A covenant is a binding arrangement between two or more parties that governs their relationship. A covenant is more personal than a contract — it involves loyalty and allegiance, not just a financial exchange. God has made several agreements or covenants with humans. He gives commands and makes promises.
What does he command?
What promises has he made?
“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 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 surely die.”
Genesis 2:16-17 (NKJV)
The word command is introduced at this point because it’s God who makes the terms of the agreement. God is the Creator and man is the creature, a “royal tenant” in God’s wonderful world, so God has the right to tell the man what he can and cannot do. God didn’t ask for Adam’s advice; He simply gave him His commandment.
He didn’t give this directly to Eve, but Eve learned of this commandment from Adam. That’s probably why the serpent went to Eve with his temptation (Genesis 3:1). It’s always easier to get a person to doubt secondhand information.
God had given great honor and privilege to Adam in making him His vice-regent on the earth (Genesis 1:28), but with privilege always comes responsibility. The same divine Word that brought the universe into being also expresses God’s love and will to Adam and Eve and their descendants (Ps. 33:11).
Obedience to this Word would keep them in the sphere of God’s fellowship and approval. All God’s commands are good commands and bring good things to those who obey them (Ps. 119:39).
“And His commands are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).
God placed two special trees in the middle of the Garden: the Tree of Life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:9). Eating from the tree of life would confer immortality.
Eating from the second tree would confer an experiential knowledge of good and evil, but it would also bring death (Genesis 2:17). Adam and Eve didn’t die physically the day they ate of the forbidden fruit. Adam lived 930 years (Genesis 5:5). But Adam and Eve died spiritually the instant they disobeyed God. That is evidenced by their actions and words. They immediately came into fear and ran from God (Genesis 3:8-9).
Since they had never experienced evil, Adam and Eve were like innocent children. When they disobeyed God, they became like Him in being able to discriminate between good and evil; but they became unlike Him in that they lost their sinlessness and eventually died.
The word “death” in the Bible never describes ceasing to exist but indicates separation. Physical death is where the spirit and soul separate from the body. Spiritual death is where our spirit becomes separated from God’s Spirit. I love what “The Voice Bible” says in James 2:26:
“Removing action from faith is like removing breath from a body. All you have left is a corpse.”
But why did God have to test Adam and Eve?
There may be many answers to that question, but one thing is sure: God wanted humans to love and obey Him freely and willingly and not because they were programmed like robots who had to obey. In one sense, God “took a risk” when He made Adam and Eve in His own image and gave them the privilege of choice; but this is the way He ordained for them to learn about freedom and obedience. It’s one of the basic truths of life that obedience brings blessing and disobedience brings judgment.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Basic (Genesis 1-11)
Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary