2 Tim 3.16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

A Biblical Rebuttal of "The Fulfillment of the Promises of God"

Chapter 4: The Noahic Covenant

A Biblical Rebuttal of:

The Fulfillment of the Promises of God,
An Explanation of Covenant Theology

by Dr. Richard Belcher, 2020.

As mentioned in the Introduction, chapters 1 through 8 in this article match the chapter titles and ordering of their respective chapters in Dr. Belcher's book. This chapter overlays chapter 4, pages 47 through 60 in the book.


Format Key:

  • Simple body text looks like this, this and this, and like this, this and this.
  • A quote from Scripture looks like this.
  • A quote from Dr. Belcher’s book “looks like this” [ch X, pg Y[, emphasis mine]]
  • An inline comment [looks like this.]


With chapter 4, we begin the section in Dr. Belcher’s book that deals with the real OT covenants. Unfortunately, I found in this chapter, and the ones that follow on the Abrahamic, [Circumcision,] Mosaic, Davidic and New Covenants the same theological carelessness. There are an astonishing number of distortions of Scripture’s teaching about covenants for a theology whose ‘claim to fame’ purports to be an understanding of covenants.

At the very beginning of the first paragraph, we encounter this gem:

“The Covenant with Noah has several challenges that some of the other covenants in Scripture do not have. One challenge is that the WCF does not say very much about the covenant with Noah and its role in redemptive history. Another is that there has not been agreement on how to fit together the broader, common grace aspects with the redemptive aspects of the covenant.” [ch 4, pg 47]

The essence of this issue as stated is that the covenant the LORD made during the time of Noah (after the flood) doesn’t fit well into the CT narrative!

“One challenge is that the WCF does not say very much …”
“… its role in redemptive history.”
“… there has not been agreement on how to fit together …”

[See Appendix: The Problems in the WCF. for details.]

So, the Noahic covenant doesn’t "fit"! Can you believe that a ‘'theologian’' who purports to expound the topic of the covenants of the OT would say this!? “LORD, your covenant with Noah presents us with a problem. We can't figure out how to integrate it with our fantasy of Covenant Theology”!

What arrogance! The Scripture’s presentation of the Noahic Covenant is inconvenient! Dr. Belcher: take off the CT glasses and begin reading the Scripture that is there, instead of that which is not there.

He continues:

“Are there two covenants or just one covenant?”
“There is also a debate as to what 'my covenant' of Genesis 6.18 refers.”

Again, I have only contempt for Covenant Theology and the ruminations of the WCF!

What does the Bible say?

Gen 6.18
But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

The keyword here is "will"; the LORD tells Noah before the flood that He will (future tense) make a covenant, not that He is (present tense) making a covenant at that point in time. There are not two covenants, nor is there even the possibility of two covenants.

When the text is read without the considerable bias of CT, its meaning is crystal clear.

[The LORD uses the same language with Abram in Gen 12; all of His promises to Abram were expressed in the future tense. There is no explanation in the text of Gen 6 why He chose to do so.

I discuss the use of the word "establish" below in the discussion about the body of the covenant.]

Regarding the statement “There is also a debate as to what 'my covenant' of Genesis 6.18 refers.” Again, if Gen 6.18 is read with an understanding of the future tense (the words that are actually in the text!), and the fact that the covenant is made in Gen 9, it becomes clear that the (future!) covenant of Gen 6.18 is “all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.” Why does the CT constantly need to complicate clear Scripture?

[Another question is why does the CT appear to have problems noting the tense of the verbs?]

We next encounter a rather odd statement:

“God's grace was clearly demonstrated in the Garden of Eden when Adam sinned and experienced the consequences of sin. God initiated the Covenant of Grace to hold out the hope of redemption for Adam and his descendants.”. [ch 4, pg 47, emphasis mine]

This is a very peculiar statement by a theologian who claims to adhere to the reformed doctrine of election. The LORD didn't establish a “hope”—He secured redemption for the elect! To say that the Covenant of Grace “held out hope” implies that it might fail.


The Triumph of Sin [page 48]

Dr. Belcher next presents some peculiar ideas about sin and "godly and ungodly lines" that are purported to develop after Noah.

[I remember during my initial read of Dr. Belcher’s book that I had to read this section a few times because I had a difficult time believing he would teach the nonsense that he was, as we’ll see below.]

