Monday, July 26, 2010

1 The Marrow Theology: Further Discussion on Adam and Us

A little further on, in Boston's footnotes to the latter half of Chapter 1 of The Marrow of Modern Divinity, the topic of the Covenant of Works is again brought up - this time, in terms of our human tendency to seek reward by works rather than to humbly receive our own brokenness and cry out for grace as our only hope.

In a section entitled No Recovery by the Law, or Covenant of Works, Fisher's character Nomista asks,

"had it not been possible for Adam both to have helped himself and his posterity out of his misery, by renewing the same covenant with God, and keeping it afterwards?" (p. 58, The Marrow of Modern Divinity)
Again, if Adam was not in a special covenantal relationship with God prior to the Fall - one which required his obedience to the command given him as condition - then we must understand Adam not as covenant head of humanity (a la Romans 5), but as one like us under the same covenant with God as we are. In such a case, then, the Fall is hard to understand - and naturally, one might argue, together with Nomista, that this covenant could very well have been renewed.

Point is, of course, that Adam broke the pre-lapsarian covenant he was in for ALL humanity. All are guilty of it, and are condemned by that covenant. It cannot be renewed - and we cannot be saved through its stipulations, for it already lies broken. (not to say that we do not still live under obligation to obey our Creator - sin is still sin, now as it was in the beginning - the moral law is eternal and perpetual)

Evangelista gives some excellent counsel to his friend in response to his question, saying
"When he had once broken it, he was gone forever; because it was a covenant between two friends, but now fallen man was become an enemy. And besides it was an impossible thing for Adam to have performed the conditions which now the justice of God did necessarily require at his hands; for he was now become liable for the payment of a double debt, viz. the debt of satisfaction for his sin committed in time past, and the debt of perfect and perpetual obedience for the time to come; and he was utterly unable to pay either of them. (p. 58, The Marrow of Modern Divinity)
Boston adds some important further comments:
"The covenant of works could by no means be renewed by fallen Adam, so as thereby to help himself and his posterity out of his misery, the which is the only thing in question here; otherwise, indeed, it might have been renewed, which is evident by this sad token, that many do actually renew it in their covenanting with God, being prompted thereto by their ignorance of the high demands of the law, their own utter inability, and the way of salvation by Jesus Christ. And from the same principle our legalist here makes no question but Adam might have renewed it, and kept it too, for the after-time; only, he questions whether or not Adam might thereby have helped himself and his posterity too, out of the misery they were brought into by his sin." (p. 62, The Marrow of Modern Divinity)
Again - it is merely a matter of misunderstanding the nature of Adam's relationship to the rest of humanity - as covenant head, once the covenant in which he was representative head was broken, that's it. All parties to the covenant - all humanity - lie in brokenness, forever. Nothing but a new covenant and new covenant head, instituted by God, can save.

Now, having noted these few things, I'm going to repost a few articles I wrote the first time I was going through the Marrow, last summer, before proceeding into the next sections.


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