For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. – Romans 8:19-21
I’m not sure what this says about my intelligence – or lack thereof – but I really enjoy thinking about things it’s hard (and approaching impossible) to wrap my head around and fully understand. I’m especially intrigued by theoretical physics, and I am fascinated by the way a recent TED Radio Hour segment on the subject tied in so beautifully with this morning’s discussion in the men’s covenant group I attend.
The guys have just started reading John Ortberg’s excellent book, The Life You’ve Always Wanted. Today’s chapter focused on the idea of transformation.
One of the men said Ortberg’s writing has made him think differently. “I’ve always thought of transformation as changing into something completely new,” he said, “but Ortberg suggests that transformation is also restoring what once was.”
“Or,” I added, “using the idea from The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian, we’re moving forward… back to the garden.”
- (Entropy – noun: lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.)
Then I thought about the idea of entropy. Entropy suggests that, at one “time”, the universe was more compressed, smooth, and ordered. Entropy is the movement away from order, including the accelerated expansion of the Universe.
As the beginning (the Big Bang) obviously predates the advent of humankind, it follows that we would not even exist if it were not for this movement into disorder. Humanity, then, would be a symptom of entropy, deterioration, decay, and chaos.
If we are to be transformed in Christ, however, then it is not just a restoration of what once was, but – as Paul describes it – a New Creation! In other words, in Christ we step out of the systemic and accelerating decay of a universe that’s increasingly disordered. In a sense, redemption is the process of reestablishing God’s perfection.
And maybe I’ll go a step further, and suggest that the purposeful introduction of redeemed people into creation is a key element of God’s plan to restore the spark of God-life and to reverse the decay?
After all, the words of Romans 8 do proclaim, “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed… in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (19, 21).
Like I said, thinking about huge ideas, and then expressing them via a language confined by its history and experience to our tiny terrestrial home, is a tall order for my finite brain. However, I also believe this is part of our calling as a redeemed people, to try to understand where we fit into this grand, vast cosmos – and even beyond the limits of our understanding.
Humbly – DEREK
P.S. View this short video segment for a few more thoughts on transformation from the author….
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there's always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor's degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men's Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.