In my post on monocovenantalism (5/14/04), I said that some prominent folks on the other side of the AAH had agreed with me that had Adam stood, it would have been by the grace of God appropriated by faith. One of those gentlemen has since contacted me, saying that this misrepresents his views. He believes that Adam would have stood by faith, but not by grace. He said, “had Adam fulfilled the covenant of works he would have presented his own works.” So then, in once sense I am happy to clarify his views (even though I did not name him). But I am sorry that the view as amended is a lot more unbiblical than it was before.
What does the Bible say about works? It is tied, necessarily, to the principle of boasting (Rom. 3:27). In other words, had Adam stood by His own works, he had no obligation to say “thank you” to God, for “thank you” presupposes a gift, and a gift is grace. The Bible contrasts works with election (Rom. 9:11). The Bible treats works as a paycheck in principle (Rom. 6:23; 11:6). If grace is excluded from the Garden, then so is gratitude.
And Eve said, “Adam, let us give thanks to God for our great deliverance!”
“No need for that, honey. I withstood the serpent all by myself. It was my own intrinsic righteousness at work here.”
“But still, Adam, shouldn’t we acknowledge that our obedience was a gift from God?”
“Woman, you clearly don’t understand the deeper issues of theology. No wonder that serpent had you going for a bit.”
“Yes, but only for a bit. God gave me insight to the nature of his lies. I am so grateful, and I think we should thank Him together.”
“But, dear, you are being grateful to the wrong person. We must of course thank God for the Garden, and for the fruit, and for one another. But who should be thanked for this particular act of obedience? Me. Me.”
“Well, I do thank you. But can’t we thank God too? Doesn’t He ordain all things? Shouldn’t we see this obedience of ours as His grace to us?”
“Trust me, Eve. I do know there are subtleties involved. But the only way to preserve a true God-centeredness for all our children in the ages to come is for us to acknowledge that God did not do this. I did it. Me.”
“But I feel so empty not thanking God for this grace.”
“I understand that feeling, at least in part. Maybe we can compromise. When the Lord comes walking in the cool of the day this evening, we can make a point of thanking Him.”
“Adam, that’s wonderful! What shall we thank Him for?”
“Thanks for nothing. But we needn’t put it that way of course.”