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UNION BIBLICAL SEMINARY

PUNE

NEW CREATION

SUBMITTED
TO
DR. LANU JAMIR

IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF
Course Code: BBN08
JESUS TRADITION IN PAUL & PAULINE CIRCLE

BY

FOUNTAIN SANGMA, KERINGGUMLE HAU, SUBHANKAR BHUNIYA, DANIEL


THAMARAJA, LANGUIYANG KAMEI & JUNTIAR MARAK.

DECEMBER 8, 2017
Table of Contents
Introduction......................................................................................................................................1
1. Definitions................................................................................................................................2
1.1. New Creation/New Humanity...........................................................................................2
2. New Nature and Old Nature.....................................................................................................2
3. Influence of Jesus Movement in Pauline Theology of NT.......................................................3
3.1. Transforming Life.............................................................................................................3
3.2. Cosmology........................................................................................................................3
4. Characteristics of New Creation...............................................................................................3
4.1. Reconciliation...................................................................................................................3
4.2. Reconciliation of Creation................................................................................................4
4.3. Old Adam and New Adam................................................................................................5
5. New Humanity in Christ...........................................................................................................6
5.1. New life in Christ (Romans 6:4; Galatians 2:19-20)........................................................6
5.2. Neither Circumcision nor Uncircumcision (No discrimination of race and gender)
(Galatians 6:15)............................................................................................................................8
6. Implications of Paul’s New Creation Concept to the Present Context.....................................9
6.1. New Creation as Community Oriented.............................................................................9
6.2. The New Creation Concept of Paul reassure Equality......................................................9
6.3. New Creation and Ecology...............................................................................................9
Conclusion.....................................................................................................................................10
Bibliography..................................................................................................................................11

Introduction
Thirteen letters in the New Testament bear the name of Paul, a Jewish follower of Jesus of
Nazareth. The letters were composed at various locations in Asia Minor and Europe and typically
deal with local problems in the communities. In several cases they are direct responses to
questions by those communities. The letters contain various major themes and this paper will
deal with one of the themes i.e. New Creation/ New Humanity, Vision of Paul. Further, the paper
will attempt to draw out few implications for the context today.

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1. Definitions

1.1. New Creation/New Humanity


“New creation,” is an expression Paul uses in II Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15. It is closely
related to the expression “new humanity,” kainas anthropos, in Ephesians 2:15, 4:23 – 24 and
Colossians 3:9 – 10.1 Jewish texts often refer to an eschatological new creation (Is 65:17; 66:22).
Jewish teachers later apply such language to personal renewal, probably to proselytes
(Deut.32:2) and to Israel experiencing God’s forgiveness on the New Year’s festival or the Day
of Atonement. Although Paul does think of conversion in the context and of new hearts in
general (Gal 6:15; Ezek 36:26), the newness he means is that of realized eschatology, the
vanguard of a new world. Jesus’ resurrection has inaugurated a new creation (II Cor. 4:6), as its
first fruits (1 Cor 15:20, 23). Those who hope to share Christ’s resurrection fully (II Cor. 4:14;
5:1–4) have a present foretaste in the Spirit (4:10–11; 5:5). In this new creation, the image and
glory of God partly lost in Adam (Rom 5:12–21; 1 Cor 11:7) are being restored in Christ (II Cor
3:18; 4:4; 1 Cor 15:49; Rom 8:29).2

2. New Nature and Old Nature


Many scholars had considerably misunderstood the phrases “old nature” and “new nature” (Rom
6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col 3:9). Numerous popular explanations of Paul’s doctrine of the Christian life
argue or assume that the apostle distinguishes with these phrases between two parts of natures of
a person. Following this misguided thinking is the debate as to whether the “old nature” is
replaced by the “new nature” at conversion, or whether the “new nature” is added to the old.3

According to the Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, the terms “old nature” and “new nature”
refers to the complete person viewed in relation to the corporate whole to which he or she
belongs. Thus these terms are better translated as “old person” and “new person.” The “old
person” is not the sin nature which is judged at the cross and to which is added a “new person.”
The “old person” is what believers were “in Adam.” On the other hand, the “new person” is what

