Kurieuo wrote:The "him" verses "Him", many translations use an upper "H". I think this is the most important difference between us and where everything hinges. Convince me this is Adam and I'll need to rethink matters, but let me offer up some reasons for believing this is God.
Sure,I'll do so as I offer responses to why you think "God" is better understood to be the subject.
As I see it, creation would include Adam, therefore unless he is subjugating himself too. Yet, Adam had no choice in the matter of the actual subjection of creation, I'm sure he would have much preferred no such subjection to vanity, to not have to work the ground and like. Such was not Adam's will, so much as a part of God's planned will in dealing with sin.
Two things here. First, creation certainly includes Adam, but I'm sure you can appreciate talking about creation as distinct from mankind, and so Adam in particular. And that distinction is evident in the very passage. It's saying that all of creation is eagerly awaiting the liberation of the sons of God, in context, the glorification of Christians in the resurrection. But clearly Christians--human beings--are part of the creation.
Second, it doesn't say that the creation is was subjected by Adam's will or choice as if it were something Adam wanted
to do. I think, in fact, that's a large problem with the idea that God is one who doing the subjecting. The verse says nothing of desire. It is speaking of consequences. The personification should be obvious. The creation itself doesn't have a will. So what is Paul getting at when he says that the creation wasn't subjected "willingly" to corruption. It's a clear picture, clear to me anyway, that it was reduced by something else to that vanity. There was nothing in creation itself to bring about this corruption. So the only two things that could bring about that corruption would be either God or Adam, where the latter, while part of creation, is understood as distinct from and over creation. So no one's desires, Adam's or God's, enters the pictures. The question is only who or what was the factor that introduced the corruption in question.
Reading "God" into the passage, is also a more neutral interpretation as I see it.
I don't see anything neutral about it. I find it a very theologically loaded interpretation. But even grant that, it doesn't matter what's more neutral. It matters what Paul meant.
Furthermore, I see support for such reading elsewhere in Scripture. For example Isaiah 24:1-6 reads:
- 1 Behold, the Lord lays the earth waste, devastates it, distorts its surface and scatters its inhabitants. 2 And the people will be like the priest, the servant like his master, the maid like her mistress, the buyer like the seller, the lender like the borrower, the creditor like the debtor. 3 The earth will be completely laid waste and completely despoiled, for the Lord has spoken this word. 4 The earth mourns and withers, the world fades and withers, the exalted of the people of the earth fade away. 5 The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore, a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left.
In Genesis 3:17-19 we also read God's judgement and punishment:
- 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
19 By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
So the laying waste of the earth in Isaiah isn't talking about subjecting it to vanity. It's poetic description of the coming judgment of sin on the nation of Israel. It's just an entirely inappropriate analogy. But even if it were appropriate, it wouldn't matter, because this is still predicated on the idea of desire, which is just completely foreign to the Rom 8 passage. If Rom 8:20 had said, "not by its own desire, but by the desire of the one who subjected it" then you'd have a stronger case--not airtight, because you could argue that it was the results of Adam's desire that subjected it, but much stronger nonetheless. But as it is, again, you have nothing of desire in the passage. You have only willful submission, which is best understood as I described it above. So the whole issue of dealing with sin just doesn't enter into the interpretation of the passage. In other words, this isn't about what God wanted to do in order to deal with sin. It's about what happened to the world because of Adam's sin.
The Genesis passage, on the other hand, is very relevant and I think is exactly what Paul was thinking of. Notice, again, we don't have anything here about God's desires, per se. We have mere consequences. Yes, you could argue that God did what He wanted, but that's a bit of a tautology, isn't it? God doesn't do anything He doesn't want to do. It's not like God is compelled to do anything. But more important is the phrase "because of you." Rom 8:20 is very much recalling the language of Gen 3:17, I think. The ground was cursed because of you. The creation was subjected to vanity not because of itself but because of him. Who is the "him" -- the parallel is much more clearly about Adam, I think.