“There is a separation between the godly line and the ungodly line. The ungodly line is represented in the family of Cain where the evidence of the increase of sin is found in Lamech's boast (Gen 4.23-24). The progression of moral corruption includes bigamy, pride, and boasting to his wives, and a revenge murder. Moral wickedness dominates the ungodly line.” [ch 4, pg 48, emphasis mine]

The fact of the matter is that Adam’s sin cursed all humanity for all time. Even true Christians are not delivered from the fact of sin; this is the message of Rom 7. True Christians are delivered from the slavery to sin; it is the action of sanctification to deliver the believer from sin.

There is no godly line ever! All are cursed by sin from conception until death:

Rom 3.9-12
What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”

This is what the Bible teaches; that there is (somehow) a "godly line" is what the CT teaches without the support of the Bible.

Dr. Belcher appears intent on presenting a narrative (the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent) regardless of the Scripture. He seems completely ignorant of the fact that Adam and Eve had other sons (cf., Gen 5.4 'other sons and daughters'). His statement irresponsibly implies that only the line of Cain was responsible for the sin which came about; however, Gen 6.5 teaches that 'every intent of the thoughts of man's heart was only evil continually’ without any reference to which of Adam's son's lines was in view.

  • Dr. Belcher’s argument about bigamy ignores the fact that the LORD permitted men to have multiple wives (cf., David, 2 Sam 12.8).
  • Dr. Belcher’s argument ignores that Adam stands as the counterpoint to the righteousness of the Lord Christ (Rom 5.12-21).
  • Dr. Belcher’s argument ignores the universality of sin in the line of Adam (in Gen 6, echoed in the Apostle’s argument in Rom 5).

Dr. Belcher then wanders into something bizarre:

“These developments in the ungodly line demonstrate that unbelievers can understand the way God's created world works even when God is not acknowledged by them. … The implication is that believers can learn certain things from unbelievers even if their ultimate commitment is faulty. The appropriate response is not to reject these developments of civilization but to use them within the framework to believe in God and for his glory.” [ch 4, pg 48-49]

The purpose of this statement is a mystery. What is Dr. Belcher seeking to prove? It certainly does not appear to fit into the CT narrative, or within the context of the current argument. Ostensibly, it is about the "ungodly line", or working for the glory of God, but why?

He continues in the narrative about the “godly line”:

“The godly line of Adam is carried on through Seth.” [ch 4, pg 49]

There is no godly line: read Gen 6!

Dr. Belcher now attempts to handle the problem of the “godly line” and Gen 6 – or not!

“The genealogy of Adam ends with a narrative conclusion (Gen 6:1-8) that demonstrates the increase of wickedness of the Earth as a justification for the judgment of the Flood. Part of the problem is that there are intermarriages between the godly line and the ungodly line leading to wickedness that permeates the earth. [ch 4, pg 49, emphasis mine]

'Part of the problem' is that the text of Gen 6 does not make that distinction! The text says:

Gen 6.5
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

It does not say:

Gen 6.5
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of the sons of the ungodly line was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

The CT appears unable to not put words into the Scripture. One other point concerns Dr. Belcher’s narrative that the godly line intermarried with the ungodly line: how, exactly, were the former "godly" lines if they intermarried with the "ungodly lines"? Words cease to have meaning in the arguments of the CT.


The Judgment of the Flood [page 50]

The Common Grace and the Redemptive Elements in the Noahic Covenant [page 50]

We now return to Dr. Belcher’s vagaries of the covenant with Noah:

“The word 'covenant' occurs first in Genesis 6:18 and then in Genesis 9:8, 12, 15 -17. Do these two passages refer to the same covenant or two different covenants? … Although much of what Kline has to say about the content of these two covenants is helpful, it is better to see one covenant that has both common grace and redemptive elements.[ch 4, pg 50, emphasis mine]

I’ve already handled the “one” or “two” covenant nonsense above. Regarding the “it is better to see one covenant …”: wouldn't it be better to see the one covenant that is there? There is no mention in the text of a covenant offering “common grace and redemptive elements”. Again, the CT must maintain the narrative. This is an historical example of this ‘press ahead at any cost’ attitude of the CT:

“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”, (attributed to Adm. Farragut, during the 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay).

Truly, this appears to be the war cry of the CT. This is theological 'doubling down' of the highest order.

Once again: what does the Scripture say!? And, just as importantly, what doesn't the Scripture say?

