A Bible covenant is an agreement between God and humanity that operates much like a contract. All of God’s covenants with humanity originate in His grace. And it is a good thing! Man’s disobedience broke the first covenant, but God’s grace enabled the relationship to continue.
Looking for these covenants as you read the Bible makes Bible reading personal. The Adamic Covenant is the first of several the reader connects the Bible’s storyline.
Believing God is not better than His word and that He keeps His word/promises is a good starting point when reading the Bible. Recognising that a covenant is in effect until fulfilled helps us understand the times in which we live. There is a bigger story being told than what is found in the daily newspaper!
The first covenant between God and Man is known as the Adamic Covenant. This Covenant corresponds with the Age of Creation. It was given to Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, before their Fall. The fellowship with God was conditioned on Adam’s obedience to the commands. It is given in Genesis 1:28.
To replenish and subdue the earth.
The Covenant begins with replenishing the earth with a race of people formed from its ground. The concept of replenishing implies the earth was previously populated. Scholars usually dismiss the teaching by changing the word or its definition to plenish or fill. The suffix, however, confirms the understanding that the earth was originally created; put through a period of case; and its elements reformed for humanity to refill.
Population control is a concept of those opposed to God’s Covenant. According to National Geographic, the entire world’s population of 7 billion persons could fit should-to-shoulder within the 1300 square kilometres of Los Angeles, California.
To have dominion over non-human inhabitants.
The Covenant includes assigning dominion to humanity over all animals, domestic and wild, fish of the sea and fowl of the air. Dominion is simply a power to govern with authority (Psalm 8:3-8). Many misinterpret this to mean humanity has the right to disregard the life of animals, but Scripture is clear that is not the case (Proverbs 12:10).
To dress and keep the garden.
The Covenant further expects humanity to beautify God’s creation. The responsibility to care for the earth from which man was created protects against misinterpretations of subdue and dominion. This was a work of pleasure before becoming a work of toil (Genesis 3:17-18).
As part of the Covenant, there was a particular tree within the Garden of Eden humanity was forbidden to eat. Known as The Tree of Knowledge and Evil, the abundance of divine blessing was not enough to prevent humanity’s parents disobeying the command.
Humanity broke their original covenant with their Creator. God affirmed the Covenant requirements but announced the knowledge gained from disobedience meant pro-creation would be painful; tilling the garden would be toilsome and the animal world would never appear the same (Genesis 3:14, 16, 18-19).
In mercy, God gave a promise during Man’s curse: that an offspring would right the wrong that begin when listening to the tempter (Genesis 3:15). Eve thought Abel was the fulfilment of that promise (Genesis 4:1), however, he was murdered by his own brother, Cain. With hindsight, we now understand that Jesus Christ is the promised seed. Jesus defeated death and will return to restore the Earth to its Edenic condition.