Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Covenant of Creation and Natural Law

The Westminster Confession of Faith XIX.1 states that God, upon creating Adam, bound him to a covenant of works. The covenant of creation was inextricably bound with the law of creation, both of which are of perpetual validity.

The law of nature is a covenantal expression of God's will for his rational creatures, whether fallen or redeemed. Because this is the case Paul could hold Gentile sinners responsible for such breaches as failure to worship and glorify the one true God, idolatry, homosexuality, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, gossip, prideful boasting, disobedience to parents, and covenant breaking (Rom. 1:18-32).

As I stated previously, each covenant's law has its own inherent uses, the identification of which helps alleviate the difficulty that many unnecessarily feel in seeking various ways to apply "the moral law."

The law of creation serves to demonstrate the Creator's glorious existence (Psa. 19:1ff), to highlight his righteous demands upon his creatures (Rom. 1:18ff), and to hold man's sin and rebellion in check (Gen. 9:6). For those who are in Adam the creation covenant's curse-sanction still functions to accuse and condemn the conscience of sin and evil (Rom. 2:14-15). For those in Christ, however, the curse has been lifted but the precepts still remain in effect (Matt. 19:4-8; I Tim. 2:11-15).

The covenant of creation, therefore, provides us with our paradigm's first example of a covenant with its corresponding law. Because of the fact that all of mankind is "hardwired" to recognize this law and acquiesce in it, I will concede that it may be referred to as "the moral law" (though it is not my preferred nomenclature).

It is when we get to the next two examples that things will get interesting....