Creation’s Hope—Awaiting Its Realization
“Hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”—Rom. 8:20, 21.
1, 2. How do we differ from worldly people who are hoping “against hope” in behalf of the human creation?
HOPE for mankind seems baseless! Not a few people think so.
2 Yet there are others who “hope against hope.” That is, they keep hoping without any basis for expecting fulfillment. However, we are those who hope with solid basis for expecting the realization of our glorious hope. In this we resemble a man of ancient times.
3. In this respect, whom do we resemble, and how was the rightly based hope of that ancient patriarch realized?
3 That man was an Oriental named Abraham, who first lived in what is now called Iraq. Believing in a special hope set before him, he moved to the neighborhood of the town called Beer-sheba, to the north of the Sinai Peninsula. In Abraham’s case, the hope for certain nations became bound up with the birth of a baby boy by his wife Sarah. Ninety-nine years of life piled up on him, and 89 on his wife. Ordinarily, extreme old age should have shattered their hopes for the birth of a son. But Abraham had been given the promise by a Person who never fails his promise, namely, his God, Jehovah. What, then, did Abraham do? He held fast to his God-given hope. The historical record in the Bible says: “Although beyond hope, yet based on hope he had faith, that he might become the father of many nations in accord with what had been said [by God]: ‘So your seed will be.’” (Rom. 4:18) Abraham’s hope was not disappointed, for, by a miracle, he had his son Isaac by his wife Sarah. From this birth, nations resulted!
4. (a) With what is all human creation bound up, not only with respect to the present living population but to how far back? (b) What questions arise with respect to the first man when ranging alone in his earthly home?
4 Today all human creation is bound up with a God-given hope! It refers, not just to earth’s present living population, but to all human creation back to the direct offspring of the first man on earth, Adam. To the credit of his Creator, this first man was brought into existence absolutely perfect in body and mind. He was put in a perfect earthly home, the garden of Eden, with all the provisions for sustaining perfect human life in happiness. His Creator, his heavenly Father, became his companion, speaking to him regularly out of the invisible realm. Besides this, with all the land animals, birds and fish around him in the garden of Eden, Adam had plenty to keep him from becoming lonely. But why had Adam’s heavenly Father put him in this delightful Paradise? To be a lone ranging forester or a gardener? How long was he meant to live and enjoy all this goodness at the hands of his Life-Giver?
5. Upon what individual did the answers to those questions depend, and what pertinent advice could perfect Adam keep in mind?
5 Adam was given to understand that this all depended upon him! With his perfect memory, Adam could never forget the advice that his heavenly Father gave him: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.”—Gen. 2:16, 17.
6. What did that divine command open up for mankind, and how were Adam’s descendants to come into existence?
6 That divine command opened up the way for Adam to live forever, if that was the will of God for him. As the record later shows, Adam did live for 930 years, but he could have lived indefinitely longer. He became responsible for our dying off today. As all of us should realize, that first man on earth had an offspring; otherwise, we should not be here. But it was not by this unhuman way of reproduction that scientific experimenters of today call sexless cloning, as in the case of some plants. Rather, as in the case of birds and land animals, God created for him a female counterpart, a wife, taking a rib from Adam’s side to start off the creation of her. On marrying the first man to the first woman on earth, God set before them the hope of endless life on the paradise earth. He blessed them and told them to reproduce their kind in order to fill all the earth, over which their paradise would be extended.—Gen. 2:18-24; 1:26-28.
7. What state of human affairs did Adam and Eve not expect to come into operation, and why should blame for the course of human affairs not be placed on the serpent?
7 The outlook for all mankind was then most hopeful. Adam and Eve never expected to see their offspring “groaning together and being in pain together” due to the physical, moral and social condition in which we find ourselves today. Disobediently eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad might have seemed like a tiny thing in itself, but that is what became responsible for the present condition. By sinfully eating, first Eve and then Adam dashed their God-given hope to pieces, while they were still childless. Unless God stepped in somehow, we today would be subject to complete hopelessness. True, a serpent in Eden did get involved in the course of affairs, but let us not blame it all on that reptile. Instead, the Bible points us to the unseen spirit manipulator behind the serpent. Who was he? A heavenly angel, who was determined to turn Adam and Eve away from making Jehovah God their hope.
