Creation and Covenant (Chapter 2)

The first section of Chapter 2 addresses “creation and covenant” in the Old Testament.  Two very different Psalms, Psalm 19 and Psalm 74, are used to show how God is the God of creation, but also a God that is just, all-powerful, and conquers evil.  Wright draws on certain covenants of the Old Testament such as: Abraham.  He points out that God is the creator, yet he is the God of covenant.  He will rescue and deliver his people from the enemy and from all evil.  Through Israel, God will address and solve the problems of the world, bringing justice and salvation to all people and how creation is “invoked” to solve the problems within the covenant.  God is FAITHFUL, but He is righteous.  


The second section of Chapter 2 focuses three new passages: Colossians 1: 15-20, 1 Corinthians 15, and Romans 1-11.  This section, as well as the third, seemed similar in the fact that the emphasis was on Jesus Christ, the Messiah, being the NEW creation and the NEW covenant.  Wright states that Paul goes back to Genesis and makes it evident how God fulfills his covenant promises through Christ and renews creation.  


There is one particular line that struck me from the third section that I want to share.  It reads. “When God fulfills the covenant through the death and resurrection of Jesus and the gift of the spirit, thereby revealing his faithful covenant justice and his ultimate purpose of new creation, this has the effect both of fulfilling the original covenant purpose (thus dealing with sin and procuring forgiveness) and of enabling Abraham’s family to be the worldwide Jew-plus-Gentile people it was always intended to be.” Therefore, God never leaves anything unfinished.  He fulfills, completes, and makes his covenant even greater, in His timing.    

13 thoughts on “Creation and Covenant (Chapter 2)”

  1. Yes – creation and the covenant – makes one think of the word hesed (or chesed) that mercy/covenant enduring love. Good summary

  2. Very nice summary. There was a lot of background to get through, especially in the first section on Creation. I was also struck by the Reference to 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul cites Genesis 3, and Wright extrapolates that: “Since death came through a human being, the resurrection has come by a human being; for as in Adam all die, so in the Messiah all shall be made alive”.

  3. Thanks MB for the summary. One of the things that continue’s to stick out is to remember to keep Paul’s writing in context. The time period and the particular audience. See top of page 26, “justice springs,” “creator’s obligation to the creation & from the covenant God’s obligation to be faithful to His promises” resonates to me but am not able to really wrap my mind around it. Can anyone help me out?
    Also, Paul’s references to old testament in his writings paint a picture of a genius mind. Did he have all this memorized? Or was Timothy and Paul’s various assistants following him around with the scrolls for reference? Ha ha! We have the benefit of the internet for find instant information.

    1. Hank,
      I’m glad you brought up the passage at the top of page 26 because that also jumped out at me. Often, using the word “obligation” to refer to God raises objections, because obligation generally points to something imposed from the outside, which cannot be the case with God. However, in this case, God as Creator and Covenant-Maker is Himself the source of the obligation. Having created, He has now imposed on himself the obligation to put/keep creation right, and having entered into covenant with man, He is obliged to fulfill the terms of the covenant.
      This chapter really reminded me of how in our Introduction to Scripture class we discussed that, in speaking 10 times while creating, God wrote the Law into creation, and that creation is in balance when man follows the Law.
      Another point Wright made that really struck me about this chapter was when he referenced that the Israelites had made the Torah itself an idol, and that by adhering to it with such rigidity and treating it as a “national privilege,” they violated the covenant God made with Abraham that was supposed to be for the whole world. Thus, the covenant can only be fulfilled when creation has been renewed, and the world can only be renewed when the covenant is fulfilled.

      1. Monica, God’s “obligation” has me looking again at man having a special relationship with Him. It emphasizes that I am truly a child of God!

  4. This chapter makes me think a lot of Sin and Grace and death and life. I must say what you say about this quote “When God Fulfills the covenant through the death and resurrection of Jesus “ is very good. This brought to look more at page 33, when it talks about “creation renewed through convent renewal.

    Wright does talks about the Torah on page 31, what he says brings to light something that many have said you must know your faith to real know God’s will. When he speak about “ the more you embrace Torah the more it does indeed show up your secret faults.

  5. Am with you Franz. yes there was a lot of background to get through.
    I think the word obligation has made and said a lot.
    To fulfilling the promises.
    Colossians, Psalms, 1 Corinthians, Romans.

    Mary Beth, nice summary.

  6. Excellent summary Mary Beth. All that Israel failed to do – broken covenants, unfaithfulness to God’s commands, not trusting in God and His Word – all that Israel couldn’t do is fulfilled in Christ. He “walks” through the Old Testament and fulfills it in the New, and we as believers reap the benefits. I sometimes feel remorse for the Jews of the Old Testament who felt that the law and obligation to the Torah was more important than what was right in front of them.

  7. I enjoyed your summary. Thank you. I liked the way N.T Wright paints the picture that Paul was a “theologian” of creation and covenant, insisting that the Jewish message that was first accepted by the faith of Abraham was always intended for the entire human race. Paul is brilliant how he uses sacred scripture, works and actions of Jesus Christ to prove that Jesus is the “new creation”.

  8. Mary Beth, I enjoyed your summary of this week’s assignment. With so much information ro process, you broke it down nicely.
    I liked how the author points out how Paul goes back to creation showing how God fulfilled the covenant promises to establish creation renewal.

  9. Well done explanation of this chapter. I enjoyed the thoughts process and your analysis as it related to creation and convenant.

  10. Mary Beth,

    Very good summary. This chapter seemed like one of the easiest to comprehend (on the relative scale of NT Wright denseness). The boiling down of so many scripture passages to a summation of God as creator and covenant initiator really helps put so much into perspective. Well done.

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