Those who see any relationship within Scripture, and so creation, between our God and mankind in general, are simply not looking at those relationships given to us (not “suggested” to us) by our God in His special revelation, which is the Scriptures.
From Adam, to Noah, to Abraham and the other Patriarchs, to Moses, to David, one cannot find a relationship which is not predicated and founded in the covenant construct. Indeed, our God is covenantal, and so gives us the paradigm of His relationship with both Israel and our parent of the flesh:
Hosea 6:7: But like Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.
This is a paradigmatic statement of mankind’s relationships with God throughout Scripture, and since Scripture defines man’s relations with God as they occur within natural revelation, this is a paradigmatic statement of man’s relations with God throughout history.
Going back to the very first relationship of man with God, our God declares, of the nation Israel, that they have broken that covenantal relationship with Him as the father of mankind did. Subsequently, all else that occurs within Scripture, and so natural theology, must be so defined, not because we would have it as such, but because our God declared it as such.
I challenge any who are students of Scripture, and so historical and systematic theology, to prove otherwise. While I admit that various formulations abound to this effect, I also categorically, and adamantly, insist that all such are novelties which detach themselves from both Scripture, historical theology and orthodox systematic theology.
My proof has been offered simplistically, yet I insist it is all inclusive: To wit: All mankind finds itself either in the Covenant of Works with our father after the flesh, or in the Covenant of Grace with our Savior after the Spirit. Scripture simply does not allow for anything else.
For proof of my premise, I simply offer that which the 1689 LBC so succinctly distills:
1689 Baptist Confession – Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant
- The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience to him as their creator, yet they could never have attained the reward of life but by some voluntary condescension on God’s part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant. (Luke 17:10; Job 35:7, 8)
- Moreover, man having brought himself under the curse of the law by his fall, it pleased the Lord to make a covenant of grace, wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life, his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe. (Genesis 2:17; Galatians 3:10; Romans 3:20, 21; Romans 8:3; Mark 16:15, 16; John 3:16; Ezekiel 36:26, 27; John 6:44, 45; Psalms 110:3)
- This covenant is revealed in the gospel; first of all to Adam in the promise of salvation by the seed of the woman, and afterwards by farther steps, until the full discovery thereof was completed in the New Testament; and it is founded in that eternal covenant transaction that was between the Father and the Son about the redemption of the elect; and it is alone by the grace of this covenant that all the posterity of fallen Adam that ever were saved did obtain life and blessed immortality, man being now utterly incapable of acceptance with God upon those terms on which Adam stood in his state of innocency. ( Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 11:6, 13; Romans 4:1, 2, &c.; Acts 4:12; John 8:56)
Sincerely, with all glory to God, Bill H.