Continuing Calvin and going along with the fact that he didn’t believe that the federal headship of Adam included Adam’s ability to secure eternal life to himself and to his progeny, there are other things Calvin would not have agreed with:
…Adam’s commission included a kingly, priestly, and prophetic calling.
Where is that found? It is an inference. And not one from Scripture, but one from the presupposition that a covenant of works was extant in the garden’s Creation Mandate (if it can even be called such a thing), which must be extended in both directions historically, inclusive of all God’s dealings with his creation. Calvin understood the “mandate,” not as a covenant, but as simply God’s provision:
He confirms what he had before said respecting dominion. Man had already been created with this condition, that he should subject the earth to himself; but now, at length, he is put in possession of his right, when he hears what has been given to him by the Lord: and this Moses expresses still more fully in the next verse, when he introduces God as granting to him the herbs and the fruits. For it is of great importance that we touch nothing of God’s bounty but what we know he has permitted us to do; since we cannot enjoy anything with a good conscience, except we receive it as from the hand of God. And therefore Paul teaches us that, in eating and drinking we always sin, unless faith be present, (Romans 14:23.) Thus we are instructed to seek from God alone whatever is necessary for us, and in the very use of his gifts, we are to exercise ourselves in meditating on his goodness and paternal care. For the words of God are to this effect: ‘Behold, I have prepared food for thee before thou wast formed; acknowledge me, therefore, as thy Father, who have so diligently provided for thee when thou wast not yet created. Moreover, my solicitude for thee has proceeded still further; it was thy business to nurture the things provided for thee, but I have taken even this charge also upon myself. Wherefore, although thou art, in a sense, constituted the father of the earthly family, it is not for thee to be overanxious about the sustenance of animals.’
Adam’s federal headship is then limited to being the first man, not that he was a king, a priest, or a prophet above his peers, but as the genealogical head, or we might say, the root, of the human race. It was not left to him anymore than any of his progeny to take care of the garden, be fruitful, and multiply, or to be a king, priest, or a prophet. Adam, is, as we shall see from Calvin, the archetypal human, the first of a kind and by fiat of that mankind’s father, but not its head in any other forensic sense than that.
Dominion was the condition into which Adam was created, it was his by fiat of being man, and being the representative or archetypal man, his offspring would likewise be in dominion also. And all equally responsible. All the provisions of all things, including dominion and the subjugation, for they are but two sides of the same thing, is by fiat of God’s providential care, and that for all mankind in Adam. So also, in God’s providential dealings with Adam as the root of mankind’s tree, all the fruit of that tree is corrupted through him.
Dominion and subjugation were not works to be accomplished, a covenant to be failed, according to Calvin. All that man could accomplish, and would have, is given by providence, not works merit. Man was created in dominion, Calvin tells us, as a condition, in other words according to nature. He was not created to take it he was it, God’s regent image on earth. The confirmation of what is meant to subdue and have dominion is reflected in the statement:
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. Genesis 2:15
Man was put to work in the garden of the Lord’s making, not to bring it under his control, but to tend it and keep it under control. For it was “good,” and already under God’s control, and man was in that image created. He was not created so as to become God’s image, but already its bearer. As Calvin so stipulates, man was made in this condition and the world was made for his provision. In it he lacked nothing and there was nothing left to be made “good.” The bearing of children, as Calvin remarks is also a work of God and God’s intended outcome was that mankind bear children to fill and replenish as God’s image bearer, also. That too, though, was fulfilled in the first Adam couple for all mankind was accounted in them. Not only is Adam the father of all, but Eve is the mother of all, the two both being the image bearer of God. All of the children would be Adam’s equals. It was not that Adam must fill a quota before he could be deemed righteous enough to take of the tree of life. He was already righteous. And so also, all his children would have been, and would have a share in the same image equally.
As Calvin has noted elsewhere, man could freely take of any tree but one, so that there was not ever a time when Adam could not have eaten of the tree of life. Indeed, Calvin more or less concludes the tree of life as symbolic of the whole of God’s permissions, that it could not any more than any other tree covey life. Calvin exercises his interpretive freedom making the tree of life perhaps a sacramental offering, a memorial to the source of all life, for man does not live by only bread but by every word of God. Calvin attenuates the tree in the garden further in noting that the true Tree of Life which gives eternal life was not yet incarnated. The first tree being symbolic of the source of life should humble man such that he realizes that nothing, no work that he can do, could ever convey or secure life to himself. And if not to himself, then not to others.
