The 2001 Commentaries

The Hope of All Creation

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At Romans 8:19-21 we read:

‘Indeed, [all] creation is awaiting and earnestly expecting the revealing of the sons of God.
For His creations were never willingly subjected to futility.
Rather, they were subjected to it by the will of the One that gave us the hope that all creation will soon be set free from bondage to decay and then enter the glorious freedom of the children of God!

What is Paul really saying here? One noted religious authority wrote:

‘Do beasts and plants hope to attain the glorious freedom of the children of God?
No! All creation, then, can refer only to mankind.’

Is this conclusion correct? If so, then Paul just didn’t use the right words!
For, why would he have said creation (gr. ktisis), when he really meant mankind (gr. anthropois)?

Let’s assume for a moment that Paul actually meant the words that he wrote…
That all creation will be set free, and see if this promise can really come true for any others than just humankind.

First, what is this ‘glorious freedom of the children of God?’ From the promise found at Revelation 21:1, we can conclude that such freedom will result from the arrival of the ‘new skies and new lands’…
The coming rulership of our earth by Jesus and those whom he selects to rule as kings with him.

And will such a righteous rule be a blessing to more than mankind…
Could even the animals benefit from the rule of God’s Kingdom?
Note that at Genesis 1:28, we read that God gave men the following commission:
‘Reproduce, multiply, fill the earth and control it.
Rule over the fish of the seas, the winged creatures of the skies, all the herding animals of the ground, all the slithering animals that crawl on the ground, and the whole earth.’

So, this good rulership will affect both men and the animals over whom they are appointed to rule!

However, it appears as though the first humans (Adam and Eve) relinquished this privilege of rulership over the earth and its animals when they sinned and submitted to the Slanderer, effectively handing their commission over to him. And the net effect of this over the past seven thousand or more years, is that humans have lost their right to rule over the earth and its creatures in the way that God originally intended.
This is why Paul wrote (at Hebrews 2:8):
‘So when [God] puts everything under [his feet], He doesn’t leave anything over which [men] aren’t in charge.
However, we don’t see everything obeying us yet.’

No, as Paul said, ‘We don’t see everything obeying us yet.’
Nor do we see this world in general responding to Jesus’ righteous rule.
However, Paul wrote that this situation will all change under the rulership of the children of God. For when the commission that God gave humans over this earth and its creatures is fully restored, we can scarcely imagine what powers will be returned to mankind. With no opposition and each person endowed with a full measure of the power of God’s Breath, the blessings to this earth, its creatures, and ALL CREATION can be virtually limitless.

For an interesting poem on this subject, please see, Animals Our Wards.

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