New creation (theology)

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The new creation (Gk καινὴ κτίσις) is a concept found in the New Testament, related to the new life (ἐν καινότητι ζωῆς) and new man (referring to the spiritual rebirth through Christ Jesus) (καινός ἄνθρωπος) but with reference also to the Genesis "old creation".

In the letters of Paul

The language of a new creation is not limited to the two verses in the KJV that include that actual phrase (Gal. 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17). Other passages, such as Galatians 6:12-16, 2 Corinthians 5:14-19, Ephesians 2:11-22, Ephesians 4:17-24, and Colossians 3:1-11 present new creation teaching also, without that exact phrase.

Other references to the concept include the language Ephesians 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."[1] The old, Adamic creation could not be said to be in any sense "in Christ", so this must therefore be speaking of new creation.[citation needed]

Often the themes of the Genesis creation and new creation are contrasted, as, per N. T. Wright, in Colossians chapter 1, where the old creation and new creation in Christ (1:15-20) are compared with the new creation (vv. 21-23)[2]

Other NT references

The first words of Matthew may also be an allusion to the idea of a new creation, with a double entendre in Matthew's word genesis (γένεσις) between the meanings of "origin", "Genesis" (the first book of Moses) and "genealogy":

  • Genesis 1:0 Septuagint: The Book of Creation [of Moses] (Βίβλος γενέσεως [Μωσέως])
  • Matthew 1:1 Koine Greek: The Book of Creation of Jesus Christ (Βίβλος γενέσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ)[3][4][5][6][7]

There are also allusions of new creation in the Gospel of John including:

  • John starts with the words "In the beginning was the word", mirroring the beginning of Genesis [8]
  • Jesus' final words in John are "it is finished" John 19:30, mirroring the words of "completed" in Genesis 2:1 [9]
  • Emphasising twice that the resurrection events occurred on "the first day of the week" John 20:1,19 [10]
  • The resurrection of Jesus being the implied eight sign after seven signs in the Gospel of John, indicating a week of creation and then a new creation beginning with the resurrection.[11]
  • Jesus breathes on the disciples, saying "receive the Holy Spirit" John 20:22, mirroring God breathing into Adam in Genesis 2:7.[12]

References in the other Gospels include:

  • The story of the two disciples and Luke stating that "their eyes were opened", 24:31, mirroring Genesis 3:7.[13]

See also


  1. John Locke, A Paraphrase and Notes on the Epistles of St Paul to the Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians, posth. 1705-1707 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987),
  2. Wright N. T. The Epistles of Paul to the Colossians and to Philemon p44
  3. Douglas R. A. Hare Matthew 1993 p5 "1:1 — 4:11 The Genesis of Jesus Christ"
  4. Lange P.L. The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ, Volume 5 2008 P224 "1), or even to the very beginning of Genesis, inasmuch as he gives us the book of the genesis of Jesus Christ."
  5. Ulrich Luz, Helmut Koester, James E. Crouch Matthew 1-7: a commentary Hermeneia 2007 p70 "[Matthew] writes a "Book of Genesis," but his book does not have the same content as the biblical book; at issue here is the "genesis of Jesus Christ."
  6. Bruner F.D. Matthew a Commentary: The Christbook, Matthew 1-12 2004 p4 "Luz translates more simply: “The Book of the 'Genesis' of Jesus Christ...” He sees the Greek word genesis really meaning “Genesis,”." ...I too prefer the long title (with other interpreters from Zahn 39, to Boring 125-126). but see the short and medium titles included in the long.
  7. Horton R.F. A Devotional Commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew 2009 p15
  8. N. T. Wright, Is there hope?
  9. N. T. Wright, The Scriptures, the Cross and the Power of God: Reflections for Holy Week
  10. Baylor University, The Eight Day
  11. Rob Bell, Beginning in the Beginning, Poets Prophets & Preachers
  12. Graham Staton et al "The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins: Essays in Honour of James D.G. Dunn" 2004 p71 [1]
  13. Wellington Cathedral "Emmaus: Fallible Frightened Friends" April 2012