Edenic Covenant

EDENIC COVENANT (Conditional)

SIGN:  TREE of LIFE.
SEAL:  MARRIAGE.

A COVENANT OF WORKS MARRED BY SIN.  

1. Subdue the Earth.
Take control of the environment.

2. Rule over Animals.
Dominate all creatures.

  3. Keep (tend) the Garden.
Serve in paradise.

    4. Abstain from the Fruit of One Tree.
Obey the commandments of God.

    5. Propagate the Race.
        Marry male to female (monogamy), one flesh.

Let us review the key verses for this covenant:
Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:15-25

AND GOD SAID, LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS; AND LET THEM HAVE DOMINION OVER THE FISH OF THE SEA, AND OVER THE FOWL OF THE AIR, AND OVER THE CATTLE, AND OVER ALL THE EARTH, AND OVER EVERY CREEPING THING THAT CREEPETH UPON THE EARTH.
SO GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, IN THE IMAGE OF GOD CREATED HE HIM; MALE AND FEMALE CREATED HE THEM.
AND GOD BLESSED THEM, AND GOD SAID UNTO THEM, BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY, AND REPLENISH THE EARTH, AND SUBDUE IT: AND HAVE DOMINION OVER THE FISH OF THE SEA, AND OVER THE FOWL OF THE AIR, AND OVER EVERY LIVING THING THAT MOVETH UPON THE EARTH.  (1:26-28)

AND THE LORD GOD TOOK THE MAN, AND PUT HIM INTO THE GARDEN OF EDEN TO DRESS IT AND TO KEEP IT.
AND THE LORD GOD COMMANDED THE MAN SAYING, OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN THOU MAYEST FREELY EAT:
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.
AND THE LORD GOD SAID, IT IS NOT GOOD THAT THE MAN SHOULD BE ALONE: I WILL MAKE HIM A HELP MEET FOR HIM.
AND OUT OF THE GROUND THE LORD GOD FORMED EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD, AND EVERY FOWL OF THE AIR; AND BROUGHT THEM UNTO ADAM TO SEE WHAT HE WOULD CALL THEM: AND WHATSOEVER ADAM CALLED EVERY LIVING CREATURE, THAT WAS THE NAME THEREOF.
AND ADAM GAVE NAMES TO ALL CATTLE, AND TO THE FOWL OF THE AIR, AND TO EVERY BEAST OF THE FIELD: BUT FOR ADAM THERE WAS NOT FOUND A HELP MEET FOR HIM.
AND THE LORD GOD CAUSED A DEEP SLEEP TO FALL UPON ADAM, AND HE SLEPT: AND HE TOOK ONE OF HIS RIBS, AND CLOSED UP THE FLESH INSTEAD THEREOF;
AND THE RIB, WHICH THE LORD GOD HAD TAKEN FROM MAN, MADE HE A WOMAN, AND BROUGHT HER UNTO THE MAN.
AND ADAM SAID, THIS IS NOW BONE OF MY BONES, AND FLESH OF MY FLESH: SHE SHALL BE CALLED “WOMAN” BECAUSE SHE WAS TAKEN OUT OF MAN.
THEREFORE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND HIS MOTHER, AND SHALL CLEAVE UNTO HIS WIFE: AND THEY SHALL BE ONE FLESH.
AND THEY WERE BOTH NAKED, THE MAN AND HIS WIFE, AND WERE NOT ASHAMED.  (2:15-25)

INTRODUCTION TO THE EDENIC COVENANT

The Edenic Covenant was given by God right after He created Adam and just before He created Eve, both of them “in his own image” (v.27). Since God is a Spirit (John 4:24), the most distinctive quality that man possesses is an immortal spirit. Note that God did not make the animals “in his image.” That means that there is a spiritual gulf between man and the animals that cannot be crossed.
Men can resemble God in some aspects (v.26) without being equal to Him. The most important characteristic imparted by God is that man has free will, that is, he can make up his mind to do something or not to do something. He may use logic, emotions or necessity to guide him. [ Or, he may turn to God’s Word as we are doing right now, for wisdom and instruction. ]
First, the Edenic Covenant was a conditional covenant because it involved active obedience by Adam and Eve to keep it. The key to the Edenic Covenant is that all Adam and Eve had to do at this point was to do what God told them to do, that is, tend and keep the Garden of Eden. Also, they were to dominate God’s creation and to have many children. Lastly, God told them not to eat the fruit of one of the trees in the garden.
Consider in detail the agreement God provided. The covenant contains God’s first “command” (v.16) to man. On the plus side were blessings; on the minus side were prohibitions. It concerned life and death, good and evil.  Even so, Adam and Eve had everything! All earthly goods, plus fish, flesh, and fowl were at their disposal. Except for the forbidden tree. God’s word is very clear: Eating fruit from the forbidden tree is equal to DEATH!
The Sign of the covenant is the tree of life and not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The proof will be found in the following verses which must be reviewed and studied. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (the testing tree) is mentioned in Genesis 2:9 and 2:17. We do not know what this tree was nor can we determine the fruit thereof. We do know that it looked good and that it probably tasted good as well. The tree of life is recorded in Genesis 2:9; 3:22,24; Revelation 2:7; 22:14). If you will compare these verses in the context of the covenant you will see that the tree of life is the greater tree. The reason for this is that the tree of life is there at the beginning and it is there at the end and the value of this tree is eternal life (Genesis 3:22), not death making it good in God’s eyes because God is pro-life and not pro-death. Notice that this covenant sign belongs to God but has been seen by man, namely Adam and Eve.
The Seal of the covenant was marriage as ordained by God consisting of one man and one woman. That this relationship continues to this day we find that Jesus cites the Old Testament Scripture in Genesis as the acceptable relationship of a man and a woman (Matthew 19:4-6). Notice that this covenant seal is ordained of God, but mankind is actively involved.

