Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 10

The Purpose of Gods Covenants The notion of a covenant unfamiliar to many but the practice of a covenantal life was

s an Integral part of the ancient cultures in the Near E.m. Ten of fhouwnd* of documents unearthed in the last dccades *how. wide range I legal agreements between individuals and between nations. Already in the eighteenth century B.C., such international covenant attached religious sanctions that involved the slaughter and cutting up of sacrificial beasts for the making of covenant. The technical phrase for nuking a covenant was to cut a covenant (I lelv karat bent). A common element was the cursing formula: "Just as this beast is cut up, St) may X be cut up. The person who recited this formula thus declared that what had happened to the animal would happen i him it he broke his treaty obligations. J. Arthur 1 hompson states: The conttactmg parties took an oath in the name of the god*, who both witnessed their solemn agreement and would act a* its guarantor* Such solemn agreements were made between individual, tribe. Mate*, or nations....The narrative (of Moses) in Ex. 19-24 has many links with the Near Eastern covenant pattern.1 Thiv historic background of the ancient suzerainty treaties between Hittuc overlords and their vassals provides revealing parallels of the covenant relation between God and Israel. The Sinaitic covenant both corresponds and contrasts with the legal customs of its time and culture. Regarding the formal parallel with the Sinai story in hxodus 19*24. George F Mendenhall, in his epoch-making work Law ami Cot want in Israel ami the Ancient Near East (1950), mentions that

there arc six characteristic dements found in the covenant structure I the Hittiic treaties text#: I) I he /,rr.wjWr idcntiKes tlv author of the covenant, giving hi titles anil attributes; 2) The *historical tnvlojttie'' describes the previous benevolent deeds which the I littiie king has performed for the benefit of the vassal. This iniport.int feature stresses the favors received as the reii.'Oiiv why the vassal is obligated to perpetual gmtiiude toward the great Icing; 3} The "flipuLtlmn* of the covenant describe in detail the obligations imposed upon and accepted by the vassal; the vassal was tetpiired to appear before the Hitntc king once a year: 4) Provision for ih'/pofit in the temple of the vassal state and periodic public reading of the document; The list of nods as ivititesses and enforcers of the covenant; 6) The <unes ,uul the blessings formula as the reactions of the godjfc*'1 Gods covcnant-making with Israel shows a remarkable parallel structure to che legal customs of the contemporary culture. YAH-WEH first mentions what He had done to Egypt and how He "carried you (Israeli on eagles' wings to Himself (Exod. 19:4) before speaking: His words" (debarim) of the Decalogue to them. The Preamble of the Decalogue itself begins with a brief reminder of His redemptive act of delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage establishing His identity and the reason for Israel'* obedience to this Redeemer God (Exod. 20:2). The

stipulations of the covenant are *pelled out in the Decalogue in Exodus 20, supplemented by social laws in Exodus 21-23. Three times Israel made a pledge to obey everything the LORD said (Exod. 19:8; 24:3,7). The covenant was ceremonially ratified with the sprinkling of sacrificial blood (Exod. 24:4*8i. Curses and blessings arc contained within the Decalogue (20:4-6,11-12) and were pronounced later from two mountains, Ebal and Gerizim (Dent. 27-28). There is also specific mention of the covenant book that was read to the people during the covenant making (24:7). The tablets of stone had to be deposited within the ark of the Testimony( Exod. 25:21-22), while the Book of the Covenant was to be placed beside the ark of the covenant( Deut. 31:26). The same procedure seems to characterize Israels periodic coiwiant rencu jls under Moses in the plain of Moab in Deuteronomy 29*30,

