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The inconsistencies of the Covenant of Redemption, the Covenant of Works, and the Covenant of Grace

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by Dr. Jack, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    What is the Covenant of Works?

    The following excerpts were taken from ... carm.org - Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry

    "The Covenant of Works, also known as the Edenic Covenant, is the covenant that God had with Adam in the Garden of Eden where Adam would maintain his position with God through his obedience to the command of God to multiply and fill the earth, subdue it, and also not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil."

    "Some say this is not a covenant, but according to Hosea 6:7 it is. "But like Adam, they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me." Covenants are usually accompanied with stipulations of rewards and punishments. The implication of keeping the requirements of God would be that Adam would have been blessed in his endeavors, which is implied in the "tree of life." The curse of breaking the covenant resulted in his death (Genesis 2:17), and death in the case of Adam and Eve began the moment they sinned."

    My comments: The first thing I must say is that I am NOT denying a "covenant"; what I AM questioning, is the CONTENTS of the covenant.


    What I want people to notice here is that the Author of the above uses for a 'first' line of defense: 'Is this an actual covenant'? Yes it is; but what does it actually say?

    Notice the author's words from the second excerpt ... "The implication of keeping the requirements of God would be that Adam would have been blessed in his endeavors, which is implied in the "tree of life.""

    What blessing is this author referring to? We can see the answer at another Calvinist site ...

    Ligonier Ministries

    "To understand the covenant of works, we must consider Adam’s state in the garden of Eden before the fall. God created Adam “good” and in the proper relationship with Him (Gen. 1:31). He was not as good as could be, however. By obeying the command to not eat the forbidden fruit (vv. 16-17), Adam could have reflected God’s glory more fully, and would have merited eternal life for himself and his descendants. We know this to be the case because that is what Jesus did, and Jesus is the second Adam tasked with fulfilling the vocation of the first Adam (1 Cor. 15:45)."

    It is the belief of Calvinist's that had Adam NOT transgressed in the Garden of Eden, Adam would have "merited eternal life for himself and his descendants".

    This however is impossible for a minimum of two reasons.

    1) The reason Jesus was able to secure enternal 'spiritual' life for mankind was because He was God in the flesh.
    2) (According to Calvinism) Adam was determined, and decreed by the Sovereign God to transgress in the Garden of Eden; while God had by His own determinate counsel was decreed to be the Redeemer; meaning, it would be impossible for Him to transgress in any way. Since the two Adams were decreed for opposite purposes, it would be impossible for the first Adam to accomplish anything other than what he did accomplish.

    Hence, for the Calvinist to claim what the first Adam could have done 'by implication' is an absolute fallacy.

    We must then consider what the text actually does state.

    2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis

    We have here a text with two parts:
    1) the command [But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:];

    and 2) the consequence [for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die].

    Each day that Adam and Eve obeyed God, it reflected their belief in God. (Spiritual life)
    But the day they disobeyed God, it reflected their unbelief in God. (Spiritual death)

    The Tree of Life possessed something that prolonged, (or at least sustained) physical life. This is why they were removed from the Garden of Eden, had they continued to eat of the Tree of Life, their physical bodies would not die; condemning them to physical immortality, while suffering from spiritual death. In the resurrection, in Christ, we will have full restoration (if you would) of both.

    Hence, we have the issue of the Covenant of Redemption being a cause of the Fall of Adam (God in fact decreed it).

    Then we have the issue of God actually making a Covenant of Works that would have allowed man to "merit" eternal life, which would give no glory to God.

    Then we have the issue of God making a Covenant of Works, which He had already decreed to fail. (The Covenant of Redemption as presented by Calvinists required the decree of God for Adam to transgress his law.)

    Finally, the Covenant of Works completely contradicts the Covenant of Grace ... and why wouldn't it. (It's the idea that the same God made both Covenants (according to Calvinism).)
     
