From Creation to New Creation: A Journey Through Genesis with N.T. Wright

Day 7 of 7 • This day’s reading


Culmination – Creation to New Creation

The narrative that Genesis launches forward is not merely the story of the Old Testament, true though that may be. The covenant to Abraham’s family was always aimed at an ultimate setting right in New Creation, a welcoming in of all people through the work of Messiah Jesus. And to make sure that we as readers don’t forget this, the Creation story of the first chapters of Genesis is mirrored throughout the Old Testament. The Exodus, with its movement through the chaotic waters of the Red Sea into a new land, and the end of Deuteronomy still on the verge of coming into that new Eden, mirror God’s ordering of Creation. The Tabernacle, like the Garden on the seventh day, is the place of God’s permanent presence. Throughout, the Israelites are given specific instructions from God, obedience leading to prosperity and disobedience to exile. Even in exile, the hope of God’s presence overrides all their mistakes in a potent sign toward Jesus.

The promises of the Old Testament reverberate as echoes in the New Testament. The Gospel genealogies count back to the Patriarchs and the Garden. John 1:1 invokes the beginning words of Genesis. The culmination of this long narrative thread is envisaged in Revelation, where God comes to dwell with Creation.

Rather than a cyclical story, ending exactly where we began, the bible as a whole shows God’s purposes fulfilled in and through humanity by way of Jesus’s death and resurrection. Throughout it all, the paradox remains: the people carrying the promise – whether the Israelites or the Messiah people after them – are nonetheless infected with the very problem God’s purpose is to solve. Even as we struggle to be faithful to God’s plan, we are called to image God into the world, to accomplish God’s purpose of having wise, renewed humans at the center, running Creation.

Question: How do Genesis and Revelation each reflect God’s purposes for Creation? What new ways have you learned to read Genesis? Does this change how you tell the story of Jesus? Of Creation?

Practice Prompt: The shape of Genesis reveals to modern readers how the Jewish people, exiled in Babylon, thought about their history. What do you think an Israelite in exile might have learned from reading their history? Why might this practice have been important?