Covenant with Adam?

This is a precursor post to my next reading list post, since the next reading list post consists of one book (albeit one fairly hefty 700+ pages, 800+ if you include the bibliography, indices, etc.).

The book is Kingdom through Covenant. My interest in biblical theology has meant an interest in other people’s biblical theologies. The central premise is that covenant acts as a meta-backbone for the metanarrative of the Bible. One of its assertions is that there is a covenant with Adam. Because of this, Paul Williamson gets a fair amount of critique as a noted ‘Adam-covenant-denier’. I reckon Paul would just take it out on the football pitch, or the basketball court. And probably win, but that’s beside the point.

See, thing is, as much as there is tantalising evidence for the existence of a covenant of some description, all of Genesis up to Noah doesn’t actually mention a covenant. The chapter in the book on Genesis 1-3 is more about the kingdom aspects that are apparent here than on the covenant aspects. In fact, I don’t remember Gentry mentioning any specific covenant aspects. And that’s the problem.

Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a covenant there. No. Rather, my argument stems from literary theory.

One does not mention the existence of a gun in a story unless it at some point is going to be shot (the rule or trope known as Chekhov’s Gun). That is, a good author only mentions the details that are important or have a reason for being there. One does not mention elaborate details that have no bearing to the plot or characterisation or so forth.

In the same way, none of the authors or redactors of Genesis saw it fit to include explicit mention of a covenant in those first few chapters. I would argue that this was done because, even if there was one there, it’s not important. In other words, in the canonical scheme of things, the existence or not of any putative covenant with Adam or creation or whatever is a non-issue. Whilst Gentry has dealt with the evidence for and against the existence of a covenant, he has not adequately dealt with what the significance is if it does exist. If it does exist, how does this advance the argument of the book? Answer: I have no idea.

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