Where Gonzales quotes Fesko:
The dominion mandate cannot be fulfilled simply by procreation or by having large families.
This, as noted above, is exactly the opposite of what Calvin concluded was the case. And what was Calvin doing? Well for the most part, except where he cites other Scripture, he was simply going on the information provided by the text without a covenant hermeneutic informing him as to what he must understand it to mean. It was not just that Calvin didn’t find the word covenant in Genesis 1-2, it was that he knew there was no covenant of works expressed there. And it is not as if Calvin was ignorant of the covenants of Scripture.
Calvin nowhere in the creation comparisons in Romans 5 makes Adam the type of Christ such that Christ fulfills the Creation Mandate of works. In fact, he goes the opposite way and says that Christ is the fulfillment of the type in an antitypical way. Christ is of a different kind. He is one who can grant life. Adam could only bring death. Indeed, where Calvin says that Jesus fulfilled a work, John 17, it was not the Creation Mandate. There too, Calvin is correct to note that it is the work of The Kingdom that Christ has accomplished. It is a new work, of a different kind, it is of a New Kingdom, and not the fulfillment of a previous one left unfulfilled.
Adam and Eve were created to fill the earth with worshipers of God who would extend the boarders of God’s Edenic garden-sanctuary to the ends of the earth at which time they, in imitation of their Creator-Lord, would enter into their eternal Sabbath enthronement at God’s right hand.
Assumptions: First, that the inherent dominion existing in Adam’s creation was not at first over the whole of the earth’s land mass as it was then. The distinction being made between the earth and the garden is confounded in Genesis in that the trees and plants from which man is to eat exist outside the garden of Eden as well as in it. There are rivers that run out of Eden to water the garden, which is textually equivalent to the whole earth, and the GARDEN of Eden sounds as if it is a special area within a more expansive garden. Indeed, Eden may be the name of the whole earth landmass with the various regions being named:
And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
Another version says:
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And thus, Eden is the name of the land, where a garden was, into which man was placed. Or, Eden is only being distinguished as the name of its location, wherever that was, connoting that garden wasn’t there but outside it. The word garden is used for the whole, and then, also for a distinct area within the whole, the garden eastward in Eden. Is Eden in the east of the land mass? Or, is Eden the name of whole landmass into which the garden was placed? Is Eden the name of the landmass, and the regions named only regions within it? The rivers flowed out of Eden to water the garden and they encompassed the division. Were those divisions within the GARDEN?
That there is a gate and that there are Angels protecting against reentrance to the garden may then be considered at least in a spiritual sense, symbolic, since we have no garden today to which we can look to say it is a place distinct, and no real garden specifics in the text to say just what is meant by “a garden.” “In Eden” may designate one region as such were Havilah, Cush and Nod(?) and so on. On the other hand, if only a partial area was also called Eden and the whole Eden was all the land mass where the rivers were which flowed out of Eden to water the garden, which rivers also had reference to other regions of the garden, then what we are dealing with cannot be said to not be symbolic with any more force than saying it is actual descriptive language since it cannot be determined just what Eden is or what if any real distinction as a matter of Adam’s attendance can be made between the garden which is outside the GARDEN, the GARDEN which God had prepared to the east into which he placed Adam.
Never the less, and with all Genesis’ confounding aside, as Calvin noted, all provisions were from God, not from man. Man could secure to himself nothing new. So it does not matter of what the geography was, except to say that there just isn’t any border which can be made known by the text between the garden and the earth at large as is presupposed by Gonzales. Extending the boarders of the garden then is read into the text. Even if there were a physical rather than a spiritual distinction, Calvin says, it was not that man was improving on anything, for all was done, and all was good, and Adam had dominion over all.
