Monday, March 28, 2011
The Creation's Groaning
I was back in Romans yesterday at CRBC. The message was "The Creation's Groaning" (Romans 8:18-23). Along the way I reflected on the fact that the creation "was made subject to vanity, not willingly" (v. 20) through man's sin. I was also able to cite two Puritans who offer interesting reflections, drawn from this passage, on what the perspective of the creation might be toward sinful man. Here's an excerpt from the message:
Did you ever consider the fact that the creation has a legitimate reason to hold a grudge against you and it may even now be welling up with hatred toward you not merely for what you have done to it but for the way you continue to act toward your Lord?
The old Puritans sometimes wrote about this. A few years back I read an abridgement of Joseph Alleine's book An Alarm to the Unconverted titled Wake Up and Live! One section of the book is titled “The whole world is against you.” Alleine tells his readers:
It is a solemn thought to think that you are a burden to creation. If inanimate creatures could speak, the food on your plate would cry out to God, ‘Lord, must I nourish this person and give him strength to dishonor you? If you would only give me permission I would choke him!’ The very air that you breathe would say, ‘Lord, must I give this woman breath so that she can blaspheme your name, insult your people, and engage in corrupt speech? Just give the word and I will make sure she never breathes again.’ Even your regular means of transport would complain, ‘Lord, must I help him on his way to commit yet more sins against you?’ If you do not belong to Jesus Christ, the earth groans under you and hell groans for you until death shall satisfy both. While the Lord remains against you, you can be sure that all his creatures—in heaven and on earth—are against you. You cannot be at peace with what God has made if you have not found peace with God himself (p. 63; see this post).
Thomas Boston in Human Nature in Its Fourfold State, likewise, warns:
Your meat, drink, and clothes, grudge being serviceable to the wretch that has lost God and abuses them to His dishonor. The earth groans under you: yea ‘the whole earth groaneth, and travaileth in pain together,’ because of you and such as you are (Rom 8:22) (p. 175).
Why don’t men think this way today? Because we have taken the wound of our sin lightly. The secular environmentalist wants to hug trees. The Christian considers that the trees probably would like to bash in our brains with their branches.