Making a Covenant with Abraham (Pt.4): Covenants and Promises (2)


Two Abrahamic Covenants?

To make things a little more tricky, some scholars claim to see not one but two covenants made with Abraham by the Lord.  This is the position of Paul Williamson as set out in his fine book Sealed with an Oath.  Williamson believes that the thirteen year time lapse between Genesis 15 and 17, plus what he calls “significant differences…in terms of their covenantal framework and their promissory emphases” argue for two covenants.[1]

But the time gap is not in itself a problem for a Divine covenant.  Clearly it would take many generations for the descendants to appear.  The issue is really over the repetition of covenantal language and what receives emphasis.  What it boils down to for the two covenant view is that Genesis 15 is said to be temporal and unilateral, whereas Genesis 17 is eternal and bilateral.[2]  Williamson sees the…

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