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Our Future’s Impact Upon Our Present

by Dan Cruver Published Oct 30, 2009

I have been pondering the following questions quite a lot over the last several weeks: If what Randy Alcorn writes below is true (and it is true!), what sort of people ought we in the church be as we address the global orphan crisis? How should the truth of the finalization of our adoption and the resulting renewal of all creation affect our efforts to care for orphans in their affliction? What impact should our future hope have upon mobilizing Christians to seek justice for the orphan now?

If you’re game, please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Heaven by Randy AlcornDo you ever sense creation’s restlessness? Do you hear groaning in the cold night wind? Do you feel the forest’s loneliness, the ocean’s agitation? Do you hear longing in the cries of whales? Do you see blood and pain in the eyes of wild animals, or the mixture of pleasure and pain in the eyes of your pets? Despite vestiges of beauty and joy, something on this earth is terribly wrong. Not only God’s creatures but even inanimate objects seem to feel it. But there’s also hope, visible in springtime after a hard winter. As Martin Luther put it, “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” The creation hopes for, even anticipates, resurrection. That’s exactly what Scripture tells us.

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. Fro the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, grown inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:19-23)

The “redemption of our bodies” refers to the resurrection of the dead. Paul says that not only we but “the whole creation” awaits the earthwide deliverance that will come with our bodily resurrection. Not only mankind in general but believers in particular (those with God’s Spirit within) are aligned with the rest of creation, which intuitively reaches out to God for deliverance. We know what God intended for mankind and the earth, and therefore we have an object for our longing. We groan for what creation groans for—redemption. God subjected the whole creation to frustration by putting the Curse not only on mankind but also on the earth (Genesis 3:17). Why? Because human beings and the earth are inseparably linked. And as together we fell, together we shall rise. God will transform the fallen human race into a renewed human race and the present Earth into the New Earth.

What does it mean that creation waits for God’s children to be revealed? Our Creator, the Master Artist, will put us on display to a wide-eyed universe. Our revelation will be an unveiling, and we will be seen as what we are, as what we were intended to be—God’s image-bearers. We will glorify him by ruling over the physical universe with creativity and camaraderie, showing respect and benevolence for all we rule. We will be revealed at our resurrection, when our adoption will be finalized and our bodies redeemed. We will be fully human, with righteous spirits and incorruptible bodies (Heaven, 120-121).

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