8. What was Eve misled into doing, and why do we today not find ourselves in the original garden of Eden?
8 That rebellious schemer who spoke through the serpent deceived Eve into trying to make herself like God. As such, she would build her own self-chosen hope. Till then her husband, Adam, had been God’s prophet to her. Adam had acted as God’s mouthpiece in telling her about God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit. But after aiming at making herself a goddess by eating the forbidden fruit, she acted as a prophetess for the serpent by using her beautiful voice in inducing Adam to join her in lawlessness. At last, for God-dishonoring reasons, Adam ‘listened to the voice of his wife,’ the false prophetess. (Gen. 3:17) Hence, Jehovah God pronounced a just sentence of death upon his unfaithful prophet, Adam. Eve, Adam’s wife, came under that sentence. Now as good as dead, they were driven out of the garden of Eden, to live out the rest of their days in the uncultivated earth. All of us, as yet unborn in the reproductive organs of Adam and Eve, were driven out with them.
9. Was any hope different from what was set out in God’s command to Adam held out to the two willful human sinners, and how was the case left with regard to us their offspring?
9 No outlook different from what was set forth in God’s command to Adam was held out for those original willful lawbreakers, Adam and Eve. Rightly, no hope was set before them, because they had thrown overboard their original God-given hope. But was the case left hopeless for all of us, their unresponsible offspring? Happily for us, No!
A GOD-GIVEN HOPE OFFERED
10. Who was first to be sentenced there in Eden, what did that one come to be called, and how was this one to fare in the foretold conflict?
10 Words of hope were not addressed to Adam and Eve personally; they merely overheard them. God’s words that contained a basis for our having hope were addressed to the rebellious spirit who had trickily used the serpent in inducing Eve to become a successful prophetess for him. That one was stigmatized with the name Satan the Devil. Because of his initiating the course of slyness and trickiness for the purpose of deceiving, even by means of a serpent in Eden, he was also called “the original serpent.” (Rev. 12:9; 20:2) This self-deifying spirit creature, who became the first to lie against God and to woman, was the first to get a judicial decision from God at Eden. Upon him God pronounced his curse and then foretold a fight in which “the original serpent” and those taking his side in the conflict would suffer defeat.
11. How did the wording of the sentence upon “the original serpent” allow for any hope respecting Adam and Eve’s offspring?
11 To “the original serpent” God said: “And I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.” (Gen. 3:14, 15) This meant annihilation for “the original serpent” and his offspring. But did this judicial decision of God afford any grounds for hope in behalf of the future offspring of Adam and Eve? No, not directly, but only by inference or implication.
12. God’s words to Satan brought what kind of “woman” into the case, and why could Mary the mother of Jesus Christ not measure up to being that “woman”?
12 Aha! a woman is brought into the case. Who was she to be? She had to be one who would display enmity, hatred, for “the original serpent” and his offspring. Eve, who had made herself a false prophetess for “the original serpent,” could not be suitable. She had been persuaded to believe that Jehovah God was a liar. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, could not prove suitable. Four thousand years would pass before this Jewish girl would be born as a descendant of Abraham and under the Jewish Law code. Her firstborn son, Jesus, lived on earth for only 33 1/2 years. When his earthly mother saw what “the original serpent” had caused to be done to this miraculously given son at Calvary, she had lived the better part of her life. So she herself could have exercised enmity toward “the original serpent” for only a few decades of life.
13. Who or what only could prove to be the “woman” mentioned, and into what position was she pleased to be put toward the symbolic serpent and its offspring?
13 Logically, the “woman” of God’s prophecy would be one who was alive and was listening when God spoke to “the original serpent” in Eden. The symbolic “woman” would live on long after the death of Eve, yes, down till God’s own time to have the “woman” bring forth the promised “seed,” which proved to be more than 3,000 years after Eve’s death. So, who could this symbolic “woman” be but God’s own “woman,” that is to say, his heavenly organization of holy spirit creatures who refused to join “the original serpent” in his rebellion? They respected God’s marriage to his faithful universal organization and did not divorce themselves from him to join the organization that would marry “the original serpent.” They were very pleased to have God put enmity between them and the organized “seed” of “the original serpent.”