1 J. R. Levison, “Creation and New Creation,” Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne
(Leicester: Intervarsity, 1993), 189.
2 Craig S. Keener, 1–2 Corinthians (New York: CUP, 2005), 185.
3 D. S. Dockery, “New Nature and Old Nature,” Dictionary of Paul and his Letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne
(Leicester: Intervarsity, 1993), 628.
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believers are “in Christ.” Paul directs us to the completely new, to the salvation and healing that
believers receive when they are crucified with Christ and raised with him (Rom 6:3-6).4

3. Influence of Jesus Movement in Pauline Theology of NT

3.1. Transforming Life


The transforming life implies a new nature with a new system of desires, affections, and habits.
Pauline Phrase of “Christ in You” indicates that a transformation has taken place. The old life has
come to an end. New life in Christ has begun. Though Christ in You also depicts an on- going
transformation, one that should lead to maturity. This transforming life, furthermore, directly
affects the life of the community of faith. The new creation is an inner transformation: “What
does count is a new creation, the inward transformation by which the Holy Spirit turns a sinful
person into a whole new person. The theological term for this inward transformation is
regeneration. In regeneration, the Holy Spirit makes the people a new creature in Christ.5

3.2. Cosmology
Romans 8:18-30, explains the broader meaning and argues that it refers to all creation including
human beings. There is no sharp distinction between human and “other creatures,” because they
are all deeply interwoven: “By allowing Christians to suffer with Christ, the Spirit brings about
the transforming of the old creation into an expectancy of glorification and an initial participation
in this. Hope, then, reaches beyond people to creation as a whole…Since Paul understands
eschatological freedom as salvation in a cosmic dimension.” Through his “apocalyptic
interpretation” of Paul, maintains that Paul’s theology should be understood in terms of Christ’s
redemption of the whole world by creating a new cosmic order that replaces the old one.
Scholars who adopt a cosmological perspective point out the cosmic impact of Christ’s death and
resurrection and often explain the significant influence of Jewish apocalyptic tradition on Paul.6

4 Dockery, New nature and Old nature, 628.


5 Roger Mohrlang, Paul and His life- Transforming Theology: A Concise Introduction (Eugene: Wipe & Stock,
2013), 89.
6 Ernst Käsemann, Commentary on Romans (Grand Rapids: Geoffrey W. Bromiley, 1980), 233.
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4. Characteristics of New Creation

4.1. Reconciliation
The word reconciliation means bringing together into a new unity those who have separated or
alienated.7 Reconciliation is a completed act of God in Christ but it should be continued in
history as a process for the realization of God’s will for the whole earth which includes
everything. Paul in Ephesians 2:16 brought the concept that reconciliation is aim at the creation
of a new humanity in Christ which transcends racial and cultural barriers where the barrier of
separation had been taken away in the person of Christ.8

This concept is used by Paul in order to signify the saving significance of the death of Christ. In
this concept Paul assumes that in the creation story the humans were in a right relationship with
God, however with the coming of sin death entered in as a consequence (Rom 8:23) and by Jesus
dying on the cross paid the price (1 Cor. 6:20, 7:23) and therefore freed humans from the
bondage of sin.9

Paul also relates reconciliation to justification when he speaks of being justified freely by his
grace through the redemption in Jesus (Rom 3:24). In his letter to the Galatians he also links
reconciliation to freedom from the law. Paul uses a striking statement by saying that Christ
redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us and goes on to quote
Deuteronomy 21:23 (Galatians 3:13)10

Paul apparently links reconciliation with the idea of the new creation in 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21 in
which is found his most intense and longest excurse on the subject. Paul understands both new
creation in Christ as well as reconciliation in Christ as the inaugurated fulfillment of Isaiah’s and
the prophets’ promise of a new creation in which Israel would be restored into a peaceful
relationship with God (Isaiah 43:18-19,65:17).11

