Trinitarian Relationship/Covenant (concerning FV)

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by Romans922, Aug 30, 2006.

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  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I was wondering while reading some FVers books, blogs, etc. what their emphasis on the Trinity is about? What is the difference and similarities between how we would view the Trinity and how they would? What has changed in their thinking? Please state specifically on 'relationship' in the trinity, and 'covenant' in the trinity.
     
  2. Puritanhead

    Puritanhead Puritan Board Professor

     
  3. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    When the whole context of the Federal Vision theology is taken into account, it becomes clear that the view of the Trinity HAS to change. This is because the FV seeks to remove the idea of merit from theology.

    The definition of "merit" is "a title in strict justice".

    A covenant is an agreement between parties with conditions to which a promise is attached. The covenant says that if the conditions are kept, the one party must deliver what is promised to the other party. The convenant, then, says that the second party is entitled to what is promised just in case the second party has kept the conditions. That is the "title" part of merit. The "strict justice" is whether the conditions have been kept or not kept.

    In short, a covenant is an instrument whereby the second party merits something promised on conditions by the first party. Because a convenant is in its essence something that sets up a merit relationship, if the idea of merit is abolished, there cannot be a covenant either.

    The Federal Vision, then, has the project of how to keep covenant language (be "federal") when they don't accept the substance of covenants.

    Secondly, we have to look at how the Westminister Confession understands the Covenant of Works, which it does in the manner of late medieval thought. God is majestic and far above man. How then is man to enter into a reciprocol relationship, that is a relationship to which the categories of justice apply, with this transcendant God? The medieval, and the Westminster, answer is that God makes an accomodation to man in the form a covenant, in which God voluntarily binds himself to a ralationship that the covenant codifies. Thus the covenant is something that come about because of the great difference between God and man.

    Now for the Federal Vision, all this must change. Since the covenant relation cannot be judicial, emboding the concept of merit, it has to be turned into something else. Sometimes the FV expresses this in vitalist terms (as does Norman Shepherd). Sometimes the FV expresses this in relational terms, using relationships such as family, which they allege to be without a judicial aspect. In this way they hope to keep the language of covenant without the idea of covenant.

    But to ground this vitalistic or relational "covenant" concept, they must replace the medieval/Westminster accomodation idea. For the FV, the covenant with God is not voluntary accomodation and self-binding (by God). Instead it is natural. God, they say, is relational-covenantal in essence, and God created man as relational-covenantal in essence. God and man share the same nature (relational covenantalism) therefore, and as such are naturally in mutual relationship.

    So where the Westminster Confession has the covenant come about to bridge the great gap in nature between God and man, for the Federal Vision the covenant itself is there naturally just because there is no gap in the first place. So we see that the metaphysics of the FV and the metaphysics of Reformed theology are as far apart as they can be. Reformed thinking is medieval in its basic presuppositions, while the FV is modern in how it sees God and man.

    Above and beyond this, it is important to realize that this FV view is not new. It turned up in the Christian Reformed Church almost a century ago. Henry Danhof in 1919 said things about God and the covenant remarkably similar to what such FV men as Jordan and Smith say. Also Danhof, and his colaborator Hoeksema, in line with their new conception, began to reject the Covenant of Works, and eventually Hoeksema at least did so completely. But also the idea of the covenant itself began to be revisied in a less judicial and more relational direction. So we get Hoeksema's formulation of the Covenant of Friendship.

    Other ideas that have come into Federal Vision theology were held by Hoeksema's great opponent W. Heyns.
     
  4. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Mr. Wilder,

    Thanks for that lucid post. It made a lot of sense. Have you heard any FV people respond to this kind of criticism?
    It is ironic that they depart from medievalism, according to this account.
     
  5. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    I have made the point in a few discussions with Federal Vision people, but they have not responded to the point. When FV people talk about merit, they always want to put it in terms of either 1) merit by nature, that is, Adam being able to put God in his debt outside the covenantal arrangement. Now, it is true that both ideas of merit (natural and covenantal) were around in the middle ages. Ockham was one who talked about covenantal merit, but he did not seem to keep the prefall and post-fall distinction straight, so he would introduce it into the salvation scheme. Perhaps it was the Reformers who first got it right. 2) the other thing the FV people often do is attack merit by saying that it makes the covenant into an employment contract.

