Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Covenant that Poisioned Christ

Romans 11:6 - "And if by grace, then [it is] no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if [it is] of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work."
If the Covenant of Works was given to Adam upon his creation, as part of who he is and what he is to do, then it's inherent to his make up and his relationship to God. That is to say, Adam is by nature a slave, interacting with God and earning favor on the basis of his own works. That's what Adam is. Rules are to him what water is to fish, it's his medium, his support, it permeates and defines him.
So then, being created in law, under law, and indwelt by moral law, Adam is tasked with nothing less than the keeping of the law, of,  'do not eat lest you die' which may be rephrased to 'keep the law and you will live.'

But that's astonishing! If Adam is created in God's image, then God too is a being of rules, and He forms relationships on the basis of them- for what is true of Adam must be true of God. Rules must be not just in His nature, but His nature. Since rule keeping is necessary for Adam to become established and loved, (this is why the probationary period is so critical) Christ too is a dearly beloved son because He keeps the law and obeys the Fathers will. Jesus is loved by God because He volunteers to go do God's will, but it's really only after he comes to Earth and completes the mission that He is well and truly loved best.

Now if this is right, that works are not just the agreement Adam is under but his nature, and he was created in the image of God, and so God is under/in works by nature, then we are left with only one conclusion: all of God's dealings with both creation and Himself are on the basis of works, rules, and laws.
And this is precisely what the consistent theologians are telling us in the Covenant of Redemption, which is a covenant between the persons of the trinity. Salvation is carried out because of a pre-existing agreement. Salvation is not motivated by family, or sonship, or love, but on a kind of contract basis.
This is also proven by the work and incarnation of Christ Himself - He came to Earth as a man to keep the rules during a probationary period in order to merit the goodie bag of salvation. Salvation is all of works, just Christ's works. Works are the real engine and grace is redefined to 'the portion of works that we receive.'
But this also has some unpleasant further consequences not fully considered: creation cannot be an act of grace but an act of necessity, for God is compelled by the rules to create Adam, in order to give Himself maximal glory.*
Redemption is absolutely necessary for God to have vessels of mercy to show His goodness upon, while vessels of wrath have been prepared to pour His fury on.
Heaven is a place where we get to keep the rules for all eternity, because that's what we are by nature, rule keepers.
Hell is the place for people who didn't do a good enough job keeping the rules.

But if Romans is right then this is utterly ruinous for grace, for if God is all works then God can not be of or for grace- it is already all of works. The pestilence once poured on Adam cannot be stopped from going upstream and polluting Christ also. The covenant of works acts like an acid, eating away at grace until all that's left is a kind of empty Phariseesim watched over by a cold, legalistic, small deity. The story of the Bible is no longer that of sonship lost, a father who pursues, a sonship regained, but a man submitting a form to a bureaucracy, receiving a stamp "INCOMPLETE", another man swapping out a better form, and receiving a new stamp "COMPLETE."
That's not the Bible.
Therefore there can't be a Covenant of Works.

*I know that under the standard idea God was under no compunction to create, but once He did certain things were necessary, therefore creation itself is foremost a gracious act. Redemption is likewise argued on the basis of grace. But this can only be true if the covenant of works is wrong. If it is true that Adam was a being of works, and was made in God's image, then God is likewise a being of works. God must act in accordance with the rules He's under because that's who He is. Consider it: if it is by works then there is simply no room left for grace. If it is of grace then this system must fall- Adam cannot be a slave creature under such a covenant.

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