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  2. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    Yes, they do contradict each other. That is by design. Reformed theology (Calvinism) recognizes all of humanity as being under one of these two covenants. A person is either working to earn for their salvation (works), or they are trusting in Jesus' work to provide their salvation (grace).
    Adam was first placed under the covenant of works by virtue of his relationship to the Creator. God essentially told Adam, "Do this and you will live." (works)
    But, when Adam had sinned, God entered him into the covenant of grace which is, by faith, trusting in the work of someone else. "The seed of the woman will bruise the serpent's head."
     
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  3. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    That is an awful amount of supposition on the part of Calvinism.

    1) Adam could have lived 10,000 years, then one day ... oops ... so much for eternal life.
    2) None of us have the relationship with God that Adam had when he was created.
    3) We are born with a sin nature, hence, we cannot therefore be in a Covenant of works for our salvation.
    4) Since, according to Calvinism, God determines who will, and will not be saved, any covenant of works to "merit" salvation would be moot.
     
  4. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    Whether he lived 10,000 years or his actual 930 is beside the point. His life span was based on the condition of his performance, the terms of the covenant: obey Me and you will live.

    Regardless of our relationship to God, if we are not in Christ, then God is going to judge us based on our performance of His law.
    God's determination does not change the fact that those under the law will be judged by the law.
     
  5. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    I notice you skipped point #2. Adam was created without a sin nature. But let's look at the determination situation.

    The Covenant of Redemption (according to Calvinism) requires Adam to transgress the Descriptive Law of God (The Covenant of Works).

    So the first issue we must deal with is why God made a Covenant of Works with Adam in the Garden of Eden, when the Godhead had already, (prior to creation), 1) determined that Jesus would be the Redeemer; and 2) had already determined all of mankind would be become degenerate; and 3) had already decreed that Adam would transgress.

    Hence, we have God decreeing Adam to transgress the very Covenant of works He would make with Adam. Meaning, the Decreed law of God contradicted the Prescriptive Law of God, and Adam was held responsible.
     
  6. His student

    His student Well-Known Member

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    I don't see the wrong headed suppositions on the part of Calvinism - even after reading your post number 5.
     
  7. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    2 was quoted with 3 having recieved the same answer.

    I would say the reasons you provide here are a sufficient answer to this issue. The keywords being 'determined' and 'decreed.' As you suggest, had there been no 'Fall', there would be no reconciliation, no occasion for the Son to redeem a people for Himself by His blood.
    God does not violate His own law. This would charge the holy God with sin. He decreed that Adam should fail to keep his charge by the seduction of Eve over which he was responsible.
     
  8. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    Let me get this right ...

    God decreed Adam to transgress, then He made a Covenant with Adam requiring Adam to override His own (God's) previously made decree, (which Adam was powerless to do.)

    Adam was decreed by the sovereign will of God PRIOR TO CREATION to transgress the Command of God not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But God then gave Adam a prescriptive law to NOT eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Now since God decreed Adam to transgress that law, Adam had no ability to do other than what Adam was decreed to do. Meaning, Adam (and all of mankind) are being held responsible for Adam doing exactly what God decreed Adam to do.

    So if God would decree that you must stand to live, but doesn't give you legs to stand with, is it just to condemn you for sitting, because God gave you no ability to stand?
     
  9. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    Every man knows that it is his duty to furnish his own will, understanding, and conscience unto good works. If he fails and desensitizes them by the indulgence of his lusts, he has none to blame but himself.
    Romans 2:15
    They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them
     
  10. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    1) I'm only presenting what Calvinism teaches.
    2) For God to have the Calvinistic version of the Covenant of Redemption, God had to decree Adam to transgress.

    This begs the question ... What measures were necessary for God to take to insure Adam would transgress in the Garden of Eden. Unless Adam transgressed, there would be no need of a Redeemer. Hence, if God had already determined that Christ would be the redeemer; God would have to insure that Adam did infact transgress.
     
  11. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, all that Scripture only applies to man AFTER Adam's transgression. Adam didn't have the law written on his heart. He had no knowledge of good and evil prior to the fall.

