There are differing opinions about how many actual covenants there are in Scripture. For our purposes, we are going to look at seven major ones including covenants made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, the restoration covenant, and finally theNew Covenant. While there are many aspects to the making of the covenants in Scripture we are just going to focus on the idea or progress in each of them as well as the “signs” of each. The progress being that increasing revelation to man on how to be reconciled unto God and what God would have man do. The signs given are there to show that, indeed, a covenant is in effect and that God is present with us.
The first covenant is with Adam and is called the dominion mandate. Man is given the job of filling and ruling the earth with the only thing off limits being the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is no sign of God’s presence because God is actually present with Adam and Eve in the garden. That’s it. Pretty simple as far as covenants go.
The Noahic covenant is next and reiterates the first covenant by giving the dominion mandate again, but then includes additional material and change. Under this new covenant animals will now fear man where previously, apparently, they did not. Another change, sensibly related to the first one, is that man can eat animals, where previously they were only authorized to eat plants. Also, the death penalty for murder is established. God promises never to destroy the earth by flood and the sign that this covenant is in effect is the rainbow in the sky.
These two covenants are different than the rest in that they are made with all mankind. In fact, the Noahic covenant is also actually made with all animal life as well. All the rest of the covenants will focus on a particular people called to be in special covenant with God, which will have implications for all mankind and all life, but technically not made with all mankind. Next up, Abraham.