Theology Thursday

Q. 12. What special act of providence did God exercise toward man in the estate wherein he was created?

A. When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death.
Westminster Shorter Catechism

What are the conditions necessary for life to thrive and exist on earth? The scientist might say water, oxygen and sunlight. The sociologist might say, other human relationships. But the theologian (while agreeing with the scientist & the sociologist) would add that God placed some other conditions on our creation and ongoing existence. Namely, obedience.

Contrary to popular belief, we were not made to be free from all constraints. For humans actually don’t flourish on absolute freedom. Instead, we were created into covenant. God was to be our God and we were to be His people. This looked like rejoicing in the freedom given (by eating from every other tree) and by trusting in the restriction (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).

We were made to obey. But we rebelled against our purpose. Can you imagine a fish deciding it would be better to try living on land? A cow deciding to be a carnivorous apex predator rather than a placid herbivore? We do best when we live the way we were made to. Why are we riddled with disfunction and sin? Because we didn’t and we don’t live within the covenant boundaries God made us to flourish in.

But this of course also be reminded of Jesus, who completely obeyed the covenant commands and yet received the death that we deserved, so that we might be forgiven our disobedience and freed from slavery to sin. Now, those who trust in Him can flourish in the New Covenant, following the wise law of Christ and rejoicing in a better way to live.

For Today:
  • Why does God care how we live?
  • Do you see that some restrictions/laws are good? What’s one example?
  • In what way could you show obedience to God today?

  • Praise the Father for His love that desires us to flourish and thrive.
  • Repent of sin and your disobedience.
  • Ask God for His Holy Spirit to help you and others trust in Jesus and follow His law obediently.

Passages: Genesis 2:16-17, James 2:10, Matthew 5:17

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