“For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” (Romans 8:22)

The nations over the past several years have been battling over climate issues. Our government has environment agencies to preserve our environment. Global warming is often front page in the news and since I was a little kid people have been talking about the end of the world. The world is going to end and that’s a sure fire fact. It will end when God brings His judgment upon it, not before and not after. But it is true the world is feeling the effects of the creatures that live on the earth. Mankind when in the Garden was given dominion over God’s creation and it is true we have not given our best stewardship for the creation of God. But God knew and knows all that will happen and it is God who is the husband of the earth and it is only God who can bring order to what lies ahead.

The final lines of creations groanings is a result of sin which entered into God’s creation at the fall of man. One cause of the creations groaning is the constant labor of supplying the needs and wants of mankind. Creation is in constant motion and we all know the wearing effect of motion. As Solomon noted, “Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; And hastening to its place it rises there again.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5) Man is always digging the earth renting it from the substance of its matter. How long has it been since the earth has had a jubilee year to replenish itself? Rivers continue to flow and the seas have their ebbs and tides, the winds blow across the earth taking its soil to foreign places, and now the creation is wearied from its motion to serve the desires of mankind.

Creation suffers the pain of the elements that battle each other. The heat battles the cold and the moisture battles the dryness and they move in contrary to each until they fail. Mankind has taken the beauty and glory of the creation and blasted it because the man was not content with how the Lord placed the valleys and mountains. The valleys of God’s creation used to laugh with its fatness; “The pastures of the wilderness drip, And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing. The meadows are clothed with flocks And the valleys are covered with grain; They shout for joy, yes, they sing.” (Psalm 65:12-13) and now creation mourns. “How long is the land to mourn And the vegetation of the countryside to wither? For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, Animals and birds have been snatched away, Because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending.” (Jeremiah 12:2)There are other reasons these events could have taken their toll on the creation. Creation suffers drought, the tempest of storms, vermin, invading armies, and by pestilent and diseases.

Suppose creation could speak to us in a language we could comprehend then we would know the groanings they feel. “But he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.” (2 Peter 2:16) But if we reason with creation would understand its own reason as the grass knows how to grow and the stone always falls in a straight line. We could understand the groaning of creation when their natural order is misplaced by man.

Man created in the image of his Creator has the ability to think and reason yet is senseless to the groanings of the creation around him. Many a mankind is complacent and unaffected by his sin which brings misery to himself and creation. “Thus says the LORD concerning all My wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel, “Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them.” (Jeremiah 12:14) The unrighteous have become orphans and are out of touch with God’s creation. “There is swearing, deception, murder, stealing and adultery. They employ violence, so that bloodshed follows bloodshed. Therefore the land mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes Along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, And also the fish of the sea disappear.” (Hosea 4:2-3)

Does the people who swear and lie, the ones who steal and practice adultery mourn? The vineyard may howl but do the drunkard mourn as God is provoked by his excess? Because they do not listen to the prophets who speak the word of God they will turn from men and speak to God’s creation. “O land, land, land, Hear the word of the LORD!” (Jeremiah 22:29)

But the creation speaks to mankind by their thoughts and they groan by our afflictions as we sigh and long for a better estate. If we are aware of the groanings of the creation they would teach us of our own vanity which must be dissolved. The sin of mankind has burdened not only himself but all of creation must bear the burden of the transgressions. In our patients, we ignore the visible groans of Creation and soon will learn we must share in its groaning. The effects will be long-suffering as the creation will long outlast us, as our time is short. We have lived in a groaning creation for at least the past six thousand years. We the sons of God should keep to our hope as the creation groans with great expectation of its final deliverance. “Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” (John 16:21-22) Today we suffer together with creation its birth pangs but when our Savior comes the joy will carry the sorrow away.

The question comes how do we know the whole of creation is groaning? Has anyone heard the groanings of creation? Let’s look again at verse 20 in this chapter of Romans. “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope.” (Romans 8:20) Creation was subjected to vanity as a result of man’s fall to sin. That is all of the creatures in creation, man, animals, plants, and all else of creation had fallen to vanity. This is the present condition of God’s creation because it all was fractured by the evilness of sin and its cost death. Creation and its creatures become vain when they do not achieve the proper end for which they were intended. The Creator created everything for a purpose. Because of man’s sin that purpose has been distorted.

The depravity of men’s heart is unprofitable for the purpose that God created him. Man is no longer the proper steward of God’s creation and all of creation suffers. This causes a burden on all of creation which will come under God’s judgment. God sent His Son to restore His creation, to restore man to his first estate and benefit the rest of creation. Men of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ not only are restored to their original purpose but also bless God’s creation as a result. As the Prophet Isaiah delivers God’s prophecy. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11:6-9)

When the Christian comes into alinement with the Spirit of Truth through a relationship with Jesus the Spirit improves the lost condition of man. The vanity of mankind and the creation are repaired and mortality also in the new hope for our restoration. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, January 3, 2019

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