    But even though they attack the idea of merit, it aways comes in by the back door, and sometimes in "final" or "eschotological" justification, though the FV people are not consistent about this, because whatever one of them says creates problems that the next guy has to dodge.

    Another problem for the FV is that their propaganda line is that they are Reformational, and their critics are post-enlightenment modernists. I think, however, that their covenant ideas put then in line with the modern world from the Socianians and Arminians on, and that the Reformed conception of these things is pre-modern. The FV people embrace post-modernism (most of them) with the claim that this allows them to reject the modern distortions that they claim to see in the theology that they are rejecting (from the Puritans on). I think, though, that post-modernism is really a repackaging of the Romantic movement and that as such it is modern, and its name is false advertising. So I think that the whole FV view of their place in cultural history is delutional.
     
  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Reformed theologians generally maintained that Adam could not "merit" anything from his Creator and Benefactor.
     
  7. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    "Reformed theologians generally maintained that Adam could not "merit" anything from his Creator and Benefactor."

    Hence the big mess we are in today, from those who work out the logic of the former piosities.
     
  8. BaptistCanuk

    BaptistCanuk Puritan Board Sophomore

    There's my new word for the day. Piosities. lol

    Thank you for the explanation of FV. I can't believe that they think we are naturally in relationship with God. The Bible teaches that we are at enmity with God until we are reconciled with Him. Thank you again.
     
  9. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I think the tradtional formula is quite balanced, and stops the structure of theology toppling either to nomism or antinomism. Adam was promised life upon condition of perfect obeidence, which it was within his upright nature to perform. Yet the performance of the condition did not "merit" or "earn" the life that was "promised" -- not for him, and especially not for his posterity. The promise itself was of grace.
     
  10. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Mr. Winzer, did you have any comments on the FV and Trinitarianism?
     
  11. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Only that I can't accept a covenant (formal agreement) as existing within the Trinity. They generally, along with Hoeksema and the PRC theologians, have redefined covenant to mean friendship or some kind of relationship. I have no problem with applying the notion of friendship to the consubstantial persons of the Trinity; but the whole fabric of covenant theology is turned on its head by this redefinition. So, as their formulation stands, taking covenant to be a friendship, it doesn't appear to affect the doctrine of the Trinity per se; but it certainly does affect man's relation to the Trinity by way of covenant.

    Whether we like it or not, "covenant" in biblical and dogmatic theology includes the idea of binding obligation, and "terms" are inherent in the idea of obligation. If "terms" are inherent in the covenant idea, then we cannot say that the life of the Trinity is covenantal, because consubstantiality is not based upon terms and conditions. God is a Spirit, which means His essence is one of Will. God is because He wills Himself to be. The sooner modern reformed theology scraps the notion of a "nature" in God somehow distinct from His will, the closer we will be to the metaphysics of Scripture.

    Blessings!

    [Edited on 9-5-2006 by armourbearer]
     
  12. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thanks, Mr. Winzer. Very lucid.
     
  13. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    "I think the tradtional formula is quite balanced, and stops the structure of theology toppling either to nomism or antinomism. Adam was promised life upon condition of perfect obeidence, which it was within his upright nature to perform. Yet the performance of the condition did not "merit" or "earn" the life that was "promised" -- not for him, and especially not for his posterity. The promise itself was of grace. "

    "Whether we like it or not, "covenant" in biblical and dogmatic theology includes the idea of binding obligation, and "terms" are inherent in the idea of obligation. If "terms" are inherent in the covenant idea, then we cannot say that the life of the Trinity is covenantal, because consubstantiality is not based upon terms and conditions."

    But you are contradicting yourself. The very idea of terms as conditions is the idea of merit. Merit means being entitled to the promise because of having kept the conditional terms. If there cannot be merit there cannot be conditional terms. No merit, no covenant.

    You also have an additional confusion in your thinking. "The promise itself was of grace." This is beside the point. The motive for a conditional promise does not change the fact that it is a conditional promise. Once there is a condidtional promise, a situation of meriting has been set up.

