Today’s new post by Jay Ferris is more lengthy, and might need a more careful read. If you wish to print it, or read it off-line, here is a link to the article in PDF format: What is God Hoping For
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for…”
Hope is the raw material without which faith has nothing to work with – to make substantial. Elsewhere we are told that this “… faith works by love…” :-) (It doesn’t work without love either.)
What I want to focus on here today is the matter of hope. What are you hoping for, or more importantly, what is God hoping for? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get on the same page as God where this matter of hope is concerned? To do so, I would like to take a look at hope from the vantage point of Romans 8:20:
“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope…”
What is God hoping for? :-)
Why would The Creator frustrate His own creation?
And having frustrated it in hope, what was He hoping for?
Romans is careful to tell us that neither the creation nor created things were responsible for the frustration, but the Creator Himself.
When did this happen? What happened? And Why?
Romans 8:24 asks the question, “Who hopes for what they already have?”
To frustrate a creation, one must first have a creation, so the creation must have already been created at the time it was subjected to frustration. It must have been before “the fall.” The frustration was already in the garden before “the fall,” and was a contributing factor leading to “the fall.”
What was God hoping for, is another way to say, What was it He did not already have? Why did He neglect to create what He was hoping for? Was it an oversight on The Creator’s part? We think not. It could only be there must have been something The Creator could not create – something He was hoping for that frustration could facilitate.
The answer is at once simple and profound. Here are a few of many verses we could have chosen that help us find the answer:
“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.“ John 1:1, 2
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.“ Romans 8:29
“The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” [Gen. 12:7; 13:15; 24:7] meaning one person, who is Christ.“ Galatians 3:16
Speaking of His own death, Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.“ John 12:24
As I understand it, The Creator subjected His own creation to frustration, because He was hoping for something that could not be done by “mere” creation – and that was divine reproduction. That reproduction would be necessary to produce, many sons of God, many brothers for His Son, and, the glorious liberty of the children of God. Glorious liberty is the fruit of the salvation package, (“being saved by His life” Romans 5:10). With this new heart, we are able to do anything our hearts desire. How FREE IS THAT?!?!?!!! :-)
That is Gloriously FREE!!!!
Diving In Deeper
In the image of what God was after in hope, he created the first Adam male and female. I think I should also note that “male and female” was for image purposes and old creation reproduction only. Image is not yet reality. The reality that is only found in Christ is “neither… male nor female…”, Galatians 3:28.
By the end of the 6th day, the woman was still in Adam. The woman had not been removed yet. What is needed to understand this, is not theology, but a basic understanding of the facts of life, i.e. “the birds and the bees.” Reproduction requires a father, a mother, a seed/egg, and chemistry. The “Us” that said, “…let us make,” and subsequently subjected to frustration what He/Us said, that “Us” contained the Father, the Seed, and the Chemistry (the “Trinity,”) but as of yet there was no woman – no human mother. (As I understand it, like the rest of the first Adam, she was only a created mother, not a “begotten” mother. Problem is, “created things shake,” Hebrews 12:27. Things begotten of Christ, The New Creation, don’t shake, John 8:35.
Now for The Creator to get what He was after, the woman had to be removed from the first Adam, and that removal subjected the whole creation to frustration. They were still in the garden after she was taken out, but they were now “less than” they had been at the end of the sixth day, when their unity was perfect, even intercellular, so to speak, (a union so perfect, so complete, that no words were necessary). Remember God called it all “very good” at the close of the sixth day.
The perfect union would not have been vulnerable to the lie, but the frustration that comes from being “less than” is very vulnerable to the lie, and sure enough, they both “bought the lie,” (swallowed it) and were cast out of the garden. “Less than” people make bad choices. Romans 8 is talking to “more than” people, Romans 8:37.
