"Care of a Groaning Creation

"

.ocu.| ycc t. ¬ccc n -t.c.: cuct.|c´.. -c. cu|.o.|..
c\c. tu |u|.
–Romans 8:22

This verse in Paul's letter to the churches in Rome depicts creation as being in excruciating
pain and groaning under that pain.
1
This is no surprise because Man, which was taken from the
dust of the ground, was also given dominion over the world. But when sin entered the world
through Adam and Eve, all people were consigned to return to the dust from which Adam was
formed. The dominion Adam was created to exercise was broken, and now creation is under
the stewardship of fallen and sinful mankind. Jesus came into the world to restore the right or-
der of things, but after Jesus's ascension, Paul still uses two present tense verbs to describe
creation's pain – cuct.|c´.. and cu|.o. |...
Though it is a bit of a stretch to say for certain, Paul, who was known to quote secular poets
and playwrights,
2
might have drawn this concept from classical literature – particularly Aeschy-
lus's tragedy AIAMEMN0N. Lines 538-50 detail a conversation between the Chorus (XOPOE)
and a Herald (KHPTE) of the Achaean army, who has just arrived anouncing victory in Troy:

XOPOE: t.| c|t.c.|t.| .u.c. ¬.¬·nyu.|.
KHPTE: ¬)..| ¬)u|tc tn|o. yn| ctcct| ·.y..::
XOPOE: . : ¬··≠ cucucc: .- 1c.|: u≠ c|cct.|..|.
3


With the army and the king away, the land (yn|) feels incomplete and groans (c |cct. |..|) for
their return. The land is defenseless and incomplete without the ruler and the army to defend it,
so it is literally in pain until they come back.
Hebrews 12:24 tells of the blood of Abel, which in Genesis 4 cries out to God for justice.
Similarly, in Revelation 6:10 the souls of the elect cry out for God's vengeance for their deaths.
"How long, O holy-and-true lord,
4
will you not judge and avenge our blood from the ones who
have spilled it upon the earth?" To the Christian, death is a bad thing, and if God's mercy is to
be righteous, he must avenge the deaths of his saints. So on the day on which God finally
avenges them, he will reunite their souls with their bodies and place them back on a restored
earth.
Though now the earth is still under a curse because of mankind's sin, believers have already
been restored to perfection in Jesus. If creation groans now, it should never be at the hands of
believers. We are the closest to the New Adam that this world will see until Christ returns, and
we sin grievously when we abuse God's good creation, whatever the reason. The world should
be groaning for full restoration and the return of believers to the world, not waiting for the believ-
ers to die and leave it in peace.

1
Many English translations equate the pain implied in cu|.o... with the pain of a woman in labor, but
this is not necessarily the case, except in terms of severity.
2
Epimenides (Titus 1:12), Menander (1 Corinthians 15:33), and Aratus (Acts 17:28), to name the three
most obvious examples.
3
Aeschylus, Aeschylus II: Oresteia, trans. Alan H. Sommerstein (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University
Press, 2008), Loeb Classical Library, 146, p. 64/65. The translation runs as follows:
Chorus: You were stricken by longing for those who longed for you in return
Herald: You mean that this land yearned for the army which was yearning for it?
Chorus: So much so that I often groaned aloud in the gloominess of my heart.
4
Greek: o.c¬ tn:, not -u c.:.
- 1 -
Notes – Exodus and the Torah
- 2 -
While we live on the earth before Christ's return, we will always make mistakes, and by
these mistakes, we harm ourselves, others, and our earth. So we groan with all the rest of crea-
tion for the day that our King will return with the army of His saints. On that day, creation, Abel,
and all the saints will cease their groaning and join in the hymn of all creation. The cu|.o. |.
will give way to cu|.o:.

-2- . we harm ourselves.Notes – Exodus and the Torah While we live on the earth before Christ's return. we will always make mistakes. and our earth. creation. On that day. others. and all the saints will cease their groaning and join in the hymn of all creation. So we groan with all the rest of creation for the day that our King will return with the army of His saints. The sunwdivnw will give way to sunw/dov". and by these mistakes. Abel.

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