The creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:20-22, NASB)
For all the elegant beauty of this natural earth, it is also a violent, tumultuous place where life is always in the grip of death. How can this be, if God rules all creation? How can a good God claim to be sovereign in a world such as this?
Genesis 1:26-28 proclaims two truths about God’s creation of the human race:
- He made us in His own image and likeness.
- He created us to rule over the earth as His stewards, sharing in His sovereignty.
We are inseparably connected to God our Creator, and we are inseparably connected to this earth, over which we rule. God subjected the earth to us.
When we rebelled against our Creator, we chose to use creation for our own selfish purposes (Genesis 3:1-6). When our relationship with the Creator was corrupted, so was the earth over which we ruled, now as unfaithful stewards (Romans 8:20). As our home and our responsibility, the earth shared in our fractured relationship with the Giver of all life (Genesis 3:17-18; see Psalm 104:27-30). The results were corruption, futility, and death, both for us and for our beautiful home.
Consistently in scripture, our obedience or disobedience to our Creator brings us either God’s blessing or His cursing, respectively. This blessing and cursing are shared by our natural home as well (e.g., Deuteronomy 7:12-15; 8:6-10; 28:4, 18). As Creator God subjected this earth to us, this earth unwillingly shares in the fruit of our rebellion.
We see the turmoil in our natural world and know that as violence, pain, and death shrouds all human life, it shrouds our natural home as well.
But the good news is this: the corruption, futility, and death that rule this earth are only a passing phase. Creation’s present turbulence is only the pain of childbirth (Romans 8:19-22). When we are redeemed and freed from our suffering, our earthly home will be as well (Isaiah 11:6-9; Revelation 21:1). Our destiny, God’s unchangeable promise, is that we and our beautiful home will be perfected to the full glory of God. As it has shared our curse, it will share our blessedness. All the earth will be permeated with His life, His love, His holiness, and His perfect peace.
Right now creation groans with us
under the weight of our sin.
But soon it will share
our freedom from all corruption, and
our full restoration to
God’s blessing and purpose.
Imagine such a world!