The Use of ‘My Covenant’ in Genesis 6.18 [page 51]

“There's also a debate about the use of 'my covenant' in Genesis 6 18. This is the first time in Scripture that the term covenant appears. The question is complicated because the normal phrase for initiating a covenant ('to cut a covenant with the verb kāraṯ) does not occur here. The phrase that is used (qum in the hifil) means to establish a covenant and it is used many times to confirm a pre-existing commitment. … If that is the meaning here, then God is confirming His prior commitment to Creation.[ch 4, pg 51, emphasis mine]

Dr. Belcher is correct when he states that the verb kāraṯ is used in several contexts of the making of covenants. (Among men: Gen 21.2732; 26.28; 31.44) It is used in exactly two contexts in which the LORD is the One making the covenant: Gen 15.18, and Exo 34.10, Exo 34.27 (the remaking of the tablets). The phrase ‘cut a covenant’ is used in only 2 of the 6 (total) real OT covenants; this would hardly justify the assertion of being named “the normal phrase”. I view this as another example of an overstatement by Dr. Belcher, something we’ve seen often.

After making the point, Dr. Belcher injects “If that is the meaning here”. Why would Dr. Belcher insert this? He’s just made the point that the expression was the “normal” use (although his use of the adjective 'normal' was incorrect) and has provided no evidence to the contrary. So, why?

Then he makes the curious statement: “God is confirming His prior commitment to Creation”.

Of course, he makes no mention of the future tense: “But I will establish My covenant with you."

He attempts to clarify:

“There are clear connections between the creation account and the flood, as well as between the directives God gives to Adam and to Noah. But the covenant with Noah should not be regarded as the same covenant that God made with Adam in the Garden of Eden.[ch 4, pg 51, emphasis mine]

Let's ignore, for a moment, that the fact that the LORD did not make a covenant with Adam. Even in the distorted world of CT covenants, why would Dr. Belcher make such a ridiculous disclaimer? Who is attempting to equate them? If you read my Appendix, The Real Covenants of the OT, you'll see that each covenant is entirely unique. Such a disclaimer is like saying "But water should not be regarded the same as fire."

Now let's assume the actual facts: the LORD did not make a covenant with Adam. Repeating the same error (assuming the Covenant of Works) multiple times does not magically make it come true! The Noahic Covenant is the first covenant that the LORD made! Period! This is just another rabbit hole into which the CT has entered (like Alice in Wonderland).

It is clear that when sin entered the world the order of creation did not come to an end. …
God initiated the Covenant of Grace and there is clear evidence of redemption in Genesis 3.
The progress of sin is what brings about the crisis of the Flood (Gen. 6.1-8). Because the whole world is going to be destroyed, except one family, there needed to be confirmation on God's part that He was committed to creation and to the mandate that he had given to humanity to fulfill. In this general way the phrase ‘establish my covenant’ can be referring back to creation to God's purpose for human beings. ...
But the phrase ‘I will establish my covenant’ is also looking to what is going to transpire in the next couple of chapters culminating in Genesis 9. Thus, it anticipates the formal initiation of the covenant in Genesis 9. God commits himself to the regular order of creation so that his program of salvation can be fulfilled. Both aspects are found in the Covenant of Noah.” [ch 4, pg 52, emphasis mine]

There are several statements to unpack (rather, unravel!) here:

1. “It is clear that when sin entered the world the order of creation did not come to an end.”

This is a non-point. Isn’t that fact obvious from the existence of the remainder of the Bible and the fact that we live in the LORD’s creation?

2. “God initiated the Covenant of Grace and there is clear evidence of redemption in Genesis 3.”

Well, there is no "clear evidence" of any kind in Gen 1-3 for the so-called Covenant of Redemption. As for his second claim, I suppose that he refers to Gen 3.15, the promise that the seed of the woman will bruise the serpent’s head. A prophecy, to be sure, but no covenant.

[See my comments in Appendix: Protoevangelium and the Fictitious Covenant of Grace.]

3. “there needed to be confirmation on God's part that He was committed to creation”

I am greatly grieved by the arrogance of this expression "there needed to be confirmation". Since when does the LORD "need" to confirm anything to anybody? Only the humanistic reasoning of a failed theology would dare to make such a foolish expression implying that the Word of the LORD given at the creation was not adequate for future generations.

And when, Dr. Belcher, has the LORD not been "committed to creation"!?

