What is the Covenant of Works? What is the Edenic Covenant?

The Covenant of Works, also known as the Edenic Covenant, is the covenant that God had with Adam in the Garden of Eden where Adam would maintain his position with God through his obedience to the command of God to multiply and fill the earth, subdue it, and also not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

  • "God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so," (Genesis 1: 28-30).
  • "The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die,” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Some say this is not a covenant, but according to Hosea 6:7 it is. "But like Adam, they have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me." Covenants are usually accompanied with stipulations of rewards and punishments. The implication of keeping the requirements of God would be that Adam would have been blessed in his endeavors, which is implied in the "tree of life." The curse of breaking the covenant resulted in his death (Genesis 2:17), and death in the case of Adam and Eve began the moment they sinned.

Covenants have signs. There is no clear designation of the covenant sign here, but it would appear to be the Tree of Life.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.