeem His fallen creation. Genesis 3:14-19 records the provisions of the Adamic administration of the covenant of redemption. God speaks to Satan, to the woman, and to the man, following the order of their defection from loyalty to the Creator. Elements of curse and blessing are found in each address, thus serving structurally to bind inseparably the covenant of creation with the covenant of redemption. The Word to Satan (Genesis 3:14,15) The curse of God's judgment falls first on Satan, the first of offenders. Initially the word of curse addresses primarily the serpent as a tool of Satan: "And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Notice first that God's word concerning man's redemption is addressed to the serpent. Redemption cannot be understood in a man-centered fashion. God's glory as the great Creator has been assaulted, His handiwork has been disharmonized. Not simply for the sake of man, but for the glory of God redemption is undertaken. God says to the serpent, "Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle." Satan had deceived the woman by convincing her that the ordering of creation as declared by god was not true. Satan's accomplishment as tempter was to mislead the woman with respect to God's truth. The Lord rightfully curses the serpent. More than all the other creation he is humbled. The snake must crawl. As a tool of Satan he bears in himself the symbolic reminder of ultimate defeat. Yet the curse certainly goes beyond the serpent to Satan himself. Only as the serpent represents Satan does its humiliation-posture possess real significance. The Satan-directed character of the curse appears more explicitly in verse 15: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." Genesis 3:15 The divine initiative in this establishment of animosity must be underscored. God himself shall perpetuate a continuing warfare. Now that man has fallen into sin, the last thing that might be expected would be enmity between himself and Satan. The two have sided in their opposition against God and his purposes. But God shall intervene sovereignly to assure conflict between Satan and mankind. These verses guarantee that God himself shall impose a continuing opposition between mankind and Satan. The enmity established by God occurs on three fronts. In each case, the precision identification of the antagonists is difficult. Yet some positive assertions may be made. First, God says that he shall establish enmity between Satan and the woman. Why does God designate the woman specifically as the source of opposition to Satan? Why does he not begin with the man? Several factors may explain this divine ordering: 1. The woman was the first to be seduced. Appropriately therefore, God mentioned her first. By the divine initiative, she shall be set at enmity against Satan. 2. The pride of man might lead him to disparage his wife, particularly since she was the first to fall. But now it becomes quite obvious that redemption will not be accomplished apart from the woman. 3. The woman may be mentioned first because of an intention to focus on her role as bearer of the child that ultimately was to deliver man from the forces of Satan. Through the woman God shall provide One who will save His people from their sins. So God first establishes enmity between Satan and the woman. But who is the "woman" to whom God refers? Eve herself could be meant. If such were the case, stress would be placed on the fact that this enmity would begin immediately. However, it seems more likely that the "woman" set in opposition to Satan refers to womankind in general rather than to Eve in particular. Without implying necessarily that all women universally shall participate in the enmity against Satan, the text affirms the basic principle that womankind shall have a most significant role in this cosmic struggle. The second level of antagonism is set between Satan's seed and the woman's seed. The enmity between the seeds grows out of the enmity between Satan and the woman. But who is meant by the "seed" of the woman? The woman's seed could be identified with the totality of humanity. However, the immediately succeeding section in Genesis narrates Cain's murder of his brother Abel (Genesis 4). The New Testament explicitly determines the significance of these two persons in the cosmic struggle between God and Satan. Cain originates from "the evil one" (1 John 3:12). Though descended from Eve just as his brother, he cannot be regarded as belonging to the "seed" of the woman as described in Genesis 3:15. Instead of being opposed to Satan, he is the seed of Satan. The "seed" of the woman cannot be identified simply with all physical descendants of womankind. Now the other side of the conflict between the seeds must be considered. The seed of the serpent cannot be identified rather naively with "snakes." The conflict envisioned describes something much more crucial. Satan also has his associates, his "angels" (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7-9). Although not materially descended from the devil, they may be regarded figuratively as his "seed." At the same time, Scripture indicates that within humanity itself is a "seed" of Satan set against God and his purposes. Among humanity, the physical descendants of the woman, exists a seed of Satan. This "seed" stands in opposition to God and his purposes. The introduction of conflict on the level of the two "seeds" anticipates the long