This passage (to the left) comes toward the end of the biblical message when God describes to us what our ultimate position will be if we live as God has called us to live. Notice how many times the word “new” is used in this section of the Bible. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, … I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem …” (Revelation 21:1  – 2, NIV). This ultimate newness is the last of a large number of biblical references to things God brings to mankind as new and beneficial to us. All of this newness is in the face of a creation that is wearing “out like a garment” (see Hebrews 1:11; Isaiah 34:4), and is in conformity to the second law of thermodynamics which states that in any closed system things move toward a state of disorder.

Human religions and philosophies tend to bring people to a belief that is destructive, pessimistic, and negative in nature, while the Christian system continuously brings man a perspective that is positive, new, and uplifting.

The Bible on my desk has the following title at the start of the second section: “The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” One of the major problems of atheists and many general readers of the Bible is that they do not understand the “newness” of the New Testament. God did a remarkable thing in the establishment of the “New Covenant” with man. It was a very difficult transition for the people of the first century to make. Throughout the letters of the New Testament we see repeated references to this problem. The whole book of Galatians deals with this, and Paul continuously expresses amazement at how quickly the Galatians veered away from the new freedom of Christianity and went back to the impossible enslavement of the law of the past (see Galatians 1:6; 3:1– 4, 11–14; 6:15). In Colossians 2:8 –17 Paul makes additional references to this issue and tells his readers that Jesus nailed the old ordinances to His cross.

A further problem for the first century searchers was the unity and lack of status emphasized by the teachings of the Christian system. This causes Paul to say, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, KJV). The newness of the New Testament was shocking and difficult to accept, but any thinking person can see the uniqueness and positive effect on those who will follow it. What a tragedy it is that in the first century and even today there are those who would revert to old and destructive practices that may have served a purpose in the primitive society of 3,000 or more years ago, but clearly need replacement in the age of modern man.

In Genesis 2:24 and Ephesians 5:31 we see that God’s initial concept of marriage was that two people, a man and a woman, would become one flesh. In Matthew 19:4 – 6 Jesus confirms that new relationship again in the framework of God having designed the newness that man should not pollute (separate, alter, or adulterate). Marriage is a huge adjustment in one’s life, but the bottom line is that this adjustment is due to the newness of the relationship. Sharing every aspect of your life is a new experience. It is a radical idea for a man to love a woman as himself (Ephesians 5:28) and be willing to give himself for her, but this is part of the new relationship marriage brings.

First Corinthians 7:4 brings us to another concept of the newness of the marriage relationship in that men and women relinquish control of their own body in sexual relationships. Marriage is all about newness, and working to retain that newness is a challenge that can only be met when both partners are following God’s plan for how they should conduct themselves in the new relationship they share.

I can still remember the incredible joy I felt as I came out of the waters of baptism with the realization I was beginning a new life. I had lived a destructive life up until that time as an immoral, militant, atheistic user and abuser of others. I had reaped the consequences of that lifestyle and had even been driven to the point of being willing to consider suicide. Second Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) made it clear that if I became a Christian I was “a new creature: old things are passed away; … all things are become new.” Colossians 3:9, 10 (KJV) tells us we “put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” I knew that when people asked about the conversion process they were told, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all who are afar off, …” (Acts 2:38, 39, KJV). I not only could begin a new life with all of the past left behind, but God would help me to live in a new way.

People “raised in the Church” may not appreciate the promise and scope of baptism as much as those of us who have been totally alienated from God. One of the joys of prison work is to see a man or woman whose life has been pregnant with sin go under the waters of baptism and emerge a new creature. Romans 6:3 – 7 expresses this beautiful new beginning this way, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin — because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (NIV).

Revelation 21:5 — “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” This is preceded in verse 1 with John’s statement that he “saw a new heaven and a new earth … ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1– 4, NIV).

It is impossible for us living in the physical world to comprehend heaven. All we can really comprehend is that it will be new, wonderful, eternal, and free of everything that is bad in the present world. In His wisdom, God has provided some beautiful new beginnings in life and man can rejoice in that fact. Each day we awake to a new beginning of what can be a wonderful start of new work and new blessings. We can start a new year with new resolutions and a clean, new calendar. If we will obey God and access the blessings He offers, we can leave our old lives of sin behind and walk in newness of life. At the end of that walk we will enter eternal newness “… which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8, NIV).
--John N. Clayton

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MarApr11.