Overshadowing these specific periods of time is a tapestry woven of kingdoms, ages, and covenants. All of these together, when understood through a literal, historical, normal interpretation of Scripture, results in an understanding that has cometo be called dispensationalism. I will begin by explaining what I believe about the dispensations found in Scripture.
First, there is from the moment of the creation of Adam the first instructions given by God which involved total freedom to take pleasure in everything created with one exception. Adam was told not to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is possible that thistree was not so named before Adam disobeyed and ate of it, for this name is its description which he would not have understood before eating. This unrevealed time span between receiving the command and Adam’s disobedience was the dispensation of innocence. Adam and Eve lived in perfection and innocence until Adam willfully sinned by eating of the forbidden tree. This brought the first dispensationto an end. Several changes were introduced with the end of this first dispensation; Adam no longer enjoyed the walking and talking with God in the garden; he no longer had the produce of the earth available without working for it; he was subject to death and its related suffering.
Following their expulsion from the garden located in Eden, they began to live lives ruled by their conscience. Thisdispensation lasted almost two thousand years and the Bible only records three others during this time besides Adam who were righteous, Abel, Enoch and Noah. Paul comments on this period of time in Romans indicating that the knowledge of God, and the human conscience distinguishing between good and evil, was sufficient to generate praise, honor and thanksgiving toward their creator; no record isgiven of such response. Instead, the pursuit of sin was the norm and therefore God again declared judgment upon mankind and all except Noah, his three sons, and their wives were destroyed in a worldwide flood.
Noah and company are given a new set of rules to live by as they emerge from the ark. The relationship between man and animals was changed, as well as the diet of available foods to manand animal. One thing is clear, mankind is sinful. The story of disobedience resumes almost before the ground has fully dried out from the flood. Little of spiritual insight is given into this dispensation; however we gain knowledge of geography and genealogy and continued disobedience. God’s commentary concerning mankind is rather remarkable as this dispensation draws to a conclusion. Godremarks that nothing that man had imagined to do would be impossible for him to accomplish and since this imagination was sinful and rebellious, God again brought judgment. He created multiple languages to divide humanity and bring an end to the dispensation of united human government.
The next act of God would prove to be colossal and it is from this point in history where many theological...