Not to worry, Plan “A” was still good. It included the frustration, and in due time the woman would be put back into another Adam, even Christ, and there would be reproduction, divine reproduction, because He would also be put into her. The Seed required for that to happen would have to wait until Christ was cast into the ground to die, rise from the dead, deliver to the Father what the Father needed to keep His promise, and fulfill His hope, the hope that He had from the beginning.
The reproduction began on the day of Pentecost, when a new generation, (one requiring the frustration of the old) would begin to reproduce. (Please be assured that I am not saying that everyone “born of women” prior to the availability of this Seed was or is hopelessly lost. While Jesus said that the greatest of the Old Testament saints was less than the least in The Kingdom of God, I do believe that there is room in the economy of God to fix that problem for people like John the Baptist, and Moses, and the others so well typified in Hebrews, Chapter Eleven.
And Even More Deeper!
Before wrapping this up, I need to address what is quite possibly another widely held misunderstanding: the assumed loneliness of the first Adam prior to the removal of the woman. If she was in the first Adam before she was removed – taken out of the first Adam, then how lonely could he have been? In John 17 Jesus prayed that we would be one as he and the Father had been one before the world began. That also doesn’t sound very lonely to me. To break the essential oneness of the first Adam, so that one flesh now required interactive plumbing rather than intercellular intimacy, looks to me to be the defining moment of the frustration of the creation, rather than an improvement in the first Adam’s situation.
This suggests another look at the phrase: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” Perhaps it was not good from the vantage point of what God was hoping for, and not due to the first Adam’s loneliness … UNLESS… the loneliness was designed to reveal the heart of the Godhead. A case could be made that God was lonely before the foundation of the world, and wanted more than only one Son. That would be another matter. What troubles me here is the preoccupation with male/female plumbing as the highest expression of “one flesh.” (The cause of leaving and cleaving and one fleshing was the fact that in the beginning God had made them one – she was in the first Adam. That is also where we see her again in the last Adam.) Again, it may well have been that it “wasn’t good,” because God needed a woman for reproductive purposes, and that reproduction, ultimately His own, Isaiah 54:1, Galatians 4:26, 27.
The point I am arriving to is the Everlasting Father wants begotten children, not created ones. And as I have come to understand Romans 8:20, this is what the Creator was hoping for in the frustration of His own creation. The result is that the whole creation is groaning, waiting for the revelation of the glorious liberty of His begotten children. The righteousness of God tells me that for this to happen, God needed a woman, even a wife.
In short, God is hoping for an intimacy in an expanded Godhead that includes us! And that makes leaving, cleaving, and one fleshing pale by comparison.
By Jay Ferris, originally posted February 20, 2011
Riffing here … it is written that God created everything through the Son (John 1:3) … so it was in partnership (?) with the Son that the power of God was made manifest. Might God have intended man to have creative power too, and that the only way man could have that is with a relational partner? Obviously that is true of having sons and daughters, but does the partnership of a man and woman create more than that?
I don’t mean “hocus pocus” and here’s “a new car” … but my partnering with my wife has produced a lot of fruit – a body of written works for example – songs, articles, a musical … and our lives have touched others who by the power of God have been saved, encouraged, renewed …
You alluded to that the other day Pam, in your email about the potential for multiplication stemming from seeds I’ve sewn in the past … one begets two, begets 4, begets 8 … so on. The influence of my wife on me – of the power of God through her – has caused me to marvel lately … is there any of that what would exist if not for her prayer, her love and patience while I worked all that stuff out? Together, we have done a lot of creating – an abundance of fruit that wouldn’t otherwise exist were I alone. Or she alone.
Jack, thanks so much for adding your thoughts to this post. I don’t find it an easy article to take down in all one sitting. Personally I think you are touching on something with what you see with your relationship to your wife – a physical image of something God is after in the Spirit. “Children” is one aspect of fruit…the spiritual multiplication that ultimately I think Jay is alluding to here, that is the reason for the “frustration.” (Rom8:24) But creating a good home for those children to be nurtured in…provision for them…etc… this is all fruit as well! All in parable of course. Good thought Jack. Deep. Thanks.