There appears to be a theme in the Hebrew Scriptures where the Holy Spirit is seen as intimately interacting with Creation.
In Gen. 1.2 the Spirit of God is depicted as hovering over the waters during the creation of the world. In Ps. 104.29-30 it reads,
When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
In Is. 32.15a the land if left in desolation until “the Spirit is poured upon us from on high”. It seems that the Apostle Paul was aware of this imagery because Rom. 8.19-23 is in the middle of a discussion on the resurrecting work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian yet he decides to mention the following:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that sthe whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
This statement in v. 23 is in the context of v.11 where the guarantee that we will resurrect is because the same Spirit that dwelt in Christ is in us. As with Ps. 104.29-30 there appears to be a connection between the Spirit renewing humanity as well as Creation. At least this is how it seems the Apostle understood it as well as theologians such as Athanasius and Basil.
Since today is Earth Day it seems appropriate to ponder what it is to which these allusions are pointing. What is the relationship between (1) creation, (2) humanity, (3) the Holy Spirit, and (4) resurrection (of individuals and the created order)? Any thoughts?
Im actually doing a thesis on this at the moment, based on the eschatological position of the church and how it affects creation, so it would be cool to discuss ideas.
My thesis-in-progress is on Romans 8.18-25, so I’d be more than happy to discuss the subject.
Thats cool. What angle are you taking on it? That creation is waiting for complete restoration that will be completed in a future event, or that the true children of God have an impact on the restoration of creation through the spread of the gospel? Given the ‘now but not yet’ nature of Gods Kingdom
@Logan: From an exegetical perspective I argue that the resurrection of believers will happen alongside the rebirth of creation, but I think there is an analogy in how Paul speaks to our current use of our body in relation to the resurrected body and how we treat creation as it stands now while anticipating its future state. It could be said that if we believe God will give us a new body (temple) then we will live that belief by living our best in our current body (temple). Likewise, if we believe God loves this creation enough to renew it we will love it enough to anticipate that renewal.
and yet, I cannot help wondering that if Gods people move towards holiness, creation moves towards holiness as the church becomes more open to Holy Spirit. I would support a view of 2 Chronicles 7:14 that directly relates the church (or Gods people, as the passage puts it) to the state of ecology, both towards and against restoration. Given that Christ has dominion over all things, and we are unified with Christ (Philippians 2:1), then I wonder what the extend of our role is?
@Logan: As well as this, you should check out the book “World Without End: Perspectives in Pentecostal Eschatologies.” Primarily, Robby Waddell writes powerfully about pneumatology, Pentecostalism, and renewal.
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