THE TERMS OF THE EDENIC COVENANT.

1. Subdue the Earth.
God commanded Adam and his posterity to subdue the earth. Simply, he was to take over the earth. This means to take control of the environment and take responsibility for it. He was to protect it. He was to cultivate the earth. God created human life to rule over His creation as God’s sole representative beginning at the Garden of Eden and extending to the whole earth.

2. Rule over Animals.
Adam not only named all the animals (in many cultures the power to name is the power to claim), God gave him complete dominion over all the animals in that they were entrusted to his oversight. He was to see to their care and nurture. He was to protect them. As indicated earlier, the animals did not have immortal souls, though God gave them “lively” natures and characteristics for their survival and reproduction and man’s enjoyment.

3. Keep (tend) the Garden.
Adam was to “dress and keep” the Garden. “Keep” is used in the sense of to tend and to preserve it. “Dress” carries the meaning of arrange, embellish, or groom it. That means he was to pay attention to it as a farmer or a landscaper would develop and cultivate a parcel of land. This was the major work of his service in paradise. The first three commands clearly indicate that Adam himself had to work out the best ways to accomplish the tasks that God had given him (and the human race). Thus, Adam and Eve were to serve God in Paradise. God made them able to do so.

4. Abstain from the Fruit of One Tree.

The first three commands were commandments of “works,” like tasks that you or I may be given to do within our capability. One thing he was not to do. God wanted Adam and his descendants not to eat fruit of one dangerous tree called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” This was a commandment of obedience. He was to obey by not doing a specific act: Do not eat that or you will die.  Adam and Eve had free will and God had given them the ability to follow His wishes.
There is no way to know what God had planned for the human race if Adam and Eve had obeyed the conditions of the Edenic Covenant. Seeing the vastness of God’s creation, had man obeyed, where in the universe might he have moved and migrated? We can never know.

5. Propagate the Race.

And God desired that Adam propagate the human race and make it to increase. The vehicle for this command was the God-given act of marriage, clearly, male to female, one husband to one wife (monogamy). Even Jesus said so as we cited earlier. Any changes in this aspect of the Edenic Covenant is blasphemy against God.
Marriage is the mainstay of society. Over thousands of years around the globe marriage has produced the harmony of a man and a woman in a community so that society can grow and prosper.
Let’s look at the background of why this should be so. Despite the fact that God said that all creation was “good” (Genesis 1:4,10,12,18,21,25), He also said that for Adam to be alone was “not good” (Genesis 2:18). The main reason God created Eve was to give Adam “a help meet” or an appropriate partner (v. 18) especially for him.
This means that what Adam lacked Eve provided and what Eve lacked Adam supplied. As a couple they fulfilled each other’s needs. Because God made man in His image as “male and female” (Genesis 1:27), Adam and Eve “corresponded physically, socially, and spiritually” (Creation and Blessing, Allen P. Ross, p. 126).
Fully prepared by God to assist each other and to serve Him via obedience to His commands, they would enjoy fellowship with God, with each other, and the bounty of His creation. Created originally sinless, they had an unashamed nakedness which indicates that they were at ease with each other without headship, without exploitation and without evil.

ENDNOTES TO THE EDENIC COVENANT.

In the beginning man loved God and was a holy creature. It did not last.
What occurred next is a tragedy all men must bear.
What actually happened was that Adam and Eve could not keep this covenant of works so that it became marred by sin. To foreshadow a little of what is covered in the study of the next covenant: It is important to note that the sin was the sin of disobedience. It was not a sexual sin which is a physical sin. It was a willful mental sin of choice, that is, the sin that drove them from paradise was a sin that stemmed from a willful act as we will see in our study of the next covenant.
In Eden, God and the couple had a direct one-on-one relationship through several activities under the terms that God had given them. One must understand this basic relationship where God is actually present and involved and interacting with mankind to learn how God continued to reveal Himself to man through the Covenants of God.  That is why such a study as we are undertaking is so valuable.

Lastly, there is a simple way to remember the Edenic Covenant: (1) God had a plan for man. (2) He had a place for him (Eden). (3) He made a partner for him (Eve) that involved a (4) parting (from Mom and Dad) as an example to all mankind. He created them (Adam and Eve) in (5) purity so that they could generate a (6) posterity through their lifelong marriage because it had (7) permanence.

Ray Staszewski

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s