Monday, October 02, 2006

Vos: Christ is "the central dominating factor of a new order of affairs"

"The recognition of the eschatological provenience of the term "new ktisis (creation)” has been held back by its assumed individual use in 2 Cor. 5:17: ‘Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature,” and likewise by the exclusively subjective-soteriological reference the representation seemed to suggest. Both obstacles (individual use and the subjective-soteriological) also make themselves felt in regard Titus 3:5.

"But in regard to neither of the two passages can these objections obscure the quite perceptible eschatology texture. That Paul in Corinthians means something far more specific than the metaphorical statement about some one’s having been made “a new man” would ordinarily convey, the context clearly shows. For the one who has undergone this experience of having become “in Christ,’ not merely individual subjective conditions have been changed, but “the old things are passed away, new things have come into being.” There has been created a totally new environment, or, more accurately speaking, a totally new world, in which the person spoken of is an inhabitant and participator. It is not in the first place the interiority of the subject that has undergone the change, although that, of course, is not to be excluded. The whole surrounding world has assumed a new aspect and complexion.

"That the efficient cause for the thing described lies “in Christ” clearly indicates that such is the fact. Christ nowhere with the Apostle figures merely as a productive center of new individuals: He is everywhere, where the formula in question occurs, the central dominating factor of a new order of affairs, in fact nothing less than the originator and representative of a new world-order. A mere glance at the Pauline (and generally N.T.) usage of “ktisis” (creation) will further bear out the comprehensive and objective associations of the word; cp. Rom. 8:19,20; Col. 1:15; Heb. 9:11; Rev. 3:14." -- Geerhardus Vos, "The Pauline Eschatology", 46,47