The phrase "new creation," used twice in the letters of Paul (Gal 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17), appears abruptly in both contexts and has therefore been subject to several different interpretations. This article argues that the phrase is best understood as a broad description of the "new state of affairs" inaugurated through Christ's first coming and to be consummated at his second coming. This interpretation fits with the usual meaning of the phrase in Jewish literature and makes best sense in both contexts where it occurs. Though the phrase cannot, then, be limited to cosmic renewal, it includes this element and therefore provides some basis for environmental stewardship by Christians today.

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