    So again we are still addressing the question ... What measures did God take to insure Adam would transgress in the Garden.

    We know Adam had no sin nature; and we know that Calvinism teaches that God, by His sovereign will, decreed Adam to transgress.
     
  12. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    Yes, God ensures that His will and predetermined plan takes place. As far as how it unfolded in time and space, we can only draw from what is revealed in the Scriptures, particularly Genesis 3.
     
  13. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    Prior to the Fall, Adam and Eve demonstrated that they knew God's will. They communed with Him and understood what He expected of them. Eve even corrects the serpent upon his initial temptation.
     
  14. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    Let's do that!

    First, let me be clear, I do NOT in any way believe that God decreed Adam to transgress.

    But, since Calvinists do teach that doctrine; let's take a look.

    3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die.3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Genesis

    According to Calvinism:
    1) God decreed Adam to sin.
    2) God put the tree in the center of the Garden.
    3) God put Satan in the Garden to cast doubt on the word of God.
    4) God gave Adam a woman that He knew would persuade him eat the forbidden fruit.

    This looks like a setup to me.
     
  15. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    I'm not debating the fact that they didn't know what God commanded them. But that doesn't equate to having the law written on their hearts.

    Additionally, Eve while trying to correct Satan, added to the word of God.

    3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden.3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Genesis

    God said nothing about touching it.

    Notice verse 7 ...

    3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Genesis

    Although they knew what God told them, "the eyes of them both were opened" AFTER the fall, not before.

    But this still doesn't address what measures God took to ensure Adam would fall.
     
  16. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    It was a test.
     
  17. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately for Calvinism, this "test" was supposed to be a multiple choice test:
    A) Eat
    B) Don't Eat

    But God had already (prior to creation) decreed Adam to choose "A".

    What measures did God take to insure Adam would choose "A"?
     
  18. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    The Scriptures portray that Adam failed to obey God by as simple an act as merely being handed the fruit by his wife.
     
  19. royal priest

    royal priest debtor to grace

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    Actually this does. Although Adam and Eve were sinless, they had the capacity to sin. One important observation that bears on the temptation in the garden, is the fact that they yeilded so easily. We might argue that their innocence is what made them so vulnerable to the serpent's enticement. But Eve's errant rebuttal reveals that perhaps they were not so innocent. Her response implies at least two things. One is that she forgot what God told them. Her other implication is that God is unreasonable.
    This points to a potential neglect of faithfulness to God on Eve's part and perhaps Adam's as well as her spiritual leader.
    This neglect is a principle that is manifested in all people when it comes temptation leading up to sin. It begins subtly with small compromises. When considering God's government over that awful event in the garden, we must take into account Adam and Eve's culpability. For without that, there would have been no capacity to sin, all external influences notwithstanding.
    As far as the question of what measures God used, we are seeking to reach for something that transcends there mere event given in Genesis 3.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  20. Dr. Jack

    Dr. Jack Well-Known Member

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    I think you are missing something here. Most Calvinists proudly claim Sola Scriptura, yet, they teach that God decreed Adam to transgress in the Garden of Eden. Yet, in all of my years of (without giving my Resume), reading, and study of the Scriptures, have NEVER, not once seen a text stating directly, or indirectly that decreed Adam to sin.

    This teaching is the backbone of Deterministic Calvinism. Calvinism teaches:

    1) God is sovereign in all matters.
    2) God's foreknowledge is based upon what He has determined for the future.
    3) God determined who would, and who would not be saved.
    4) In eternity, prior to the creation, the Godhead determined that God would be the Redeemer of mankind.
    5) Prior to creation, the sovereign God made the willful decree to have Adam transgress in the Garden of Eden, which God also determined would then transfer the guilt of Adam's transgression upon the rest of mankind, resulting in their condemnation.

    Even though there is NO Scripture supporting the teaching that God decreed Adam to sin, Calvinism teaches it as factual. Hence, we not only have a teaching that has no Scriptural support, but we have no scriptural references that tell us how this decree was carried out.
     
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