This covenant and its obligations are then, in a standard Reformed move, also identified as the covenant of works
, which was meant to lead to the eschatological new creation had the first human pair obeyed.
The book does not ignore the development of the "covenant of works
" in seventeenth-century Reformed theology and its sixteenth-century roots, but a more direct address of the ways in which this element of covenant theology relates to natural law conceptions and the distinction of the two kingdoms would have been helpful for at least this reader.
These writers rarely use the terminology of natural law but address the concept with other phrases such as common grace, the covenant of works
, or general revelation.
The idea of a prelapsarian covenant has come to be known as the covenant of works
. Calvin alludes to conditionality in the earliest relationship between God and Adam.
The "grace controversy" sought to renew religious fervor in the colony as Anne Hutchinson warned of those who preached a covenant of works
, while others feared the rise of familism, which placed the Spirit above Scripture.
The Covenant of Works
, that of God with Adam, and the Ten Commandments were drawn from the Old Testament, and the Covenant of Grace or Faith from the New Testament.
Thus, by the strange and unusual assaults of the tempter, was my soul, like a broken vessel, driven as with the winds, and tossed sometimes headlong into despair, sometimes upon the covenant of works
, and sometimes [driven] to wish that the new covenant .
The main effort at original historical interpretation, isolating the notion of a first and binding "covenants of works" (as distinguished from the longstanding notion of a covenant of grace) and linking the origins of the covenant of works
to a debate about predestination and theodicy, is unconvincing.
According to covenant thinking, God entered into an agreement with his chosen people--originally Adam and Eve under a covenant of works
, later the Puritans under a covenant of grace.
The "plenary remission" that is unobtainable in the Edenic covenant of works
and in the old priestly covenant--the latter dripping in the "blood of Bulls and Goats" (52)--is delivered in the "new" covenant on account of Christ's blood.
Key here is the relation between the covenant of works
(foedus operum) and the covenant of grace (foedus gratiae).
It has, however, a very different focus and aim from his first book, which analyzed the foundational role of the covenant of works
in early modern Reformed theology.