We can surely see the correlation between God in these passages and Romans 8:20 with God who subjected creation to vanity. God is ultimately responsible for this, it's ultimately God's laws and rules and plan. Nothing moves except God allows such. Adam had no power to subjugate creation, which he himself is also part of. He certainly wouldn't have done so in the hope of delivering it from corruption. Such a sovereign plan and power belongs to God only as I see it.
Yes, but again, that's a tautological point. Nothing does anything without God. The same argument could be applied to Adam's sin or the serpent's lie. And Adam certainly did have the power to subjugate creation to vanity and corruption. He was to rule over it. In sinning, he brought sin into the world, remember?
Next, you have a problem with "in the hope of delivering it from corruption." I admit here and now that if "in the hope" modifies "subjugates" then you have to take this as referring to God and not Adam. But I think we have very, very strong reasons for rejecting that. If you look back at my previous attempt at a visual layout of the passage, I don't think "in hope" modifies "subjugated" but rather "eagerly awaits." I really wish I could show you this is Greek. It doesn't prove the point, but I think my reading is more natural (as opposed to more neutral).
You know, what . . . I'm going to try anyway. Ignore this point if you like, and I won't feel dismissed. It really isn't fair to try to ask you to critique this kind of analysis. But all the same, I'm sharing my own reasons for why I take it the way I do. So here's the verse:
- η γαρ αποκαραδοκια της κτισεως την αποκαλυψιν των υιων του θεου απεκδεχεται
τη γαρ ματαιοτητι η κτισις υπεταγη
ουχ εκουσα αλλα δια τον υποταξαντα
Look at the two words I've bolded. Your English translations renders these together to say, "For the creation eagerly awaits . ." The first bolded word has the idea of "with great expectation." The last bolded word the verb "to await." So a wooden translation would be:
- For with eagerness the creation the revelation of the sons of God awaits
Now that's obviously bad English. That's just not the way we speak. But that phrasing is important for a better understanding of the verse. Because in Greek, word order doesn't matter. Any word can go pretty much anywhere in a sentence (with some exceptions I won't bore you with). The placement of the words, then, doesn't tell you the grammatical function like it does in English (i.e, "The cat bit the dog" is a very different sentence than "The dog bit the cat"). Instead, the placement of words tells you something about their relation to each other in terms of emphasis and logical connection.
Looking at it that way, we see the emphasis of the verse is the eagerness with which the creation awaits. Again, lots of personification there. It's as if the world is in pain, hurting, and anxiously awaiting relief at the earliest possible second. And what is it waiting for? The revelation (or the revealing, which we see in context is the glorification) of the sons of God. That is, OUR salvation results in creation's salvation. (And all of that, by the way, is a great way to sum up the entire argument of Rom 5-8!). And then Paul puts the verb at the very end of the sentence.
Now, it isn't because the verb is unimportant. It's because it brings it closer--literally closer, as in fewer words between them--to the clauses that modify that verb. So we come to the word "awaits" and immediately come on a modifer
- τη γαρ ματαιοτητι η κτισις υπεταγη
Woodenly translated, "for to vanity the creation was subjected." The bolded word here ("gar") is an explanatory word. It tells us that the clause the follows explains what it is connected to. So it is answering the question, "Why is it waiting"? Not why it it waiting eagerly--that's in the context, but here, very clearly, why is it waiting at all
? And the answer is, "the creation was subjected to vanity." Stated positively, creation is waiting to be delivered from the corruption that was foisted upon it. Fine, that's easy. We then come to the next clause
- ουχ εκουσα αλλα δια τον υποταξαντα
Woodenly, "not willingly, but rather because of the one subjecting." If you look back at the second bolded word just above (υπεταγη, was subjected) -- I'd say that's what this clause modifies. It tells you about the subjugation. This was not done of its own doing. Creation didn't willfully subject itself. "But rather" (αλλα) because of another. All this helps us understand the waiting. If it subjected itself, perhaps we could expect it to cease subjecting whenever it likes. But it can't, because to introduce an analogy, creation was captured. It was infected. And now, it is waiting on its deliverance from this corruption that has it.
