Covenants - Part 5 - Edenic covenant

SERMON TOPIC: Covenants - Part 5 - Edenic covenant

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 6 September 2020


Sermon synopsis: This covenant is conditional in nature (Suzerain Vassal). Adam’s part of the bargain was only one condition i.e. not to eat from a forbidden tree and a curse (penalty clause) for not doing so.
The covenant blessing includes mankind’s dominion over the earth.
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A covenant has always been a crucial part of God’s relationship with his people. Covenant is a legal concept often used in the Bible as a metaphor to describe the relationship between God and humankind.

Modern synonyms for a covenant are:

Contract, deal, pact, agreement, treaty, alliance, pledge, constitution, testament or will.



Primary covenant/s

Judgement/s ended with


Edenic covenant

Judgement of Satan, Adam and Eve


Adamic covenant


Human Government

Noahic covenant

Tower of Babel


Abrahamic covenant

Slavery / 10 plagues

Law (Old)

Mosaic covenant (Old Testament)

Crucifixion / dispersion of Israel

Grace (New)

New Testament (fulfilment of Old Testament)


Kingdom (Millennial)

Davidic / Abrahamic covenant)

Great White Throne judgement


This covenant is conditional in nature (Suzerain Vassal). Adam’s part of the bargain was only one condition i.e. not to eat from a forbidden tree and a curse (penalty clause) for not doing so.

Gen 2:16-17 (NIV) And the 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.”


The covenant blessing includes mankind’s dominion over the earth.

Gen 1:26 (NIV) Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”


2 parties

God and Adam


Suzerain-vassal (conditional)


populate the earth

subdue the earth

exercise dominion over the animals

vegetarian diet (animals as well)

take care of the garden of Eden

eat the fruit of all trees but one

Terms and Conditions

Abstain from eating the fruit of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil”

Penalty clause

Spiritual death if man disobeyed (separation from God)



Terminating Judgement

Judgement of man and serpent (Satan)


Satan tempts mankind in 3 areas:

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life… (NASB)

Gen 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food (the lust of the flesh) and pleasing to the eye, (the lust of the eyes) and also desirable for gaining wisdom, (the boastful pride of life) she took some and ate it.

Satan used the same 3 temptations with Jesus.

Satan used the same 3 temptations with Jesus.

Adam & Eve (Gen 3)

Jesus (Matt 4)

Lust of the eyes

pleasing to the eye

showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour

Lust of the flesh

good for food

tell these stones to become bread

Pride of life

desirable for gaining wisdom

If you are the Son of God… you will not strike your foot against a stone


Whereas Adam was tempted in a garden where there was plenty of food, Jesus was tempted in a desert. Yet where Adam and Eve failed, Jesus overcame all his temptations.


Satan first questions God’s Word.

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Gen 3:1, NIV)

Then he outright contradicts God’s Word.

“You will not surely die” (Gen 3:5a, NIV)

He ultimately attributes bad motives to God.

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5b, NIV)


Satan uses the same lies today, just packaged differently – in New Age belief and Eastern religion.

You will not die


You will be like God


1 Tim 2:14 (NIV) And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

1 Tim 2:14 (NIV) And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.


Although Eve was the one “who was deceived,” Adam was held accountable. Adam wilfully sinned by choosing to obey the will of his wife rather than the will of God. This is why God says “Because you listened to your wife… Cursed is the ground…” As the covenant had been made with Adam, he was held responsible for the “breach of contract” or Fall.

Hosea 6:7 (WEB) But they, like Adam, have broken the covenant. They were unfaithful to me, there. *


The termination of the Edenic covenant through breach on man’s part brought about judgement (the curse) on all 3 parties. The curse included:


Satan cast down to earth

Enmity between Satan and mankind


Increased labour pains

Fight for dominance

3) MAN

Cursed ground

Man to earn living by the sweat of his brow


Physical death

Spiritual death


“On your belly you shall go” in Genesis 3 does not refer to a judgement on literal snakes but is the equivalent of “You have been cast down to the earth” (Isaiah 14) and “I have cast you to the earth” (Ezekiel 28) on the serpentine seraph (Satan).

Isa 14:12 (NIV) How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth [erets]

Ezek 28:17 (NIV) Your heart became proud on account of your beauty … So I threw you to the earth [erets] …


The presumed allusion in Genesis 3:14 to the ordinary snake’s legless locomotion (“on your belly you shall go”) and diet (“dust you shall eat”) may be read, instead, as a metaphorical description of disgrace and defeat. E.g.

