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As a responsible being, as a moral agent, as one who was endowed with free will, Adam had necessarily to be placed on probation

In the third place, as a responsible being, as a moral agent, as one who was endowed with free will, Adam had necessarily to be placed on probation, submitted to a real test of his fealty unto God, before he was confirmed, or given an abiding standing in his creature perfections. Because Adam was a creature, mutable and fallible, he was entirely dependent upon his creator; and therefore he must be put on trial to show whether or no he would assert his independency, which would be open revolt against his maker and the repudiation of his creaturehood. Every creature must necessarily come under the moral government of God, and for free agents that necessarily implies and involves two possible alternatives—subjection or insubordination. The absolute dominion of God over the creature and the complete dependence and subjection of the creature to God, holds good in every part of the universe and throughout all ages. The inherent poison in every error and evil is the rejection of God’s dominion and of man’s dependence upon his maker, or the assertion of his independency.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

Adam was constituted a responsible being

In the second place, Adam was constituted a responsible being, a moral agent, being endowed with a free will, and therefore he was capable of both obedience and disobedience. Moreover, though the first man was endowed with both natural and spiritual wisdom amply sufficient for all his needs, leaving him entirely without excuse if he made a false and foolish choice, nevertheless, he was but fallible, for infallibility pertains unto God alone, as Job 4:18 more than hints. Therefore, being fallible, Adam was capable of erring, though to do so was culpable to the highest degree. Mutability and fallibility are the conditions of existence of every creature; and while they are not blemishes, yet they are potential dangers, which can only be prevented from working ruin by the creature constantly looking to the Creator for his upholding grace.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

Adam was mutable or subject to change

While in our present state perhaps it is not possible for us to fully solve this profound problem, yet it is our conviction that we may perceive the direction in which the solution lies. In the first place, Adam was mutable or subject to change. Necessarily so, for mutability and creaturehood are correlative terms. There is only One “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jam. 1:17). The essential attributes of God are incommunicable: for the Deity to bestow omniscience, omnipotence, or immutability on others would not be to bring into existence creatures, but would be raising up gods, equal with Himself. Therefore, while Adam was a perfect creature, he was but a creature, mutable and not immutable; and being mutable, he was subject to change either for the better or for the worse, and hence, liable to fall.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

Yet it is clear that the covenant of works proceeded on the assumption that man in his original condition—though “made upright” —was capable of falling

Yet it is clear that the covenant of works proceeded on the assumption that man in his original condition—though “made upright” —was capable of falling, just as the covenant of grace proceeds on the assumption that man, though fallen and depraved, is—through Christ—capable of being restored. “God made man male and female, with righteousness and true holiness, having the law of God in their hearts, and power to fulfil it; and yet under a possibility of transgressing, being left to the liberty of their will, which was subject to change” (Westminster Confession of Faith). In the closing words of that quotation some light is cast upon that mysterious question, How could a sinless creature first sin? How could one made “upright” fall? How could one whom God Himself had pronounced “very good” give ear to the devil, apostatize, and drag down himself and his posterity to utter ruin?

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

The contracting parties in this covenant were God and Adam

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shah not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shah surely die” (Gen. 2:17). The contracting parties in this covenant were God and Adam. First, God as supreme Lord, prescribing what was equitable: God as goodness itself, promising communion with Himself—in which man’s happiness principally lies—while treading the path of obedience and doing that which was well-pleasing to his maker; but God also as justice itself, threatening death upon rebellion. Second, Adam considered both as man and as the head and representative of his posterity. As man, he was a rational and responsible being, endowed with sufficient powers to fulfill all righteousness, standing not as a feeble babe but a fully developed man—a fit and fully qualified subject for God to enter into covenant with him. As head of the race, he was now called upon to transact in the nature and strength with which the Creator had so richly furnished him.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

The ideal fitness of Adam to act as the head of his race, and the ideal circumstances under which the decisive test was to be made, must forever shut every fair and honest mouth against objecting to the arrangement God proposed to Adam

