The meaning of Paul’s comments about the new creation in 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Galatians 6:15 has long been obscured. Debate has raged for years, with some arguing that the phrase “new creation” solely refers to the inward transformation believers have experienced through faith in Jesus Christ, and others that this phrase should be understood cosmologically and linked with Isaiah’s “new heavens and new earth”. Still more advocate an ecclesiological interpretation of this phrase that centres Paul in the new community formed around Jesus Christ. In As It Was in the Beginning, Mark Owens argues that the concept of “new creation” should be understood within the realm of Paul’s anthropology, cosmology, and ecclesiology. Paul’s understanding of new creation belongs within an Urzeit-Endzeit typological framework, especially within 2 Corinthians 5-6 and Ephesians 1-2. Owens’s reading of “new creation” gives due weight to the use of Isaianic traditions in Paul’s letters, and to demonstrate that the vision of new creation in 2 Corinthians and Galatians is in striking harmony with that of Ephesians.
1. Introduction and Method
2. New Creation in the Prophecy of Isaiah
3. New Creation and Restoration in the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism
4. New Creation in Galatians and 2 Corinthians
5. New Creation in Ephesians 1-2
Appendix One: The Use of ANE Temple-building Traditions outside of Isaiah’s Prophecy
Appendix Two: Isaiah’s New Exodus in the Writings of Second Temple Judaism
Index of Authors
Ancient Document Index
Endorsements and Reviews
Dr Owens has given us an excellent example of a thoughtful and careful investigation of Old Testament (and Second Temple) texts for the interpretation of the New Testament. Working especially with Isaiah’s ‘new exodus’ theme, he has shown that a simplistic understanding of the ‘new creation’ theme in the epistles cannot be supported. His study of the Old Testament materials is exemplary in its balance, its evenhandedness, its restraint, and its fruitful results.
John N. Oswalt, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
I have wondered about ‘new creation’ in Paul and I was intrigued by a study that works with the thesis that Paul ‘would have read and interpreted Isaiah as a unified whole.’ Dr Owens follows the trajectory of passages in Isaiah 40-66 in a sure-footed fashion, illumines the texts he studies, and opened my eyes helpfully to the issues involved in studying the Pauline texts about new creation.
John Goldingay, Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California
In this well-conducted study of ‘new creation’ in Pauline literature (including Ephesians), Mark Owens argues persuasively that the Pauline theme, derived from Isaiah, has a wide reach, embracing the anthropological, ecclesiological and cosmological dimensions of the Christ event. This is a thorough and perceptive treatment of an important topic, and I highly recommend it.
Edward Adams, Professor of New Testament Studies, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College London