Psalm 72:9 (ESV) May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!

Micah 7:16–17 (ESV) The nations … shall lick the dust like a serpent they shall come trembling out of their strongholds...

Hence “you will eat dust all the days of your life” is more likely referring to the humiliation and subjugation of Satan.


Satan and mankind will be sworn enemies.

Gen 3:15 (ESV) “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring…”

Satan is called our adversary (enemy) and he hates mankind.

1 Pet 5:8 (NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.


Gen 3:16a (ESV) To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.”

The Hebrew word translated “multiply” means “to increase” implying that, even before the fall, there would have been some pain in childbirth. The pain in childbirth that Eve and all her daughters would experience would be amplified.


Interestingly, the judgment is followed immediately by:

Gen 3:20 (NIV) Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

Despite God’s judgment of painful and difficult childbearing, God gave His blessing to Adam and Eve in the form of children. Even in judgment, there is mercy. Eve took on the role of mother of all living; in the pain of childbirth, she would also receive a blessing. *

A further blessing, resulting from the pain of childbirth, is that the serpent would be crushed by the Seed of the Woman i.e., the redeemer of mankind would come by the painful childbearing of the woman.


Is it wrong to try to reduce pain in childbirth?

No! The pain of childbirth is part of the curse, but so are sickness and death – and we try to cure diseases and delay death.

Medical Doctor Elizabeth Mitchell writes “We live in a cursed world as a result of sin, and that Curse affects all areas of our lives, not just childbirth.” *

When asked, “Is there some special spiritual level you achieve by suffering through childbirth?” Dr Tommy Mitchell from AiG replied, “No, it’s just part of living in a fallen, cursed world. I don’t see the pain of childbirth as some special ritual that women must suffer through.” *


Many are puzzled as to what Paul meant when he wrote in 1 Tim 2:15:

But women will be saved through childbearing [teknogonias] --if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety. (NIV)

Certainly he didn’t mean that women had to have children in order to be saved. (Salvation is by grace through faith.) Some suggest that “through childbearing” refers to the birth of Christ (as the “seed of the woman”). But in the only other place where a form of the Greek word occurs in the Bible is in the same epistle where it simply refers to bearing children:

1 Tim 5:14 (ESV) So I would have younger widows marry, bear children [teknogonein]


English theologian, Henry Alford (1810–1871), points out that being saved “through” something does not have to mean being saved “by” it, but may mean being saved through it as through a danger.

He notes that elsewhere, Paul combines the same two ideas (“being saved” and “through”) this way:

1 Cor 3:15 (ESV) If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

He suggests that “She will be saved through childbearing,” means “She will be saved, not by means of, but through (that is, in spite of) the engulfing pains of childbirth.”


HELPS Word-studies:

(1 Tim 2:15) she shall be saved through (dia) childbearing (5042 /teknogonía) – literally, "through the childbearing.“

Hence the NASB renders it:

1 Tim 2:15 (NASB) But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.


Henry Alford sums up like this:

… the Apostle uses the word “will be saved” purposely for its higher meaning [eternal salvation], and the construction of the sentence is precisely as [in] 1 Corinthians 3:15 — “he will be saved, yet though as through fire.” Just as that man should be saved through, as passing through, fire which is his trial, his hindrance in his way, in spite of which he escapes — so she shall be saved, through, as passing through, her child-bearing, which is her trial, her curse, her (not means of salvation, but) hindrance in the way of it. *


John Piper writes:

“To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.’” Pause and feel the weight of this for women in the centuries before modern medicine. No hygiene, no spinal blocks, no episiotomies, no sutures, no caesareans, no antibiotics, no painkillers, and often, no recovery. Untold numbers of women died in childbirth and countless more suffered the rest of their lives from wounds ... *


He continues:

In other words, even more than today, there were aspects of childbearing that felt like a curse from God — and often that burden lasted a lifetime, not just in the moment of birth. How easy it would have been for women to despair and feel that God was against them. He was their curser, not their saviour. To this sense of despair Paul responds with the hope of the gospel. No to the curse! The pains of childbearing — even if they last a lifetime — are not God’s final word to women. God intends to save women. *

Hence husbands are told regarding their wives that they should “show her honour as a fellow heir of the grace of life” (1 Pet 3:7, NASB).


