© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 16 February 2019
3A11. God’s Covenantal commission, in grace, for all people:
They were to share with God in accomplishing His primary purpose:-
(a) UNCONDITIONALLY, by increasing in number and filling the Earth
(b) CONDITIONALLY, by being wholeheartedly committed to God
(i) IF they obeyed God’s Covenantal requirements
(ii) THEN in grace, God would accept them as “righteous” and make Himself known TO and THROUGH them positively in His ongoing relationship with them
3A11(title) God’s Covenantal commission, in grace, for all people
After the FLOOD there could not be a complete return to the prior circumstances in the Garden of Eden (as depicted by Chart 1A). People could not retain their original authority over the Earth and its creatures Gen 1:26b,28b but would instead only be feared Gen 9:2.
Nor could anything really be gained by continuing the pre-FLOOD “rules of the game” (Chart 2A) that had so spectacularly failed in Era 2 (Chart 2B). The now fallen world also involved the threat of bloodshed Gen 9:2b,6a.
Yet God stated that all people still retained “the image of God” Gen 9:6b, understood as referring to their basic capabilities. They could also recover something of His “likeness” by how they used their capabilities [1A3(e)(v-vii)]. This was the intention of His Covenantal “commission” for them. In grace, it continued His CONDITIONAL offer of acceptance IF they obeyed His Covenantal requirements Gen 9:4,5a,5c [3A10].
3A11(sub-title) They were to share with God in accomplishing His primary purpose
God’s Covenantal commission specified how all people were still to share with Him in accomplishing His primary purpose on a worldwide scale. God’s intention was that they receive His Covenantal gifts and enjoy His Covenantal blessings. Then respond in gratitude by wholeheartedly loving Him and obeying His Covenantal requirements. He would be making Himself known TO and THROUGH them positively, as individuals, families and whole communities.
However, in view of the people’s ongoing sinfulness of heart Gen 8:21c, was this commission now a “mission impossible” for Noah and his descendants, or even for God?! Would the people’s responses again only multiply sin and corruption? Was something more than severe judgments going to be necessary to change their hearts’ responses towards God and to each other?
Apparently God did not see any impossibilities. By “establishing” His Covenant with them He was declaring that His commitment to them had not ceased. In fact, it was to be an everlasting Covenant [3A8(f)!
3A11(a) UNCONDITIONALLY, by increasing in number and filling the Earth
In making UNCONDITIONAL promises to Noah and all people and creatures and the whole Earth, God was beginning His agenda for their future!
After the FLOOD, God partially renewed the original blessing He had declared for Adam and Eve, that the people would increase in number and fill the Earth Gen 9:1 see Gen 1:28b. He also renewed His intention for all the land creatures and birds to multiply Gen 8:17 see Gen 1:22b,24-25. These renewals of His original commitments implied that this was to be a “new start” for the Earth, its people and creatures. It also implied His intention to fully accomplish His primary purpose, as indicated at His original creation.
God was declaring UNCONDITIONALLY that people would multiply and eventually extend their territory worldwide regardless of their responses to Him. This was another extraordinary act of God’s GRACE!
The descendants of Noah did multiply and begin to spread across the Earth. The general statement Gen 9:18-19 and then detailed genealogies of descendants of Noah’s three sons Gen 10:1-32, 11:10-26 indicated their increasing numbers and locations.1 God later also moved them towards “filling the earth” as He “scattered them” Gen 11:8a,9b [see 3B31(b)(ii, iii)].
However, God did not renew His original declaration that the people would “subdue” the Earth Gen 1:28d [1A11(c)(ii)]. Presumably this was because the heart-inclinations of all people had not changed since before the FLOOD! Gen 6:5, 8:21c. So their impacts upon God’s creation in “subduing” it could no longer be expected to be always God-like and beneficial.
God apparently also only partly renewed His original declaration that the people would “rule over” all creatures Gen 1:28e [3A9(b)]. Since the land creatures and birds had to rebuild their populations after the FLOOD, any early negative impacts on them by people could have caused their extinction. The people did retain some powers over all creatures by being allowed to kill them for food Gen 9:3. But now some of the creatures would also be a mortal danger to people! Gen 9:5b.
3A11(b) CONDITIONALLY, by being wholeheartedly committed to God
God’s positive expression of His nature THROUGH people was still CONDITIONAL upon them choosing to live in His ways and not according to their own inclinations. Their heart-motivations continued to be crucial. Only by loving God and therefore being wholeheartedly committed to Him would they have the necessary motivation to obey His Covenantal requirements.
For these reasons God’s Covenantal commission was actually very similar to His intended roles for all people after the FALL [2A11].
3A11(b)(i) IF they obeyed God’s Covenantal requirements
God in grace had promised UNCONDITIONALLY to provide for the continuing existence of all people and creatures [3A9]. God had also let the people retain many of their capabilities, both physical and spiritual [2A9(b)] especially their freedom of choice.
God intended the people’s impacts to be totally beneficial, expressing the likeness of His own nature. This was to happen as they exercised their authority over the Earth and its creatures and interacted with each other as families, clans and nations. Ultimately this was to be worldwide in scope.
But all of this was CONDITIONAL. It would only happen IF all people chose to obey God’s Covenantal requirements. These were virtually the same as His two basic requirements [2A10, 3A10(a)] reinforced by two specific additional commands [3A10(b, c)].
3A11(b)(ii) THEN in grace, God would accept them as “righteous” and make Himself known TO and THROUGH them positively in His ongoing relationship with them
3A11(b)(ii.i) The basis for God’s acceptance of people as “righteous” was His extraordinary grace
Additional insight into the basis for God’s “acceptance” of fallen, sinful people [2A8(c), 2A11(b)] is given by two statements concerning Noah. Firstly, it was said that Noah was “righteous” and “blameless” Gen 6:9b,c. In their context these words could have been taken as only relative terms that contrasted Noah’s life with those of his contemporaries. But secondly, when God declared Noah “righteous” Gen 7:1b it made that word absolute in meaning. It was giving Noah a status virtually equivalent to that of Adam and Eve prior to the FALL!
How could this be, given that Noah like all people was still a sinful man? Gen 8:21c. The answer is implied by two statements of God about him Gen 6:8, 7:1b. The uses of the word “found” in these verses are basically legal, indicating God’s “verdict”. He was declaring that Noah was “righteous”, so he could be “accepted”! [see 4A4(c)(ii)].
God was simply granting such a status of “righteousness” or perfection to Noah despite his sinful nature! So God was indicating that He now had a way to overlook or forgive Noah’s sinfulness!! Presumably this was also why Noah had been said to be “blameless” Gen 6:9c.
The basis of all this was simply God’s extraordinary grace [2A8(c)]. God’s unchanging love for all the people was continuing to be expressed, in grace, as His overwhelming generosity to them despite their ongoing sinfulness. In view of all that people had done prior to the FLOOD, this scope of God’s grace seemed to be almost without limits!
3A11(b)(ii.ii) In grace, God would accept them as “righteous” and make Himself known TO and THROUGH them positively in His ongoing relationship with them
Also on this basis of God’s grace, Noah was able to “walk faithfully with God” Gen 6:9d just as Enoch had done Gen 5:22b,24a. This “walking with” God implies or means that He had entered into an ongoing intimate relationship with each of these men, making Himself known TO them. As they responded to this knowledge of God by living in His ways, He THEN expressed His own nature THROUGH them positively, making Himself known TO others.
Clearly God intended all people to enter into this same relationship with Him on the same basis. Then as clans and even whole nations they would be carrying out His Covenantal commission and sharing with Him positively in accomplishing His primary purpose!
Arrow 3A8 -> 3A11
This arrow indicates that the Covenantal commission God gave to all people [3A11] was based on the Covenant He had established with them after the FLOOD [3A8] that confirmed His ongoing commitment to them.
Arrow 3A9 -> 3A11
This arrow indicates the responsibility that God had put upon all the people. They were the privileged recipients of His vast UNCONDITIONAL promised provisions for their continuing existence, as well as the capabilities they still retained [3A9]. He intended them to use these Covenantal gifts to carry out His Covenantal commission.
Arrow 3A10 -> 3A11
This arrow indicates that all the people had to keep within the boundaries set by God’s Covenantal requirements [3A10] in order to carry out His Covenantal commission.
1. Some had very large families of as many as 13 sons in addition to daughters. They became separate clans and eventually different nations Gen 10:5,20,32. These “nations” are best understood as distinct ethnic people groups, being clusters of clans or tribes. They were each defined by their ancestry (original ancestor and line of descendants), language and territory (location of homeland).(Return to reading).