Paul is describing a new way of looking - a new perspective. He says that he once saw the messiah from one point of view but now seems him and everyone else in a new light. According to verse 17, what is that new viewpoint? How has how he sees the messiah changed and how has how he sees those "in Christ" differently? What has passed and what has arrived?

NIV 2 Cor:5 16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Has the Genesis 1 biodome passed away? Or is he talking about an invisible order?

Here is the interlinear:



The sentence is to be taken in the general context of the totally novel significance of the New Testament as opposed to the Old: the Old Testament, the Law and the Prophets were for Paul and the New Testament authors a preparation, a foreshadowing of the New, of Christ (Col. 2:17), who, as the "New Adam - the vivifying spirit”, “the Lord from Heaven” (1 Cor. 15:45-47), brought that ontological change in humanity, defeating and abolishing the consequence of the first, earthly Adam’s sin, which was death (1 Cor. 15:21; 15:21). This was unimaginable before Him, for He conquered death by destroying its very foundation - the sin, and everybody who will be co-crucified with Jesus Christ and die for the temptations of this world, will be resurrected into a new life in Christ, He Himself working in a believer's heart, transforming him to a "new creation" (2 Cor. 15:17), who will no more experience that unhappy conscience of a pre-Christ-ly righteous men, so vividly depicted in Romans, when heart is split between two drives – the desire to follow the Law and the unbeatable proclivity for the opposite (Romans 7:19), but after the advent of Christ righteousness becomes a sweet and light yoke (Matt. 11:30), for not he, a believing man alone, but Christ is working this righteousness through His grace, of course, with a believer’s free response and co-action/synergy (1 Cor. 3:9) with this "grace", which in a more technical theological wording is the same as God's operation in human heart (Col. 1:29).

In this light should be understood Paul's given passage and I see two possible ways of its interpretation:

1) we (Jews) knew Christ before wrongly, as some kind of a political messiah who would restore the political kingdom of Israel and, in our present historical situation, liberate us from Romans and establish something like "Make Israel great again!"; but without transformation of inner core of our fallen nature. But now, after the advent of Jesus Christ, we understood the futility and vanity of our previous crude and earthly expectations and see Him spiritually, through the Spirit of God, through whom we perceive His divinity and Lordship (1 Cor. 12:3), and realize that He came in order to transform us from within and destroy the dominion of sin and death in us, establishing His and Father’s and Holy Spirit’s Kingdom in an invisible way (Luke 17:20) already in this life, to be continued eternally and infinitely after the physical death, which for Christians is already a desirable acquisition (Phil. 1:21).

2) until Christ was on earth, we, the apostles (although not Paul himself) and those who followed Him, knew him more physically and less spiritually, more humanly, than divinely, even few days before He was crucified, we demanded high ministerial posts in His kingdom as if He were just an earthly king (Matt. 20-21); we could not yet contain his sayings (John 16:12) and only after receiving the Spirit would be taught by the Spirit and be able to know spiritual things, i.e. the supra-political and eternal dimension of His Kingdom, which is the same as the Kingdom of the Father. That is why He even said that “it is better for you if I go, for the Spirit will not descend upon you unless I go (John 16:7) and then I will attract you in a new way (John 12:32) and will you start a new way of longing for Me and thinking and weighing all that I have taught you, through the Spirit of Truth, who eternally proceeds (ἐκπορεύεται) from the Father; and then you will know Me even better and in a more elevated way, than while I was physically with you; and, moreover, those who have not seen Me physically are in fact even more blessed than you (John 20:29) for they will pass to the spiritual understanding of my mission, as establishing the eternal Kingdom of God in their hearts, more easily.”

Thus, this is the meaning of also Paul's saying that worldly or carnal understanding of the messiah, of Jesus Christ, has now been supplanted by a lofty, spiritual understanding of His eternal Kingdom.

