Thursday, April 19, 2007

Quote of the day

"New creation is precisely that future of the present world, of all created reality, which does not emerge from the history of this world but will be given to it by God. It requires an originating act of God, just as creation in the beginning did, but in this case it will be an act which preserves the identity of the first creation while creatively transforming it"

(Bauckham and Hart, Hope against Hope, cited in Marianne Meye Thompson's brilliant new two horizons commentary, Colossians & Philemon, 78)



At 4/20/2007 6:42 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

Good theology, but is it biblical? What about those texts that speak of the destruction of this world by fire (e.g., 2Pe. 3:7ff.)? What about Rev. 21:1, which says that the first heaven and earth will pass away, to be replaced by a new heaven and earth?

We tend to underestimate the extent to which the apocalyptic notions of the intertestamental period influenced the New Testament writers. Apocalyptic assumes that this world is irremediable, fit only for destruction. No?

At 4/24/2007 1:50 AM, Anonymous byron smith said...

No, I'm not sure I agree, Stephen. I've written about both those passages: 2 Peter 3.7ff. and Revelation 21.1. I don't think either is incompatible with understanding 'new' as 'renewed'. Of course, there is sharp discontinuity - the (re)new(ed) world is no longer marked by sin and death - but this is within an overarching story of the redemption of the world, along with us, rather than our redemption from out of the created order and into a new one. It is this creation which groans, waiting for its liberation from bondage to decay (Rom 8.19ff.). I think the key here is Jesus' own resurrection. His body was not simply resusitated as it had been; it was radially transformed, since death no longer has dominion over him (Rom 6.9). Yet it was the same body that was transformed, rather than a replacement one. The tomb was empty. Paul's image of a seed and a plant in 1 Cor 15 is also instructive - the seed is radically transformed in germination, but it is the seed which is transformed into a plant.


At 4/24/2007 4:19 AM, Anonymous Rory Shiner said...

Only to say that I am with Byron on this. Apart from exegesis, an entirely destroyed creation creates insurmountable theological problems.

At 4/25/2007 1:03 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Byron, very helpul. It was a good question, Stephen!


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