    Now there is plenty of precedent for using the term "grace" as motive for creating the covenant, even by some of those who are clear about Adam being in a position of meriting a reward. (And these people are somehow ignored by your Reformed tradition. Even the Federal Vision people know better.) But even here there is a danger of confusion by using the word. It certainly seems to have confused you.
     
  14. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    :ditto:

    Reformed Theology in general does not see the CoW as gracious. See Witsius' treatment of this in Economy of the Covenants, 1:4ff.
     
  15. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    This is not the way the language is traditionally understood. Consider Samuel Rutherford: "The law gives a reward as a due debt, though not merit; the gospel giveth a reward against merit." -- Survey Spiritual Antichrist, 2:10.

    To meet a condition in order to obtain something, does not mean the fulfilling of the condition "merits" that something. Man owed obedience to God simply by being a creature made in His image. It was the grace of God which annexed a promise to man's obedience. Man's obedience did not "deserve" to be rewarded with the life promised in the covenant.

    If true, this would mean there is no grace in the gospel, which offers forgiveness and eternal life to as many as believe. Faith is the condition. Yet no reformed theologian regards faith as "meriting" forgiveness and eternal life. Your categories of thought appear to need a rethink.

    "Grace" does not terminate in the making of the covenant. If the conditions were fulfilled by Adam, the raising of him to a state of pneumatikon would have been an act of grace on God's part; just as it was an act of grace to give the Israelites the land of Canaan even though the Israelites were required to take possession of it by war.

    John Ball:

    Moreover, what Christ has done in dying for His people satisfies justice; yet insofar as God has accepted a substitute in place of the elect it is an act of grace. Likewise, the life offered in the covenant of works would have flowed freely to Adam's posterity as an act of grace. Adam stood as representative of his posterity. Nobody believes the posterity of Adam would have "merited" life. Hence it would have been altogether of grace unto them.

    The contrast between "works" and "grace" in the two covenants exists for no other reason than to show the essential difference between the attaining of life before and after the fall. Before the fall man could render "personal" obedience and fulfil the condition on his own. After the fall, man required a "surety," which is the promised seed, Christ, who has fulfilled the condition of the covenant of works and obtained life and salvation for His people.

    [Edited on 9-6-2006 by armourbearer]
     
  16. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    MW: "This is not the way the language is traditionally understood. Consider Samuel Rutherford: "The law gives a reward as a due debt, though not merit; the gospel giveth a reward against merit." -- Survey Spiritual Antichrist, 2:10."

    It is impossible to tell from this quotation what he is talking about. If this is post-fall where God rewards obedience, as was often promised to Israel, then he is right.

    MW: "To meet a condition in order to obtain something, does not mean the fulfilling of the condition "merits" that something. Man owed obedience to God simply by being a creature made in His image. It was the grace of God which annexed a promise to man's obedience. Man's obedience did not "deserve" to be rewarded with the life promised in the covenant. ""

    You are confusing the extra-covenantal and intra-covenantal situations. Man does not merit naturally, so God--as an accomodation--creates the covenant, establishing grounds for merit.

    MW: "If true, this would mean there is no grace in the gospel, which offers forgiveness and eternal life to as many as believe. Faith is the condition. Yet no reformed theologian regards faith as "meriting" forgiveness and eternal life. Your categories of thought appear to need a rethink."

    Our salvation is merited by covenant keeping. Only it is not merit by faith (that is the view of the Arminians and of Richard Baxter); it is merited by works.

    Now, who has such works? Not us. Only Christ has them. He merits our salvation, and that is why his obedience has to be imputed to us. You are confusing the instrumental cause of justification (faith) with the meritorious cause (works, but not ours).

    MW: ""Grace" does not terminate in the making of the covenant. If the conditions were fulfilled by Adam, the raising of him to a state of pneumatikon would have been an act of grace on God's part; just as it was an act of grace to give the Israelites the land of Canaan even though the Israelites were required to take possession of it by war."

    You are saying that after God determines to do something, there is more grace when he actually does it. This is mere jousting with words. It is also to subject God to the creaturely time-bound perspective.

