Are there new things?


Solomon says there’s nothing new under the sun. Anything you might think is new already existed a long time ago. Everything that’s happening now and everything that ever will happen has already happened in the past.

And the book of Hebrews says that ever since God first created the world, his works have been finished. So not even God is ever going to make anything new.


That creation, though, is a counterexample to the Bible’s denial of anything new ever happening. In the beginning, God was creating lots of new things. Those things hadn’t already existed before that, or else it wouldn’t have been the beginning.

And God didn’t stop doing new things when he was done with the initial creation. When the earth opened up and swallowed a bunch of people, Moses described that as something totally new. After Moses died, God kept choosing new leaders for his people. One of those new leaders, David, said God put a new song in his mouth.

The prophets talked about God doing new things quite a bit. Isaiah said God was going to announce new things before they came to be. He reported that God said he was doing a new thing, so you should forget about the former things. He said God was going to tell about new things that no one had ever heard of before, because they were only being created now, not long ago. He said God was going to give Jerusalem a new name. And he predicted that God was eventually going to create new heavens and a new earth, where everything would be quite different.

When Jeremiah made a prediction about a woman returning to a man, he described it as God creating a new thing on earth. He said God was going to make a new covenant with his people. And Ezekiel said God was going to give his people a new spirit and a new heart.

People said Jesus had brought a new teaching, and Jesus agreed that he was giving new commands. One of his new commands was that his disciples should drink his blood to enter the new covenant. And he told his followers that they would be able to speak in new tongues.

An angel told the apostles to tell people all about this new life. And when Paul did so, some Greek philosophers asked him to explain that new teaching, because they always liked hearing about new ideas.

Paul writes that God calls into being things that weren’t there before. He says Jesus was raised from the dead1 so that Christians could live a new life, where they could serve in a new way, as ministers of a new covenant. He describes the emergence of Christianity as the new creation arriving, which he says was meant to bring Jews and Gentiles together and make one new humanity out of them. And he taught his followers to take off their old selves and put on their new selves.

The other epistles also declare the existence of new things. The book of Hebrews says Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant, which is superior to the old one. It says all those rules God gave the Hebrews about food and stuff only applied until the time of the new order, when a new way was opened for them. Peter writes that he’s looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth. And in John’s first epistle, he wrote Christians a new command.

In Revelation, Jesus says he’s going to give the victorious one a white stone with a new name on it, and he’s also going to write his own new name on that person. Twice in Revelation, people sing a new song. The author sees a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. And then God says he’s making everything new.

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