under Joshua at Shcchcm in Joshua 23*24. and later in the day* if the David it kings Joash, Hczekiah, and Josiah. All of this shows that Israel's history, law, and cultu> were bound together in an unbreakable unit from the very beginning. These three aspccts were characteristic of Israels covenant with Cod from the start. It indicates that the law of Israel should never be removed from its covenant setting. The prophets described Israels history of exile and of restoration as a history of Israels covenant relationship with God, as can be seen in Nehemiah 9 and in the historical Psalm* "8, 105. and 106. The prophets assured Israel that in the final analysis Cod would be faithful to His covenant with Israel and usher in the Mcsiiiinicera of peace and prosperity, despite Israels repeated breaking of His covenant1) because Cod's name and honor were at stake (kt. II; 43:25; Ezck. 16:60-63; 20:44; Dan. 9:17-19). Nevertheless, their prophetic messages are structured as indictments or divine lawsuit*" becausc of Israel's breach of covenant (Isa. 1; Jer. 2; Mic. 6). No wonder that hope for the Messianic fulfillment bl ossomcd in the darkest hours of Israels history when the Jews suffered under the cruel oppressions of Syria and Rome, as it evident in the apocalyptic writings of Late Judaism (see Psalms of Solomon I"; I Enoch 7; 4 Ezra 7). The concept of covenant" is thus essential to an understanding of Israel's Scriptures. God's Covenant Promises From a biblical perspective, it seems fitting to start with the tir>t covenant God made with Adam and Eve in Paradise, traditionally called the creation covenant. This covenant sets the stage for the purpose of all post-fall covenants of God. Genesis 1 and 2 provide the ultimate purpose of Gods covenant of redemption: the restoration of the original covenant relationship with redeemed humanity From the start, God's covenant with Adam and Eve established a bond or relationship with the Creator, stating that they were created in His image The account specifies certain privileges and obligations for His covenant partners (Gen. 1:28-30:2:15-17). At the heart of God's covenant is His personal interrelationship with Hu

people. He graciously commuted Himself to a bond with human beings, expressing the basis on

which He would relate to His creatures. God s faithfulness implies His commitment to redeem and restore humankind. From Adam to Jesus. God dealt with humanity by means of a scries of covenant promises that centered on a coming Redeemer and which culminated in the Davidic covenant (Gen. 12:2*3; 2 Sam. 7:12-17; Isa. 11). To Israel in Babylonian captivity God promised a more effective "new covenant (Jcr, 31:31-34) in connection with the coming of the Davidic Messiah (Ezek. 36:26*28; 37:22*28). The prophet Ezekiel reveals that Gods new covenant promises to Israel aim at a higher purpose than the gathering of Israel. "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, 0 house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake nf my holy name....Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes (Ezek. 36:22-23). John H. Walton rightly concludes from this passage that the ultimate goal of God's covenant promises is the disclosure of His holy character before all nation: God's self-revelation. 'But this holiness revelation will manifest itself visibly through the covenant people of Yahweh before the eyes of the world. The questions persist: What is the God of Israel revealing in each successive covenant concerning Himself and His redemptive will for fallen humanity? What is the unique contribution of each covenant that supplements His previous covenant? How do God's covenants relate to each other? Docs any successive covenant of God simply replace the former one? Or does each build on the former, so that each new covenant modifies rather than radically supplanting the earlier ones? An initial answer is found in Paul's argument for the organic union of the Sinaitic and Abrahamic covenants: What I mean i ihis: The law, introduced (by Moses) 430 year* laicr {than Abraham], docs no! ict aside the covenant previously cttab fahed hjr God and thin do away with the promise.,..Is the law, there-fare, opposed to the promitcs of God? Absolutely noil...It (the lawj

was added hcunc of iruufnnions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had corac. (GaL 3:17; 21.19) This declaration of Paul rejects a one-sided stress on contrast and replacement of God's covenants. Paul sees the law added" to the promise, the opposite of a replacement thinking. While the Sinaitic covenant has added new revelations of God to rhe Abrahamic covenant, such only intended to clarify the plan of salvation. The history of salvation demonstrates progressive revelation, an unfolding of a larger plan of redemption. Gods covenants can therefore he understood as being one in csscnce, because God is the same gracious God yesterday, today, and forever.