14. (a) So the expectation of what was set before God’s “woman” along with what later experience of womankind? (b) Were we born into the relationship of children of God, and yet what hope is set before humankind?
14 At Eden, then, God set a motherly prospect before his wifelike heavenly organization. From then on she could hope to become mother to the “seed” of which her Husband, Jehovah God, would become the Father. To his “woman” the realization of this hope was worth awaiting for 4,000 years. She was willing to undergo whatever travailing in pain this might involve, just as in the case of the symbolic woman seen in the vision described by the Christian apostle John in Revelation 12:1-5. Motherhood is the normal desire of all adult women. So why not set motherhood before God’s heavenly organizational “woman”? Fittingly, the hope of motherhood was imparted to God’s “woman” before God mercifully let Eve, the wife of now sinful Adam, experience motherhood outside Eden. But it was not in the way of a blessing that God said to sinful Eve: “I shall greatly increase the pain of your pregnancy; in birth pangs you will bring forth children.” (Genesis 3:16 as against Ge 1:28) In passing on to their offspring information about God’s prophecy concerning the “seed” of the “woman,” Adam did not act as a prophet of God; neither did his wife, Eve, act as a prophetess of God. Whether Adam and Eve believed God’s promise recorded in Genesis 3:15 or not, God did mean for their offspring to base a hope on that promise. Although Adam was created as a “son of God,” we, his imperfect, sin-infected offspring, were not born into the sonship of Jehovah God. (Luke 3:38) Therefore, we do not naturally have the witness of God’s holy spirit with our own human spirit that we are the children of God. However, is there any hope of our getting back into God’s family of sons? Yes, there is!
15. What does the fact that today there are over 4,000 million of us humans still alive on earth indicate with respect to the case for mankind?
15 If the case had been hopeless for us, why did God let so many of us be born to Adam and Eve—well over 100 generations of their offspring till now? Today, after all the wars and other catastrophes besides sickness and natural death, there are more than 4,200 million of us alive, and it is predicted that by the year 2000 C.E. there will be 6,000 million humans on earth. Has this all been in vain? Evidently not!
16. (a) Because of man’s own helplessness, upon whose ability to perform does realization of creation’s hope depend? (b) Whose birth and life on earth marked the turning point in human history?
16 Of course, man cannot ‘pull himself up by his own bootstraps.’ Yet the case of the human creation is not hopeless, in spite of the unpromising look of things. This is not due to anything that man himself can do, but is solidly based on what God has already done and will yet do according to his unbreakable promise. Because God permitted some 70 generations to be born to Adam and Eve, it allowed for his Son from heaven to be born as the man Jesus Christ. On earth this Son of God carried out God’s will for the benefit of all mankind. This marked a turning point in history for us humans!
HUMAN CREATION “SUBJECTED TO FUTILITY” WITH HOPE OF FREEDOM
17. In Romans 8:19-24, what did the apostle Paul write about the subjecting of mankind to vain self-effort and about creation’s waiting for what with groanings?
17 About 23 years after Jesus Christ finished his earthly course and ascended to heaven, the Christian apostle Paul wrote to the congregation in Rome, Italy, and said: “The eager expectation of the [human] creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now. Not only that, but we ourselves also who have the firstfruits, namely, the spirit, yes, we ourselves groan within ourselves, while we are earnestly waiting for adoption as sons, the release from our bodies by ransom. For we were saved in this hope.”—Rom. 8:19-24.
18. (a) Who was it that subjected all human creation to futility, and how so? (b) Where have human institutions got us today, and is what is impending the same as the “eager expectation” of the groaning creation?
