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Newly Created Children of God: Adoption and New Creation in the Theology of Paul

KIM, HYUNG,TAE (2022) Newly Created Children of God: Adoption and New Creation in the Theology of Paul. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 14 March 2025.


The main thesis of the present study is that Paul’s use of υἱοθεσία (Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal 4:5) can be best explained by the concept of new creation understood within the Jewish context. In other words, Paul uses the metaphor of “adoption” within the frame of the new creation in Christ, and this affects both the form and content of the adoption metaphor. The concept of new creation in υἱοθεσία in Rom 8:15 and Rom 8:23 is closely related to the themes of “Spirit” and “resurrection” based on their allusions to Gen 2:7 (via allusions to Ezek 36–37) and Gen 3:16-19 respectively. In Rom 9, Paul uses the adoption metaphor to describe God’s election of Israel not according to any of their qualifications but according to God’s calling and mercy. This indicates that the gift of υἱοθεσία has to be confirmed and fulfilled in Christ in the context of new creation. Similarly, Paul’s use of υἱοθεσία in Gal 4:5 has a connection with the new creation (καινὴ κτίσις) in Gal 6:15, in terms of a new identity in Christ regardless of ethnicity, social status, and gender (cf. Gal 3:28). Not only Gal 3:28’s famous allusion to Gen 1:27 but also the Adamic narrative framework in Gal 4:1-7, which I will argue in this thesis, strengthen the new creation context of Paul’s use of the adoption metaphor in Gal 4. In order to demonstrate the close relationship between Paul’s adoption metaphor and the concept of new creation, I will investigate the concept of new creation in Second Temple Jewish writings and in Paul (Part I of this thesis: chapters 2–4) and analyse Paul’s use of υἱοθεσία in light of new creation (Part II of this thesis: chapters 5–7).
Although there has been a great deal of research on Paul’s use of υἱοθεσία and the concept of new creation in Paul, no study has paid attention to the close relationship between them and what this relationship means for the shape of Pauline theology. For example, recent studies of ethnicity in Paul—the so-called “Radical New perspective on Paul” or “Paul within Judaism”—often appeal to the Abrahamic sonship or the divine sonship in Romans and Galatians, but the sense of new creation—in terms of discontinuity, incongruity, and divine intervention in Christ—is virtually absent in their arguments. In the present study I will attempt not only to demonstrate the close relationship between Paul’s use of υἱοθεσία and the new creation motif but also to show how this relationship helps us to gain a better understanding of Pauline theology through a dialogue with the “Paul within Judaism” school of scholars.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Paul, Adoption, New Creation, Paul within Judaism, Romans, Galatians
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2022 09:06

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