Romans Lesson 14 Day 3
My answers to BSF study questions
“The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.” Romans 8:19 Phillips New Testament Bible
We should not keep them waiting.
6. Creation — Greek word ktisis
It literally means “original formation (properly, the act; by implication, the thing, literally or figuratively)” (Strong’s Concordance).
So, this word can mean the created thing or the act of creating. In this passage, it refers to the created thing.
Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament defines it as “collectively, the sum or aggregate of created things.” and “the aggregate of irrational creatures, both animate and inanimate (what we call nature)”. (Emphasis added)
However, commentators disagree about Paul’s intent. Barnes lays out the various possible meanings and concludes Paul meant Christians. (Please pardon the long quote, but I think it’s important.)
Perhaps there is not a passage in the New Testament that has been deemed more difficult of interpretation than this, (Romans 8:19-23) and after all the labours bestowed on it by critics, still there is no explanation proposed which is perfectly satisfactory, or in which commentators concur. The object here will be to give what appears to the writer the true meaning, without attempting to controvert the opinions of critics. The main design of the passage is to show the sustaining power of the gospel in the midst of trials, by the prospect of the future deliverance and inheritance of the sons of God. This scope of the passage is to guide us in the interpretation.
The Christian, the new creation, regarded individually; the work of the Holy Spirit on the renewed heart; the new man. —After all the attention which I can give to this passage, I regard this to be the meaning here, for the following reasons, viz.: (emphasis added)
(1.) Because this alone seems to me to suit the connexion, and to make sense in the argument. If the word refers, as has been supposed by different interpreters, either to angels, or to the bodies of men, or to the material creation, or to the rational creation-to men, or mankind-it is difficult to see what connexion either would have with the argument. The apostle is discoursing of the benefits of the gospel to Christians in time of trial; and the bearing of the argument requires us to understand this illustration of them, unless we are compelled not to understand it thus by the proper laws of interpreting words.
(2.) The word creature is used in a similar sense by the same apostle. Thus, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” (καινὴ κτίσις kainē ktisis). Galatians 6:15, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.”
(3.) The verb create is thus used. Thus, Ephesians 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Romans 8:15, “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity-for to make in himself of twain one new man:” Greek, “That he might create (κτίσῃ ktisē) the two into one new man; Romans 4:24. “The new man, which is created in righteousness,” etc.
(4.) Nothing was more natural than for the sacred writers thus to speak of a Christian as a new creation, a new creature. The great power of God involved in his conversion, and the strong resemblance between the creation and imparting spiritual life, led naturally to this use of the language.
(5.) Language similar to this occurs in the Old Testament, and it was natural to transfer it to the New. The Jewish people were represented as made or created by God for his service; and the phrase, therefore, might come to designate those who were thus formed by him to his service. Deuteronomy 32:6, “Hath he not made thee, and established thee?” Isaiah 43:7, “Every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Romans 8:21, “This people have I formed for myself.” From all which reasons, it seems to me that the expression here is used to denote Christians, renewed men. Its meaning, however, is varied in Romans 8:22. (Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament, emphasis added)
7. “that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay”
God’s original plan in Eden man created in God’s image, given dominion over the animals and all the plants and trees. All the plants were edible. Humans and animals only ate plants.
Because of sin, God cursed the ground with thorns and thistles (inedible plants) and edible plants no longer grow without cultivation. Some animals became carnivorous, attacking other animals and people.
Today, due to population growth, industrialization, petroleum-powered engines, factories, farming practices etc., pollute the air, water, and ground.
The world is one where beauty fades and loveliness decays; it is a dying world; but it is waiting for its liberation from all this and the coming of the state of glory. (William Barklay’s Daily Study Bible)
Restoration of all things
If nature and irrational creatures (the animal kingdom) eagerly waits to be set free, how can they be set free on a new planet? With God, all things are possible, but is that what this means?