The divine covenants with Adam {Gen. 2:2-3, 15*17; 3:15). Abraham (Gen. 12; 15; 17), Israel through Moses (Exod. 19-34), and David (2 Sam. 7), along with the promised new covenant" to Israel (Jer. 31; Ezek. 36} can be viewed as successive stages of God's single covenant of redeeming grace that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul pointed to this aspect: For no matter how many promises God has made, they arc Yes' in Christ" (2 Cor. 1:20). Paul's Christocentric interpretation of God's covenant promises in the Old Testament implies their essential unity in Christ. This theological unity finds its source in the eternal covenant of God the Father and His Son before the creation of the world, as stated in Ephesians 1:4 (He chose us in him (Christ) before the creation of the world; cf. 2 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:20; Rev. 13:8). The covenant God made with humankind in Paradise before the Fall remains of fundamental significance because God's covenant* after the Fall intend to restore the original covenant relationship of Paradise (see Isa. 11). From Jesus we leam that we should remember how it was at the beginning of creation," that is, what God's original purpose was with humanity Accepting the trustworthiness of the creation accounts of Moses, Christ quoted from Genesis I and 1 (see Matt. 19:4-5,8; Mark 10:6-8). He hands us the key" to understanding the abiding purpose of all God's covenants in salvation history: Gods creation covenant. The redemptive purpose of the gospel of Jesus it to restore people to their original covenant relationship, so

th.1t men and women will walk again humbly with God and can be restored to the former dominion under God {see Mic. 4:8; 6:8). The imago Dei It should be especially noted that both man and woman were ere* ated "in the image of God" (Gen. 1:27), the meaning of which has received much speculation. This phrase should be understood not as a special attribute of human personality but as a theological term that captures humanity's unique relationship with God. The author uses the same phrase later to indicate a father/son relationship: (Adam) had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Serh" (Gen. 5:3). As Seth was made in his father Adams image, so Adam was made in his heavenly Fathers image. He was created to relate to God as a Person, to live in loving communion with God, and to follow God as his pattern of character and source of inspiration and wisdom. This relationship implies that God actually spoke to Adam and instructed him regarding the purpose of the seventh-day resting of God: to cel-cbnte the completed work of God's creation and to enter into God's own rest and joy In short, God spoke to Adam and Eve, just as a good father speaks intimately with his son or daughter, and informed them of their task: *Be fruitful and increase in number; and 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. 1:28). Human beings were given the privileged position to be festive partners with God in acknowledging the Creator's work and His supreme power, authority; and wisdom. The Creator

alone was enti-tied to prescribe His moral will and standard of good and evil for humanity, because humans were creatures made to live in keeping with the character and moral will of their Maker. Human beings were held accountable for their obedience or disobedience to God. This paradisiacal trust and responsibility has been called the ere ation covenant or Edenic covenant by Protestant theologians. God placed Adam immediately in a covenant relationship to Himself wnh j sicar mandate and a testing command (Crn ! 11.1 _~

People arc callcd to be the representatives of Cod in cultivating this earth and ruling over all living beings and things. They were endowed with the task of maintaining the moral image of Cod." This responsibility was hailed by one Hebrew poet as a great honor from God: "You have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor" (Ps. 8:5). Another testified with gratitude for all His work of creation: 1 will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as 1 live" (Ps. 104:33). Great was Israel's gratitude for the Creator's initiative to elevate humankind to be His honored deputy to rule this earth. Especially God's invitation to man and woman to enter into God's own rest for a weekly refreshing fellowship with God was the high point of being a covenant partner with the Creator (Gen. 2:2-3). The creation account of God's orderly and perfect work functions as a powerful motivation for all peoples to sing the praises of their Creator Clod (see Pss. 19:1-6; 104). Genesis I serves as a doxologv to the God whom Israel worshiped and praised as the Creator of heaven and earth. Israel alone knew this compassionate and moral Creator by experience in their history. Genesis 1 summons all men and women on earth to receive a new sclfunderstanding and purpose of life in the perspective of such a glorious and noble origin of humanity. Genesis 1 has a universal appeal to all peoples. The Sabbath: Sacramental Sign of the Creation Covenant Without God, humans are inclined to degrade themselves by making themselves the measure of all things. Without a relationship with their Maker, humans stay on the level of animals, though they will be much more dangerous. Without God, people are bound to act autonomously Then they lose the sense of sacredness, that is, the sense of belonging and responsibility to their divine Maker. For thi> fundamental reason, it is important to understand the Sabbath as a creation ordinance: By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on ir he rested from all the work of creating that he had done( Gen. 2:2-3). These texts reveal that the Sabbath was made as an ordinance of crcationa part of the original creation designed for man and woman in their perfect, sinless state. Some have argued that God