  • What about "anyone in Christ"? How does this relate to how one's view has changed?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 14 '17 at 14:58
  • I guess, "if anyone is in Christ" implies that to be truly in Christ means to change one's life holistically, entirely, so as to be innerly transformed through Him working in one's heart, this transformation or inner transfiguration being called "a new creation". Thus, it is a sin to claim to be in Christ, bear a name of a Christian and not be in a spiritual fight for the inner transformation (Eph. 6:12), but on the contrary, conform (συσχηματίζειν) to this age and its worldly ways (Rom. 12:2), or see only a national-political dimension of Christ's messiahship. Sep 14 '17 at 16:03
  • Without the content of your comment your answer doesn't address the view of the believer. And as written the comment doesn't particularly cohere with the answer.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 14 '17 at 17:14
  • I do not entirely understood your last question. I tried to express that for Paul there can be a wrongheaded understanding of being a Christian, i.e. to stick to earthly, limited dimension of understanding the question "who the Son of the Man is" (Matt. 16:13), but such a crude and undeveloped understanding will not introduce the salvific change in human essence, for which Christ has accomplished His earthly dreadful mission. Thus, Paul warns agains this wrongheaded and limited, non-spiritual understanding of Christ. A good reprimanding to those who see in Jesus just "a great moral teacher". Sep 14 '17 at 17:53
  • In my question I show that Paul's former view of the messiah was akin to his former view of the believer and that something has "passed away" and something new has arrived. What has passed away and what has arrived?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 14 '17 at 17:58

These are separate questions.


He says that he once saw the messiah from one point of view but now seems him and everyone else in a new light. According to verse 17, what is that new viewpoint?


How has how he sees the messiah changed and how has how he sees those "in Christ" differently?


What has passed and what has arrived?

The first two questions presuppose that the "he" in verse 17 is a reference to Christ.

Verse 16-17 says,

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.(ESV)

When it says, "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation", the subject could be either "anyone" or "Christ".

In favor of the subject being the believer and not Christ:

The chapter as a whole is discussing the state of the believer, not the state of Christ, so to interpret verse 17 to be about the believer would fit with the context. Verse 16 could easily fit within this interpretation: the first sentence of verse 16 is about people, and the second sentence is about Christ. The sentence about Christ is a supporting argument for the first sentence concerning the believer. When Paul says "Therefore" in verse 17, he is referring not to his statement about Christ, but back to his main point, the state of the believer in Christ.

In addition, it cannot be a reference to Christ, for He is not a creation, but the Creator(Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:10).

The second part of question two seems to be more directly a question about the first sentence of verse 16, rather than of verse 17. It would seem that the new view of the Christian that Paul is presenting is one that focuses on the spiritual nature of the believer in Christ. So then, what has passed is the "old man" who has died with Christ, and the "new man" is what has been created.

  • So what would you say "passed away"?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 14 '17 at 17:15
  • 1
    The believer himself died with Christ at the moment of faith. His former self passed away. The life he now lives is not him, but Christ in him. Christ has arrived and made his home within him, as the Presence in the Temple. Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6, etc. Think the day of atonement as a type. Sep 14 '17 at 19:17

That translation is wrong.

NASB is closer

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [h]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

εἴ if τις someone / somebody / anyone / anybody ἐν Χριστῷ in Christ καινὴ κτίσις new creation τὰ ἀρχαῖα the old / ancient παρῆλθεν have gone by / passed by / passed / passed away ιδου look γέγονεν (they) have become καινά new

I think it is about a new Life in Christ, really. With that in mind and taking into account OJB too

Therefore if someone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old things have passed away. Look, they (all) have become new.

In essence even Good News Bible is better than NIV here

Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come

A more free translation by me:

Therefore if someone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old life has passed by. Look, a new life has emerged!

  • How might that fit with the example he uses concerning how he views the Christ?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 14 '17 at 2:03
  • I am not sure I understand. If you think there is an incosistency point it out. I think it can be read in parallel with John 3:3-5 Sep 14 '17 at 2:12
  • Apóstolos Papaðimitríu I mean verse 16. How does it apply to Paul's view of Jesus?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 14 '17 at 2:15
  • I am not sure. It is as if he says that his human nature (or the human part of his nature) are not as relevant anymore. Sep 14 '17 at 2:25

Throughout 2 Corinthians, Paul appears to be continually responding to a negative interpretation of his public appearance or actions, or a visual impression he has made that may have caused some concern among the people of Corinth. He refers a couple of times to an attempt to 'commend' themselves (himself, Timothy, Titus, other church leaders) to the Corinthians again - to make their outward impression more convincing to 'those who take pride in what is seen rather than what is in the heart' (5:12). He points out that these particular actions are not for God, but for the benefit of those observing, so that the Corinthians will not feel so embarrassed at the more unusual things that have seen Paul and his associates described as 'out of their mind' (5:13).