If you carefully read the text of Gen 6, you’ll learn that the LORD said nothing about the details of what would happen as a result of the flood, other than “The end of all flesh has come before me.” (Gen 6.13) He provided NO insight of the state of the world after the flood; in fact, he did not even provide Noah a timetable regarding how long the flood would last. Noah’s entry into the ark was truly an act of great faith, since he knew nothing of the scope of what was about to take place, other than it would be a very great flood that would devastate the world.

Heb 11.7
By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

This statement from the Epistle to the Hebrews might be one of the greatest understatements in the NT.

4. “In this general way the phrase ‘establish my covenant’ can be referring back to creation to God's purpose for human beings.” … “But the phrase ‘I will establish my covenant’ quote is also looking to what is going to transpire in the next couple of chapters culminating in Genesis 9.”

Why Dr. Belcher asserted “establish my covenant” (missing the significant “I will”), only to be followed by “But the phrase ‘I will establish my covenant’”, is undiluted equivocation. He skips an important detail to mention that it “can” “[refer] back to the creation …”. Dr. Belcher: either show that it does, indeed, “[refer] back to the creation” or that it doesn’t! This equivocation is maddening. This is not exposition!

When Dr. Belcher finally does assert “I will establish my covenant” (future tense), it is the simple statement that LORD made the promise to Noah that He would make (establish) a covenant (which He did). The only potential context that I can think of regarding Dr. Belcher’s statement of “God’s purpose for human beings” might be the preservation of the race by procreation.

5. “so that his program of salvation can be fulfilled.”

The LORD made no such comment, though it is true that as mankind continues, the LORD’s plan “from before the foundation of the world” would continue to work, as it must! I think that we should read from the passage only what it states and refrain from reading into the text what is not there.

Preparations for the Flood [page 52]

Dr. Belcher proceeds with some new statements on his fictitious “godly line” fantasy:

“Noah is clearly in the line of Seth, both by physical descent and moral conduct. His life stands over against the wicked lives of his generation who are described as corrupt and full of violence (Gen 6:12-13).” [ch 4, pg 53]

Once again, Dr. Belcher asserts something that can't be found in the Scripture: namely, that Seth was a righteous man and that his line is "godly". Seth is mentioned in exactly 2 places (Gen 4.25-26, Gen 5.3-8), neither of which tell us anything about his character. Dr. Belcher's claim of “over against the wicked …” is unprovable from the Scripture and I therefore regard it as error.

The Preservation of the Godly Line through the Flood [page 53]

Sometimes Dr. Belcher’s arguments appear to assert items which are blatantly obvious; this is one of them:

“The Flood brings the earth into a state of chaos that resembles the state of the earth as formless and void at the beginning of Genesis 1. …” [ch 4, pg 53, emphasis mine]

Of course, the result of the flood resembled the earth at the beginning as it was apparently completely covered by water on the first day. (Gen 1.2) Since the LORD declared that that first day was "good" (Gen 1.4), I challenge Dr. Belcher’s characterization of “chaos”.

[It is evident that Dr. Belcher is reading the Genesis language of "formless and void" and rendering this as "chaos". It is true that the Hebrew word tôû [H8414] has a possible translation of 'chaos', it is so translated only in Isa 24.10 as "the city of chaos" to describe a place utterly destroyed. While the translation as "chaos" makes sense there, it does not in Gen 1.2: something can be "formless and void" without being in a state of "chaos". This is a subtle distinction, but nonetheless important.

If there is "chaos" to be found, it is within the dogma of CT alone. Frankly, I would fear greatly to assess the LORD's creation as "chaos" as Dr. Belcher has done.]

Following this statement, Dr. Belcher makes a lengthy attempt to make several parallels which are forced and ridiculous. They resemble the "spiritualization" that CTs are famous for using.

[Two items:
1. A careful reading of Gen 1 is required here. I know that there are many theories regarding the creation order and what the earth must have looked like. At what point the earth became spherical is a difficult question; I tend to think that it is not quite the simple question it is meant to be, even by conservative believers.

2. I invite the reader to examine for themselves Dr. Belcher’s book in this location. I’m not going to expand them here.]

