A New Creation

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by tfisher, Nov 10, 2002.

  1. tfisher

    tfisher
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    Psalm 51:10
    10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

    I was recently blessed by reading an article by my Old Testament professor in the Fall 2002 issue of Biblical Illustrator. The article is titled "A New Creation".

    In this Psalm, David is asking God to do something only He can do. The word for create is the Hebrew word bara. It is the same word for create used in Genesis 1:1, 1:21, and 1:27. This verb must always have God as the subject because it is something only He can do. It is to create something from nothing. That really sheds some new light on 2 Corinthians 5:17.

    2 Corinthians 5:17
    17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

    I hope everyone gets a blessing from this like I did. I can't explain it nearly as well as the original article.
     
  2. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Hey, thanks. Good thoughts. God DOES do a great and special work.

    Wonder about the "uniqueness" of the word create. Here in the parallelism of Hebrew poety, we see create and renew in aposition to each other.

    That would either (1) equate the two or (2) build the second upon the first. hmmmm.
     
  3. tfisher

    tfisher
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    He dealt with that in the article. I will type the entire paragraph for the sake of all readers:

    "Hebrew poetry, which is the literary form utilized in Psalm 51, is characterized by metre (rythm) and parallelism. That is, a successive, or second, idea or statement may be used in one of several ways: in an antithetic sense, which involves the use of a second statement presenting an opposing idea; in a synonymous sense, in which a similar idea is mentioned; or in a constructive sense, in which additional ideas or features are included. In Psalm 51:10, one of the two latter possibilities is used. The evidence points to a parallel idea that is synonymous. The terms "a clean heart" and "a stedfast spirit" seem to refer to the same thing: a condition that assures one of being acceptable to God."

    By the way, Biblical Illustrator is a quarterly magazine publised by Lifeway and has articles such as this one that correspond to the lessons in the Sunday School quarterly. It is basically written as an extra tool for the teachers. The reason I thought I would mention this is because I taught Sunday School for years and did not know about this resourse.
     
  4. Helen

    Helen
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    Psalm 51:10 is probably not parallel structure. There are several indications of this.

    The first is the word 'and.' Hebrew parallel structure generally does not include the word 'and.' This is certainly not definitive, as some of the early verses in this same psalm indicate, but most often parallelism does not have a conjunction connecting the two phrases. Verse six of this psalm is a perfect example of this:
    "Surely you desire truth in the inner parts;
    you teach me wisdom in the inmost place."

    or verse 7
    "Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow."

    However verse 10 is different.

    The word for 'heart' is 'leb.' It means, "heart, intellect, will." The fact that it also means "will" has an interesting connection to Genesis 8:21, where God says the heart of men always inclines toward evil from childhood -- it's what he wills, or wants. Not that we don't expect some control in this area, even from the most pagan of pagans, but nevertheless, the tendency, or inclination is toward evil.

    Therefore the new heart, the new will, is truly a creation, or 'bara', which is interesting in two ways
    1. It is a verb that is only applied in the Bible to God's actions. There is, as was mentioned, no other subject where this verb is concerned.
    and
    2. When used in contradistinction to 'made' or 'formed' -- "asah" -- it means to create something from nothing (although by itself it can be indicative of 'formed' as well as 'created.'). However the verb in the second part of the verse in question is 'chadash' or to renew or to rebuild. Thus, while the heart is to be created new, the spirit is "simply" to be renewed or rebuilt.

    And the heart -- leb -- is entirely different from the spirit -- ruah.

    So yes, when we are new creatures in Christ, our hearts have been recreated entirely. Our spirits, however, have been renewed, not killed and redone as our hearts have been.

    Going back to Genesis 1, this is quite in line with the three times 'bara' is used (body, or physical; nephesh, or soul or 'breath of life' meaning unique personality and response to life; and ruah, or spirit, in which we are made in the image of God.)

    It is also interesting that all three have to die because of sin. We know our bodies die. Sin 'kills' our spirits by separating them from God (who is life) -- but our hearts/minds? That is what we have to have put to death in order to be born again. Romans 6:3. That is where the new creation is in this life; and this may also be why Jesus says the kingdom of heaven starts within us -- that new heart is essential.
     

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