“For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” Romans 8:20-23
As we go through life, we all experience aches and pains in our bodies. And as we experience those aches and pains, or even worse, as we suffer illness and loss of functions, or loss even of limbs, it can be easy for us to look forward to the day when we are free from these bodies. Because of this, we often imagine Heaven as a place where we will sort of just float around with God. We even see this caricatured in the traditional image of people with angel wings and harps as they sit on clouds near God. But what does scripture tell us about our bodies? In fact what does it tell us about all of creation?
Well it tells us that the whole creation has been groaning under the condemnation of sin. As our first parents, Adam and Eve sinned; they brought condemnation to a creation that was good. Before that sin, there was no death. No animals suffered, people didn’t suffer, and everything was good. But now because of sin there is death. And not only do we feel that death when we feel pain as we die, we feel that death in our own aches and pains, even in things as little as our own irritations.
Of course, it’s easy to blame this situation on those who came before, and assume that we are unfairly made victims in this, but the reality is that we put our own stamp of approval on our position. As we sin, as we neither love God with all of our heart, soul, mind or strength, nor love our neighbor as ourselves, we say that we like this position that we’re in with sicknesses and death.
But our Father sent Jesus to redeem us and all of creation. As Jesus came, He came in a human body. As He lived, He lived in that body as it was supposed to be lived in. As Jesus died on the cross, He died the death that we should all die, but as He was raised, He showed that our bodies have been redeemed. In fact He showed God’s care for the whole creation, and that He will in fact make a new creation at the end of time. In that new creation, we’ll be with our Lord Jesus, we’ll be with our God, and we’ll experience life as it was intended in the beginning: pain free.
We may think we’d like to get away from our bodies, but in the end, thanks to Jesus, we can really look forward to having bodies that don’t suffer. That will be even better. Amen.
Lord Jesus Christ, thank You for redeeming us and all of creation, grant me always to trust that the good work You have begun in me by faith will be brought to completion when You raise me from the dead on the last day to live with You forever. Amen