God’s Covenant with Noah [page 54]

On the next page, Dr. Belcher goes into more details of the LORD and Noah following the flood:

“Although there are redemptive elements in this section (8:20-9.17), there is an emphasis on the continuation of the common grace elements in the operation of creation. When Noah left the ark, he built an altar to Yahweh and offered burnt offerings on the altar. This act of worship was pleasing to God and he promises never again to destroy every living creature on the Earth. The rationale for never cursing the ground this way again is stated in verse 21. ‘for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth.’ This seems like a strange rationale, but it recognizes that the sinfulness of the human race will continue, and that the sin problem will never be cured by judgment and curse. The earth must be preserved so that God's plan of salvation can be fulfilled.[ch 4, pg 54, emphasis mine]

Dr. Belcher does not state what the “common grace elements” are, nor does he state what the “operation of creation” means (nor is there any Scripture support).

Regarding the altar built by Noah, the Scripture says that the LORD smelled the aroma (which easily could be a pleased reaction, of course), but regarding the promise, it is not quite as Dr. Belcher describes it. The text says:

“… and the Lord said to Himself …” (Gen 8.21)

At this point, Noah is not aware of the LORD’s promise. (That won’t be known until the execution of the covenant.) Moreover, the context clearly shows that the LORD’s comment about the nature of sinful man was also made “to Himself”. Dr. Belcher’s conclusion, “the sin problem will never be cured by judgment and curse” is unmitigated foolishness! There is nothing in the Bible account to suggest that 'rehabilitation' was the LORD’s motivation for the flood. The LORD’s motivation was judgment upon sin!

Gen 6.13
Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.

“Noah is presented as the second Adam as he and his family are given the same commands that Adam and Eve were given.” [ch 4, pg 54]

I don’t like the language “the second Adam” here; it really is too close to the “Last Adam” in 1 Cor 15.45:

1 Cor 15.45
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

In this text, the Last Adam is the Lord Christ. I’m not sure that drawing a parallel with Adam really needs to be made. It’s obvious that mankind is starting over with Noah. Nonetheless, Dr. Belcher is apparently trying to press this point:

“God starts over with the family of Noah to see     IF     this second opportunity to carry out His purposes for creation will be any more successful.[ch 4, pg 54-55, emphasis mine]

I have a really difficult time believing that Dr. Belcher was even willing to say this, much less put it into print for all time! IF this … will be any more successful”!

I believe that this statement is heresy for two reasons:

  1. Dr. Belcher implies that the LORD failed the first time with Adam.
  2. Dr. Belcher expresses some doubt (IF) that it will be successful the second time.

How are we able to recognize Dr. Belcher as a serious theologian when he expresses such doubts about the God he claims to serve? I certainly refuse to recognize him as a serious theologian!! True theologians love the LORD and His Word and would never entertain a thought that that Word was anything less than absolutely, unquestionably reliable and faithful!

The statement above is error and sin, and an outstanding example of doctrinal heresy and carelessness!

[When I was reviewing/studying Dr. Belcher’s book and encountered statements like the above, I had to close it and get away from it for a while. It was the reading equivalent of wandering through a theological cesspool or a valley of darkness. I truly am grieved that there are statements like this in a book that purports to be about an important topic in the Bible and the LORD of that Bible.]


The Continuing Problem of Sin (Gen. 9:18-29) [page 55]

Dr. Belcher returns to the same error he mentioned earlier: (2 Pet 2.22)

“The judgment of the Flood did not eradicate the problem of sin in the human race.” [ch 4, pg 55]

I’ve already answered above this spectacularly careless and erroneous statement about “eradication”.

At this point in Dr. Belcher’s book, he continues with the fictitious argument of the "godly'" and "ungodly" lines, attempting to make the line of Shem the former and the line of Ham the latter. (He seems non-committal regarding the line of Japheth, other than to say that Japheth receives several Divine blessings via Shem.)

Intertwined with this line of reasoning asserting the "godly’ line of Shem “[leads] to Abram”:

“The blessing of Shem and Japheth gives priority to Shem who will be the godly line that will lead to Abram.[ch 4, pg 56, emphasis mine]

Dr. Belcher’s clear inference here is that Abram will be/is "godly" because he descends from Shem! This is error and nonsense! The Scripture which tells us that Abram (the father of the Jews), before his encounter with the Almighty, was completely pagan and offensive. Has Dr. Belcher never read the following Word of the LORD through Ezekiel His prophet?

Eze 16.1-5
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem, “Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born.

