Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 3 Study # 2
Thesis: Paul's theology of the coming glory is rooted in "the creation's" firmly entrenched expectation.
Introduction: In our last study we saw that Paul declared that there is no actual basis for comparison between the level of sufferings that dominate the present time and the divine commitment to bring about a level of "glory" in the future that will more than adequately address the reality of His character. Paul made this declaration as a most fundamental part of his way of looking at reality and he made it very clear that, as the people of God, we need to put this perspective into a dominant place in our understanding and faith. One of the major flaws of humanity is our profound tendency to blow the tiny into the huge. Then we let the tiny dominate our perspective so that it eats away at our experience of "Life". Paul's answer to this flaw is to declare a "no comparison" barrier between our present experience of corruption and our future experience of the absolutely corruption-free glory that is surely coming.
A big part of this issue is the fact that the promised glory is assuredly coming. So, this evening we are going to at least begin to look into Paul's attempt to create a solid basis for faith in this inevitability.
April 9, 2017
- I. His First Concept: A Forward Looking, Distance Accepting, Mindset.
- A. He wrote of what the Authorized Version calls "the earnest expectation" and the NASB calls an "anxious longing".
- 1. The word he chose to use is only used twice in the New Testament [Philippians 1:20 being the other use], and only Christians used the term according to Liddell and Scott Greek-English Lexicon, and that not often.
- 2. In the case of this word, the etymology actually seems to fit both texts in their context.
- a. There is "distance" indicated by the prefix (from).
- b. There is "mental energy" indicated by the initial noun (the head).
- c. And there is "an appearance" issue indicated by the focus of the mind upon what "seems".
- d. Both texts indicate such a triple issue of "distance in time between the present and the future, "mental energy" spent considering the expected eventuality, and an "appearance" that "seems" to be the scenario that is coming.
- 3. The translators' attempts to indicate the priority that is placed upon that future event and how things are going to play out is revealed in the use of "earnest" and "anxious".
- a. Both contexts indicate that the future event is taking up some serious space in one's focus of attention.
- b. Whether you see this as creating emotional energy as "earnest" or "anxious", the texts both indicate a "hope-filled" perspective that puts the present in its place as a "tiny" thing.
- B. Thus, he is indicating a forward-looking, temporal distance accepting, mindset.
- II. His Second Concept: An Anthropomorphic Use of "The Creation".
- A. The Authorized Version is almost surely in error to translate the word as "the creature" (as 8:22 makes rather plain by reason of the inconstant translation of the same word).
- B. Paul wrote of the entire creation as if it is a sensible (thinking, feeling) being.
- C. His claim is that "the creation" has this forward-looking, distance-accepting mindset.
- III. His Third Concept: Waiting.
- A. He wrote that the creation's forward-looking mindset has settled into its distance-accepting mindset: it "waits".
- 1. The word is used in 8:25 in a way that allows us to see that it means "distance-accepting" when the "distance" is seen in terms of "time" rather than "space".
- 2. There is a strong implication that two things are involved: first, a willingness to wait; and, second, a kind of emotional stability that exists because of the strength of the conviction that the scenario is going to come to pass as expected.
- B. The question is, where did "the creation" get this mindset?
- C. The answer seems to be that God revealed it from very near the beginning of humanity, after the fall.
- 1. Enoch, says Jude, being the seventh from Adam, prophesied of this coming event.
- 2. Seth, says Josephus, was the originator of the symbolism of a Zodiac that traces the theology of the Christ from His coming as the Virgin's offspring to His return as the Lion of Judah.
- F. Somehow, this early revelation from God settled into the very marrow of creation so that there has long been a forward-looking, distance-accepting, expectation that God was going to bring the really "huge" into being so that the "tiny" would be recognized as "tiny".
- IV. His Fourth Concept: Identifying the Huge Thing.
- A. He says the future scenario is "the revelation of the sons of The God".
- 1. He had already said that there was a "revelation" coming, but it was the "about to be glory".
- 2. The switch to "the sons" indicates that there is a specific "glory" to be applied to the "sons" so that the implications of the glory are made clearly manifest in terms of what it means to the experience of the children of God [Note 1 John 3:2].
- B. He defines what he means later (8:21).