did not issue a "command" to Adam to keep the Sabbath day, and that there is no biblical evidence that Sabbath-keeping was mandatory until the time of Moses. To this argument some exegetical scholars have rightly replied that Gods example is just as authoritative as His command. God kept the first Sabbath day together with humankind, since man and woman had been created on the sixth day. In the state of sinless perfection, as children of God, they were called to imitate the example of their Maker (cf. Eph. 5:1). Just as God did not hide His plans from Abraham {Gen. 18:17), so He would not hide from Adam the truth about His blessed Sabbath rest and its holiness for the benefit of humanity. ^K.irl Barth wrote a stimulating theology of the crcation Sabbath, in which he stated that the history of the covenant was really established in the event of the seventh day": The clear inference is that creation, and supremely man, rested with God on the seventh day and shared His freedom, rest and joy, even when it had not as yet any work behind it from which to cease, and its Sabbath freedom, rest and joy could only look back to God's work and not its own."4! This theology of the creation Sabbath is in keeping with the Jewish tradition that humanity's creation in the imago Dtti implies our calling to the imitatio Dei, that is. our sacred duty to follow the example of our Father God. In short, the reality of a human being as the imago Dei implies the call to the imitatio Dec. This connection was expressed beautifully by Calvin: No slight stimulus is given by Gods own example.... For God cannot either more gently allure, or more effectually incite us to obedience, than by inviting and exhorting us to the imitation oi himself." In the Sabbath God offers Himself for fellowship. Sakae Kubo expressed it well: Thus the Sabbath is first of all a memorial of God's friendship to man, a monument of God's

presence with him.4 God's resting, blessing, and sanctifying the seventh day was Gods concern for human beings, not solely for Himself. Without our entering into Gods refreshing rest on that day, the whole creation would be cut off from its Maker and left to find us meaning and purpose in itself. In the Sabbath blessing God provided the vital relationship of sinless humanity with Himself so that humans would remain sanctified and committed to Him. The benefit for humans will comc weekly in their participation in the rest of God after working six days. The New Testament acknowledges this blessing of following God's example: For anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their (Israel's( example of disobedience" (Heb. 4:10-11). This blessing of Gods seventh day functions as a sacramental blessing of the Sabbath, because man does not live on bread alone" (Dcut. 8:3). How much the more do sinful people need that bless ing than sinless humans did in the Garden of Eden! Consequently, the sacred meaning of human beings lies not merely in their daily work, but also in ceasing from work to renew the meaning of life and to express our creatureliness by praising God on His sanctified day. G. C.

Berkouwcr acknowledged that the day of Gods rest was "given in grace to the worldgiven for man, as Christ has taught us" (Mark 2:27).7 Christ indeed declared that the Sabbath was a creation ordinance when He said that the Sabbath was made for man" (Mark 2:27), that is, for all people. Gerhard von Rad even stated that the creation Sabbath was necessary for man," and will one day receive him eschatologically in eternity."1 The Sabbath was ordained as a sacrament for a perfect humanity so that humans might enter into the refreshing joy and sustaining rest of God Himself. God celebrated His Sabbath day as the sacred pledge of His love and commitment to humanity created in His own image.

