The New Creation

Here's a must-read for all Bible teachers.

Frank Thielman’s book, The New Creation, is a helpful resource for Bible teachers at all levels in the Church. He shows how the Scriptures are united, from Genesis to Revelation, in telling the story of God’s plan to create a world that reflects and refracts His character and glorifies Him in all its ways.

This is a brief and introductory book consisting of only five chapters. This is actually one of the book’s strengths, since it makes a formidable topic accessible to a wide range of readers. The book begins and ends in the garden of God – from Eden to the New Heavens and New Earth. In between, it shows the plan and work of God, accomplished by Jesus and the Holy Spirit, for calling out a people who will be delivered from this present evil age into a new life of obedience to God and His Word. This is what the Old Testament looked forward to, and what Christ and the Spirit fulfilled in the New. The restoration to a new creation recounted throughout the New Testament both fulfills (in part) what was foreseen in the Old, and points forward to the coming day of the complete restoration of all things in the New Heavens and New Earth.

Dr. Thielman links back and forth between the Testaments of Scripture to show the unity of divine revelation as well as its progress and self-consciousness. The Bible is one Book, and it tells one story about how, through the work of Jesus Christ, the Church becomes the new people of God and begins the work of restoring the reconciled world to the Father.

Such a slight volume must be selective, of course. Dr. Thielman follows the storyline of Scripture in the Old Testament primarily from Genesis and Isaiah, with references to other sections as well, but merely to supplement what these two books disclose. In the New Testament, Matthew, Galatians, Ephesians, and the last chapters of Revelation highlight the progress of the storyline. Much of the rest of Scripture is referenced, but these books are used above all others to focus on the promise, realization, and promise of the new creation as a central plot line of the Bible.

It is very encouraging to see serious works of Biblical theology made available in concise, compact, and compelling formats like this brief volume. One could fault The New Creation along several lines, I suppose – chiefly, the lack of consistent reference to God’s covenant and Kingdom (present, though not central), and not much in the way of discussion concerning the creational, social, and cultural impacts of the new creation – but this is book which, if I were a pastor, I would make sure all the teachers in my church, at whatever level of instruction, would read and discuss.

Frank Thielman’s work focuses on a central Biblical theme, and provides a powerful report of how that theme hangs together, develops, and comes to fulfillment in all sections of the Word of God.

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