When Paul was painting this picture, he was working with ideas that any Jew would recognize and understand. He talks of this present age and of the glory that will be disclosed. Jewish thought divided time into two sections–this present age and the age to come. This present age was wholly bad, subject to sin, and death and decay. Some day there would come The Day of the Lord. That would be a day of judgment when the world would be shaken to its foundations; but out of it there would come a new world.
The renovation of the world was one of the great Jewish thoughts. The Old Testament speaks of it without elaboration and without detail. “Behold I create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). But in the days between the Testaments, when the Jews were oppressed and enslaved and persecuted, they dreamed their dreams of that new earth and that renovated world. (William Barclay DSB)
8. Is all nature groaning for Jesus’ return?
The traditional interpretation of 2 Peter 3:13 and Revelation 21:1 assumes “we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home. (Voice)” refers to a replacement of the place where God lives and a new planet earth itself.
Ancients, like Jewish historian Josephus, and other Rabbis, interpreted the three main parts of the temple as corresponding to the three main parts featured in the Genesis 1 creation story where God creates the heaven, earth, and sea. They’re called the same thing. link
- The cleansing bath in the outer court — called the Sea.
- The Holy of Holies was the innermost part of the Temple — where God’s presence and where the priests, mediators of the covenant could go was called heaven (Hebrews 8:5, Hebrews 9:23-25).
- The inner court — where the Jews worshiped, called earth.
- The outer court — where the Gentiles could worship, was called the sea (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 5.215-37).
As new creations in Christ Jesus,
All of creation is waiting for this glory that is in us to be manifested; i.e., made visible to our eyes. This will not be completely done until we receive our glorified bodies and totally renewed minds, but we can do it now to the degree that we renew our minds and act accordingly. Phillips New Testament Bible says, “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.” We should not keep them waiting. (Andrew Wommack)
Identity Crisis — For what it’s worth, my opinion
I believe this verse means we can and should walk in our new identity here on earth. Jesus multiplied food, healed the sick and raised the dead including Lazarus whose body was already well into decay.
Elijah, who did not have the spirit of God living inside him, operated in tremendous power and authority.
Controlled the weather by commanding a drought — 1 Kings 17:1; James 5:17
Multiplied flour and oil that continued until the drought ended — 1 Kings 17:14
Child restored to life — 1 Kings 17:22
Sacrifice (and stones) consumed by fire — 1 Kings 18:38
Captains and men were slain by fire — 2 Kings 1:10
Restored Rain — 1 Kings 18:41
Water of Jordan divided — 2 Kings 2:8
If the sick stood near Peter, they were healed and delivered.
Jesus actually said this:
I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. (John 14:12 AMPC, emphasis added)
He didn’t add, “when I return and give you a new body.” So, is that what he meant?
Lord, help my unbelief.
What if a child of God commanded rain to put out wildfires and ended droughts?
What if we got such a reputation that mayors, governors, and presidents humbled themselves and called on the sons of God during a crisis?
Stewardship of planet earth
I have a friend whose family recently moved to Korea her husband’s military transfer. Most homes and offices have air purifiers because the air quality is so bad. Populated areas of China are even worse. I can’t imagine living in those conditions, and I’m concerned about its effects on the population’s health and the quality of our lives.
I can only imagine the fear that grips those who don’t share our precious hope of eternal life.
Some Christians believe God intended this planet to eventually wear out and that the timing coincides with his plan to create a new heaven and new earth. As I pointed out above, based on Jewish thinking, this prophecy could mean the end of the old covenant where God lived in a temple built with human hands and now he lives in us.
Then there’s the part about ruling and reigning for a thousand years which may or may not mean literal earth years. So I really don’t know.
God created this planet and can restore it. Or make a new one. But I’m not convinced that’s what this passage is about. Nor does it mean we can or should ignore stewardship of this planet God created for us.
Join the discussion on our FACEBOOK PAGE or leave a comment below.
Please help spread the Word by clicking “like” and sharing this post with your friends and via social media.
* Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Off Grid Worship will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps us spread our message!
MY answers — not THE answers — to BSF study questions on Romans Lesson 14 Day 3 ~ Romans 8:19-22