The “Creature” Consciously Hoping?

From Sioux Center’s Men’s Society I received the following question:

“In Romans 8:19-22 we read that the creature hopes for the coming glory of the sons of God. How does the creature know about this coming glory?”

With thanks,

H. Brands.

Reply

From the question I gather that the Men’s Society of Sioux Center had no difficulty in determining what is meant by “the creature” in the passage referred to. They evidently came to the conclusion that by “the creature” is meant the whole creation outside of all rational creatures, angels and men. Just the irrational, brute creature is meant. In this they are correct.

But from this it may also be safely concluded, that this brute creature does not know of the hope of the children of God. In so far the passage is poetical, just like e.g., Ps. 96:11-13; 98:7-9, etc. But there is more than mere poetry in all these passages. What we have here is the interpretation of the suffering and groaning creation by the apostle, and by the whole Church, in the light of the promise and through the Spirit of Christ.