328: Covenant of Works

I. The Importance and Validity of the Covenant of Works (CoW)

A. Importance
B. Validity of the CoW

1. Representative skepticism of John Murray

a. ‘Adamic Administration’  audio  |   print

b. Absence of ברית.

2. Objection not conclusive

a. Davidic Covenant

i. II Samuel 7.1-17

ii. Psalm 89.3-4, 28-29

b. The Davidic covenant establishes that it is possible for the Scriptures to record the establishment of a covenant without using the term ברית or other covenant terminology.

3. Need to ask a more sophisticated question

a. Standard of WCF I.6

b. Concept level / word level


II. The COW in Early Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought

A. Hosea 6.7

1. Neglect of this passage

2. Disagreement on interpretation of כאדם. see comparison of translations here

3. Majority Reformed position

4. Solution unnecessary.

B. Genesis 6.18

1. הקים ברית see comparison of translations here

2. Even at the grammatical level, Genesis recognizes that, prior to the first appearance of berith, there was a berith. There is berith prior to Genesis 6.18.

3. Here, refers to the Covenant of Grace (COG) rather than the COW, but the principle allows, also, for a pre-Fall COW.


III. The COW in Genesis 1-3

A. Need to Recognize the Fullness of the COW

1. Covenant as a ‘binding relationship between two parties that involves both blessings and obligations.’

2. Focus tends to be on Genesis 2.16-17

3. This is a minimization of the COW

4. Remember that a covenant is ‘a relationship within parameters’.

B. Relational Aspect of the COW

1. Man’s Creation – Genesis 1

a. ‘After its kind’

b. Genesis 1.26

2. Purpose of ‘two Creation narratives’ – Genesis 1.1-2.3, 2.4-25

3. Complexity of man

a. A part of Creation; Genesis 2.7

b. Bears the Image of God; Imago Dei

i. Importance of this concept

ii. Genesis 2.7 and the poignancy of man’s Creation

iii. Expressed in what man does

iv. Expressed in who man is

v. Chasm between man and all other Creation; possibilities for application

i. Caution against excesses of environmental movement

ii. Invalidates evolutionary anthropology

4. Genesis 2.18ff and the Imago Dei

a. God’s Creation ‘good’; especially Genesis 1.31

b. Genesis 2.18

i. The solitude of man ‘not good’ ( טוב לא)

ii. Connection with image-bearing

i. Genesis 1.26; within the unity of God, there was plurality.

ii. This plurality not reflected in isolated humanity.

c. Creation of woman

i. Genesis 2.19-20

ii. Genesis 2.21-22

5. Perfection/fullness of Imago Dei

C. Implications/Applications of the relational aspects

1. The blessedness of Adam

a. There is no necessary demerit in humanity.

b. Find our identity as bearers God’s Image.

c. Turning from sin is not a rejection of your identity.

2. Our need for communion

a. Genesis 2.18 and the beginning of the doctrine of the Church

b. Importance of corporate Church