The ideal fitness of Adam to act as the head of his race, and the ideal circumstances under which the decisive test was to be made, must forever shut every fair and honest mouth against objecting to the arrangement God proposed to Adam, and the fearful consequences which his sad failure have brought down upon us. It has been well said, “Had we been present—had we and all the human race been brought into existence at once—and had God proposed to us, that we should choose one of our number to be our representative that he might enter into covenant with him on our behalf—should we not, with one voice, have chosen our first parent for this responsible office? Should we not have said, ‘He is a perfect man and bears the image and likeness of God,—if any one is to stand for us let him be the man’; Now,—since the angels who stood for themselves, fell—why should we wish to stand for ourselves. And if it be reasonable that one stand for us—why should we complain, when God has chosen the same person for this office, that we would have chosen, had we been in existence, and capable of choosing ourselves?” (G. S. Bishop).

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

The occupant of Eden was more a being of heaven than of earth

On the basis of the threefold constitution under which God had placed Adam—amenable to natural, moral, and positive law; on the basis of his threefold responsibility—to perform the duty which he owed unto God, unto his neighbor, unto himself; and on the basis of the threefold equipment with which he had been endowed—created in the image of God, pronounced “very good,” indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and thus fully furnished to discharge his responsibility, God entered into a solemn compact with him. Clothed in dignity, intelligence, and moral excellence, Adam was surrounded on every side by exquisite beauty and loveliness. The occupant of Eden was more a being of heaven than of earth: an embodiment of wisdom, purity, and uprightness. God Himself deigned to visit and cheer him with His presence and blessing. In body perfectly sound; in soul completely holy; in circumstances blissfully happy.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

Adam was now subjected to a simple and specific test as to whether the will of God was sacred in his eyes

Adam was now subjected to a simple and specific test as to whether the will of God was sacred in his eyes. Nothing less than perfect conformity of heart and unremitting obedience in act to the whole revealed will of God could be required of man. The command not to eat of the fruit of a certain tree was now made the decisive test of his general obedience. The prohibitory statute was a “positive” precept. It was not sinful per se to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but only so because God had forbidden it. It was, therefore, a more suitable test of faith and obedience than a “moral” statute would have been, submission being required for no other reason than the sovereign will of God. At the same time let it be clearly observed that, disobedience of that “positive” precept certainly involved defiance of the “moral” law, for it was a failure to love God with all the heart, it was contempt of divine authority, it was coveting that which God had forbidden.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

In Adam humanity was on trial

But there was need for something of a still more specific kind to test man’s adherence to the perfect rectitude incumbent upon him; for in Adam humanity was on trial, the whole race not only having been potentially created in him, but being federally represented by him. “The question, therefore, as to its proper decisiveness, must be made to turn on conformity to an ordinance at once reasonable in its nature and specific in its requirements—an ordinance which the simplest should understand and respecting which no uncertainty could exist whether it had been broken or not. Such in the highest degree was the appointment respecting the tree of knowledge of good and evil, forbidden of God to be eaten on pain of death—an appointment positive in its character, in a certain sense arbitrary, yet withal perfectly natural” (P. Fairbairn, The Revelation of Law in Scripture)

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

 

From the above it is plainly evident that there was the distinct recognition of an outward revelation to Adam

From the above it is plainly evident that there was the distinct recognition of an outward revelation to Adam of those three great branches of duty which appertain to man in every possible condition of mortal existence, and which unitedly comprehend every obligation upon man in this life; namely, what he owes to God, what he owes to his neighbor, and what he owes to himself. Those three embrace everything. The sanctification of the Sabbath, the institution of marriage, and the command to dress and keep the garden were revealed as outward ordinances, covering the three classes of duties, each of supreme importance in its own sphere: the spiritual, the moral, and the natural. Those intrinsic elements of divine law are immutable: they preceded the covenant of works, and would have remained had the covenant been kept—as they have survived its breach.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant