Is the Gospel of John the Second Genesis?

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The first book on my 2014 Reading List in the Ministry Books is Jesus: A Theography by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola.

I started the book yesterday and made it through the introduction and the first two chapters.  I am enjoying it tremendously.  It is one of those books that I will have to read over and over again to get all of the beauty contained within.

There was something that jumped out at me from a paragraph in the second chapter (Christ in Creation: The Macro Version).

He (John) began his gospel just like Genesis, with the words “In the beginning.” In John 1 & 2, we are presented with the new creation in the midst of the old creation.  For this reason, the gospel of John is the new Genesis.

Could the Gospel of John be the Second Genesis?

Could it be that John wasn’t just making a few connections to Genesis, but John (inspired by the Holy Spirit) was trying to tell the re-creation story, the second origin story,  the New Creation, the second Genesis? Is John saying that Jesus is bring about a New Creation?  I think he is.

I knew of the Gospel of John’s imagery of Genesis through his gospel account. Genesis 1 language in John 1, the gardener image in Jesus’ Easter appearance is a reference back to the Garden of Eden. I preached on this a few Easter’s ago at Journey Church.  But Sweet and Viola find that Genesis imagery weaving through out the whole Gospel of John.  Here are a couple examples:

  • In John 1:23, John the Baptist answered the priests and the Levites saying he was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” In Genesis 1:2, we are told that the earth was formless and void, like a wilderness.  Strikingly, the Hebrew word for “without form” is translated “wilderness” in other places in the Old Testament.
  • In John 1:32,  when Jesus was baptized, the Spirit descended upon Him “like a dove”.  In Genesis 1:2, the Spirit descended with wings “hovering” over the waters of creation.

I find all this comparison interesting.  I am curious enough  to do some more research and to read further in Jesus: a Theography.

Have you ever seen the similarities in themes between Genesis & the Gospel of John?

Do you think that these similarities were intentional on John’s part?

Do you the message of New Creation is important?

5 thoughts on “Is the Gospel of John the Second Genesis?”

  1. Great food for thought! A perspective that has the potential to challenge and redefine our perceived role in bringing this re-creation about as disciples of Jesus!

  2. You also have the miracles in John. Unlike they Synoptics, which feature miracles all the time (including scene where Jesus basically just churns out healings all day/night), John only has seven, and they’re specifically labeled “signs”.

    The raising of Lazarus from the dead is the seventh sign. Which makes Jesus’ death and resurrection the eighth sign. As in eighth day. Jesus’ resurrection is the first day of the new creation week.

    That day, by the way, begins with a man and a woman in a garden. Maybe it’s not so surprising Mary mistook Jesus for a gardener. After all, he IS the second Adam :)

    1. JR – great stuff dude. Never caught the man and woman in the garden – that is cool.

      Here is my question for you, O wise one: Does the Gospel of John in its entirety communicate the New Creation? Is that Johns purpose in writing – Jesus is the Messiah and He is bring New Creation through the Resurrection? I think that is what Sweet & Viola are saying. If that is true, does Johns other writings share that same purpose?

      I have seen all of the comparisons between Genesis & John. And I have taught/preached about them numerous times. I just haven’t ever thought about John’s overall purpose of writing being connected to New Creation. Make sense?

  3. Frank Viola is one of my favorite authors . . . I have most of his books. I purchased this one a couple of weeks ago. Thanks for the insights. Can’t wait to read this book!

    1. I like Frank Viola also. I hope you enjoy Jesus: a Theography Doug. I’m working through it slowly, trying to absorb the awesome stuff that he and Sweet are writing. Let me know what you think of it!

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