I sometimes think that we underestimate how big the fall into sin in Genesis 3 of Adam and Eve actually was. One of the reasons may be that in Genesis 3, the only noticeable change was that Adam and Eve knew that they were naked and they were ashamed. And to be sure, the further we get away from Genesis 3 and the Fall, the more pronounced these deeper effects of the Fall are felt.
Nowhere was this more clearly displayed than in the storms that caused massive destruction in multiple states this past week. Tornados are not part of what God declared to be ‘very good’ in Genesis 1 and 2. Nor are the hurricanes which will occur later this summer part of what God declared as being ‘very good’ either.
Romans 8:18 tells us that compared to the new heavens and new earth that will accompany the return of Christ on the Last Day, this creation that we live in is an utter dump. But this is not just because of tornados and hurricanes and drought. That sunset that you see in the evening is awful; that green field in the spring is hideous; that flower that sprouts us after a cool rain is disgusting when compared to what we will experience when Christ returns.
The creation is the innocent bystander in all of this: it was Adam who ate of the fruit and ushered sin into the world; not the tree on which the fruit grew. Creation knows this, and so in the verses that follow we see that it is creation which groans in agony in anticipation of the return of Christ.
Verse 22 tells us that creation groans in agony as a woman in the pains of childbirth. That comparison in verse 22 is intentional, not just to emphasize the pain creation suffers, but also the hope it holds. St. Paul knows that childbirth is painful; it is part of the curse to Eve in Genesis 3. But St. Paul also knows that what results from childbirth, is a precious newborn child. So when creation groans as in childbirth, it groans because right now it knows things are not as they should be, but what waits on the other side is far better: it is the new heavens and the new earth.
And so if the creation knows this, and eagerly waits in anticipation for what will be when Christ returns and institutes the new heavens and the new earth, how much more so do we, the hi-point of creation, made in God’s own image, anticipate the return of Christ? For we too are enduring the curse pronounced on Adam and Eve and we to are enduring the effects of sin in a creation that is not as it was intended to be.
The creation is a constant reminder of what we have lost in the fall into sin; but by the death and resurrection of Christ, not only do we look forward to the glory of eternal life with Jesus, we also look forward to a day when the effects of sin on all of creation will be wiped away forever.
Creation knows this; do you?