Monday, August 13, 2012

Anticipating Our Freedom

Romans 8:20
Genesis 3:17-19
Revelation 21:3-5
I'm used to being in ecumenical settings, meaning that we're all Christians and recognize each others' Christianity and pray together, but also recognize differences in what we believe and remain involved in our separate churches. I grew up in this environment and I chose to remain in it as an adult. I feel like I know what a lot of the differences are in my beliefs vs. those of other Christians. Yet I was surprised to discover that the "creature" or "creation" in Romans 8 is not always interpreted to be the physical creation around us. I'd always heard, and it makes sense to me, that this is referring to the animals, plants, and so forth, which have been negatively affected by Adam's Fall. Adam was set to work in the Garden and probably eventually the whole world, but after the Fall "the ground was cursed because of him", and the work became a struggle. Everything we see in the world around us that makes us cry and question why God would design the world in such a way--tsunamis, cancer, cruelty in the natural world--would be part of this curse, indirect results of humanity being separated from God and so having to fight to survive. They don't have the free will we have to change their situation but they eagerly anticipate in their own way for the situation to be fixed and all of creation returned to its right order under God's authority.
Whether that was Paul's intention when he wrote Romans or whether he was referring to the Gentile world or to us Christians still waiting for the fullness of heaven, we look to God with hope, knowing that He will make all things right in His time and in His way. We (Christians, non-Christians, physical creation) look forward with anticipation, filled with the hope that reassures us, to the fullness of our freedom from sin.

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