Thoughts on the Covenant of Works, Trinitarianism, Incarnation and Redemption
Here is a collection of papers, some of which were developed in conjunction with a class on the Covenant of Works. These papers describe how I believe the doctrine of the Covenant of Works can be exaggerated and improperly construed as a full paradigm for the redeemed life of the human race in the current age. In brief, my argument is that the redemption that is in Christ is an infinitely higher destiny for the race than even the fullness of life actually known from Scripture to have been held out before Adam. These papers therefore discuss the vital differences which I see between an eschatology based on the "Restitution of Creation" and an eschatology based on the "Resurrection of Creation."
My discussion begins by treating what I believe to be the negative ramifications of Herman Bavinck's presentation of the Covenant of Works. I complain about his exaggeration of the concept beyond the Scriptural data, and his using the spirituality of the original creation as the paradigm for the spirituality of the redeemed life. He teaches what I call the "restitution of creation."
An entire treatise by Hodnett exists, similarly approving the substance of what Bavinck teaches, in this treatise contrasting the theology of A. A. van Ruler with the views of Jurgen Moltmann. Van Ruler's view is quite extreme, and, in my opinion, quite contrary to the revelation of Scripture. One of the more offensive sub-sections of the treatise is Number 10. I have kept this in my possession for non-profit educational purposes only, in case these links disappear from the Internet. The interesting thing to see in this argument pro van Ruler is that Hodnett accuses Moltmann that his theology isn't Christian -- just as Moltmann has accused van Ruler of the same. These academic papers reveal that they have "seen a light" that one way or another decisively impacts the shape of our Christianity. This is no minor argument.
A more extreme presentation of the Covenant of Works as the paradigm for the redeemed race is seen in this seemingly well-intended (and hopefully accurate) description of Rousas Rushdoony's "Gospel of Restitution." (You will have to view this .mht file with Internet Explorer.) The particular page linked to in this paragraph was taken from the Internet, but I cannot find it any more, so I cannot give the link. The page is contained in this web site, and is used for non-profit educational purposes only.
Rushdoony's doctrine of restitution is more like the Medieval doctrine of penance -- contrition, confession (and absolution, which relieves you of the eternal penalty of your mortal sin), followed by "satisfaction," which works off the temporal penalty, either now or in purgatory. This corresponds to Mr. Rushdoony's "restitution," which provides the "satisfaction" for temporal penalties called for by the Mosaic Law, the completion of which finally achieves full forgiveness.
Here is a brief presentation of my views on Incarnation, Covenants, and Eschatology. This presents what I call the "resurrection of creation," by emphasizing the necessity of a redemptive-historical approach to the covenants in order to maintain a proper doctrine of the Trinity and the Incarnation.
My paper on distinguishing the varieties of postmillennialism shows the difference between a postmillennialism based on restitution of creation, and a postmillennialism based on the resurrection of creation.
A final review.
I hope at some future time to be able to consolidate the arguments into a single, longer paper. I have one started, but it is not ready for the web site yet.