7 M.J. Joseph, Be reconciled to God: Pauline Perspectives (Bangalore: Christian Ecumenical Center, 1996), 66.
8 Joseph, Be reconciled to God, 66.
9 L. Morris, “Redemption,” Dictionary of Paul and his Letters Dictionary of Paul and his letters, ed. Gerald F.
Hawthorne, (Leicester: Intervarsity, 1993), 784.
10 Morris, “Redemption,” 785.
11 G.K. Beagle, “The Old Testament Background of Reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5-7 and Bearing on the
Literary Problem of 2 Corinthians 6: 14-7:1,” NTS, Vol. XXXV (Cambridge: CUP, 1989), 551-553
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4.2. Reconciliation of Creation
Paul sees a link between sin and death and says that death came through sin and all have sinned
so death comes to all. He further points out that sin brings an alienation from creation especially
in Romans 8:19-23.12 Paul therefore urges Christians through his teachings to do well to care for
the environment not only because of the urgings of the earth itself but because this is God’s
world and Christian look forward to the time when the whole creation will be freed from the
bondage of corruption (Rom 8:21).13

Paul looks forward to the final hope of a completed salvation with the restoration of creation. In
Romans 8:20 he says creation was subjected to futility (mataiotes)’ which denotes the futility or
ineffectiveness of an object which does not function as it was designed to or does not play its
role. This is directly eluded or related to Genesis 3:17-18. 14 Creation therefore caught itself in the
futility of human self-deception as humankind themselves have the thought that they themselves
are creators which imposes more vainness as much on creation as on humankind themselves.
Therefore since creation is joined with humankind in a solidarity that cannot be separated,
reconciliation of humankind with God and with the creation would liberate the creation as well.15

4.3. Old Adam and New Adam


References to the Old Testament figure of Adam are very extensive; its use in Pauline theology is
highly significant. Adam stands as a theological counterpart within Paul’s Christological
teaching, with Adam and Christ, as the two halves of analogy explicitly formulated in both
Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. The analogy in these two chapters presents Adam and Christ as
corporate heads of two contrasting orders of existence and may be taken as one of the most
revealing ways in which the apostles thought is expressed. Adam embodies fallen humanity and
Christ embodies redeemed humanity. Thus, within these two chapters we see the intersection of
several theological concerns. It can be said that the Adam-Christ analogy has remained an
important focus and close to the heart of Paul’s thought.16

12 L. Morris, “Sin,” Dictionary of Paul and his letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne (Leicester: Intervarsity, 1993):
879.
13 Morris, “Sin,”: 879.
14 James D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1998), 100
15 D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle, 100.
16 L.J. Krietzer, “Adam and Christ,” in Dictionary of Paul and his letters, ed. Gerald F. (Downers Grove: Inter-
Varsity, 1993): 9-13
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Paul contrasts what believers were in Adam and what believers are after receiving the gift of
salvation in Christ in terms of their old and new nature. When we look at the relevant passages in
Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15, we find a much more complicated and extended use of Adam by
Paul. We see that in both passages Paul compares Adam and Christ by using several key features
of Old Testament background to communicate Christological truths about Jesus Christ who
encompasses humanity in himself. Paul understands of Christian redemptions a transition from
being in Adam to being in Christ as a saving movement from one sphere of life and one realm of
existence to another. Paul’s theology arises out of an eschatological mindset, with its emphasis
on the new creation having supplanted the old.17

In Romans 5:12-21, Paul wants to say something about Christ which he effectively uses against
the negative background provided by Adam. 18 Adam is used as a typological or figurative
character set over against Jesus Christ. In Romans 5:14, Adam is the type of Christ in sense that
he is the figure of universal significance for the human race affecting the destiny of all; but
Christ in every way superior to the first Adam.19

In Romans 5, Paul uses Adam to show him as the means to describe the entry of sin and death
into the world and the condition of human kind due the first transgression. This Paul points out is
transcended by what happens in Jesus Christ, the Last Adam. Adam’s act of disobedience is
contrasted with Christ obedience which carries with it a promise of future life within the new
creation.20 In the Jewish tradition, Adam was responsible for not only for the onset of death but
also for the prevalence of sin. Therefore Paul boldly presents Adam as instrumental in the onset
of sin and death in the human race.21

