Before we jump into Covenant Theology - The Creator and His Creatures: Adam we'd like to do a refresher of Covenant Theology:
Covenant Theology is a contract or essentially an agreement between multiple parties. In the Bible, the agreements are typically between God and either a particular person or group of individuals. The agreement will stipulate what each party will do, and the consequences for failing to complete the deal. Interestingly enough, many of the covenants that God established are very unilateral, meaning that He makes promises but does not hold the counterpart (mankind) to any conditions. These agreements are rare and gracious.
For more about this, please refer to our post from last week: Covenant Theology - Introduction.
Ok, back to Adam but before we get to that, we want to prep your mind. Skiing and snowboarding. Both are great sports. Some people enjoy nice resorts, and other prefer to go out of bounds and take life into their own hands for that shred (no pun intended) of adventure to be the first person to ski or snowboard in that section. At the resorts, they provide a great experience ranging from first-time shredders all the way up to advanced but in certain parts of the resort they have ropes marking of sections that shredders are not allowed to ski or snowboard. If caught in these sections you will lose your lift ticket and be asked to leave. Serious consequences right?! Who are they to tell me I can't handle that section of the mountain (my thoughts to myself and my shred crew in my teenage years)?
The resorts obviously know something we don't. It's not that they are challenging our level of expertise, it's that they know if you go out of bounds their rescue teams can't get to you and save you. In other words, agree to stay in bounds and for doing so we will provide everything you would get out of bounds but in bounds comes with the security of rescue teams being able to reach you and save you.
So, what does skiing or snowboarding at a resort and agreeing to stay in bounds have to do with Covenant Theology - The Creator and His Creatures: Adam? Well, we're glad you asked! Let's take a look at what Matt Allen has to say:
Based on the Genesis account, we have some understanding of how and why God created Adam. In Module 1, we presented the Biblical concept that Adam is a type of mankind, and in a generic sense explains both the blessings and the curses that God has bestowed on humanity.
The initial relationship between Adam, his wife Eve, and God is referred to as the Adam covenant. This covenant was defined by a great deal of blessing and responsibility that God gave to Adam. The singular condition God placed on this blessing was that Adam and his wife were not to eat from the tree that God had created in the center of the Garden of Eden. This tree was assigned a special purpose as it represented the knowledge of good and evil, and would cause mankind to possess a portion of the knowledge that belonged to the Creator. To eat this fruit and have this knowledge would prove to be too much for mankind. This knowledge would give mankind an incorrect understanding of his power in relation to that of God. As a result, God would make mankind painfully aware of his limitations by introducing the curse of a limited lifespan, pain in human reproduction, and the mandate of physical labor.
This covenant often referred to as the Adamic covenant, is the first Scriptural example of this relationship between God and man. The covenant was stipulated by one, single condition: Do not eat from the tree that is at the center of the Garden!
We know that Adam and Eve did not obey this condition, and the covenant as such brought about grave consequences for the relationship between God and the human race.
Back to our analogy: Ski Resort and the Adam covenant. Both are agreements. Both agreements stipulate what each party will do, and consequences for failing to complete the agreement. Both are providing parameters to guard us against something we can't handle. In the resort situation they know that if we venture beyond the rope, we will be in territory that we can't handle. In the Adam covenant, God knew that the power received from eating of the tree in the middle of the garden would provide knowledge too much for mankind.
What about the consequences? Obviously, the agreement between the resort and skier or snowboarder only carries a consequence of 1 day shredding lost. The consequence for the Adam covenant carries a much larger punishment: limited lifespan, pain in human reproduction, and the mandate of physical labor. While the consequence of the Adam covenant is heavy, remember that many of the covenants God created are very unilateral, meaning that He makes promises but does not hold the counterpart (mankind) to any conditions. In this covenant God does hold Adam and Eve to the conditions that were laid out:
"but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."
Adam and Eve broke both conditions. They touched it and ate from it. The consequence: mankind now has a limited lifespan. Pretty steep consequence, right?!
As parents we warn our little ones of the dangers of (insert dangerous thing here) and that the consequence is bodily harm and possibly death. Drastic? Yes! But we want them to understand that this is serious. We want to provide parameters for them to live and navigate a life that will provide safe adventures or safe discoveries of life?
Even when our little ones don't listen, we as parents will always be there to rescue them. God does the same. Despite what Adam and Eve did, God immediately put in place a plan to redeem His people. Even though they now have a limited lifespan, pain in human reproduction, and the mandate of physical labor God sent His only son to die for our sins providing us with a way to live eternally with him by turning from our life of sin and living for His glory thus furthering His kingdom!
So, the big question we have to ask is: Why does God put restrictions on us? Why did Adam and Even have to agree not to eat from the tree of life?
Don't think of it so much as a restriction but like in our analogy of the ski resort - skiing or snowboarding in bounds provides an epic experience with the security of ski patrol being able to rescue you when you're in danger. Ski out of bounds, and we lose this security.
God wasn't putting restrictions on us but providing us with an amazing journey, "in bounds," in which we get to live according to His will in our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) a life of hope and welfare. The covenant still exists. Live according to His way of life and prosper. Break the agreement, e.g., live according to your way of life and continue to have a life of limited time.
Remember: God doesn't want to restrict us He wants us to prosper for His glory!
Recommended Reading: Genesis 1-3
Live for His glory... Succeed for His kingdom!