In the Noahic Covenant’s appear various features which undergird the postmillennial hope of victory in history. We find this particularly in Genesis 6:17–22 and 8:20–9:17. Here God reaffirms the Cultural Mandate, which is fundamental to the outworking of his eschatological purpose through his highest creature, man. Here we witness God’s continuing gracious redemptive relation to man as the ongoing basis of the Cultural Mandate. We see this here in the references to the birds, cattle, etc. (cp. Ge 6:20; 8:17 with Ge 1:24, 25), the command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Ge 9:1, 7 with Ge 1:28), and the dominion concept (cf. Ge 9:2 with Ge 1:28). This too is necessary to the redemptive-historical character of eschatology.
God establishes this covenant with his people: the family of Noah, which alone escapes the deluge by God’s grace (Heb 11:7; 1Pe 3:20; 2Pe 2:5). Thus, this is not solely a common-grace covenant, for God establishes it with his people (Noah’s family) and on the basis of sovereign grace and redemptive sacrifice (Ge 6:8; 8:20–22). Furthermore, Scripture unites the Noahic covenant with God’s other redemptive covenants (cf. Hos 2:18 with Ge 6:20; 8:17; 9:9ff). The Cultural Mandate, then, especially relates to the function of God’s people in the world: God expressly reaffirms the Mandate with God’s people, the “you” of Genesis 9:1–12. On the basis of divine covenant God calls his people to the forefront of cultural leadership, with the religious aspects of culture being primary.
In revealing the Noahic covenant we also witness God’s objective relationship with man: God judges the world in history for its sin. God establishes the rainbow as a sign of his covenant mercy with Noah and all that are with him, including their seed (Ge 9:12). This indicates that the world will be protected from God’s curse through the presence of God’s people. God makes the covenant only indirectly with unbelievers, who benefit from God’s protection only as they do not oppose God’s people. Because of God’s love for his people, he preserves the orderly universe (Ge 8:20–22).
Thus we see God’s objective corporate sanction against sin in the Flood, which also serves as a type of final judgment (2Pe 3:4–6). We also witness God’s judicial sanctions in history in his ordaining capital punishment (Ge 9:6). God’s objective judgment therefore finds civil expression in man’s affairs. The Lord grants legitimate authority to the civil government to enforce capital punishment. God bases this on a fundamentally religious principle, namely, God’s image in man (Ge 9:6), and gives it to the world through the church (i.e., Noah’s family).
As we trace redemption’s scarlet thread through the fabric of Scriptural revelation and covenant history, the hope of redemptive victory becomes even more clear. A careful study of Scripture demonstrates that history is truly His Story.