5. New Humanity in Christ

5.1. New life in Christ (Romans 6:4; Galatians 2:19-20)


Karl Barth clarifies about Romans 6 saying that the man who is righteous before God through his
faith is the man who has been sanctified by God. The transition from the old age to the new takes

17 Krietzer, “Adam and Christ,”: 9-13.


18 Brendan Byrne, “Romans,” Vol. 6 (Collegeville: Liturgical, 2007), 173
19 Krietzer, “Adam and Christ,”: 9-13.
20 Byrne, “Romans,” : 174-175.
21 Byrne, “Romans,” : 174-175.
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place when an individual undergoes conversion, and this is accomplished through the redemptive
work of Christ with the conscious experience of the believer. Therefore, he who is righteous by
means of his faith ‘walks in a new life’.22

The affirmation and expectation of salvation in chapter 5 imply that Christian life and conduct
not only include the fulfilling of obligations, but even demand it. The new life brought by Christ
involves a reshaping of people. Through baptism, they are identified with Christ’s death and
resurrection, and their very being or “self” is transformed. Paul portrays the new life that the
justified and reconciled individual delights in: a freedom from sin and self. Therefore, Paul’s
understanding of a newly justified person is one who is liberated from sin and self-
centeredness.23

The key aspect is the eschatological claim that with Christ’s death an entire age has passed and a
new age has begun.24 It is the purpose of our burial with Christ that we might walk in newness of
life empowered by God’s Spirit which reflects the values of a new age. 25 Paul continues his
argument in Gal 2:19-20, where he depicted Christian life as, “For through the law I died to the
law, that by might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but
Christ who lives in me. The very life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God
who loved me and gave himself over for me.” Paul articulated the standard of integrated
Christian life, one in which the ontological reality (I Am in Christ) needs to surface the
psychological level (I live in Christ). Since our sin have been buried, we ought to put to death
the old self; and as we have been raised with Christ, we ought to carry on with a new life with
Him. Consequently, the physical life that a justified individual lives must be lived out
deliberately in faith.26

By alluding to burial here, Paul has communicated the reality of us having died with Christ.
Here, the newness of life alludes to the moral life and the quality of conduct that we are to
uphold thereafter. There is a transition from the prospect of death (burial) in baptism to the

22 Karl Barth, A Shorter Commentary on Romans (London: SCM, 1959), 64.


23 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Romans: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, AB 33 (New York:
Doubleday, 1993), 429.
24 James D.G. Dunn, Romans 1-8, WBC 38A (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1988), 313.
25 Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996), 366.
26 Fitzmyer, Romans, 430.
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resurrection in the moral sense. In the light of this, Paul brings the positive content of the new
obedience.27

5.2. Neither Circumcision nor Uncircumcision (No discrimination of race and


gender) (Galatians 6:15)
The distinction between circumcised and uncircumcised has a place with the old age and there is
no further record. For Christians, they have vanished of the old aeon through union with Christ
crucifixion, and have been born into the new age where they encounter the power of the Holy
Spirit.28 For Paul, all that matters is a new creation. Every single outside articulation are to be
comprehended as culturally relevant but not spiritually necessitated, for all that truly matters is
that the Christian should be “a new creation” and that he or she express that new work of God in
ways reflective of being “in Christ” and coordinated by “the Spirit”. Therefore “all that matters”
for the Christian is the reality of being “a new creation”, with the newness of creation reflected
externally in culturally relevant lives of worship and service.29

Paul here rejects every material ground of boasting, regardless of whether the circumcised or the
uncircumcised. The emphasis of the articulation is upon the radical change of character implied
in a new moral life.30 Paul concludes that it is absolutely irrelevant in his context whether a man
is circumcised or not, unlike the old order of the law where the distinction between Jew and
Gentile was of central significance. According to him, in this new situation the issue of
circumcision or of any other ancestral tradition loses all religious significance. The new creation
in its fullness has a place with the future, yet to those in Christ it is here and now acknowledged
through the Spirit.31

