Thursday, April 12, 2007

New Creation in John

N.T. Wright suggests some new creation motifs in John’s gospel:

The opening words, “In the beginning…”, echo Genesis 1:1.

The 7 signs in John might correspond to the 7 days in creation.

The climax of John’s signs and the days of creation is focus on a man: Adam and Christ. Pilate’s words encourage us to “Behold the man!” (John 19:5). Mary is not so wrong when she mistakes the New Adam for the gardener (John 20:15).

As God’s work of creation was completed (Genesis 2:1-3), so “it is finished” on the cross (John 19:30).

The rivers of living water that flow out of the hearts of those who believe in Jesus (John 7:38) recall the rivers that flow out of Eden (Genesis 2:10-14)

As God breathed the spirit of life into man, so Jesus breathes his Spirit onto the disciples (John 20:21).

Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Discipleship (London, SPCK, 1994) p32f


Pete said...

This, presumably, would explain why the 'signs' and the works of Christ are explicitly linked to creation type work in John 5?

I'd be interested to know what Wright think are the 7 signs (there's some debate I hear)? I feel there ought to be seven and I feel the list ought to include the resurrection but others disagree.

Marc Lloyd said...

Wright didn't list the 7 signs in that little article. He seemed to see the cross (& resurrection?) as the 7th.

Anonymous said...

Some argue for 3 sets of paired signs, providing a bookends structure for the Gospel: the first two are numbered, and located at Cana: water into wine and healing the official's son (chaps 2 and 4). The second two are physical restorations leading to controversy with the Jews (chaps 5 and 9). The third two are resurrections - Lazarus and Jesus.

BUT: this omits FT5K and walking on water (chap 6). Thus, here's the cool bit, there are EIGHT signs in John. A week of signs, then Jesus' resurrection on the first day of the new week: New Creation!

Pete said...

I always wondered if the walking on water as something other than a 'sign' in the specifically Johannine sense. It seems similar in lots of ways to the other miracle at the very end of the book - the catch of fish. Both are to the disciples alone (I know the resurrection appearances seem to be too, though I'd argue that it is clear from elsewhere that the resurrection is a public sign-miracle too).

This would leave the signs at a seven as follows, in some sort of palistrophe

A Water into Wine
B Healing the Official's Son
C Healing the Paralytic by the Pool
D Feeding the 5,000
C' Restoring sight to the Blind Man by the Pool
B' Raising Lazarus from the Dead
A' resurrection of Jesus Christ

There does seem to be a relationship between the pairs of signs seen in this way. I've talked more about it on my blog :

I am attracted to the 8 signs idea too. Though what purpose then the final miracle (it seems unfair to omit it if the walking on water gets a look in)?

Has anyone tried 'mapping' the signs onto any of the sevens in Revelation and seeing what happens?