The second assumption is that Adam had yet to enter into the sabbath. The fact is, though, that man was placed in the GARDEN, and so ended the sixth day. Unless we make the fall to happen on that very day, then when the Scripture says that creation was completed on the sixth day and there was morning and evening the sixth day, then Adam and Eve awoke into God’s rest on the seventh. They weren’t placed not at rest. But as Calvin insists, God had provided everything for man’s contentment. It was not to work, so to speak, but to be at rest in their labor for the Lord. And since we don’t have a first day again mentioned, the sabbath cannot be said to be concluded at the end of it. There is an absence of the morning and evening designation for the sabbath, so it cannot be said then there was then an eighth day. In fact, the idea of perpetual rest, that is God’s rest, is indicated and later texts confirm it as a type of the eternal rest to come. In other words, Adam and Eve were placed into the sabbath to keep it perpetually.
The assumption is that a Covenant of Works was to be completed by sometime, a covenant to be kept that would provide rest so that man was not at rest in his labors prior to it. That simply doesn’t exist in the text. It flows whole cloth from the Covenant hermeneutic. The glaring fact is that where we find the imposition of works is as a part of the curse, after the fall. As I said, unless the fall happened on the sixth day, man could not be said to have failed to enter into it. Man was to have dominion over creation which was completed “good,” keep it, not gain it, subdue it, that is, work the earth, or as Genesis states, tend the Garden, without breaking a sweat. It wasn’t debilitating, draining labor, but life given as tender. The natural reading of the texts only makes sense if we conclude that Adam entered into God’s rest when he awoke that seventh day. And it was from that, that he and Eve fell. What we find in the curse is surely not rest, so we must conclude that prior to it man was at rest with God with whom he used to commune in that restful cool of the day. Or, we need another word for the opposite of rest.
But wherein the First Adam and Eve failed, the Second Adam and Eve shall succeed. And when all enemies are put under their feet, they shall together enjoy the fullness of Sabbath rest, ruling and reigning together in the New Heavens and New Earth.
But the enemies have already been put under His feet, Ephesians 1:22, though we do not see it yet. It fails the test of Hebrews 4, also, where the writer says we have entered it. Though we do not yet see it, that same writer cautions his readers by his writing so that no one fails to enter that rest. In Chapter Six he says:
For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
Notice the type of the curse which speaks of the unyielding ground that is the frustrative exhausting of works. It produces no rest. But, as the writer is convinced, his readers have entered the rest promised. Labors in the kingdom work full assurance and the writer is drawing closed the circle begun in Chapter Four. Those who have entered through Christ entered God’s rest unless they fail the test of God’s perfect provision, just as it was in the Garden. It is not that God has failed in providing all that is necessary so that man must work to attain it. He couldn’t in the Garden, and he cannot now.
At the end of the previous quote Gonzales states a third assumption: that Adam wasn’t at rest in God’s first sabbath and further, that a future sabbath for him to enter into, an eternal one, was yet for him achievable. But the fact is that this is to conflate two different sabbath’s into one. It is obvious that the first sabbath rest wasn’t eternal. And Adam was already enjoying God’s rest if the curse is to mean anything. Scripture teaches a second sabbath (see the feast of Tabernacles; Hebrews 4:8-10). Those who have died in Christ have ceased from their labor, and that kind of rest was not available until after the fall. That there are two rests, the first from which Adam could fall and did, and the second from which man cannot fall, Hebrews 4:11, because it is secured by Christ, is irrefutable.
The fourth assumption is to make Jesus out to be just another Adam. The text in question reads:
Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Jesus is a different kind of man, Calvin concludes. Man though he is, he is not as Adam, who was a mere mortal, and could not bestow life on any. As said, the only thing that Adam could procure for his progeny was death. And that is exactly the knowledge Romans bequeaths. Adam was a living soul, who brought death. Jesus was the life giver. Scripture further concludes that Jesus is the Firstfruit of a different generation who through a new and living way gives eternal life to whom he chooses. And that, not by propagation of any humanly sort or effort, but through the new generation, that is, a new creation bestowed by grace. It is not an old creation order which has been fulfilled in Christ, or reconstituted, but an entirely new work which has been accomplished by Christ in restoring man.
Gonzales concludes correctly it is a New Heaven and a New Earth which we will occupy. Though, what Scripture indicates is that Heaven and Earth are one and the same in the New Creation. It is not an old creation, an old Eden filled with first adam’s, with a fulfilled covenant of works that Christ’s work accomplishes. It is a new work, a new creation that Christ has fulfilled.
