The first covenant that God makes with man will naturally be near “the beginning.” That takes us back to the Garden of Eden. This covenant is not given any official title in scripture, but we will call it the Edenic Covenant; some call it the Creation Covenant. This covenant ushers in what could be called the Age of Innocence. We find it spelled out for us in Gen. 1:28-30 and Gen. 2:15-17.
The Parties Involved
- God–He is always the Initiator.
- His name means “man/mankind,” specifically “ruddy man.”
- He is the “federal head” of mankind (Rom. 5:12-19). These terms would apply to all of Adam’s race.
The Terms of the Covenant
This covenant has both conditional and unconditional terms. The unconditional terms must be fulfilled at some point. Of the seven terms given in the Edenic Covenant, the first five are unconditional.
- Man is to be fruitful, multiply, and replenish the earth.
- “replenish” Some argue that before Adam the earth was populated by another race of people who were destroyed between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2. The command to replenish, therefore, indicates that Adam was to “re-fill” the earth with new people. Based on the context and use of the word “replenish” in Gen. 9:1, this theory has some merit. However, the Bible no where mentions any pre-Adamic race other than the sons of God (angels). We also tend to see the prefix “re” and assume that it implies doing something again. Often this is the case, but sometimes it is not. The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that the definition of “replenish” up until 1612 was simply “to fill, stock up, inhabit, etc.” So at the time of the translation of the KJV, 1611, there was no element of re-filling to the word “replenish.”
- “be fruitful and multiply” Man was told to reproduce (Psa. 127:3-5). However, man is a sinful, self-willed, covenant-breaker (Hos. 6:7). We will see throughout this study that the world is opposed to the word of God and His covenant terms.
The promotion of homosexual behaviour and its accompaning political agenda attacks the first term of the first covenant.
The promotion of eugenics and population control attacks this first term. (One can find many quotes and documents showing the attitude of the political and scientific “elite” on this matter.)
The promotion of abortion and family planning attacks this term. (“Family planning” meaning the view of children and families as being a damper on fun and material gain.)
2. Man is to subdue the earth.
Even before “the Fall”, the earth’s natural resources were wild and raw.
This term requires man to learn and study the physical sciences for their practical benefit. (Not as a way to try and disprove the Bible or explain away God.)
The earth contains visible and invisible resources which man is to subdue. The word “subdue” literally means “to enslave” (Neh. 5:5 –“bondage” is the same Hebrew word.) or even “to violate” (Est. 7:8–When the king accuses Haman of trying to “force” his wife, the same Hebrew word is again used.) Some of the invisible resources are: electricity, gravity, wind, solar rays, magnetism. Some of the visible resources are: precious metals, wood, stone, water, oil, dirt, plants.
Notice again man’s opposition to this second term as the modern environmentalist movement attacks it.
3. Man is to have dominion over the animals.
In subduing the earth and dominating the animal kingdom, man must manage these resources properly. Mis-management will make the benefits of these resources unsustainable.
Enthusiastic animal rights activism attacks this third term.
Pagan religions and their belief in reincarnation attack this term.
Evolutionists attack this by classifying man as just a more developed animal.
4. Man is to restrict himself to a vegetable diet.
The animals, too, were likely herbavores (Gen. 1:30).
This term will be changed under the future Noahic Covenant (Gen. 9:3).
To require a vegetable diet today would be to promote a doctrine of devils (I Tim. 4:3).
Part II coming next week–stay tuned.