by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 3 Study # 5 November 13, 2007 Lincolnton, N.C.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
1901 ASV Translation:
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God.
I. The Imagery of Creation as a Person of Potent Hope.
A. The "Creation".
1. The AV translates the word "the creature". The ASV opts for the impersonal aggregate of things created.
2. The word is found seven times in Romans, and five of those seven are in chapter eight. It refers to either the action of creating (the creation of the world -- 1:20) or the product of the action (the creature; i.e., the thing created -- 1:25). Paul used this word in each consecutive verse of 8:19, 20, 21, and 22. His meaning tends to be the creation as an all-inclusive unit -- he even says "the whole creation" in verse 22.
3. His point: Paul is using the "created thing of the Creator" to point to a universal creation-reality. That reality is that the whole of creation knows there is something dreadfully wrong in this present time (in which the godly "suffer") and has an inherent "expectation" that it will not always be so. Both the recognition of the problem and the expectation of a real solution are "creation-wide". It is so fundamental that even, if it were possible, the insensate creatures "anticipate". Clearly, it is not possible for insensate things to "feel" or "anticipate", but the personification of "all" so that "all" do this has the impact of "creating" a sense in those of us who are able to "feel" and "expect" that our anticipation is legitimate, having a universal basis.
B. The "earnest expectation".
1. This word is a "triplex": a word made of an amalgam of three words. It literally signals "what seems to the head (i.e., the eyes) to be afar off, but coming".
2. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says this word is never found outside of Christian literature and never in the Septuagint. Using the etymology, it says that it means "a settled expectation". Paul only used the word twice in the New Testament (no one else used it at all) and the other place is Philippians 1:20 where Paul expresses what the translators have called "my earnest expectation and hope". This is a piling on of words to give the sense that Paul was settled upon a certain outcome as an inevitable development. He uses the phrase "as always, so now also" to even increase the idea that any other possibility had been eliminated...the future was inalterablydetermined in respect to his "anticipation".
3. By the use of this term in conjunction with the above discussed concept of the universality of the "creation", Paul builds the sense of inevitablereality to come. It is not so much an "earnest expectation" as it is a bedrock one.
C. The "waiting".
1. The word means something akin to "marking time". The inevitable is going to come; all I have to do is endure until it gets here.
2. This "waiting" is given as Paul's rationale for his "reckoning" in 8:18. Since the entire creation of God sees it as absolutely inevitable that the future is going to come into being as it anticipates, Paul "reckons" that his determination that the coming glory is going to be so superior to the present suffering that it cannot be put into the same realm. He is simply stacking up words to create a sense of potent conviction that undergirds and determines how he will face each day with its "situations".
3. The "waiting" is given as the legitimate response of the "expector" in the midst of his present experiences. This does not mean that he simply sits around doing nothing because he is "waiting" for the future; but it certainly does mean that he does what is done in light of that future. This is no small thing since that future is one of great glory upon the foundations of minimal suffering. This is not to say that the sufferings do not cause significant pain in one or more areas of experience; it is simply to say that, when it's all been said and done, the suffering will seem awfully small in relation to the magnitude of the glory.