The Sabbath as the Sign of the Mosaic Covenant The scventh-driy Sabbath of the creation covcnnnc was incorporated in the moral law of the Sinaitic covenant. What is its theological significance? Moses gave Sabbath celebration a twofold meaning: he renewed its remembrance of Gods work of creation (Exod. 20:8-11) and added the remembrance of Israel's deliverance from slavery, stating: Remember that you were ,slaves in Egypt and that the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day" (Dcut. 5:15). For Israel the Sabbath became the sacrament of communion with (heir Creator Redeemer. The Sabbath signifies God's pledge that He remains faithful to His plan of creation and eternal purpose for humanity The Sabbath thus symbolizes the unbreakable unity of God's plan of creation and of redemption God spoke through Moses to the Israelites: "You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for generations to come, so that you may know that I am the LORD, who makes you holy* (Exod. 31:13); The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it...as a lasting covenant" (Exod. 31:16). Such a celebration of the sanctifying rulcrship of YAHWEH was based on the identity of YAHWEH as the Creator of heaven and earth in mx days (Exod. 31:17). These two acts of God as Creator and Redeemer exalted the Sabhath to the level of a covenant sign as the appointed sacrament of Gods covenant of grace with His chosen people. The Creator had made Himself known to Israel as the gracious and compassionate Yahweh, who had chosen Israel to become His missionary people to all the families on earth (sec Gen. 12:2*3; Exod. 19:4-6: Isa. 42:6:49:6). The Sabbath symbolized the unity of God's plan of creation and of salvation. God remained faithful to His original plan with humans as His everlasting covenant partner. God's covenant rests firmly on the eternal will of the gracious Creator.

God's Covenant of Eden God initialed His covenant of grace with humans in the garden of Eden immediately after the

fall. As soon as sin was found in Paradise, there came the promise of a Savior. The Creator was not frustrated by an unforeseen event. To perceive the eternal love of the Creator, we need to honor His sovereign promise: And I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he [the womans ,offspring! will crush your head, and you will strike his heel" (Gen. 3:15). This promise of a victorious Savior implied Gods first pledge to send a Messiah. This assurance was Gods expression of the covenant of grace" with all humanity. This promise of redemption was renewed in Gods subsequent covenants with His chosen people. The most prominent of such divine promises was that with Abraham. To him was assured more than once the coming of a Redeemer in the so-called Messianic' blessing through his offspring on behalf of all peoples: And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you"; and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me" {Gen. 12:3 and 22:18; sec also Gal. 3:16,29). God gradually revealed His plan of redemption more clearly to His chosen people, intending that they be sent to the rest of humanity with a message of hope and a testimony of assurance for the future. E. G. White recognized the continuity of God's saving and sanctifying will for all peoples: God's work is the same in all time, although there are different degrees of development and different manifestations of His power, to meet the wants of men in different ages..,.There has been a gradual unfolding of the purposes of God ill the plan of redemption."1" The connecting link of God's covenant of creation with His covenant of redemption is Gods Sabbath rest (Gen. 2). The abiding significance of Gods rest is proclaimed in the Letter to the Hebrews of the New Testament. Hebrews 4 connects Gods original Sabbath rest with His rest" of redeeming grace now offered to all by the risen Christ. The author begins to remind the Jewish-Christian readers of Israel's repeated refusal to enter into the ',rest'' of God, because their

hearts were always going astray" in disobedience to His will (Heb. 3:7 U; citing Pj. 95:7-11). He condudcs from their past history: So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief (3:19; cf. 4:6). Nevertheless, God's offer of saving grace endures. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For \vc also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did" (4:1-2). The apostolic letter proceeds to connect the present gospel rest with Gods own rest after His creative work was completed, stating: And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world" Hek 4:3; quoting Gen. 2:23 ,)The writer exhorts all readers to enter into the re*: oi divine grace in the same context as he speaks of the Sabbath of creation. He concludes: There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest sabbaiisn u>s\for the people of God; for anyone who enters Gods rest a! rcst> from his own work, just at God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall b> following their (Israelsi example of disobedience" (4:9-11). He identifies this rest of grace as the Messianic rest that is now offered by |i'ti* as the heavenly High Priest in God's Presence (4:14-15): Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need"