18 The One through whom the human creation was subjected to futility or frustration was God. We were not subjected to it by our own will, inasmuch as we did not will for ourselves to be born. God willed for us to be brought into existence, in spite of his sentencing Adam and Eve to death. (Gen. 3:16-24; 5:1-4) However, we were not born with the “glorious freedom” that Adam and Eve at first had in the garden of Eden as “children of God.” We were born in “enslavement to corruption,” under condemnation of all of Adam’s offspring to death. (Rom. 5:12) Hence, we could not save ourselves. All our efforts at self-salvation were doomed to futility, frustration. Where have all the endeavors of man-made governments got us? Where have all the social, economic, financial, medical and scientific arrangements of aspiring mankind got us down to this very day? All of us are still undergoing mental, bodily and moral corruption. Also, it now appears as though a nuclear war with intercontinental ballistic missiles emerging from the seas and plunging down from the skies will mean an abrupt end to all of us. Can this be described as the “eager expectation” of groaning creation?
19. For what purpose did God subject fallen man to futility or frustration, but on the basis of what hope did he do this?
19 However, man’s Creator is not himself subject to futility or frustration. Corrupt mankind cannot frustrate the Creator’s purpose. Hence, he himself is a hope for us. So he wants us to put our trust, not in ourselves, but in him. All of us he subjected to human incapability, in order that we might have no basis for pinning our hope on ourselves. As the only Source of hope, he subjected mankind to futility, but not on a hopeless basis. Rather, as Romans 8:20, 21 says, “on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.”
20. (a) Does the so-called “free world” enjoy the “glorious freedom of the children of God”? (b) The “eager expectation of the creation” waits for the revelation of what to be made?
20 Today rulers of a certain political ideology classify their realm as being “the free world” in contrast with people under opposite rulerships. But, whatever be the claims of conflicting political groups, none of them have the “glorious freedom of the children of God.” The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ alone holds out the hope for the human family to be restored to the relationship that Adam and Eve had when he created them in Eden. But this restoration has to wait for a future action on God’s part. What this is we learn in the apostle’s words: “The eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19) The apostle Paul, who penned those words in Romans 8:15-17, classified himself among those “sons of God.”
21. Who is the principal one of those “sons of God,” and how was his “heel” wound healed, with what purpose in view according to Hebrews 2:14, 15?
21 Those special “sons of God” are the seed of God’s “woman,” as spoken of in God’s Edenic prophecy, at Genesis 3:15. The principal one of that “seed” of God’s heavenly organization is Jesus Christ, the one whom God let “the original serpent” bruise in the heel at his death on the torture stake in the year 33 C.E. But God healed that heel wound by resurrecting his faithful Son on the third day of his death. By being resurrected as a heavenly spirit Son of God, not as a human Son, he could be received back by God’s heavenly “woman.” This one will, as Hebrews 2:14, 15 says, “bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil; and that he might emancipate all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives.”
22. Who are the secondary members of the “seed” of God’s “woman”?
22 The secondary members of the “seed” of God’s composite “woman” are the disciples of Jesus Christ, the ones who receive a begettal by God’s spirit to become spiritual “sons of God” and joint heirs with their elder brother, Jesus Christ, in heaven.
23. According to 1 Peter 1:3, 4, to what kind of hope has God begotten the secondary members of the “seed,” and is that hope still active at this late date?
23 The apostle Peter speaks of their heavenly hope as a “living” one when he writes to them: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for according to his great mercy he gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled and unfading inheritance. It is reserved in the heavens for you.” (1 Pet. 1:3, 4) This hope of theirs is still “living” today. It has not died out because of any seeming delay in its realization for the remnant of them yet on earth. They expect to see this hope realized shortly at the fixed time of their God and Father, Jehovah. The apostle Paul recalls to our minds Genesis 3:15, when he writes to the spirit-begotten congregation in Rome and says: “The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”—Rom. 16:20.
24. The revealing of such “sons of God” is eagerly expected by whom, and after what event does this revelation take place?
24 The “revealing” of these “sons of God” along with the principal Son of God, Jesus Christ, in the near future, is what the “eager expectation of the [human] creation” is earnestly awaiting. But we expect soon before that event the “great tribulation” that the heavenly Father, Jehovah God, will let loose upon the opposers and persecutors who make tribulation for his spiritual sons and their loyal companions.—Rev. 7:14, 15; 2 Thess. 1:6-10.