Summary: At Creation all nature conformed to God’s purpose and fulfilled His intention, and so He declared all He had made “very good”. One day God will declare the world “good” again. And all creation will praise God’s goodness.
Sermon Series> Romans 8, Reasons to be ENCOURAGED
Reason #5: We’ve got High Hopes! 8:19-25
Pastor Bob Leroe, Cliftondale Congregational Church, Saugus, Massachusetts
“What a crazy, rotten, mixed up world we live in!” Have you ever heard these words—or said them? I think we’ve all expressed this sentiment at times. We get frustrated and dissatisfied with the world we live in, largely because our world is not as God originally made it, nor intended it to be. We all agree that the earth suffers from pollution. What not everyone realizes is that the ultimate cause of contamination is moral pollution.
My first introduction to ecology came when I was working for my Boy Scout Soil and Water Conservation merit badge at Forestburg Scout Reservation in upstate New York. I learned that we are stewards of this planet, and the importance of protecting the environment by preserving our natural resources. Much later, in seminary, I learned the cause of our planet’s ecological distress—the Fall, the cataclysmic event of Genesis 3. When Adam and Eve rebelled against God, God sentenced all creation: “Cursed is the ground because of you” (Gen 3:17). Our world is under a curse, and is suffering the effects of sin. We’ve been banished from the Garden. Moral pollution resulted in physical decay. Prior to the Fall there were no earthquakes, typhoons, floods, or volcanic eruptions—the world was healthy and whole. Prior to the Fall there was no tampering with the ozone layer, no dumping of toxic chemicals into rivers, no smog, no endangered species, no depletion of the wilderness or reduction of forests. Our world is not evolving towards perfection—it is rather suffering corruption and dissipating, becoming tarnished and spoiled.
God cares about His creation, and so we should also be concerned about the on-going plight of nature. We are the caretakers of creation. I’m not suggesting we become “tree-huggers” or militant, fanatical environmentalists; I am simply reminding us that it matters how we treat God’s world.
According to Paul, a reversal is coming--the creation is waiting in eager anticipation of being restored to its former glory. One translator says the world is “on tiptoe to see” what the Creator will do (Phillips). Another puts it, “The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next” (Peterson/The Message). When Christ returns, this world will be liberated from the devastating effects of the Fall. In the meantime, all creation longs for the conclusion of God’s plan. This complex world did not come into existence by itself, by accident or blind chance—that is a thoroughly irrational notion. The world is full of evidence pointing to intelligent design. God intentionally created this, His world, and will one day restore it to its original grandeur.
“In the beginning”, at creation all nature conformed to God’s purpose and fulfilled His intention, and so He declared all He had made “very good”. One day God will declare the world “good” again. And all creation will praise God’s goodness.