(4:16). This Mcsnunic application is the New Testament interpretation of the Sabbath rest of God in Genesis 2. It identifies God's rest" as the sanctifying Presence of God: to enter into Gods own rest" is mm possible through the Presence of Christ (compare Exod. 33:14 and Matt. 11:28). The promise of entering into God's rest will stand until the believers finally enter the eternal rest of the "God of peace" in the city "that is to come" (Heb. 13:14). It was never the purpose of God's creative will and plan that humanity he alone. Gods purpose was fulfilled when He created . spiritual temple in time, the seventh-day Sabbath rest of God, .is the sacred time for communal worship of God. The Sabbath of God added the dimension of holiness to the existence of human being. God prepared the world not merely for their physical well-being and prosperity, but for humans as His covenant partners and

for an eternal friendship with all whom He had created in His own image (see Isa. 41:8; James 2:23). Human beings may be called the crown" of creation, but they are not the conclusion of the creation record. Three times it is stressed that the seventh day is the climax of the creation account (den. 2:2-3). The goal of creation is a walk with the Creatorentering into (he refreshing rest of God through the act of praise and worship. Thus the six days of work are empowered and receive profound meaning from renewal and recreation on the seventh day The historical chronicle of Genesis stating that God rested on the seventh day implies the purpose of the apostolic gospel and its future hope. Hebrews extends the resting of God into the gospel of salvation. The continuation of the creation Sabbath after the [-,all receives a providential gospel significance in Hebrews 4. G. C. Berk-ouwer was rightfully impressed by this continuity: The continuous line runs from the resting of God after His work of creation through history to the rest into which believers shall enter, to rest that yet remains for the people of God (Heb. 4:3,9). God shares with man what He takes for Himself.H|> This continuous line of the creation Sabbath in redemptive history signals the fundamental unity of God's covenants with Adam, Israel, and the apostolic church, promising a future Sabbatha Sabbath-rest that still remains (Heb. 4:9) and waits for its fulfillment in the kingdom of glory Abraham J. Heschel recounts how an old Jewish tradition consider* the Sabbath as an example of the future: The Sabbath possesses. holiness like that of the world to comc.",: According to the Talmud, the Sabbath is mt'tn 'olam ha-ba, meaning that a seventh part of our lives may be experienced ;is a foretaste of paradise, as the well from which heaven or the life in the world to come take its source. Heschel explains: The law of the Sabbath tries to direct the body and the mind to the dimension of the holy. It tries to teach us that man stands not only in a relation to nature hut in a relation also to the Creator of nature.*' As a New Testament scholar, Karl Barth detected in the creation Sabbath a Christ-centered

significance, because the Sabbath

was given to humankind in Paradise by Christ, the Co-Creator of all things, as His covenant((! "benefit." Barth states: Where the covenant is no longer seen in creation, or creation in the covenant, the affirmation that creation is benefit cannot be sustained."15 In other words, humans must no! be delivered from the work of creation as a work of an inferior "Jewish God in the Old Testament, as Marcion argued. Humanity must be restored to the original plan and covenant of creation, in which Christ was the active Creator of a good creation that was given to humankind as a divine covenantal benefit. The New Testament indeed tonlirms that Jesus Christ was the Co-Creator of everything that exists (John 1:1-3; Heb. 1:2). Paul even declares of (lltrist: For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...; all things were created by him and for him, He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head f the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy" ICol. 1:16-18). The Christian doctrine of creation confesses that creation is a benefit because it is the work of God in Jesus Christ. The creation covenant of God is therefore absolutely essential to understanding the ultimate purpose of the gospel proclamation. The neglect of this covenant has resulted in a reduced gospel that emphasizes the soul" of humans while ignoring the dignity of the human body as the temple of the Holy Spirit and undermining humanity's responsibility to maintain the earth in its order and beauty as responsible creatures of His hand. However, the biblical theology of creation constitutes the irreplaceable foundation for the theology of salvation and human morality God's redemptive covenants intend to restore the original covenant of creation with humanity. Obedience to our Creator is grounded primarily in our creaturclincss, so that human beings will be praising God in all eternity primarily for being created by Him, as the Book of Revelation teaches us: You are worthy, our Lord and God. To receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being"