N.T. Wright – Chapter 2 – Creation and Covenant

We realize a central theme in Paul’s writings in N.T. Wrights’s second chapter entitled – Creation & Covenant. Paul, himself a Jew, was evangelizing to a largely Jewish community.  In order to communicate effectively, Paul incorporates the concept of Creation and Covenant which was acknowledged in Jewish tradition as the heart of their faith.  As the chosen people of God, the Jewish people believed that their relationship with Him existed in the context of the themes of creation and the covenant with Him.

Paul utilizes the Psalms and the book of Genesis to guide his writings to the ultimate understanding that Christ is the point at which creation and covenant come to fulfillment. Specifically, in the Psalms, Paul points to our Lord, the Messiah promised, as the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  Which is to say, Christ “pre-existed” before creation.  God the Son exists as part of God the Father’s covenantal plan for us. God the Father sent his Son to be the bridge between the man (creation) and his promise of salvation (covenant) to us.

  • Note: T. Wright did not suggest or paint the picture of “Christ the Bridge” in his writings – but I do believe his wording suggests such a notion.  I could be wrong, but when reading this chapter that is the image that came to mind.

Understanding that Christ was the bridge between creation and the covenant suggest that a bridge was needed in the first place.  The problem of creation was sin and death perpetrated by Adam- the first man.  Continuing in human antiquity the chosen people themselves became part of the problem and not “agents of the solution” for they did not submit to the God’s covenantal plan for them.

N.T. Wrights suggests that the ultimate sin of man is the sin of idolatry. The worship of that which is not the living God. In my own understanding of sin, I have different outlook.  I have often believed that all sin can be pointed to the sin of selfishness. We take in account on our own personal will when committing the sin of selfishness. The will of God does not come into play when one is selfish.  N.T. Wright’s insights maybe more to the point.  All sin points to where we have gone against the will of God thus empowering another entity other than God –  the definition of Idolatry.

            – The above begs a question:  Was Christ, who had a human nature (along  with divine) the first man to fully commit to the will of God? Ok, that’s probably more of a statement than a question!

As stated, Paul merged the Old Testament writings, accepted by the Jewish community, with the person and life of Christ.  Essentially crafting his message to the understanding that Christ was/ is:  The Word made Flesh.  Christ was the very point at which creation and covenant come about – how they are linked and become fulfilled.

            Covenant and Creation was the title of this chapter.  I wonder if a sub title could have been: Christ – The Source and the Summit?

8 thoughts on “N.T. Wright – Chapter 2 – Creation and Covenant”

  1. Joe,
    Thank you for your thoughtful reflection on Chapter 2 of “Paul.”

    On your note regarding “Christ the Bridge”, I agree wit your image and sense. I got the same image of Christ standing in the breach, or in the gap between God and His creation. To your point, the sin of humanity is that gap which keeps us from right-relationship with God.

    In regards to your comments about Christ IS the Word made flesh, yes, there is creation and covenant wrapped up in Christ’s coming. As far human will is concerned, I would say Mary was the first to align her human will to God’s divine will. In that action, Mary “creates” (pun intended – really allows) the opportunity for God to fulfill his promise in the first covenant by her yes to God’s will. Later, Christ would do the same in his crucifixion.

    Ultimately, NT Wright offers a compelling argument that Paul was speaking to the hearts of his Jewish family using Old Testament and well-known Psalms as reference points for the Messianic “source and summit” of their faith – the time is now!

  2. Joe,

    Are you kidding me??? Did we even read the same chapter? NT Wright was so trying to show Paul’s anti-semitic side and boxing out the Jewish culture – this is a new age, baby. Ditch the old and in with the new or be lost forever! It’s all about me and all about now! Better luck next posting!

  3. Thanks so much for your insights! Yes, Adam was the first man and Jesus is the “New Adam” or sometimes referred to as the “last man” by Pope Benedict. It is through Christ in which creation is redeemed. As stated in class, the Old Testament must be read in light of the New Testament. Paul so well comprehends the continuity and the fulfillment of the Old Testament and the covenant in Christ. I also like the notion of Christ as a bridge. I have to reflect more on that concept!

  4. I like this idea that Jesus is bridge between Creation and Covenant. That in his person Jesus who is God’s son because God has the creative power to bring man in right relation with God. Being fully human and fully God he only can make recouncilating happen

  5. I like this idea that Jesus is bridge between Creation and Covenant. That in his person Jesus who is God’s son because God has the creative power to bring man in right relation with God. Being fully human and fully God he can does accomplish this reconciliation. He Jesus is indeed the key and source and summit he is body and in his person. Very Good!

  6. Thank you, Joe, for your analysis of this chapter. I also found Wright to have given us a smooth “bridge” between the OT from the Psalms (19 & 74) to NT’s Paul writings in Colossians (1.15-20), Romans 1-11, and 1 Corinthians 15 to tie the Covenant and Creation together, fully fulfilled in Jesus Christ, our Lord.

  7. Joe,
    I love the statement “All sin points to where we have gone against the will of God”. If can only repeat this statement to ourselves every day, every hour, maybe every minute, we would probably avoid a lot of sins. The other strong point that you stated is Jesus humanity willingness to fully summit to the will of God. This seems until this day, our biggest stumbling block to salvation. Well said. Thank you

  8. Nice work Joe, yeah Wrights suggest that the ultimate sin of man is adultery, but I’m leaning towards your side little bit that it could probably be boiled down to a selfishness, wating what the flesh desire as opposed to wanting what the spirit desires. We allowed the flesh to speak more louder than what the Spirit, it’s like throwing a pebble in the ocean, the wave itself drowns the sound of the pebble dropping in. But I believe that even with the slightest hint or sound that we make to turn our attention to the Lord, he will hear us, and quite frankly he has heard us therefore there was a plan to join us together again like we were in the Garden of Eden this is where Jesus comes in the Word became flesh. Awesome particle Joe once again.

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