What’s a new creation?

I follow Dave Winscott’s prolific blog, holy heteroclite. Dave is a “pastor/goatherder of a missional church plant called third day fresno”. Recently he wrote on the theme "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature" KJV  (:

From the black lagoon?

It’s all based on misleading translation of the original Greek of 2 Cor 5:17 , which literally says:

ωστε ει τις εν χριστω καινη κτισις τα αρχαια παρηλθεν:
"If anyone is in Christ, new creation!"

Of course the TNIV nailed it: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come"

The new 2011 NIV: "Since (even) one person is (already) in Christ, the NEW CREATION has (already) arrived"

That helps restore the thought.

The New Creation– God’s heavenly realm and  cosmic "kingdom come," which has already started coming– is a bit bigger than me.

And it is NOT me…"New Creation" has a lot more to do with Revelation’s "new heavens and new earth" in all its glory than this individual little creature from the black lagoon getting saved.

Paul also never uses the noun “creation” (ktisis) to refer to an individual person (see Rom 1:2, 25; 8:19–22, 39), and the concept of a new creation appears prominently in Jewish apocalyptic texts that picture the new age as inaugurating something far more sweeping than individual transformation—a new heaven and a new earth. The translation “there is a new creation” would mean that the new creation does not merely involve the personal transformation of individuals but encompasses the eschatological act of recreating humans and nature in Christ. It would also include the new community, which has done away with the artificial barriers of circumcision and uncircumcision (Gal 6:15–16; see Eph 2:14–16) as part of this new creation.
(David E. Garland, 2 Corinthians, The New American Commentary, 286-87)  link

Paul is talking of a “new act of creation,” not an individual’s renovation as a proselyte or a forgiven sinner in the Day of Atonement service. There is even an ontological dimension to Paul’s thought.. suggesting that with Christ’s coming a new chapter in cosmic relations to God opened and reversed the catastrophic effect of Adam’s fall which began the old creation (Kümmel, 205). To conclude: en Christo, kaine ktisis in this context relates to the new eschatological situation which has emerged from Christ’s advent .
-Ralph P. Martin, 2 Corinthians, Word Biblical Commentary, 152)link

Sure, in a wonderful way, in microcosm, my status as a recreated truster of Jesus mirrors the New Creation. But I’m just a little critter/creature.

Of  course, it might also be a case of BOTH/AND…

I was glad to find this just now from Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament: A Contemporary Introduction to New Testament Ethics:

The apocalyptic scope of 2 Corinthians 5 was obscured by older translations that rendered the crucial phrase in verse 17 as “he is a new creation” (RSV) or — worse yet — “he is a new creature” (KJV). Such translations seriously distort Paul’s meaning by making it appear that he is describing only the personal transformation of the individual through conversion experience. The sentence in Greek, however, lacks both subject and verb; a very literal translation might treat the words “new creation” as an exclamatory interjection: “If anyone is in Christ — new creation!”

The NRSV has rectified matters by rendering the passage, “If anyone is in Christ there is a new creation.” Paul is not merely talking about an individual’s subjective experience of renewal through conversion; rather, for Paul, “creation” refers to the whole create order (Rom. 8:18–25). He is proclaiming the apocalyptic message that through the cross God has nullified the kosmos of sin and death and brought a new kosmos into being. That is why Paul can describe himself and his readers as those “on whom the ends of the ages has met” (1 Cor. 10:11). The old age is passing away (cf. 1 Cor. 7:31b), the new age has appeared in Christ, and the church stands at the juncture between them. link, p. 20

Vernard Eller, in his amazing  chapter 8  of "War and Peace" ("Noting The Absence of What Wasn’t There"..read it here) helpfully bases his comments on the delightful translation of the NEB:

Becoming a Christian eschatologist does not mean being lifted out of this world into some  transcendent realm…Paul stated our idea rather precisely: "When anyone is united to Christ, there is a new world; the old order has gone, and a new order has already begin (2 Cor 5.17).  Obviously, Paul does not mean..that, at the moment one accepts Christ, he is transported from this world to another one...but..The old secular, flatlander interpretation is gone; and the new, true eschatological significance has already begun  (p. 200)

The NEB has since been replaced with the REB , which reads: "For anyone united to Christ, there is a new creation.." Nice!  (and see helpful comments by John Howard Yoder here

Note: this "new creation" principle carries over into a lesser-known, not on any bumper sticker, verse:

"Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation’  (Galatians 6:15, NIV)

Great translation score there. Some translations style the above as "what counts is A new creation"   Uh, no.

An intriguing parallel reminds us of what the New Creation life, here in the midst of the old creation, is to be known by:

"Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything: The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." (Galatians 5:6)

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