Paul often makes a distinction in his writing between the physical, natural things of the world that we can see and touch (including the body) and the spiritual, eternal and unseen elements that point to the presence of God. He refers to people earlier in this letter (4:7) as spiritual 'treasure' that is encased 'in jars of clay', indicating that what is inflicted on the outside has no effect on what is inside. And early in chapter five, he again makes this distinction between the 'earthly tent' (a temporary dwelling) that is our physical body or how the world sees us, and the 'eternal' or spiritual 'building' that is to be our more permanent 'home'. He reminds us to treat the body as a temporary dwelling, and to do what pleases God, rather than what pleases the body or what pleases the world. He acknowledges that we frequently feel 'at home in the body' - but in this focus on the body and worldly needs we are 'away from the Lord' (5:6)

So when he gets to 5:16-17, Paul is referring to this different way of observing people in general: as spiritual 'treasure in jars of clay'. The old way - the one that has 'passed away' - is to see myself and others as someone that lives and dies along with the body, that is identified by and inseparable from their physical presence and actions in terms of the worldly view: adherence to written laws, customs, cultural norms, etc. This is an Old Testament view.

The New Testament teaches a new way of looking at ourselves and others. This 'new creation', is simply to see myself and others as this spiritual treasure and not the clay jar - to identify a person 'in Christ' not by the physical body or by what the world values or requires, but by what they accomplish in this body for God. The Corinthians, who have clearly questioned how Paul appeared or behaved, are called to ask: is Paul doing what pleases God, what pleases the body, or what pleases the world? And, indeed, which of these am I prioritising?

  • So what "passed away"?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 14 '17 at 17:15
  • What passed away is the old way of seeing people: as someone that lives and dies with the body... Sep 15 '17 at 9:27
  • Are you saying that he now sees all people as immortal or that he sees the believers as having obtained everlasting life?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 15 '17 at 17:33
  • Paul sees all believers as having the potential to obtain 'everlasting life', insofar as they develop their awareness of the eternal spiritual interconnection with life that Jesus made known through his example and 'resurrection'. If our sense of identity and achievement in the world exists in our mortal body, then who we are will die with it. But if it exists in our spiritual connection to others, to Jesus and to God, as it were, then who we are can never really die, and we will share in the 'eternal life' that Jesus showed us was possible. Sep 17 '17 at 1:01
  • Are you putting "everlasting life" and "resurrection" in quotes because you think they are imaginary?
    – Ruminator
    Sep 17 '17 at 1:25

There is a source text variant in this verse; I'm surprised that Apóstolos didn't mention it when he suggested a better translation than the NIV. That is, the Alexandrian source texts delete the two words "τὰ πάντα" following "καινὰ" improved [things] {2537 A-NPN} the [things] {3588 T-NPN} all [things] {3956 A-NPN}

5:17* Deletions (2)

καινὰ τὰ πάντα

D2 K L P Ψ 0150 104 263 326 424* 436 459 629 945 1852 1984 2464 Byzpt Lectpt lAD (l809 τὰ δὲ) (l895 omit) vgms syrh goth arm eth Marcionaccording to Tertullian (Origengr) Apostolic Constitutions Ambrose1/3 Didymusdub Ps-Ignatius Chrysostom2/5 Chromatius Augustine1/21 Hesychiuslat Ps-Athanasius ς ND Dio TILC


p46 ‭א B C D* F G 048 0243 365 424c 629 1175 1739 1962 itd ite itf itg itr itx itz(vid) vgww vgst (syrp) syrpal copsa copbo geo1 Clement Origen Ambrosiaster Hilary Athanasiusms Ambrose1/3 Pelagius Jerome1/8 Augustine13/21 Cyril4/15 de Promissionibus Quodvultdeus WH NR CEI Riv Nv NM

Also, the adjective "καινά" is "new" in a qualitatively way, so "improved" would be the more accurate reading ...

5:17* As-so, if any [one] [be] in with~Anointed, an~improved creation [be]: The beginning [things] had beside-come; be you regarding, there has had become the all [things] improved. (~Robin)

Ὥστε εἴ τις ἐν χριστῷ, καινὴ κτίσις· τὰ ἀρχαῖα παρῆλθεν, ἰδού, γέγονεν καινὰ τὰ πάντα. (RP2005)

But, to specifically respond to the question ... What? is new? What? has passed away?

It's an improved creation that be, so it's only logical that it's the faulty creation that has past on.

Notice, too, that an~improved [one] {2537 A-NSF} a~creation {2937 N-NSF} is feminine, so it isn't referring to Christ.

But, does it refer to the masculine any [one] {5100 X-NSM} in {1722 PREP} unto~Anointed/ unto~Christ {5547 N-DSM} ...?

If that's the point of your question, then I'd have to say, specifically "No" but generally "Yes" in that the improved creation (feminine) is something all-encompassing (in general), which includes all those specific individuals in with Christ. That is we believers (feminine and masculine) are, in with Christ, a part of the overall improved feminine creation.


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