That brings us to the phrase beginning "in hope," (επ ελπιδι). Unfortunately, the verse divides the sentences at this point. But there's no reason for it. English is just fine here. It says, "in hope that the creation will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
So the question: does this phrase modify "subjecting" or something else? I think it goes back to "waiting." First, I think that reading is MUCH more natural. Do you subject in hope or do you wait in hope, especially when that waiting is described as waiting earnestly and with great expectation? Yes, you could, in theory, subject something in hope. But hopefulness and waiting, especially when the waiting is for deliverance, is a much easier fit. Second, it further explains the placement of the verb "waiting" where it does. Let me write the whole thing out in wooden English and perhaps you can see the clarity of it:
- For with eagerness the creation the revelation of the sons of God awaits , since to vanity the creation was subjected not willingly but rather because of the one subjecting it, in hope that the creation will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God
I hope, then, that's just self evident. But there are other reasons to prefer understanding. Does it make sense to say that God "hopes"? I don't think that's theology that Paul is trying to teach here. He is going to spend the next few chapters highlighting God's sovereignty. He doesn't hope! And still less does God subject creation to corruption, and still less does He does so in some hope of redemption. Sure, you could make a theological case for understanding that language, but it isn't very Paul like. It's much more Paul like to say that the creation suffered corruption and now God is sovereignly and absolutely bringing redemption, and so creation awaits that redemption, and that redemption begins by making righteous the very instrument that brought corruption (mankind) and this by becoming a man himself! See how Rom 5-8 all ties together and provides a perfect commentary on Gen 1-3? It is truly beautiful.
Yes, much is due to sin, Adam's sin, our own sin, but the world was also created according to God's sovereign plan before the beginning of time to restore us in relationship with Himself. We see that with Christ who was destined prior to creation. And then, such results in all creation finally being freed from such bondage too in God's plan, the temporary creation which is passing, was created with the premise that we would sin and require redemption.
But is the temporary creation which is passing created that way initially? The passing is
the corruption it is looking for redemption from. This is just a MAJOR difference in the theology of YEC vs OEC. Without worrying about science or issues of inerrancy, this is one of the reasons I just find OEC less and less valid of a position. The theology is just wrong. The original creation was pictured good, not temporary and passing. The entire story of the Bible is that something is wrong, and that it is wrong because Adam sinned and we keep sinning. And yes, God always had a plan. That's how sovereign He is. And yes, the new creation will be far superior to this one in every way. That's just how sovereign God is. But we don't say that God created the world subject to decay anymore than we say that Jesus was incarnated sinful. That's just bad theology.
To speculate on what the world would be like had we not sinned or if sin wasn't an issue, then I expect our whole world may have been created a paradise, rather than simply having an area called Garden of Eden where the Lord had fellowship with Adam and took care of him until cast out. Adam and this paradise was a taste of what could be (perhaps just as much for creation as well as man and woman). Had there been no issue of sin to deal with, no one turning against God, then I expect the world would have been created a permanent paradise all over -- like perhaps the new creation will be.
I think that's probably close to the truth. But that the rest of the world wasn't created "paradise" doesn't mean it was subject to decay and looking eagerly for redemption. It just means it was uncultivated, and that it was the work of mankind to do what God had started to do in the Garden. In that sense, we would be cocreators with Him. Gen 1-2 is all about bringing order out of chaos. And Adam gets to be a part of that by expanding the garden, so to speak, over the whole world. But instead of doing that, he brought disorder into the world! He subjected it, not to order, but to disorder! And now the world seeks to be redeemed. And how? Fittingly, by the work of a Second Adam, the One who brings order to the disorder and ultimately brings a new creation.
As a side, do you know why many modern translations of Romans 8 have "the creation" for ktisis rather than "the creature" like the KJV renders? I think such language can also heavily influence our understanding of this passage.
Because "creation" is just a better translation. Would you consider translating Mark 10:6 as "from the beginning of creatures"? What about Rom 1:20? Finally, in this same context, Rom 8:22 -- it wouldn't make sense to say, "the whole creature groans . . ." Even the KJV recognized that didn't work. So we translate it, properly, as "creation."