Piper says:

Even if modern medicine has wonderfully and rightly lifted much of the pain and lasting wounds of childbirth, every mother knows that sin takes its toll on every aspect of marriage, and birth, and child-rearing. Any of these may swell and threaten to swallow a woman in despair. I believe it is a legitimate application of this text to say: God’s word to all those burdens and frustrations and miseries is No! This is not my last word to you! My word is salvation! My word, in and through every fiery trial, is to save you, rescue you, preserve you, and give you a future and a hope. All of that through faith in Jesus Christ. *


Eve was told that her husband “shall rule over you.” God’s original plan was not that women be subservient to man but an equal “help-meet.” God did not give dominion to man alone, but to both “male and female”.

Gen 1:27-28 (NIV) So God created mankind * in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 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.”


Gen 3:16b (NIV) “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

Some are confused by this pronouncement. Surely a woman desiring her husband is a good thing and not a curse?

The Hebrew phrase in question does not include a verb and is literally translated “toward your husband your desire.” Since this judgment is predictive, the future tense verb “will be” is added for clarity: “Your desire will be for your husband.” *


(ESV) “Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

Is the woman’s desire FOR her husband or CONTRARY TO her husband?

Is this sexual desire or a desire for power?

(NLT) “And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

While the NLT rendering is clearly a paraphrase, the context (a curse) does seem to portray a formerly cooperative relationship dissolving into conflict.


American theologian, Albert Barnes (1798–1870), a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, wrote in his commentary:

“Desire” does not refer to sexual desire in particular. Genesis 4:7. It means, in general, “turn,” determination of the will. “The determination of thy will shall be yielded to thy husband, and, accordingly, he shall rule over thee.” *

The second clause, according to the parallel structure of the sentence, is a climax or emphatic reiteration of the first, and therefore serves to determine its meaning. Under fallen man, woman has been more or less a slave. In fact, under the rule of selfishness, the weaker must serve the stronger. Only a spiritual resurrection will restore her to her true place, as the help-meet for man. *

The Hebrew term here translated “desire for you” is rarely found in the OT. But it appears again when God speaks to Cain in the next chapter (4:7), in a statement that closely parallels Genesis 3:16

The Hebrew term here translated “desire for you” is rarely found in the OT. But it appears again when God speaks to Cain in the next chapter (4:7), in a statement that closely parallels Genesis 3:16

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.


Gen 4:7 (ESV) “… And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

In the above context, it clearly refers to control. In the earlier reference the context also suggests control, rather than sexual desire.

Gen 3:16 (ESV) “… Your desire shall be contrary to your husband, but he shall rule over you.”

The inference is that after the Fall the woman would want to exert control over the man, and this would result in a struggle for domination in the relationship between them.


Christopher R Smith, one of the translators for The Voice Bible, writes:

Sin is represented metaphorically as a wild animal poised to pounce on Cain, and this makes clear the meaning of “its desire is for you”: Sin wants to have Cain in its power, but Cain must not succumb to that power; he must remain in control of his own actions. So it is important to correct the misimpression that Eve has a “desire for” closeness and affection with Adam. No, she wants to have him in her power. But he will resist and dominate her instead. In other words, after the fall, marriage is no longer a cooperative enterprise but a struggle between husband and wife for dominance.


GotQuestions agrees:

The most basic and straightforward understanding of this verse is that woman and man would now have ongoing conflict. In contrast to the ideal conditions in the Garden of Eden and the harmony between Adam and Eve, their relationship, from that point on, would include a power struggle. *


God is saying that Eve would desire to rule over her husband, but her husband would instead rule over her. Replacing the mutually interdependent relationship the Lord had created was a desire for one spouse to lead the other. Sin had wrought discord. The battle of the sexes had begun. Both man and woman would now seek the upper hand in marriage. *


The man who was to lovingly care for and nurture his wife would now seek to rule her, and the wife would desire to wrest control from her husband. ... God says that man and woman will live in conflict and their relationship will become problematic. *


Note that this judgment (“he shall rule over you”) only states what will take place.

The statement “he shall rule over you” is not a biblical command for men to dominate women. In the New Testament, God affirms His ideal relationship between man and woman in marriage. Christ-like qualities are emphasized. What the curse of sin created, believers in Christ are called to correct by living according to God’s Spirit. *


Christopher R. Smith writes:

The interpretive question is whether redemption restores God’s original intention for marriage, so that within the kingdom of God couples can live out a cooperative enterprise once again, or whether male authority needs to be insisted upon even among regenerate people. I’d observe that we do everything we can to mitigate all the other effects of the fall as described in Genesis. We use every technique and medication available to make sure that women have as little pain as possible in childbirth. I don’t know one man who doesn’t try to make his work as efficient and labour-saving as possible. (Another effect of the fall was painstaking toil to earn a living.) 