    I said:

    "Now there is plenty of precedent for using the term "grace" as motive for creating the covenant, even by some of those who are clear about Adam being in a position of meriting a reward. ... But even here there is a danger of confusion by using the word. It certainly seems to have confused you."

    Then you introduce a quotation from John Ball that exactly proves my point.

    MW: "Likewise, the life offered in the covenant of works would have flowed freely to Adam's posterity as an act of grace."

    This is confused thinking. The fact that God condescended to create an opportunity where Adam, covenantally representing his posterity, could merit that life should flow freely to them, is itself not merited, and not able to be merited. Adam did not merit the possibility of merit. But the situation that God created by establishing this covenant was the situation within which Adam could merit life for his posterity, once the covenant was actually in place.

    The inability to understand this distinction is a major error of the dispensationalists and of the Federal Vision.

    MW: "Nobody believes the posterity of Adam would have "merited" life. Hence it would have been altogether of grace unto them."

    <i>Non sequitor</i>. Covenantal representation is neither merit nor grace. The principle of covenantal representation is how merit and guilt are imputed. We in fact had Adam's sin imputed to us, just as his obedience would have been.
     
  17. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Mr. Wilder,
    I believe the problem is that you seem not to wish to acknowledge the vast difference in relationships between God and man vs. man another man.

    For sake of the argument, we could say that every conditional covenant between man and man means that merit is involved, that does not imply that when we switch to the relationship between God and man that merit must still be involved. There has to be a separate argument to make that move.

    Let me use a simple example to see how you would react.

    A man(1) owes another man (2) one billion dollars. Let man (2) tell man(1), "if you give me 10 dollars, I will forget the billion dollar debt." Are you willing to say that man (1) merited the forgiving of the billion dollar debt because man (2) offered a conditional convenant?

    CT

    [Edited on 9-6-2006 by ChristianTrader]
     
  18. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    CT: "I believe the problem is that you seem not to wish to acknowledge the vast difference in relationships between God and man vs. man another man."

    No. The point is that <b>just because of the vast difference between God and man</b> it takes a covenant to create a merit relationship between God and man. This covenant is an accomodation by God in order to set up a reciprocal relationship with categories of justice, proportionality, and so on, <b>which cannot exist by nature</b>, that is by the fact of the creator / creature situation alone.

    A central error of the Federal Vision is to try to merge covenant and nature.

    However, given the fact that God <b>can</b> and God <b>did</b> set up a covenant, there is a merit relationship.

    Secondly, man already blew it. It is already too late for us to merit. But the covenant still stands, together with its conditions. So God makes a provision where someone else can merit for us.

    The Covenant of Works with its merit relationship is also the foundation of the law-order and categories of justice in human experience, and is the basis for a theology of culture, of politics, and so on. Once you dump the Covenant of Works, all that is left for a theology of culture is an unstructured and normless common grace <i>a la</i> the Christian Reformed Church's teaching.

    It is imparative to make distinctions between what exists by reason of the creator / creature distinction and what exists by God's intiative in introducing a covenant order. It is also imparative to make distictions between the pre-fall and post-fall situations. These distinctions must be kept clear at all times.

    Dispensationalism and the Federal Vision are examples of what happens to theology when people fail to do so.
     
  19. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Mr. Wilder,
    Pardon me if I misread but was there actually an argument for a merit relationship in your post or just an assertion that it exists?
     
  20. Jeff_Bartel

    Jeff_Bartel Puritan Board Graduate

    :ditto: to Mr. Wilder. :up:
     
  21. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    "Mr. Wilder,
    Pardon me if I misread but was there actually an argument for a merit relationship in your post or just an assertion that it exists?"

    Merit exists by definition of the concept of covenant. "Merit" is "a title in strict justice". A covenant is an instrument at confers title to something if certain conditions are met. Strict justice is whether the conditions were met or not met.

    What the people opposed to merit are really saying, behind all the rhetoric, is that a Covenant of Works is impossible.

    There is not need to argue for something that is there by the definitions of the concepts.
     
