John Scott Redd surveys Genesis 12, 15, 17, and 22 in his treatment of the Abrahamic covenant.
Redd is aware that some argue for multiple Abrahamic covenants, usually seeing one in chapter 15 and another in chapter 17. Redd argues for a singular Abrahamic covenant, noting, “The Noahic covenant is singular and complete even though it is administered at different points and with different emphases before and after the flood” (134). He also claims, “the Mosaic covenant is delivered at Sinai (Ex. 19–24) and again renewed and updated on the plains of Moab (Deuteronomy).” Redd is correct to argue for a single Abrahamic covenant, but it is better to see the Noahic covenant as announced in Genesis 6 but cut on Genesis 8-9.
Redd also argues that every covenant is ordained by God and received in faith which then leads to faithfulness to the requirements of the covenant. With this in mind, he states, “The interplay between divine ordination and initiation in redemptive covenants is on display in the Abrahamic covenant, which itself is anticipated, inaugurated, amended, and confirmed over the course of the narrative of Genesis 12:1–25:11” (135).
Genesis 12 is the anticipation, Genesis 15 is the inauguration on the basis of faith, Genesis 17 is the amending to make clear that faithfulness is required, and Genesis 22 is the confirmation. Redd rightly notes that in Genesis 15 God “unilaterally” makes and guarantees the covenant. However, he says that Genesis 17 “includes helpful corrective to the previous emphasis on God’s unilateral participation in the covenant” (135). This is unhelpful wording. The unilateral nature of the covenant, clearly established in chapter 15, does not need to be corrected. Nor, in light of Galatians 3:15, is the language of covenant amendment ideal. Better is the statement, “In Genesis 17, the Lord revisits Abram and clarifies the terms of the covenant into which they have both entered. Lest the foregrounded unconditionality of the covenant ceremony in chapter 15 be misconstrued as a universalistic arrangement in which Abram has no responsibility, the divine instruction of chapter 17 outlines the expectations of the covenant for Abram” (141).
Redd explicitly rejects Kline and sides with John Murray in denying the claim that some covenants are conditional and others unconditional. In doing so, Redd wrongly concludes that all covenants have both unconditional and conditional elements.