by Dr Nigel Poole

Innovation means ‘doing new things’, or ‘doing old things in a new way’. In the Bible we see innovation both in God’s creation and in his ‘new creation’.

Read Genesis 1:1-5

According to the Bible, in the beginning ‘the earth was formless and desolate’. God created light and the first day. In the rest of the chapter we see how God created order, variety and beauty. Draw up a list of the things and beings of creation – and give thanks!

God created people in his own image, as the high point of creation; beings with whom God could ‘walk and talk’ (Genesis 3:8-10). Yet people’s relationship with God was broken by disobedience, and a new order was established. God’s plans and purposes for mankind remained the same, but much of the Old Testament is the story of mankind’s unfaithfulness, disobedience and occasional repentance. The Law given through Moses did not keep or make people holy, so God revealed a new way to win mankind.

Read Jeremiah 31:31-33, in which God promised a new way.

  • What was wrong with the old agreement (or covenant, or testament) between God and mankind?
  • When was the time of this new way, and who was the prophet speaking about? (see John 1:14-18)
  • How was the new agreement different from the old agreement?

Christians believe that we have forgiveness for our sins through what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. In the gospels we see how Jesus’ life and teaching offer us a new way and new life with God. What descriptions of our new life are there in the letters of the New Testament? (Consider: 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 4:23-24, Colossians 3:8-10, 1 Peter 2:2)

God is a creator, an innovator. At the end of the Bible, in Revelation 21:5, it is written: ‘The one who sits on the throne said, “And now I make all things new!” ’ Praise God whose mercies are new every morning and who assures us of our place in the new creation.

We are all made in God’s image, and many people display great creativity. We can acknowledge that change is part of life, and welcome new ideas from people within our communities. Often young people are full of new ideas. Older people should create opportunities to discuss these and help young people to develop responses to the challenges that will face them in later life. Not all new ideas are good ideas, so it is important to seek advice and to test new ideas, to reassure each other that the changes which come about are consistent with God’s unchangeable purposes.

Dr Nigel Poole is the Academic Programme Director of Agribusiness for Development at:

SOAS Centre for Development, Environment and Policy and London International Development Centre, University of London, High Street, Wye, Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom, TN25 5AH