Doctrine 101

1. Angels in the Architecture, 43

Pooh's Think

1. Pelikan, vol. 4, 367.
2. Robertson, 18. Robertson is strong on the point: the exegete "should be concerned to determine the reason for this omission." However, Robertson fails to determine the reason for this omission, and this is because the reason for this omission is that there is no berith suggested, implied, or hinted to in the first five chapters of Genesis.
Rather, Robertson argues for the fact that omission of the word does not necessarily entail omission of the general concept, and he proposes other biblical examples of such omission: "scriptural precedent exists for the omission of the term `covenant' in discussing a relationship which unquestionably is covenantal" (p. 18). However, this is simply an attempt to blunt the edge of what is a very strange omission in Genesis and has not given the reason for such a strange omission. The positive arguments Robertson gives for a creation covenant are related to exegesis outside Genesis (and will be at least implicitly addressed as we go on) or they simply assume the discussion to be surrounding `Covenant' and not berith.
W. J. Dumbrell, in Covenant & Creation (1984), offers what is for me the only interesting exegetical argument for a creation berith I have so far discovered. He takes a close look at the covenant language in the Old Testament and argues that Genesis 6 & 9 point to a pre-existing covenant at the point of creation that is merely `carried through,' or `confirmed.' This conclusion is according to his interpretation of heqim (establish) and the absence of karat (cut), which we do find in chapter 15, yet once again, not in chapter 17. He also notes the parallel between Genesis 1 and 6. I do not have space to sufficiently respond to this, but a few cursory points: First, there is most certainly parallel between chapters 1 & 6, but this does not evidence a parallel in covenant. Just the opposite is the case: the covenant, as Dumbrell admits, comes notably after the establishment of the new world, along with all the parallelism, and is conjoined to the covenant sign. Second, karat is precisely what we would expect to find in Chapter 15, since the Lord is very literally cutting covenant in a way Abraham was culturally accustomed to. And we have no cause for surprise when we find karat absent when the Lord gives His covenant in chapter 9 and 17. Dumbrell's argument from heqim is worth further pursuit, yet Dumbrell quickly crowds out his careful consideration of the biblical language with theological speculation on the covenant concept and capitulates to speaking of `the covenant' that spans from Genesis 1 to the New Testament.

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