We have previously considered how hope for Christians individually and the Church collectively extends into eternity. This week we ponder how the hope of all creation also reaches into eternity in fulfillment of God’s promise of a future transformation.
In speaking of this future hope that embraces all of creation, Romans 8:19 promises that it “eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” This hope receives further explanation in the verses that follow: “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:20–21).
Marred in the garden
When the first human pair fell into sin, it marred what God had declared to be good when He brought the subhuman world into being, according to the repeated divine commentary, “And God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:10, 12, 18, 21, 25), along with the summary divine conclusion: “God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). And then sin intruded through human disobedience.
In the present age, the created order is beset by cycles of decay and death. Even so, God’s promise was that having subjected all of His creation to frustration, it was done “in hope.” In God’s future, His creation will be renewed into a new heaven and new earth, as spoken of in Revelation 21:1 and guaranteed by the divine promise, “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
Hope in Christ
Just as there was an all-embracing inclusion of the created order in humanity’s fall into sin, so that fallen order will be embraced in the restoration of Christians to glory. Thus, creation’s future hope is inseparably connected with the hope given individually to each Christian and collectively to the Church.
Instead of annihilation at the end time, creation will undergo a divine transformation into newness when God makes all things new. Admittedly, eye has not seen nor heart imagined what God has in store for His children, so we cannot fully envision what He has for His whole creation. By faith, “we hope for what we do not see” and thus “eagerly wait for it with perseverance” (Rom. 8:25).
The present outcome of our future hope in Christ is stated in 1 John 3:3: “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”