Cocceius's Definition of a Covenant

Is this a valid definition of a biblical covenant?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Somewhat


Results are only viewable after voting.
Status
Not open for further replies.

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Hi friends, I'm wondering what your thoughts are on Cocceius's definition of a covenant as a 'bond of love'. Here's what he says on Deut. 29:1:
Foedus hic significat mutuam testificationem de amore, qui a parte Dei est benevolentiae, & a parte populi est gratitudinis demonstrandae per illam obedientiam, qua Deus glorificatur.
"Here, Covenant means a mutual testifying of love, which on the part of God is of benevolence, and on the part of the people is of gratitude, to be demonstrated by that obedience by which God is glorified."
(He goes on to state that the New Covenant is described here in Deut. 29)
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
It is a legal construct and as such, a covenant might be entered into because of love, but it is not ontologically love itself. Biblical theology creates a discipline when studying covenant in scripture. Think of the scene when God entered into covenant with Abraham. You have smoking pots, slaughtered animals and a trek through the middle of the whole mess. It set death as the reasonable outcome for violating the terms of the covenant and graphically displayed how that would appear. When we see the longer flow of the history of redemption, we see the amazing love of Christ as the covenant maker taking upon himself the terms set out for the covenant breaker. There is no greater love. That love of Christ is in his person, not the legal construct by which it is administered to his people.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
It is a legal construct and as such, a covenant might be entered into because of love, but it is not ontologically love itself. Biblical theology creates a discipline when studying covenant in scripture. Think of the scene when God entered into covenant with Abraham. You have smoking pots, slaughtered animals and a trek through the middle of the whole mess. It set death as the reasonable outcome for violating the terms of the covenant and graphically displayed how that would appear. When we see the longer flow of the history of redemption, we see the amazing love of Christ as the covenant maker taking upon himself the terms set out for the covenant breaker. There is no greater love. That love of Christ is in his person, not the legal construct by which it is administered to his people.
Thank you for your thoughts. To play devil's advocate, couldn't the same be said of marriage, that it's a legal construct? But I would think that defining it as a bond of love would nevertheless be appropriate, even if some fall short of that ideal.
 

arapahoepark

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Thank you for your thoughts. To play devil's advocate, couldn't the same be said of marriage, that it's a legal construct? But I would think that defining it as a bond of love would nevertheless be appropriate, even if some fall short of that ideal.
Is not marriage a covenant?
 

mgkortus

Puritan Board Freshman
Charles, I whole heartedly believe that the covenant is at heart the 'bond of love' between God and his people. In his writings Cocceius also emphasizes the idea of the covenant being the friendship between God and his people. Certainly, within that bond God sets before his people obligations. But I believe the covenant is best defined in terms of a bond or a relationship, rather than an agreement between God and his people.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
Yes. That's why I'm mentioning it.
I may have been cartwheels in love on my wedding day but I also had great solemnity about the covenant being entered before God and the commonwealth. That a covenant may be a legal apparatus does not lessen the love that triggers the desire to engage its solemn provisions.
 

joep

Puritan Board Freshman
Here's a counter-example: God's covenant in Genesis 9:8-17. Here, the covenant is unconditional with no obedience required of man, and the testifying of love is not mutual as man is nothing more than a recipient along with every living creature.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here's a counter-example: God's covenant in Genesis 9:8-17. Here, the covenant is unconditional with no obedience required of man, and the testifying of love is not mutual as man is nothing more than a recipient along with every living creature.
No obedience? God enjoined a ceremonial law of foods on Noah and proclaimed that whosoever sheds a man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.
 

joep

Puritan Board Freshman
No obedience? God enjoined a ceremonial law of foods on Noah and proclaimed that whosoever sheds a man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed.


But it isn't required for the covenant to continue or to receive its benefits. Kline says it better (Kingdom Prologue, p 246):
Based, as it was, on commitments divinely sanctioned and sealed with heavenly sign, this postdiluvian arrangement exhibited the essential features necessary to qualify for the designation berith. In this case, the commitments were unilaterally divine. Regulations governing mankind’s conduct were included, but no commitments were exacted from man on which the continuance of the covenant itself or individual membership therein might be dependent. Indeed, God determined to establish this covenantal order in spite of the inveterate evil of mankind (Gen 8:21). Though not immediately directed to the establishment of God’s kingdom-realm on earth but rather to the ordering of the world of common grace, it was, like all the divine covenants of Scripture, a sovereign administration of God’s heavenly reign.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top