On Earth as it is in Heaven: New Creation in Matthew’s Gospel

Research output: PhD ThesisPhD-Thesis - Research and graduation internal

2015 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the presence and meaning of the motif of new creation in Matthew's Gospel. New creation in this study is generally defined as an eschatological expectation which refers to protology and involves divine agency. In other terms it may also be called an Urzeit-Endzeit correlation.
The reason for the investigation is the fact that scholars have seen the motif of new creation in Matthew 1:1 which alludes to the book of Genesis and 19:28 which speaks of the rebirth of the world. Given the presence of the motif in Matthew it is reasonable to investigate whether the motif is present elsewhere in the Gospel as well as the meaning of this motif in Matthew.
The method used for this investigation is intertextual following Umberto Eco's concept of cultural encyclopedia and model reader combined with Richard Hay's seven criteria for evaluating possible allusion to the OT in the NT.
The thesis falls in two major parts. Part 1 investigates the configuration of the motif of new creation in the cultural encyclopedia of Matthew. Texts from the Old Testament prophetic literature, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the Dead Sea Scrolls are surveyed with the motif of new creation in view. The result of this investigation provides a lens through which new creation may be discerned by equipping the modern reader with the knowledge of Matthew's model reader.

Part 2 investigates Matthew on the basis of the discoveries found in part 1. This involves tracing patterns of new creation found in the cultural encyclopedia in Matthew, discerning imagery, and discovering intertextual links. In accordance with the outlined method and criteria it is demonstrated that the motif of new creation is indeed present throughout Matthew's gospel.

The result of the investigation of Matthew sheds light on the eschatology of Matthew as well as the entire mission of Jesus in Matthew. It is demonstrated that the motif of new creation serves as a theological sub-structure in Matthew and impacts the interpretation of Matthew from the beginning to the end. The results thus impact the interpretation of the birth of Jesus, his death and resurrection, miracles and ethical teaching. Importantly, new creation is inextricably connected with the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew as well as Jesus' self-designation as the Son of Man.

Finally, the motif of new creation is of major significance for the understanding of major theological categories in Matthew. It has implications for the Christology, eschatology, ecclesiology and soteriology of the Gospel.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
  • Smit, Peter-Ben, Supervisor
  • Lietaert Peerbolte, Bert Jan, Supervisor
Award date31 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Matthew
  • Early Christian Eschatology
  • Early Jewish Eschatology
  • Intertextuality
  • Urzeit-Endzeit
  • New Creation
  • Kingdom of Heaven


Dive into the research topics of 'On Earth as it is in Heaven: New Creation in Matthew’s Gospel'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this