So shouldn’t we also believe that we’re supposed to mitigate the distortions in husband-wife relationships, and in male-female relationships generally, that resulted from the fall? The mandate to do this is clear if the consequences of the fall are that husband and wife will both try to be in control. Once they become regenerate people, they will treat one another the way the New Testament says all followers of Jesus should treat each other: “Be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Taking this attitude makes marriage a cooperative enterprise once again. *


Ephesians 5 says that the wife should willingly submit to her husband’s authority in the home, in essence, refusing to scratch the curse-fuelled itch to seize control (verses 22-24). Husbands are to love their wives unconditionally and sacrificially, just as Christ loves the Church (verses 25-30). *


The whole passage begins with an emphasis on mutual submission to one another: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (verse 21). From the beginning, God’s focus has been love and respect between husband and wife. Though sin has tainted the original beauty of this relationship, God commands believers in Christ to pursue this ideal relationship between husband and wife, an ideal perfectly illustrated in Christ’s relationship with the Church. *


Adam is told:

Gen 3:17-18 (NIV) … Cursed is the ground because of you; through pain and toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.

Unlike the serpent (Satan), Adam was not cursed himself, but only the ground for his sake.


Gen 3:19 (NIV) By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food …

In the Garden of Eden, food was plentiful without laborious farming. But after his sin Adam spent the rest of his life working to provide food for himself and his family. *

As with childbearing, the difficulty of effective work was now increased.


Note that work is not the curse – work was part of God’s plan for mankind even before the Fall.

Gen 2:15 (NIV) The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Adam and Eve were not just sitting around all day eating fruit and ‘loafing’ – they were working and take care of the garden while Adam was tasked with naming “all living creatures” (2:19) – no small feat. Work is ordained by God.

Eccl 2:24 (NLT) So I decided there is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.


In the Bible, death never means cessation of existence, but rather “separation”.

Physical death is separation of the spirit from the body.

James 2:26 (ESV) … the body apart from the spirit is dead…

Eccl 12:7 (NIV) and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Spiritual death is the separation of man’s spirit from God. Thus “the second death” (Rev 21:8) is separation from God, and not the cessation of existence as some teach.


God had said of the forbidden tree, that “when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Gen 2:17) Adam did not die physically when he sinned but “God banished him from the Garden of Eden” (3:23), hence God was referring to spiritual – not physical - death.

Spiritual death is separation from God

Col 2:13 (NIV) When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins

Isa 59:2 (NIV) But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.


Separation from God – they are driven from the garden and the former fellowship they experienced with God every day is no longer possible.

Gen 3:23 (NIV) So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.


Although Eve “became a sinner” through Satan’s deception, Adam as the covenant head of the human race, made all his descendants sinners through his wilful act of disobedience.

1 Cor 15:22 (NIV) For as in Adam all die…

Rom 5:14 (NIV) Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.


But man was also doomed to die physically.

Gen 3:19 (NIV) By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Gen 3:22 (NIV) And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.”


As part of the Curse, the entire creation was made subject to corruption.

Rom 8:20-24 (NIV) For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved…


With the judgement of God, not only does the Edenic Covenant terminate (it is a conditional covenant) so does this period we call the Dispensation of Innocence.

Innocence, once lost, cannot be regained. A new dispensation of Conscience begins, ushered in by the Adamic Covenant.

Formerly Adam and Eve were innocent (uncorrupted by evil or malice). Adam’s decision to eat of the tree was the first human moral choice ever made.

Rather than having a single command, they would now be governed by conscience (the moral sense of right and wrong, acting as a guide to their behaviour).


The result of sin. For all three parties there is curse and struggle.

Serpent cursed to earth, doomed to a struggle with the woman's seed that he will lose.

Woman’s curse in childbirth, doomed to struggle with man that she will lose,

Man cursed with labour to provide for woman and children, will struggle to live but will lose and die eventually.


Num 32:23 (ESV)… be sure your sin will find you out.

Rom 6:23 (ESV) For the wages of sin is death …

Mark 9:43 (ESV) And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.

Gal 6:7-8 (ESV) Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.


Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Other Scripture quotations taken from:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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