In Covenant theology, the Covenant of Works is the second of three theological covenants. It is that pre-Fall agreement between God and Adam in which Adam was promised blessing and life upon obedience to the terms of the covenant and cursing and death should he disobey the terms of the covenant. Covenant theologians maintain that the requirements of the covenant relationship are clearly defined in the commands that God gave to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28-30; cf 2:15) and in the direct command to Adam, 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die' (Gen. 2:16–17).

The Bible teaches that in Adam, all broke the covenant (Hos. 6:7) and so, in Adam all die (1 Cor. 15:22). Within covenant theology, the Covenant of Grace is God's covenant designed to bring humanity into a restored covenant relationship with him, through the death of Christ.

Westminster Confession of faith

  • VII.1. The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him, as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescencion on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.
  • VII.2. The first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience.

See also