26 July 2001

binning on the covenant of works

The on-going debate among Reformed theologians regarding the nature of the so-called "covenant of works" made with Adam (and what to call that covenant is part of the debate), has apparently been with us for a long time.

I was skimming T.F. Torrance's Scottish Theology (T&T Clark 1996) and ran across the mid-17th century biblical theologian Hugh Binning who writes, in regard to the covenant of works, that "there was some in-breakings of grace and free condescendency of God; for it was no less of free grace and undeserved favour, to promise life to [Adam's] obedience, than now to promise life to our faith."

Probably not how Shepherd or Schilder or Holwerda would word things, but nonetheless an early intimation of the kinds of questions to which Reformed covenant theology would eventually give rise.