As for the line which proceeded from Abram, it seems that Dr. Belcher has apparently never read this Scripture either:

Jer 4.22
For My people are foolish,
They know Me not;
They are stupid children
And have no understanding.
They are shrewd to do evil,
But to do good they do not know.

So much for the fact of the “godly line”.

It is extraordinary how wrong Dr. Belcher is on so many things. He epitomizes the axiom that "if a lie is repeated often enough it becomes the truth". If Dr. Belcher is a representative of Covenant Theology, then he amply illustrates the axiom in his book.

Additionally, Dr. Belcher appears to never have read Rom 3:

Rom 3.10-12
as it is written,
“There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.

Never let solid theology get in the way of a theological narrative. (#SARC)

However, Dr. Belcher is set upon maintaining his CT-fueled narrative:

“Through the line of Shem, God promises to bless all the families of the Earth (Gen 12.1-3).” [ch 4, pg 56]

Here is another one of those places where the content of the cited verse does not match the claim for which it was cited. Notice who received the blessing:

Gen 12.1-3
Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go forth from your country,
And from your relatives
And from your father’s house,
To the land which I will show you;
And I will make you a great nation,
And I will bless you,
And make your name great;
And so you shall be a blessing;
And I will bless those who bless you,
And the one who curses you I will curse.
And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.

Dr. Belcher is very careless with the Scripture here: the LORD promised to bless all the families of the earth through Abram, not to bless all the families of the earth through Seth. That Abram was in the line from Seth is irrelevant.

[There were many others who descended from Seth about whom the Scripture says nothing. We know plenty about the blessings that the LORD poured out on the seed of Abram. Shouldn’t the Scriptures teach us about the descendants of Shem if it is such an important point that the LORD blessed him?]

Later in the same paragraph, Dr. Belcher cites Gen 9.26-27

Gen 9.26-27
He also said,
“Blessed be the Lord,
The God of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.
“May God enlarge Japheth,
And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;
And let Canaan be his servant.”

which actually is Noah's blessing on Shem and Japheth and his curse on Canaan.

Note also that the blessing on Seth would have been about 2346 BC; the blessing upon Abram was about 1921 BC, which is 425 years later! (See reference to Dr. Jones’ book below) It is astonishing just how Dr. Belcher can conflate a blessing with Abram with a blessing upon Shem; these are not the same, though they may have similar outcomes.

[The chronological references are from Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones’ book, “The Chronology of the Old Testament”, page 278]

Dr. Belcher just can’t leave this addled notion of the “godly line of Shem” alone:

“This peaceful coexistence is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and the mission He gives to His people to go into the world with the gospel (Mat 28.19-20). Paul takes the gospel to the Gentiles in the area of Greece and many of the descendants of Japheth came to dwell peacefully in the tents of Shem when they were united to Christ. Genesis 9.26-27 is a foreshadowing of the salvation that will come to the world and is the reason that there needed to be the covenant of Noah to ensure history would continue to carry out this plan of God's salvation.[ch 4, pg 56, emphasis mine]

In context, “peaceful coexistence” (that is, Dr. Belcher’s context here) means the relationship between Shem and Japheth. There are at least three egregious errors in the highlighted sentence at the end of the citation:

  1. Dr. Belcher offers no biblical proof that the descendants of Japheth primarily populated the area of Greece. (I’m not sure how this could be established from the Scripture. I certainly don't see this.)
  2. “Needed to be a covenant of Noah”: Dr. Belcher is really stuck on this point. The covenant which the LORD confirmed just prior to and just after the flood was with “all flesh that is on the earth”, (which would include Noah and his family). (The covenant was not even primarily with Noah, since it looks to a time when the human and animal populations of the earth were replenished and would never again be destroyed by the waters of a flood. This was the entire meaning of the sign of the rainbow.)
    Moreover, since the covenant was not with Noah primarily, it is equally true that it can't have been “needed” in the simplest understanding of the term. Remember, the LORD was confirming the decision He had made already and shared that with Noah (Gen 6). Since this is indisputable Scripture, the LORD did not “need” to confirm this to Noah (or any living creature) because He had already made the decision—the very meaning of the term “confirm”/”establish”. The earth would have continued as it had even if the LORD said nothing to Noah about never again destroying the earth by a flood because the LORD is not done with the earth, even in our time, millennia after the flood.
  3. “History would continue to carry out …”: just who and what is this anthropomorphizing of “history” which is “carrying out the plan”?