Now as to his calling Christ the last Adam, the reason is this, that as the human race was created in the first man, so it is renewed in Christ. I shall express it again, and more distinctly: All men were created in the first man, because, whatever God designed to give to all, he conferred upon that one man, so that the condition of mankind was settled in his person. He by his fall ruined himself and those that were his, because he drew them all, along with himself, into the same ruin: Christ came to restore our nature from ruin, and raise it up to a better condition than ever. There are then, as it were, two sources, or two roots of the human race. Hence it is not without good reason, that the one is called the first man, and the other the last… “It is necessary,” says he, “that before we are restored in Christ, we derive our origin from Adam, and resemble him.
The work which Christ accomplished is not the “Creation Mandate,” according to Calvin, it is the restorative recreation of mankind from a second source. But as Calvin says, to a distinctly different, that is, “better condition than ever.” In short, a new creation. And notice, Calvin doesn’t make Adam king, priest and prophet any more so than any of his progeny would have been: “whatever God designed to give to all, he conferred upon that one man, so that the condition of mankind was settled in his person.”
We read Jesus’ words that the first prophet was Abel, not Adam. Adam’s status was not to be any different than his progeny. In other words, he wasn’t a king, he was a commoner. He wasn’t a priest, for in his native state there was no need for men to mediate between God and man. Beside, as Calvin rightly notes, even when man becomes a mediator he is only one in type, never having any means other than the One Mediator by which he could ascend to God.
Beside, the fulness of the elect is not a matter of some goal to be accomplished by Christ yet with the aid of the Church. Recalling again Calvin from his commentary on John 17:
The amount of his request, therefore, is that the Father would put him in possession of the kingdom; since, having completed his course, nothing more remained for him to do, than to display, by the power of the Spirit, the fruit and efficacy of all that he had done on earth by the command of his Father…
He is making that in reference to the children who he has secured to himself by his work as those that the father had given him from before time began. The similarity of the first type of Christ, Adam, is in having been given all so as to fulfill all that had been given. Adam was placed in the Garden, Calvin says, in possession of all that God had provided. So also, Christ was not gaining what provision was mere possibility. Rather, he was fulfilling what the Father had provided.
As we note, it is not a kingdom of the first Adam that is what Jesus had in mind, but that Kingdom of Heaven of which he had been made King Eternal. His kingship is not a temporal one, it is from all eternity. For the first Adam could not only not have accomplished bringing Christ down, as Calvin also says elsewhere, but because of his inherent weakness could never have risen to Christ in the first place. So the parallel between Christ and Adam is broken. What Adam could never do, Christ did. Because of who Adam was he could never have procured anything. As man, every provision was given to Adam. On the other hand, Jesus was given everything, not because he lacked anything, but be cause of who he was, all things were his by nature, he being through whom all things exist. There is no renewed kingdom of Adam, or a first covenant of works to have been completed by him. To the contrary, Jesus Kingdom is and everlasting one, without beginning and without end, because he is without beginning and without end the King of Glory. As was the case with Melchizedek, Jesus has a kingship, a priesthood, and a prophetic office which is not earthly. That is, it is not of the flesh as it was in Abraham and his descendents by covenant with man, rather it is of the New Covenant which is of the promise by the Eternal Word. There is only the New Heavens and New Earth to look forward to, a New Creation, not of the old order, one which could only be fulfilled in Christ. It was not ever one which could have failed for Christ’s Kingdom has no beginning nor an end. It is nothing like the first creation order which by nature can and did fail. Christ comes, not to make up for past mistakes, but by taking away the old and issuing the new.
Christ is not a second Adam picking up the broken pieces of a shattered plan A and finishing it off. Neither is he the champion of a plan B as presented by Gonzales. He is a new man, not at all of the creation order of Adam, though Christ derives his likeness to us from that stock. Jesus is the Firstfruit of a New Mankind, a new creation, as Calvin so rightly observes. The covenant that was made with him is not the completion of a so-called Creation Mandate, but the fulfillment of the New Creation already accomplished by Christ on Calvary and not waiting for the eschaton to be fulfilled with the aid of the last Eve.