© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 21 January 2019
3A10. God’s Covenantal requirements for all people:
God commanded them to:-
(a) “Rule over” sin and “do what is right”
(b) Not eat meat with the lifeblood still in it
(c) Not kill each other
3A10(title) God’s Covenantal requirements for all people
In His grace, God’s UNCONDITIONAL commitments to all people [3A6(c)(iii), 3A8(c) and 3A9] would be honored by Him regardless of the people’s responses. But He also had specific Covenantal requirements for the people. Obeying these was His CONDITION for people to be able to share positively with Him in accomplishing His primary purpose [see 3A11(b)].
3A10(a) God’s commands to “rule over” sin and “do what is right” still applied
God had commanded Cain to “rule over” sin and “do what is right” Gen 4:7. These two basic requirements were shown to be applicable to all people prior to the FLOOD [2A10(e)].
God would now be “demanding an accounting” from each person and animal for the life of people Gen 9:5 (each person would even be accountable for their own “lifeblood” Gen 9:5a which could be a reference to suicide). This was the same accountability principle that God used when He interrogated Cain following his murder of Abel Gen 4:9a,10-11. The terminology for killing a person (“shedding” of “lifeblood”) Gen 9:5a,6a was also the same.
Since God was applying the same accountability principle and terminology as before the FLOOD, it can be assumed that He was also applying the same two basic requirements to all people after the FLOOD. That is, all people were still required to “rule over” sin and “do what is right”. They were to live according to the ethical awareness of their conscience.
Apparently God still regarded the people’s knowledge of good and evil as adequate. They could know and do what was right IF they wanted to. This was the same assumption as when in grace He made His offer to Cain Gen 4:7.
An example of this assumption being applied can be seen in the later sins of Noah and his son Ham Gen 9:20-27. Their responses did not violate any existing specific command of God. But they were still cases of “not doing what is right” [see 3B24(a)(iii-vi), 3B25, 3B28 and 3B30(b)] as shown by their negative outcomes [see 3B29 and 3B31(b)].
3A10(b) God commanded them not to eat meat with the lifeblood still in it
God now introduced His first Covenantal requirement in the form of a rule or law Gen 9:4. No reason was given for this command. It implied a respect for each creature’s life as represented by the vital flow of its blood. Life itself was a precious gift of God that was breathed by Him into all creatures and people Gen 1:30, 2:7. So life was to be honoured as sacred.
This implied that wanton killing or cruelty to any creature was wrong. It would also be wrong to attempt to eat any creature while it was still alive! The only permitted killing of creatures by people was for food or for the sacrificing to God of “clean” animals and birds Gen 8:20. Even then, such killing should be done with due respect for the taking of a life.
3A10(c) God commanded them not to kill each other
God’s second rule or law specifically prohibited the killing of a person, either as murder or manslaughter (unintentional killing) Gen 9:5. God also gave His profound reason for this command Gen 9:6b. People were His supreme creation, “made in His image”. They still had capabilities of similar kinds to His own, and His intention was that they use them for expressing His own nature. So to kill a person was like despising God!
It is significant to note here that what God had condemned Cain for doing (murder) was now being stated specifically as being wrong. This was God’s second Covenantal requirement in the form of a rule or law to be always obeyed.
Arrow 3A8 -> 3A10
God had made His self-binding commitment to all people and creatures and the whole Earth [3A8]. This arrow indicates that God in grace then specified His Covenantal requirements and commanded all people to obey them [3A10].
These requirements set God’s boundaries for the people’s freedom of choice and action. They defined the CONDITIONAL commitments required of people IF they were to share with God in accomplishing His primary purpose.