[Silly me: I thought it was the LORD's plan. Perhaps the title of Dr. Belcher's book should be “The Fulfillment of History's Carrying Out the Plan”.

Even though I can guess what Dr. Belcher's statement was intended to mean, it is carelessly expressed. I would have thought better of a professor of CT for 25 years (as stated on the back cover of his book).] 


The Noahic Covenant and the Covenant of Grace [page 56]

Now we learn:

The visible Church includes the elect, but it also includes those who may not be the elect, whether children of believers who do not believe or those who make false profession of faith. The Covenant of Grace has both relationship aspects and legal aspects and a person can be a part of the Covenant of Grace legally but not be in a relationship with God. [ch 4, pg 45-46, emphasis mine]

“The Noahic Covenant deals with all the creation order, including human beings and animals, while the Covenant of Grace deals with Believers in their seed. Although there are certain obligations for human beings in the covenant with Noah, there are no conditions to be met for the covenant to continue. Although there are differences between the two covenants, there is also an intimate connection between them as the Noahic Covenant rests upon the Covenant of Grace.” [ch 4, pg 57 , emphasis mine]

So, first, which is it? Both these statements can’t be true

  1. “and a person can be a part of the Covenant of Grace legally but not be in a relationship with God
  2. “Covenant of Grace deals with Believers in their seed”

unless Dr. Belcher is only dealing with the “believers” side of the Covenant of Grace ledger (which he does not make clear).

In the second place, it is biblically and certifiably false that the Noahic covenant specified “certain obligations for human beings”. There are no conditions in the Noahic Covenant! It is a unilateral covenant made by the LORD with “all those who live upon earth”! This is clear error!

In the third place, how does the “Noahic Covenant [rest] upon the Covenant of Grace”? Dr. Belcher does not tell us the “how”; he only states this as dogma with no Scripture to back it.

[Seminary Student: beware of this type of "teaching"! This is indoctrination. I know from my own days in Bible College that those professors who taught the same way (I experienced more than a few) resent the student who questions them from the Bible when they have just "taught" something that is contrary to the Scriptures. They are trying to stand on their own "authority" when they actually have none; they have been embarrassed, and instead of humbling themselves before the Word of God, they double-down. This is theological elitism, something akin to the Pharisees of the Lord Christ's day.

If you are a true believer it is your responsibility to challenge this type of carelessness. Are you a sheep? Do you blindly follow what purports to be from the Bible but don't really check what is being taught? How do you expect to lead a congregation of believers into obedience when you have not been faithful to the truth of the Scriptures?]

“The primary purpose of the covenant with Noah was to provide for the continuation of creation so God's redemptive program of salvation under the Covenant of Grace could be carried out.” [ch 4, pg 57]

The “primary purpose” of the covenant was “between [the LORD] and all flesh” (that is, not primarily with Noah, as I stated above). The LORD promised that He would “not [cut off] all flesh by the waters of a flood again”. Dr. Belcher must find a “covenant with Noah” where none exists, otherwise his narrative of the Covenants of Grace falls flat. This is truly irresponsible "exposition".

Better yet, it is an excellent example of "anti-exposition" or theological obfuscation.

[Anti-exposition = theological obfuscation = theological elitism = Covenant Theology.]

The theological truth–the bedrock–is that the LORD always has a plan, and that that plan will be fulfilled! Was the flood part of His plan? Of course! Was it His plan that 8 persons of the human race would be preserved? Yes! Did he need to make a covenant with “all flesh”? No, His plan was to preserve the human race–we know this after the fact of the flood. He could as easily preserve the human race without a covenant. He did not “owe” humanity any type of explanation (something Dr. Belcher seems intent on showing/implying). But, in grace (and not because of any so-called Covenant of Grace!), He chose to tell us in the days of Noah that He would never again destroy the earth by the waters of a flood. And so It has been–because the LORD is sovereign and can make such timeless promises, and that we may have the implicit confidence that He will keep them!

From my critical review of Dr. Belcher’s book, he doesn’t appear to have a solid view of, or appreciation for, the Sovereignty of God.

Here are but a few passages not cited in Dr. Belcher’s book, but which should have been to keep him away from his humanistic comments about what “needed” to be done:

Isa 14.24-27
The LORD of hosts has sworn saying, “Surely, just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand ... For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?”