struggle that ensues in the history that follows. "Seed of woman" and "seed of Satan" conflict with one another throughout the ages. Yet a third level of enmity manifests itself in these verses. Womankind struggles with Satan; woman's seed struggles with Satan's seed; and "he" struggles with Satan. The identification of the person designated by the pronoun "he" raises several difficult problems. The Hebrew pronoun in this case is masculine in general, singular in number. The most natural grammatical construction would refer the term to the "seed" of the woman, which also is masculine in general and singular in number. The "he" who is destined to bruise Satan's head would refer to the "seed" of the woman mentioned in the immediately preceding phrase. Although singular in number, this "he" could refer to a multiple of persons just as the singular "seed." Romans 16:20 says, "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen'." The respective seeds assault one another with the purpose of "bruising" or "crushing." The context would suggest that a fatal wound seems clearly intended. Each antagonist attacks with the same determination of purpose. One strikes at the head, the other strikes at the heel, but each has the settled purpose to destroy. The passage provides a fitting description of Satan's ways. The heel may not represent as crucial a point of attack as the head. But it indicates fittingly the subversiveness of the Deceiver. If the heel may be regarded as the object of subversive attack and partial wound (despite a fatal intention), the head represents the object of open attack and mortal wound. The seed of the woman shall crush the serpent's head. Satan shall be bruised mortally, defeated totally by the coming Messiah. Triumphantly he will"smash the head" of his enemies in a broad land (Psalm 110:6). Ironically, Psalm 110, which subsequently is quoted by Satan as a means for tempting Christ bears testimony to the Lord's sure victory over his enemies in language strongly reminiscent of Genesis 3:15. Satan urges Christ to cast himself from the pinnacle of the temple on the basis of God's promise that God's angels shall keep him even from dashing his foot against a stone (Psalm 91:11,12). Apparently the Tempter failed to consider fully the clear enunciation of anticipated victory by Messiah in the very next verse of the same psalm, "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet." Ultimately, the promised seed of the woman did come. He entered into mortal conflict with Satan. Though suffering on his cross the wound of Satan, he "despoiled the principalities and powers" and "made a show of them openly," triumphing over them in it (Colossians 14,15). Inherent in this imagery of the accomplishment of redemption through the victorious overthrow of the seed of Satan lies a principle of God's dealings which has continued throughout the ages. The deliverance of God's people always comes through the destruction of God's enemies. The Christian may pray with the sorrowful certainty that Satan's seed lives among men, and that God's purposes shall be realized only through the destruction of these "...vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:" which has "endured with much longsuffering..." Romans 9:22. No word of blessing is addressed to Satan in these verses. He stands enveloped under the condemning curse of God. Yet blessing is inherent in these words for the seed of the woman. An ultimate victory over the Wicked One shall be achieved. The Word to the Woman (Genesis 3:16) The word to the woman includes both curse and blessing. The woman shall have children, which constitutes a most significant blessing. This beneficent word to the woman should not be understood simply in terms of an assurance of fruitfulness in a domestic setting. A seed will be provided for the sake of entering into conflict with the satanic seed. God's promise to bless the woman relates to her role in God's redemptive program. Yet curse also is involved. God will multiply greatly the woman's sorrow, particularly with reference to her conception. It is not the woman's conception in itself that is being multiplied excessively. Later this identical phraseology is used of the blessing spoken over Abraham and his seed, "That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;" Genesis 22:17. But the woman is cursed particularly by all the various sorrows associated with her bringing children into the world. The curse pronounced on the woman also affects her marital relationship toward her husband. The Lord declares, "Unto your husband shall be your desire, and he shall rule over you." Generally this "desire" of the woman is interpreted as a curse of excessive dependence or longing with respect to her husband. The phrase is understood to mean that the woman lives under the curse of having her life excessively directed toward her husband. The "desire" of the woman shall be to the husband, but he shall rule over her. Not in the sense of excessive dependence, but in the sense of excessive determination to dominate, the woman shall "desire" her husband. Her longing shall be to possess him, to control him, and to dominate him. Just as personified sin's desire was directed toward the possession of Cain, so the woman's desire shall be directed toward the possession of her husband. The statement concerning the man's "rule" over the woman may not require the concept of oppressive domination. But