4th April 2013

The Creation Groaneth

“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
Romans 8:22 (NKJV)

Japan’s most powerful earthquake since records began struck the country’s north-east coast at 14.46 local time on Friday 11 March 2011, triggering a massive tsunami which swept away cars, ships and buildings.  The ‘quake, fifth largest in the world since 1900, caused meltdowns at three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant and was estimated to have shifted the earth on its axis by between 4 and 10 inches.  The final death toll may never be known, but in September 2012, the Japanese National Police Agency report confirmed 15,880 people dead1 with 2,694 still missing2.

When tragedies like this happen many people wonder why.  Some say it is a presage of the end of the world.  Others claim that it’s a sign that God doesn’t exist or that He doesn’t care.  But the bible is very clear.  It tells us that earthquakes and other natural disasters are going to happen and, indeed, must happen.  But it also tells us why. In Matthew 24 verses 6-8 (NIV) Jesus said, “Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.”  Then he finishes with a curious phrase, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

Birth pains? Where else in the Bible do we find that term?  In Romans chapter 8, we read: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Romans 8:22 NIV).  So Jesus equates war and famines and earthquakes to birth pains and, later on, Paul says that the whole creation is like a mother groaning in pain as she gives birth. 

Giving birth to what, exactly? The answer can be found in Romans 8:19 (NIV): “The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” All of creation is waiting for the sons and daughters of God to be revealed! Who are the sons and daughters of God? Galatians 3:26 tells us: “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (NLT).

When will the children of God be revealed? At the return of Jesus Christ! Dear friends, we are God’s children now. But it has not yet been shown to us what we are going to be. We know that when He comes again, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2 NLV).  And when we, the children of God, are revealed, the whole creation will be liberated from bondage and brought into a state of freedom and glory (Romans 8:21).  Ultimately, that will mean no more death, or sorrow, or crying, or pain, as Revelation 21:4 tells us.

So, as tragic and terrible as wars, or famines or earthquakes are, they also bring us a certain hope. As sure as a mother in labour means the baby will shortly be born, the groaning of the creation is the absolute certainty of our own glorious rebirth, as well as that of the entire creation itself.

Father in Heaven, we thank you for the comfort and certain hope that your holy scriptures bring us. That your blessed Son Jesus Christ has died to rescue mankind from sin and will surely come again to reveal your children, restore your creation and usher in your Kingdom. Thank you in the Redeemer’s Holy Name.

 Study by Peter Mill

1 and 2 “Damage Situation and Police Countermeasures… February 13, 2013” National Police Agency of Japan.

About the Author:

petermillPeter Mill is an Elder and a member of the Pastoral Council of  the Edinburgh Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:

Worldwide Church of God Edinburgh
Gilmerton New Church
Ravenscroft Street
EH17 8QJ

Meeting time:

Saturday 11:00am

Local Congregational Contact:

Peter Mill Phone: 01506-845725

Email: peter_mill@wcg.org.uk

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One Response to “4th April 2013”

  1. Ian Woodley on April 4th, 2013 8:44 pm

    Hi Pete
    Thanks for giving us a message of hope – especially as events like earthquakes are often used to make people fear of “the wrath to come”. Very thought provoking.

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