  22. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    A couple of typos corrected:


    Merit exists by definition of the concept of covenant. "Merit" is "a title in strict justice". A covenant is an instrument that confers title to something if certain conditions are met. Strict justice is whether the conditions were met or not met.

    What the people opposed to merit are really saying, behind all the rhetoric, is that a Covenant of Works is impossible.

    There is no need to argue for something that is there by the definitions of the concepts.
     
  23. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Rev. Matt,
    Could you expound on this thought. Especially in philosophical discussions a point is often made that various things are grounded in God's nature vs. God's will. Are you contradicting this point or making a different one.

    CT
     
  24. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    Not to overdo things, but I think I have found an example that makes this clearer.

    One of the big Federal Vision writers recently said on his blog the following:

    "I've finally found a straight up declaration that all conditions in a relationship are intrinsically meritorious. To claim a relationship is conditional is to claim it is meritorious."

    By showing what is wrong with this thinking, we can make the point clearer.

    When God creates, there comes into being a creature/creator distinction. We can say this is a relationship, since everything that exists is in as many relationships with everthing else as there are terms that can be predicated of both. Saying that there is some relationship isn't saying much. There are in fact many relationships: being greater than, being less then, being a being depent on, and so on.

    So are any or all conditions in this relationship meritorious? The first problem would be to explain what we meant by "condition", but whatever it is would not be meritorious by reason of the creator-creature relationship.

    Merit arises from a specific bond being set up that is called a covenant. Covenant is, like justification, something that falls into the forensic realm, that is comes into being by a declaration. It is the specific terms of a covenant that set up a meritorius relationship between the parties of the covenant.

    Furthermore, the merit is something pertaining to the terms of the covenant, not any and all things in a relationship. Of course, the terms themselves could be all incompasing, if the convenant itself covers all of life. But in that case any and all things are covered, just because the covenant includes them by its specific design.

    Secondly, we have not said whether or not time has to pass between the creation and the coming into being of the covenant. Some theologians have spoken of God creating Adam, and then taking him to the Garden, and then creating a covenant. Others have seem the covenant as being implicit from the beginning of Adam's existance. I am not trying to resolve that.

    I am drawing attention to what is due to man's condition as a creature and what is due to his participation in a covenant.
     
  25. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    So the disagreement is simple over whether or not your definition is correct (at least as it applies to the relationship between God and man). As I stated earlier, something that holds between man and man does not necessarily hold between God and man. One has to be able to say that Biblical evidence is consistent with the analogy holding at this point or it explicitly states that it holds.

    Back to my example of the ten dollar payment for the forgiving of the one billion dollar debt, I know of very few if any person who would say that such is a situation where the debtor merited the forgiving of the debt.

    CT
     
  26. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    "Back to my example of the ten dollar payment for the forgiving of the one billion dollar debt, I know of very few if any person who would say that such is a situation where the debtor merited the forgiving of the debt."

    Was there a pre-existing contract saying that a ten dollar payment clears a billion dollar debt? If so, how could there really be a billion dollar debt, instead of a ten dollar debt? Don't you see that your example is self-contradictory, and that that is the really problem with it?
     
  27. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Rutherford is speaking of law as law, whether before or after the fall. There is nothing in law obedience which deserves eternal life. So the vast majority of reformed theologians. Rollock is a classic example:

    tewilder:

    God, as an accommodation, creates the covenant of works (which is the only suitable covenant to man's upright nature) in order that man might attain his chief end. There is nothing in man's obedience which requires the "reward." The promise as made by God is what affixes eternal life as the reward, not the condition as met by men.

    I had written:

    tewilder:

    How could I confuse something of which I did not speak? What you have managed to do is to evade the point. The gospel preaches salvation on condition of faith. But as you yourself have pointed out, faith is NOT meritorious of salvation. Hence, it is quite in keeping with the nature of covenants to provide conditions that are not meritorious. You have created a false dilemma by requiring that all conditions be understood as meritorious. From your own witness, it is not necessary.

    The Old Testament emphasises Jehovah's fidelity (chesed). The fulfilment of God's promises depends entirely upon His grace.

    The confusion rests in the mind of a man who cannot conceive of conditions as non-meritorious. You are creating a false dilemma.

