Read: Romans 8:18-30

The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit . . . (vv. 22-23)

Marcion of Sinope, a second-century church leader in Rome, believed the God of the Old Testament was a nasty deity who created the physical world to enslave human beings in ignorance and corruption. The material world was bad, doomed to destruction. Marcion rejected not only the Old Testament but most of the New. Christ came to enlighten, not suffer and die. And certainly not to be raised from the dead.

The early church quickly condemned Marcion’s teaching as heresy. In Romans 8, Paul tells a radically different story. He affirms that the God of the Old Testament is the same God who became flesh in Jesus. And the material world isn’t bad; it’s part of God’s good creation. However, the world is fallen, subject to futility and in bondage to decay because of Adam and Eve’s rebellion.

God’s intent is not ultimately to destroy the world but to redeem and liberate it from evil. This means that even now, as we’ve been given the Holy Spirit (the first deposit of God’s kingdom still to come), the call of Christ’s body includes being stewards. The whole earth belongs to God (Ps. 24:1), and we have been entrusted to care for and protect it, even as we wait patiently for Christ, the King of glory, to come again and make all things new. —Brian Keepers

As you pray, thank God for his good creation and ask for wisdom to live as a faithful steward.