The Adamic covenant – What is it?

The Adamic covenant is a two-part statement of God's promise to Adam—first, in the garden during the time of man's innocence, and secondly, after the fall of man. The first part of the promise, sometimes called the Edenic covenant, is found in Genesis 1:26-30 and 2:16-17. It outlines the parameters of Adam's existence in the garden of Eden. The second part of the promise, which was given after Adam sinned, outlines the parameters of Adam's existence outside the garden, including the curse found in Genesis 3:16-19.

The first part of the Adamic covenant, the Edenic covenant, consists of blessings and a warning to Adam. He and Eve are created in God's image, and given dominion over the animals. They are given the gift of relationship with one another and the ability to bear children and expand the race over the whole Earth. They are vegetarian, so no slaughter of animals is necessary. Eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is forbidden. God makes it clear that "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Genesis 2:17). Adam broke the Edenic covenant when he took the fruit that Eve gave him, and ate it, defying God's command and bringing the penalty of death on the whole race (Romans 5:12-14).

The second part of the Adamic covenant is how God deals with the breaking of the Edenic covenant. There are punishments, and another promise. As a result of Adam's sin, there will always be hatred between Satan and Eve, and her descendants. Women will experience pain in childbirth, and there will be disharmony between man and wife. The soil will be cursed, thorns and thistles will appear in the plants, and survival in general will be a struggle for the whole natural world (Romans 8:22-23). Finally, death will be the fate of every living being (Genesis 3:14-19).

Despite the terrible nature of these curses, and the havoc that ensued, contained within the curse is a promise. Speaking to Satan, God says "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15). It is indeed literally true that man does bruise the snake on the head, and is bruised by the snake on his heel, but this curse was not intended only for snakes. It was spoken to Satan, in anticipation of Jesus Christ's victory. The promise indicates the "offspring" or "seed" of a woman, which can only mean a virgin birth. The seed of a woman is Jesus Christ, who though He was bruised by the cross (Isaiah 53:4-5), will crush the head of the Great Serpent (Galatians 4:4, 1 John 3:8).

Related Truth:

What are the different covenants in the Bible?

Covenant Theology - What is it?

The Abrahamic covenant – What is it?

The Davidic covenant – What is it?

The new covenant – What is it?

Return to:
Truth about Theology

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