    The FV denies a covenant of works altogether. As I do not make such a denial, I fail to see the relevance of bringing it up.

    I had written:

    tewilder:
    How is this a non sequitur? We have two mutually exclusive categories -- grace and works. Works were not required by the posterity as the condition whereby they would have received the life promised in the covenant. If it is not of works, then it must be of grace.
     
  28. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Hermonta,

    The idea of God acting according to His nature is merely a human mode of speaking. And the idea of necessity, which is built upon the idea of nature, is untheological. God is because He wills Himself to be. God wills Himself necessarily. Anything ad extra He wills freely. God is simpliciter. His attributes should not be separated from each other or His nature, and His nature should not be separated from His will.

    So to apply it philosophically -- does God will because it is right, or is it right because it is God's will? I deny the former and affirm the latter.

    I prefer Matthew to Matt. Blessings!
     
  29. tewilder

    tewilder Puritan Board Freshman

    Rev. Matthew Winzer: "God, as an accommodation, creates the covenant of works (which is the only suitable covenant to man's upright nature) in order that man might attain his chief end. There is nothing in man's obedience which requires the "reward." The promise as made by God is what affixes eternal life as the reward, not the condition as met by men."

    This is spurious reasoning. The promise as made by God is that there is to be a reward to the condition as met by men. What God has joined together, let not the Rev. Winzer put assunder.

    MW: "How could I confuse something of which I did not speak? What you have managed to do is to evade the point. The gospel preaches salvation on condition of faith. But as you yourself have pointed out, faith is NOT meritorious of salvation. Hence, it is quite in keeping with the nature of covenants to provide conditions that are not meritorious. You have created a false dilemma by requiring that all conditions be understood as meritorious. From your own witness, it is not necessary."

    You did in fact speak of faith as the condition which would have to merit salvation if it were to be merited. Faith is not that condition.

    Salvation if accomplised in this way: Christ takes our place in the Covenant of Works. Salvation is applied in this way: The formal cause (what it is in its essence) is that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. The meritorious cause is the work of Christ that merited that righteousness that is impute to us. The instrumental cause is faith.

    Now the fact that faith is instrumental in participating in the Covenant of Grace does not make faith the condition of the Covenant of Works. So the fact that faith is not meritorius does not make the Covenant of Works non-meritorious, as you think. And if it did render the Covenant of Works non-meritorius we could not be saved, for then there would be no merit of Christ to be imputed to us.

    You have a double confusion. You are confusing the Covenant of Grace with the Covenant of Works and you are confusing instrumental causes with meritorious causes.

    MW: "How is this a non sequitur? We have two mutually exclusive categories -- grace and works. Works were not required by the posterity as the condition whereby they would have received the life promised in the covenant. If it is not of works, then it must be of grace."

    Your problem here is an utter failure to grasp the concept of covenantal headship.
     
  30. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I am not sundering, I am only distinguishing; whereas tewilder is conflating promise and condition.

    "Merit" is your idea, not mine. I have nowhere said that faith merits salvation. I am using faith as an example of a non-meritorious condition in order to show you that the bare fact the covenant of works contained conditions did not make it meritorious.

    Why have you shifted "faith" from the gospel to the covenant of works. My argument pertained to the gospel, not the covenant of works. It proves non-meritorious conditions. Hence your argument, that obedience as a condition in the covenant of works merits the reward, is null and void.

    I guess at the rate at which you keep answering arguments of your own devising I could have a tenfold confusion by the next post. Still, it wouldn't be my confusion, but the confusion which exists in your straw man.

    You started by saying that I contradicted myself when I claimed all covenants have terms and conditions while asserting that there was no merit in the covenant of works. You assume that a fulfilled condition entails merit. You agreed above that faith is a condition of the salvation offered in the gospel. You maintained above that faith is not meritorious. Hence, according to your own witness, you can allow for a non-meritorious condition. Thus you have answered your own false dilemma. You cannot prove from Scripture or reason that if Adam had have fulfilled the condition of the covenant of works it would have "merited" the life God promised.

    [Edited on 9-7-2006 by armourbearer]
     
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