I have been interacting with a few blogs and discussions the past few days concerning Kline’s doctrine of Creation and Covenant
Based upon Kline’s view of Covenant and Creation he seems to reformulate the essence of both by collapsing both into one as I mention in the comments on David Murray’s blog Head Heart Hand.
“Concerning the Prelapsarian Covenant and grace I would mention that it isn’t that grace needs to be qualified as goodness or kindness alone. It requires the unmerited aspect of goodness and kindness. God’s condescension was gracious in that it was unmerited and full of gifts that Adam never merited. That is what needs to be understood. And that has long been a Reformed understanding concerning Adam as a created being. The booklet does a good job explaining that. One of the problems in this matter is that the Covenant of Works is turned into a creational entity which characterizes the natural relationship between God and man. In this scheme human morality is, in its very essence, made a covenant of works. Grace is only operative where sin abounds. And that is just wrong. It is too narrow of a definition of grace which is something I have addressed many times. There is the narrow understanding of grace and a broader understanding depending on the context. The same is true for how we understand the Gospel.”
From the booklet….Merit and Moses
The [Klinean] republication view teaches that man was in covenant with God at the very moment of creation. This is an important shift from the traditional viewpoint. Ontological considerations demand that there be at least a logical distinction (rather than a chronological or historical sequence) between God’s creating man and his entering into covenant with him. The [Klinean] republication teaching now erases this confessional distinction (which is based upon the “great disproportion” between the Creator and creature), and thereby turns God’s providential work of establishing the covenant into an aspect of the work of creation. Thus, we may say that the two distinct acts have been conflated or collapsed into essentially one act in this new view. For all intents and purposes, the relationship between God and man is not first that of sovereign Creator over his finite creature, but is from the point of creation a relationship of “God-in-covenant-with-man.” For Professor Kline and those who have followed his lead in the republication position, it is improper to even consider man’s existence apart from covenant. Thus, man’s covenantal status seems to “trump” his creaturely status. Professor Kline makes this clear in Kingdom Prologue.
“Man’s creation as image of God meant, as we have seen, that the creating of the world was a covenant-making process. There was no original non-covenantal order of mere nature on which the covenant was superimposed. Covenantal commitments were given by the Creator in the very act of endowing the mancreature with the mantle of the divine likeness. …The situation never existed in which man’s future was contemplated or presented in terms of a static continuation of the original state of blessedness (Kingdom Prologue , p. 92).”
On a side issue David Murray’s review and summation are excellent.
Merit and Moses Pt. 4
Rev. Winzer makes this observation, “Further problems arise once this basic departure is discerned. One begins to see a metaphysical reworking of the categories of grace and justice in relation to the “covenant of nature.” Instead of a providential dispensation (see Shorter Catechism question 12), the covenant of works is turned into a creational entity which characterises the natural relationship between God and man. Human morality is, in its very essence, made a covenant of works. Grace is only operative where sin abounds.”