In covenantal terms, our relationship to our Creator is distinctive. Charters, treaties and settlements, which all are basically forms of covenant, are negotiated — but eternal covenants are imposed by our sovereign King. We don’t have a choice in being God’s image-bearers, nor do we have a part in dictating the conditions of the covenant.
The Reformed scholar O. Palmer Robinson has defined a biblical covenant as “a bond in blood, sovereignly administered” (The Christ of the Covenants, pg. 128). God sets forth the terms of His covenants, starting with creation. Everyone who exists in God’s created world is bound to God’s rudimentary covenant. If we persist in rebellion until death against God’s lordship over us, we’ll be condemned to eternal punishment in hell as covenant breakers (Isaiah 24:5, Romans 1:18-22, Romans 2:8-9, 12, II Peter 3:7). But “the covenant of grace,” the gospel, avails heaven to those who come into agreement with God through faith in Christ as Savior and Lord (Jeremiah 32:38-40, Galatians 3:13-16, Hebrews 9:15-22, 13:20-21).
In eternal “life insurance,” the covenant of redemption originates between the persons in the Trinity — known in classic Reformed theology as the Pactum Salutis, which pact between these persons makes possible the redemptive program for God’s elect. Just as in temporal life insurance, there are several parties involved: the insurer, the insured and the beneficiary. God the Father is the insurer (Isaiah 46:10, 54:10, Ephesians 1:1-12, II Timothy 2:19); God the Son is the policyowner (Matthew 26:28, John 6:27, 37, 10:17-18); God the Holy Spirit is the executor of the Son’s estate (John 6:63, 14:26, 15:26-16:1, I Corinthians 6:11, Ephesians 1:13-18); and we, God’s children by adoption, are the beneficiaries (I Samuel 2:7-8, Romans 8:14-17, Ephesians 1:11, I John 5:7-11).
This divine nuclear counsel was beautifully expressed by the 19th-century poet and hymn-writer, Frances Ridley Havergal:
O doubting one, Eternal Three
Are pledged in faithfulness for thee.
Claim every promise sweet and sure
By covenant oath of God secure.
Every real-life analogy to the Kingdom technically breaks down at some point, including those found in Scripture. Though parallels may be identified for illustrative purposes, the modern notion of life insurance can’t perfectly conform to the biblical modality of covenant. Covenant theology — also known as Covenantalism or Federal theology — is an immense topic, and the only aspects of it to be covered here are those that can be illustrated by the modern concept of life insurance.