15: Foundational Frameworks Part 15 - The Noahic Covenant and the Dispensation of Human Government


Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Genesis 9:1-17. This is the Noahic Covenant. This covenant (contract) is unconditional, meaning that the fulfillment of it rests upon YHWH alone despite the unfaithfulness of the other parties involved, which (in this case) is the whole world. This contract is initiated by God’s grace, not human merit. YHWH personally describes the depravity of man’s condition (8:21). The Lord reiterates the command to fill the earth (v.1, 7). The fear of man is now in every animal (that’s why squirrels run away!), yet animals are now acceptable for food provided that one strains all of the blood (life) from the animal (See Genesis 4:10; Lev 17:11, 14; Deut 12:23). The Lord communicates that something must die so that we may live.

YHWH commands capital punishment for beast and man (9:6). This begins the new dispensation of Human Government. 

YHWH makes a contract with the world, stating that He will never again destroy the world through a global flood (v.9-15). This was alluded to before the Flood in Genesis 6:18. The rainbow is given as a reminder to all that God has promised mercy in spite of their corrupt and depraved natures. In a sense, this is a divine peace treaty, offered by the dominant king after a crushing victory.

Q: Will man govern his fellow man according to YHWH’s standards?

Genesis 11:1-9. Reading Ch. 10 would be beneficial because Ch. 11 fills in the gaps one finds when reading. Man had one language (“lip”) and vocabulary. The declaration made is to build a city, a tower, and to make a name for themselves. The motivation: “otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (v.4b). This is the beginning of organized religion, being humanism, and is marked as a direct affront to the Most High God, characterized by the overflow of pride. (See Gen 9:1, 7). 

In 10:8-10, Nimrod is listed as a mighty hunter whose kingdom was Babel. This is the same region, later known as Babylon, and today is known as Iraq. If you are familiar with the name “Marduk,” this is the “god-form” that Nimrod supposedly took on after his death.  

Despite man’s efforts upward, YHWH must still “come down” to man (v.5). While man must “build” with bricks and mortar, YHWH creates out of nothing. The tense used in v.5 shows that the city and tower were already completed. Being one people and language, only the beginning of the evil that they would devise had become known. YHWH intervenes, dividing the languages, to save mankind from their self-serving humanism. The Human Government had failed to govern itself, allowing for Self to become the center of worship. 11:8 explains 10:11, why Nimrod left Babel and went to Assyria.
YHWH always overcomes man’s schemes to accomplish His purpose.

The Dispensation of Human Government
1. Responsibility- Man is to “be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it” (Gen 9:7). Man is to judge good and evil, employing the death penalty if necessary (Gen 9:6).
2. Failure- Man neglects to judge evil, allowing for the building of a tower that is meant to establish man’s place as deity (Gen 11:4). This violates the responsibility to fill the earth because everyone is gathered in one place (Gen 11:2).
3. Judgment- YHWH scatters the people, confusing their languages (Gen 11:9).
4. Grace- YHWH narrows the focus of His mission by selecting a pagan from Ur named Abram with which to make His goodness known to the Earth (Gen 12:1-3).