© Jeff Stacey | Last updated: 21 January 2019
3A9. God’s Covenantal gifts, in grace, to all people:
God UNCONDITIONALLY promised to provide for their continuing existence
3A9(title) God’s Covenantal gifts, in grace, to all people
After the FLOOD, God in grace let the people retain many of their capabilities, both physical and spiritual [2A9(b)]. Now He was also giving His Covenantal gifts to all people, in order to accomplish His primary purpose.
3A9(sub-title) God UNCONDITIONALLY promised to provide for their continuing existence
God’s core Covenant commitment was His UNCONDITIONAL declaration that He would never again destroy all people with a worldwide flood [3A8(c)]. His Covenantal “package” for all people [3A8(e)] also included several other vast UNCONDITIONAL promises, as outlined below. This set up the whole Earth as a stable “platform” for the continuing physical existence of the people. They could eventually fill the Earth Gen 9:1b and potentially share with God in accomplishing His primary purpose.
Being UNCONDITIONAL promises, there was no sense in which the people had to merit or qualify to receive God’s overwhelming generosity. God would keep these promises regardless of whether people kept His Covenantal requirements or were even aware of them. All His provisions were “donated free of charge”!
This was a dramatic extension of the scope of God’s GRACE! Already He was committed to CONDITIONALLY accept people IF they kept His requirements [2A8(c), 3A6]. But now He was also comitting to provide for them UNCONDITIONALLY!
3A9(a) God would never again “curse the ground because of man”
This refers back to the “curse” on the ground declared by God to Adam following the Fall Gen 3:17b. But the Hebrew verb (‘arar) used there is different to here (qalal) Gen 8:21b. The Hebrew root word ‘arar has the meaning of judgment pronounced upon sinfulness, while qalal refers generally to trifling with, despising or treating things lightly.1
Was God saying that He would never again place His curse or judgment universally upon the ground or soil as He had because of Adam’s sin? Would He now regard that as too serious a matter to ever be repeated, despite people’s sin continuing?
This kind of reduction in judgments had already been indicated in advance. Lamech had given his son the name Noah that sounded like the Hebrew word for “comfort” (see NIV footnote on Gen 5:29). Lamech then declared that “he will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed” (arar). This at least implied that agriculture would not be as difficult as previously and the people’s chances of survival would be increased.
God now actually guaranteed the perpetual continuance of a stable cycle of days and seasons while ever the Earth endured! Gen 8:22. So there would always be a viable environment for the sowing and harvesting cycles of agriculture, as well as for the flourishing of uncultivated plant life for the grazing of animals. This would provide food for the continuing existence of people Gen 9:3.
3A9(b) The people’s authority to “rule over” all creatures had been partly retained
3A9(b)(i) God made animals also suitable as food for people
God declared that all creatures including fish were now given to the people for food Gen 9:2b-3. This too would be beneficial for the people in that their survival would no longer be totally dependent on plant life and agricultural toil Gen 1:29, 2:5b,15-16, 3:17b,18. But it meant that people would be a constant threat to all creatures, who would fear and dread the people! Gen 9:2a. Since all people were sinful, their power over all creatures could result in wanton killing, cruelty and other forms of abuse.
3A9(b)(ii) There would be mutual danger between people and creatures
However, the people were now under threat of counter-attack if some creatures tried to defend themselves! Gen 9:5b. The creatures’ hunting instincts could even result in attacks against people in order to eat them! So the people’s original authority to “rule over” all creatures had been reduced. Already there was enmity between people and serpents Gen 3:15. Now there would be mutual dread and potential conflict between people and many creatures.
Arrow 3A8 -> 3A9
This arrow indicates that God’s Covenantal gifts to all people were to provide for their continuing existence. They were a basic part of the overall Covenant “package” of UNCONDITIONAL promises [3A8(e)] that He was introducing, in grace, in order to accomplish His primary purpose.
1. W.E.Vine, Merill F.Unger and William White Jr, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville: Nelson, 1985), pages 53-4 (OT section).(Return to reading).