Isa 37.26-27
Have you not heard? Long ago I did it, from ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, that you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps. Therefore their inhabitants were short of strength, they were dismayed and put to shame; they were as the vegetation of the field and as the green herb, as grass on the housetops is scorched before it is grown up.

Isa 40.21-23
Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless.

Isa 42.8-9
I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.

Isa 46.8-11
“Remember this, and be assured; recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.

Isa 55.10-11
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

[I direct my readers to my article The LORD: the Author of Calamity, specifically the chapter subtitled The LORD is sovereign. There are many, many more references to His unlimited power and authority!]

Dr. Belcher is still not finished with his “godly line” charade:

“Thus one is not surprised to see the elements that relate to both God's common grace to humanity and to God's redemptive purposes for his people. The common grace aspects include the preservation of the created order, the institution of family and state, and the continuation of dominion. The redemptive aspects include the evidence in Noah's life of divine grace, the fact that God works through the family of Noah as the godly line, the worship of God through the offerings of sacrifice, and the separation of the godly from the ungodly line after the Flood. It is appropriate to view the Noahic Covenant as an outworking of God's Covenant of Grace initiated in Genesis 3.15.” [ch 4, pg 57, emphasis mine]

“Evidence in Noah's life of divine grace”: let's think about this. While Noah was a godly man, the first item the Scripture tells us that after the Flood that Noah planted a vineyard, became drunk, and ended up naked. Noah had to know how to ferment wine and what resulted from fermented wine. This is an inauspicious start to the “godly line”, from a sequence pointed out by the LORD (and given by inspiration to Moses).

“God works through the family of Noah as the godly line”: Noah was the only family on the earth at that time, so of course the LORD worked in him/them! What an idiotic comment!

“The separation of the godly from the ungodly line after the Flood”: I suppose that Dr. Belcher is referring to Babel, though that it quite a length of time and many generations from the Flood. The Scripture records that Nimrod descended from Ham (part of what I assume Dr. Belcher must regard as the “ungodly line”) and that Nimrod’s kingdom was in the land of Shinar, the future site of the Tower. (Gen 10.10)

It is here that Dr. Belcher’s argument for the “ungodly line” gets quite murky, relative to the Scripture. Gen 11 is not as exclusive to those outside of the line of Ham as Dr. Belcher would have us believe. Notice:

Gen 11.1-2
Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.

The LORD tells us that the “whole earth” used the same language: it would be essentially impossible to prove that that it didn’t include both the “godly” and the “ungodly” lines.

What happened next tends to blur the differences between the supposed “godly” and the “ungodly” lines even more:

Gen 11.5-9
The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech. ”So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

Now, you can’t make the case from the Bible that the judgment of the building of the Tower of Babel affected only the descendants of Ham! You also can’t make the case from the Bible that it wasn’t the descendants of Shem and Japheth involved as well. The judgement was upon the population of the earth regardless of whether they descended from Shem, Japheth or Ham!

“God's Covenant of Grace initiated in Genesis 3.15”. See my comments: Appendix: The Protoevangelium and the Covenant of Grace.

“The covenant with Noah promises the continuation of life so that the promise of eternal life can be fulfilled. It also preserves the godly line so that the mediator promised in Genesis 3:15 can come. The response of faith is foundational to the continuation of the Covenant of Grace in the godly line as Noah found favor with God.[ch 4, pg 57, emphasis mine]

I’ve already handled the fallacious notion of the Covenant of Grace and Gen 3.15.

“in the godly line as Noah found favor with God”: The "Noah found favor with God" is found in Gen 6.8, but was made before the flood and before the Noahic Covenant! The CT's fallacious claim about the so-called Covenant of Grace is irrelevant, since the so-called Covenant of Grace is irrelevant.

The Typological Elements of the Flood [page 57]

In this section, Dr. Belcher launches into 3 paragraphs/topics which appear to have no relation to CT, and he makes no attempt at correlating them to CT.

  1. “The global judgment of the undoing of creation makes the Flood a fitting picture of the end of the world.” [ch 4, pg 58]
  2. “Peter uses Noah and the Flood to support his teaching of the perseverance and suffering of Christians.” [ch 4, pg 58]
  3. “Peter had already used the deliverance of Noah in the Flood to speak of salvation (1 Pet 3.18-22).” [ch 4, pg 58]

The entire section reads like an afterthought, or at least a poorly conceived section, in my opinion.

Comments powered by CComment