27 C.E.B Cranfield, Romans: A Shorter Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1985), 132-133.
28 John Bligh, Galatians: A Discussion of St. Paul’s Epistle (London: St. Paul, 1970), 494-495.
29 Richard N. Longenecker, Galatians, WBC 41 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990), 296.
30 Ernest De Witt Burton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians (New York:
Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1920), 355.
31 F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text, NIGTC (Eerdmans: The
Paternoster, 1982), 273.
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6. Implications of Paul’s New Creation Concept to the Present Context
There is a vast scope of significance in understanding Pauline concept of new creation because it
covers new life in individual lives to cosmic level. It is important to note that in this concept the
community is identified with Christ death in his death in a corporate sense.32

6.1. New Creation as Community Oriented


Paul’s new creation project is communal and holistic. 33 Pauline passages which contain
references to the new creation or new humanity is a communal reality. 34 Also, Paul’s concept is
Christ-centered. By being “in Christ,” we now belong to God’s eschatological and egalitarian
community where boundary-crossing unity among the participants can be realized. 35 Thus, the
Paul’s teaching of new creation inculcates the essence of unity ‘in Christ’. It can be considered as
a communal movement for unity to the disunity in the Church today and nations in a larger
scope.

6.2. The New Creation Concept of Paul reassure Equality


Paul firmly believes that the death and resurrection of Christ has initiated God’s new
creation.36 It substitutes the old system where various hierarchical and discriminatory elements
such as national identity, religious practice, social status, gender difference (cf. Galatians 3:28)
play a critical role in determining someone’s essential features in society such as one’s social
position and economic status. New Creation surpasses all these barriers (cf. Galatian 3: 28 &
Gal. 6:15). The theology of Paul’s new creation is Christ centered and that in Christ everyone is
united as one. Therefore, it addresses equality to the present context of inequality and
discrimination.

6.3. New Creation and Ecology


According to Douglas J. Moo, “New Creation” alludes to the concept of universal restoration
found its ultimate consummation in a renewed universe.37 Thus it carries important implications

32 Donald Guthrie, New Testament Theology (London: IVP, 1991), 645.


33 Sejong Chun, “Paul’s New Creation: Vision for the New World and Community in the Midst of Empires”
unpublished Doctoral Dissertation (Nashville, Tennessee: Vanderbilt University, 2012).
34 Levison, “Creation and New Creation,” 189.
35 Chun, “Paul’s New Creation: Vision for the New World and Community in the Midst of Empires.”
36 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Paul and His Theology (New Jersey: Englewoods, 1989), 70.
37 Douglas J Moo, “Creation and New Creation,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 20.1(2010): 42.
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for Christians’ stewardship of the created world. Mark Berdin aligning to this interpretation
argues that new creation for Paul is the renewal of creation. 38 In Romans 8, Paul presents
“creation” as a holistic community in which human beings and non-human creatures are deeply
connected together. The scope of New Creation is not merely confined to individualistic or
corporate community but to cosmological level. In the contemporary context in which ecological
crisis has almost reached to a point of no return, this calls the Christian community for the
responsibility of creation care.

Conclusion
Paul’s theology of new creation is closely connected with the expression of new humanity. It is a
corporate aspect in which each individual believer becomes identified with the community. The
new creation calls for restoration of the image of God and it is fulfilled through the reconciliation
act of God in Christ. New creation comes about only when community once divided is seen to be
reconciled in Christ. Believers and church as a whole must continue to bear this testimony
through proclamation and witnessing of the gospel.

Bibliography
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38 Mark Bredin, The Ecology of the New Testament: Creation, Recreation and Environment (London: IVP,
2012), 137.
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Bearing on the Literary Problem of 2 Corinthians 6: 14-7:1” New Testament Studies
XXXV (1989): 551-553.

Bligh, John. Galatians: A discussion of St. Paul’s Epistle. London: St. Paul, 1970.

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