In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Pilgrim’s Regress, the allegorical God character is called, “the Landlord.” This is a pretty clever title as it encompasses quite a bit of theology from the book of Genesis. Having created the earth and all that it is in it, God then raised up human beings and gave them the power and authority to rule over the whole thing. We are the kings and queens of creation and nothing reigns above us within the physical realm. We are the tenants, charged with caring for the property while God is the Landlord, hoping we take care of it rightly with the power we’ve been allotted.
But we haven’t really done that. Creation has been groaning for centuries. Have you heard it? Not only did our sin curse the very ground we live on, but we continue to oppress creation in countless ways—the gross and cruel mistreatment of farm animals, the total extinction of species, the destruction of rainforests, pollution, the things we do to the environment in pursuit of money, the rise of global warming, and so on. Yes, we are supposed to make use of creation, ultimately turning a garden into a garden city (as a friend of mine often states), but not like this. We have subjected creation to terrorism.
It’s for reasons like this that Paul cries out that “creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.” His point is that creation is tired of being subjected to humanity’s persecutive reign. The land has reports to make to the Landlord on behalf of our decisions. It’s dying (sometimes literally) for the resurrected humanity to be revealed; for these coming humans will be transformed in character to take care of the new-heaven-and-new-earth rightly. No longer will creation be subjected to the dominion of bullies, but to the dominion of the redeemed.
And for that, we groan—as well as the Holy Spirit who groans within us.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Romans 8:26-30 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net. Below are the various AI-created pictures I typed into existence via Mid Journey to mock up artwork for today’s post. Learn more about Biblical environmentalism in, “The Erinvironment,” which I host with my friend, Erin Shott, who is an environmental scientist.