the context strongly suggests it. God pronounces a curse over the woman because of a situation that arose originally from her usurpation of her husband's prerogative. Now it is indicated that habitually, she shall display this tendency in her "desire" toward her husband. But he, in reaction, shall "rule" over her. The curse of marital imbalance settles into the woman's life-style. As she perpetually attempts to possess her husband, he responds by dominating excessively. The Word to the Man (Genesis 3:17-19) The word to the man also contains curse and blessing. As God introduces his covenantal commitment to redeem people to Himself, He simultaneously pronounces the curses of the covenant of creation. The blessing is found in the fact that man will eat bread (Genesis 3:17). The sustenance essential for maintaining life shall be provided. The gracious character of these simple words must not be overlooked. Already the curse of death hovered over man, the sinner. He had brought the whole of creation under curse, and so deserved to die. Yet God graciously promises to sustain life for him. Adequate provision of food shall maintain man, so that God's purposes to redeem a people to Himself may be realized. This gracious provision of God characterizes the totality of human history from the first day of its announcement until the present. Jesus' reference to the God who causes His rain to fall on the just and unjust testifies to the consistency of God's common grace (Matthew 5:45). But curse also is involved. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Genesis 3:19. The self-sustaining effort of man shall be marred by excessive labor. Man's curse does not reside in the requirement that he work. Labor also undergirded the creation bond between God and man. Instead, the curse of man resides in the excessive requirement of labor for the fruit produced. Man's ultimate curse consigns him to the grave, "...for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Genesis 3:19. The threat of the creation covenant finds an awesome fulfillment in the dissolution of man's person. Adam had been created to rule the earth. Now the earth's dust shall rule him. ******* In conclusion, some aspect of this original bond between God and man in sin may be noted. These points emphasize in particular the organic relation of this covenant to the entire history which follows: 1. First, of all, the continuing operation of the provisions of this covenant in the realm of God's common grace may be noted. If, as the unbelieving mind of man has suggested, these verses were written as a tale to explain why snakes crawl, they must have been composed by a genius indeed. For with all the refinements of modern life, the principles laid down in these brief verses continue to characterize man's total existence. Even today, the basic struggles of mankind involve the questions of providing bread, relieving pain, performing labor, bearing children, and dealing with the inevitability of death. 2. Secondly, God's words to Adam foreshadow the subsequent history of redemption. In organic relation with all subsequent administrations of the covenant of redemption, these verses anticipate both the method by which redemption is to be accomplished and the mystery of redemption's applicaiton. In due time, one representative man was born of woman. This single man entered into mortal conflict with Satan. Though bruised himself, he nonetheless destroyed Satan's power. By this struggle, he accomplished redemption. Some men respond in faith to God's gracious provision of salvation and find deliverance from sin's corruption. Others continue in the stubbornness of their hearts as the enemies of God. Why do some men receive the gospel of Christ, while others reject its saving offer? The ultimate answer to this question is found in the distinction among men made in these verses. God sovereignly sets enmity against Satan in the hearts of some. These individuals represent the seed of the woman. Other men continue in their fallen condition. These people represent the seed of Satan. Progress in the history of God's program to redeem a people to Himself may be traced along the line of the enmity between these two seeds. Finally, this covenant with Adam anticipates the consummation of God's purposes in redemption. Adam's requirement to labor echoes the original cultural mandate of the covenant of creation, with its charge to bring the whole earth into subjection to the glory of God. The ultimate goal of redemption will not be realized merely in a return to the pristine beginnings of the garden. A new imagery of paradise arises in Scripture - the imagery of a city of a hustling, bustling center of activity for the redeemed. This glorious consummation focuses on the redemption of man in the context of his total potentialities. In the wholeness of a creature made in God's image, man shall be brought to redemption by realizing the fullness of possibilities available to him. To this point, we do not see all things subjected to man. The creation in its totality has not released its full potential to the redeemed. Yet the hope of the future remains sealed in certainty. For we do see Jesus now crowned with glory and honor. Seated at God's right hand, he has all things subjected to him (Hebrews 2:8,9). From his exalted position of power, he ultimately shall bring all things into the service of men who have been redeemed by him to the glory of God.