Godly Groaning: an Expression of Biblical Hope
Is Evolution Based on Real Science?
Romans 8:18-23 (Creation) and 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16-18 (the body)
Introduction: :Do you groan as wisely as creation? The blog: Godly Groaning is an Expression of Biblical Hope pictures creation’s godly groaning in response to a decaying world and body. Only the believer .understands the concept of godly groaning. The question and its answer helps to eviscerate theological term: evolution.
The truths given in Romans 8:18-23 and 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16-18 eviscerate the idea of evolution. How so? Both of these passages teach that creation and man’s physical body are decaying. Corruption is rampant within the universe. In contrast, evolution teaches that time is an ally, things are getting better, and things are being perfected. The evolutionist recognizes cause and effect but their formula is something like this: nobody + nothing = something and everything. That is not science. nor is it reasonable. It is not simply irrational but it is anti-rational! Further evolutionists teach that death is due to natural selection which benefits certain species. Therefore, death is considered natural and beneficial. Interesting construct isn’t it?
Science is purported to be on the side of evolution. Yet, the alleged, non-scientific driving force behind evolution is chance. However and emphatically, chance is not a thing! It is a mathematical term that is purely descriptive. It is devoid of any power or authority. Evolution attempts to pin its hopes on cause but chance which is no cause! In contrast to evolution and its alleged progress, God in His Word teaches an entirely different concept.
The word translated decay in Romans 8:21 and 2 Corinthians 4:16 is phtheiro. The word and its derivatives indicate that someone or something is subject to corruption, spoiling, destruction, and deterioration. In other words the universe is subject to devolution! The term accepts the concept of cause and effect: life and death. The Bible teaches that corruption is the result of Adam’s initial sin and God’s judgment upon him and all mankind born of ordinary generation. Romans 5:12-14 teaches that because of the sin of one man (Adam) and God’s judgment, sin, misery, and death entered into the world – cause and effect. There no room for fallacious thinking. In evolution, chance is the new “creator”?
In Romans 8, Paul pictured creation in the throes of corruption (v.21-22). In response, creation groans but with hope (v.19-21). Godly groaning is an expression of biblical hope. We look at the creation which screams of God’s presence, power, and glory (Psalm 19:1; 50:6; 89:5-8; 96:5-6; 97:6; Acts 4:24; Romans 1:18-20). Chance is not in the picture. Stop and ponder creation’s response to God’s judgment. It is as if creation “knows” something. It has a different perspective in regard to the present and the future. It groans but with hope! It is godly groaning as an expression of biblical hope. There is nothing left to chance! The picture that the Holy Spirit paints in verse 19 of Romans 8 is a crane straining its neck to get a clearer look at God’s revelation. Creation does crane – makes an effort – because, like an expectant mother, it knows something better is coming (v.22). Creation has built into its very fabric a forward look. Creation knows that something better is coming. It recognizes the wisdom and power of God.
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 taught a similar truth in regard to the body. Paul uses the same word here as he used in Romans 8:2. In his letter to the Corinthians, the word refers to the failing and decaying of the outer man – man’s physical body (v.16). As a result of Adam’s first sin and God’s judgment, creation and mankind are cursed and subject to corruption and decay (similar to entropy, a state of disorder and decline). In response, creation and believers groan. The Bible teaches that in and outside the womb, people are dying. All persons are born dying and will die unless Jesus returns first. Paul knew these facts and he experienced the reality of them in several places (2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 4:8-10; 6:3-10; 11:23-29).
Yet in both Romans 8:18 and 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16-18 Paul called on believers to take heart. He called them to respond as creation does. Corruption is a burden. Rightfully, creation and the believer groan. Romans 8:19-23, Paul documents a double groaning. However creation does not focus on the now. It looks forward to liberation – freedom – which a resurrected life does and will bring. This new life is pictured in John 17:3 and Romans 6:9-11. Eternal life begins at salvation as a vital relationship with Christ by the Holy Spirit (John 17:3). The believer is raised with Christ because he is in Christ due to the believer’s union with Christ. The adopted children of God begin to live as saved people and look forward to changed bodies in the new heaven and the new earth (v.20-22). Somehow and properly, creation senses something future as well – a cosmic regeneration (Matthew 19:28). So, too, should the believer!
In both of our passages (Romans 8; 2 Corinthians 4) Paul emphasized the fact of decay as a result of God’s judgment on Adam’s first sin. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, the primary subject of decay is man’s physical body. In Romans 8:20-23, it is man and the creation. Paul is emphasizing that the decay is both cosmic and individual.
In contrast to decay, Paul, who is an apostle of hope, pushed the believer to reorient his thoughts and desires and subsequent actions. In Romans 8:18-23, creation and mankind groan. Paul recognized that life in a fallen world is burdensome and unpleasant (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:1, 16). However, believers with confident expectation are called to eagerly anticipate the redemption of the body thus following in the footsteps of creation. Godly groaning is to be an expectation of biblical hope. That truth led Paul to write in Romans 8:18 that the present sufferings (the word actually means that which is experienced) pale in significance when compared to glorious eternity. The now must be interpreted in light of the eternal. That latter fact is a theme that runs throughout the New Testament.
In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul gave another reason for hope. Although the outer man – the body – is decaying, the inner man of the believer, regenerated by the Holy Spirit, is being made new. Hope, for both creation and mankind, is future, but it is a becoming-reality now. It is for now living. Biblical hope is a confident expectation that what God promised is becoming and will become a completed reality. In 2 Corinthians 4, the hope for man is ongoing inner-man renewal. On this basis, Paul, in v.1 and v.16, wrote for his people not to lose heart. He called for the believer to take a page out of creation’s book and take an eternal view rather than a now approach to living in God’s world. Corruption and decay will end. The creation groans with eager, hopeful anticipation. So, too, are believers who have a foretaste of heaven with inner-man renewal. This is true resurrection life that begins at regeneration. Therefore, in his present condition, the believer will think God’s thoughts, desire God’s desires, and live as a God pleaser knowing that God brings all things to pass for His glory and the good of His children.
1. What lessons can you learn from creation?
2. Decay and deterioration are part of the sin-cursed universe. What are Paul’s keys for rightly responding to these facts?
3. What hope do you have as you experience or view others experiencing decaying bodies?