By definition, a "covenant" is an "agreement" or a "contractual obligation" made between two agreeing parties. Many covenants usually are made between men and women. But history pointed out that God made a total of 8 "covenants" with men over the span of ongiong human history. Before I list all 8 covenants and give you a detail ananlysis on each, Let's me give you some key elements behind each one of them. As I said, God made 8 covenants with man, and in each one that HE made, He made promises to man and obligated himself to fulfill each one of them based on whether man would adhere to certain conditions set forth by God. Every covenant related to the planet earth. Every one of them would introduce a new Dispensation. Out of the 8 covenants God made, 6 out of the eight were made to individuals and "represenative men" such as Adam, Abraham, Noah. With the exception of David, God executed his part of the covenant and put the agreement into effect during the lifetimes of the individual involved.
It must be noted that the covenant he made with David took effect at the birth of out Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Each one of the covents has a definite time element of duration and would expire at a certaind time God would set. 4 of the covenants had the destinction of being destinguished by certin "sign" The first of the 8 "Covenants" are the following:
I. The Edenic Covenant
The Edenc Covenant was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, prior to the epic Fall of Man. This "covenant" brought about the first dispensation in world and human history : the "Dispensation of Innocence" and was as such a "covenant" that God made with Adam and Eve based upon "obendience".
The "Edenic" Covenant is based upon Genesis 1:28- 30 and Genesis 2:15-17. In the first passage, God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Then after God made man in his image and after His likeness in Genesis 1:26-27, God then breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul. Afterwards, God planted a garden eastward in Eden and place man in that garden. Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
After God placed man into the Garden of Eden, to work it and take care of it. Lord God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
There were 7 Conditions Adam and Eve had to meet in this covenant:
A. Procreation: Replenish the Earth through "fruitfulness anf multiplicity"
The earth according to Genesis 1:2: was in a chaotic state. darkness covered the whole earth. God had destroyed the previous earth and the Pre- Adamic race had been become extinct. it was the cahrge of Adam and Eve to repopulate the edemic earth with a earthly race of people.
B. Subjugation: Subdue the Earth
Adam and Eve were to subdue the earth to meet the need of the human race. They were to use the intellegence God placed within them to harness the different sources of energy to be used by man , enabling man to use these sources of energy to make his life livable and comfortable. God gave then severall sources of energy: heat, air, light, eloectricity, gravity, etc..
C. Domestication: You have dominion over the Animals (Beast) of the Field, the fowls of the air , the things that crept on the earth and thise thisng and fishes in the sea.
Adam and Eve had dominion over all animal creation both wild and domesticated. Prior to the fall in the garden all of animal creation lived in harmony. all were herbiviors, that is plant eating and none were a threat to the other. . The Psalmist in Psalms 8 gives a beautiful illustration of the tranquility that existed between man and the animal kingdom:
"You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas". (NIV)
D. Diet: A Vegetable Diet
According to Genesis 2:16-17, God originally intended for man to have a vegeterian diet. in verse 16, God told Adam that he could eat from them, and it is obvious from Genesis 1:30, this was God's intention from the beginning. But God placed a deadly restriction on the tree in the middle of the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
E. Cultivation: Till the Garden
Because there was no curse on the ground in the Garden of Eden, "tiling" the ground was not a laborous task. Gardening became hard work after the fall. It was then that man had to deal with thorns and thistles, as well as changing climatic conditions, outside of Eden. To keep Adam and Eve from corrupting mankind and the whole earth permanently, God kicked them out of the garden and placed Cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.
F. Abstention: Abstain from Eathing from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
The first dispensation is called the Dispensation of innocence bacause Adam and Eve were both created in a state of innocence. Man had no prior knowledge of sin before he ate from the forbidden tree. Had they obeyed God and never ate from the that tree, Man would still be in an innocent state today and still would refuse to eat from that tree. Adam and Eve could have eaten ferom the tree of life as much as they wanted to before they ate from the forbidden tree. Once they ate from the forbidden tree, "their eyes became open and they came face to face with the difference betweewn good and evil". their act of disobedience broke the Edenic Covenant.
G. "Death" and a Change to a "New Covenant"
The innocent condition Adam and Eve had before they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree died the instant thy ate the forbidden fruit. They would have died both physically and spirfitually at that moment too if it hadn't been for the Grace of God, and the institution of a new covenant called the "Adamic Covenant". Little did Adam and Eve knows, God already knew that They were going to fall in the Garden, so HE had a plan of redemption already in place. Revelation 13:8 reveals that plan: "The "Lamb of God" was slain before the foundation of the world". In truth, there was a "Calvary in Heaven" before God created the "Garden of Eden" on earth.
In the next covenant, we will explore how God's plan for man's redemption begin to come forth and how in the next 7 covenants. God shows his love for us that HE would ultimately give the world their 'sacrificial lamb", their "Messiah" in Jesus Christ.