The Hope of Creation
James Smith, 1862
"Because the creature" (or the creation) "itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God" Romans 8:21
Who, having received into the mind the glorious idea that God is love, and looking round upon creation as it now appears—but must conclude that some terrible change has taken place in it? And who, carefully reading God's most holy word, and receiving its truths into the mind, can do otherwise than believe that another and very different change will take place in creation yet. And how it pleases and gratifies the benevolent heart to look forward and anticipate the deliverance of creation from its misery and gloom, while happiness and glory take up their residence in it! This is our subject: the apostle directs our attention to it, saying, "Because the creature" (or the creation) "itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).
The Hope of Creation."Because the creation also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption." This furnishes the reason for its hope; but some read, "that the creation also shall be delivered;" which makes it the object of its hope. Anticipated deliverance is both the reason and object of its hope. It is now in bondage, having lost its freedom. The very soil is bound to bring forth noxious weeds, and thorns, and thistles. The animals are in bondage to cruel instincts, generating destructive habits, which disturb harmony, and prevent peace. Everything is altered from what it was. Everything is perverted from its original design. Disorder and confusion everywhere abound. All is in a state of frailty and degradation—in bondage to corruption, which decays and destroys it.
But it shall not be always so. The creation will not be done with when the present dispensation ends. It shall in some way partake of the glorious liberty of the children of God. The globe will be renovated and renewed. It will be reorganized, and be made far more lovely than it was before man fell. It will be elevated, and shine forth as the most glorious orb among the myriads that roll in space. It will be the home of happiness, having all the elements of happiness impressed upon it, and reigning in it. Everything will be free, vigorous, healthy, pure, and happy!
It will be delivered from all that came in by sin, and
from all that arises out of, or exists by corruption. All the offensive
will be removed—removed perfectly, and removed forever. All that is
artificial will be done away; all will be natural, useful, ornamental,
and lovely. The works of man, whether prepared for punishment or
reformation, as required no longer, will be swept away forever—all our
prisons and dungeons, all our hospitals and reformatories, all our arsenals
and instruments of war! The spear shall be beat into the pruning-hook, and
the sword into a ploughshare, and men shall learn the art of war no more.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all God's holy mountain; for the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. No
longer shall man need to say unto his brother, "Know the Lord;" for all
shall know him, from the least unto the greatest. Creation shall be
delivered from its bondage, by the glorious liberty of the children, at this
the time of the restoration of all things, spoken of by God's holy
prophets—into the glorious freedom of the saints; for it shall participate
in some measure and degree in the glorious liberty of the holy, happy
The Prospect of the Church."Glorious liberty." We have liberty now—but it is imperfect—it is not complete. We are delivered from prison, and freed from our fetters; but we have still our prison wounds uncured. The diseases caught there are not healed. Our old bad habits, contracted when in bondage, cleave to us still. Our education is not complete. Our liberty is gracious—but not yet glorious. It is like the law when compared with the gospel. We may, therefore, apply the apostle's words to it: "It has no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels."
But we shall soon have "glorious liberty." It will extend to the soul, which will enjoy what the Redeemer anticipated: "You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore!" Therefore we look forward, and say with David, "As for me, I will behold your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with your likeness!"
The SOUL will be gloriously free:
free from every fetter that binds it,
free from every conflict that tries it, and
free from every burden that bows it down.
The BODY will be gloriously free! It will be a glorious body; in every respect like the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
No more disease, no more weakness, no more pain!
But health, strength, and ease will characterize it forever!
The whole person, body, soul, and spirit—will be in
free from the curse—and every cross;
free from every foe—and all our fears;
free from every fault—and our numerous failings;
free from frailty—and free from folly;
free from all internal, external, and eternal evil.
It will be freedom crowned with glory—with . . .
glorious honor, and
Eye has never seen, ear has never heard, nor has the heart of man ever conceived of anything so grand, so magnificent, so glorious—as what God has provided, and has in store for His people!
The fabric of heaven and earth will be restored. Satan shall never triumph in the destruction of a world like this. In full perfection and unsullied grandeur shall the earth lie beneath God's paternal eye, righteousness dwelling in it—and characterizing it forever! As restored, it will be a glorious monument to reflect the praise of God.
It will reflect the praise of his wisdom in frustrating effectually and eternally all the designs of Satan. The serpent's head will appear not merely bruised—but crushed!
It will reflect the praise of his power, by which he over-ruled all the conflicting events of time, all the changes which took place on earth, for his own glory and his people's good.
It will reflect the praise of his goodness, which will shine forth with all the glory of the noonday sun, and be written, as it were, in large capitals—on every portion of Paradise restored. It will be a proof of the perfect and eternal abolition of death—and a display of the wondrous triumphs of his free and sovereign grace!
It will be the completion of Gods original grant to man. We read, "What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet." Man was made to have dominion; but he forfeited and lost it by sin. What was lost by the first Adam—shall be restored by the second, as Paul testifies (Hebrews 2:5-9). What Paul testifies the Lord Jesus confirms: "Behold, I make all things new! He who overcomes shall inherit all things."
"They shall reign forever and ever!" Dominion is restored, the original grant is confirmed, and the Church, with Jesus, is put in possession of the forfeited world. This will fill saints and angels with delight and gratitude!
Creation shall share in the glories of redemption. The first Adam ruined it; the second Adam shall restore it! He shall be the repairer of the breach, and he shall restore it completely. It witnessed the humiliation of the Son of God, and sympathized with him at his death; it shall also witness the glorious triumphs of the Son of God, and share in his glorification.
Glory is the end of redemption. This is our support at present. However we may be despised, however we may suffer now—we shall shine, we shall be happy, when Jesus, the great Deliverer, comes; for "the creation also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God!"
If any of these things should appear difficult, or even counter to our pre-conceived opinions, let us remember that we are but learners, and that in the way of humble, diligent waiting upon God—our light will shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Nor let us overlook the fact, that some things which relate to this subject are confessedly difficult; as Peter, alluding to these very things as spoken of by Paul, says, "Our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, has written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which those who are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." May the Lord preserve us from such a spirit, and enable us to receive with meekness whatever he has revealed in his word, whether difficult or plain.