Re: [asa] Wells and traditional Christianity

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Sun Sep 03 2006 - 19:31:06 EDT

On Sat, 02 Sep 2006 19:55:25 -0500 Merv <> writes:
  So I am making progress! But I am still left pondering
> the
> meaning of Paul's words in Romans and what a TE take on it would be:
> Romans 8:20-21 ...creation subjected to futility not of its own
> will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation
> itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption ...
> I notice now that the verse refers to God as the one who subjected
> creation to its state of futility (am I correct that this refers to
> the
> curses given in Genesis 3?)
> > The problem with theodicy, which you say continues to puzzle you,
> > ...snip...
> Theodicy doesn't puzzle me -- our own human responsibility in the
> fallen state of nature (or what it means for nature to be 'fallen')
> does.
> --merv
First, to work out the relevance of the verses, one needs to know what
they mean. This problem is made more difficult by the baggage we bring to
the task. Recognizing this load and determining to what extent it is
relevant and to what extent it distorts is difficult, especially, as C.
S. Peirce noted, we tend to hold that "this time I'm right."

To help toward understading, I include the comments on the verses from
two Baptists and a Methodist who work from the Greek text.

Ver. 20. For the creature was made subject to vanity, &c.] This designs
the vanity and emptiness of the minds of the Gentiles, who were without
God and Christ, and the Holy Spirit, without the law and Gospel, and
grace of God; also the vain conceits they had of themselves, of their
wisdom, knowledge, learning, and eloquence; likewise their vain
philosophy, particularly their gross idolatry, their polytheism, or
worshipping of many gods; together with their divers lusts and vices, to
which they were addicted, to such a degree, that they might be truly said
to be made subject thereunto, being under the government of these things,
slaves unto them, and in such subjection, as that they could not deliver
themselves from it; though it is said,

not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.
Though they were willingly vain, yet they were not willingly made subject
to vanity; they willingly went into idolatrous and other evil practices,
but the devil made them subject, or slaves unto them; he led them captive
at his will, and powerfully worked in them, by divine permission, so that
they became vassals to him, and to their lusts; for he seems to be
designed, "by him who hath subjected the same", and not Adam, by whom sin
entered into the world.

Ver. 21. Because the creature itself also, &c.] The phrase in hope, which
stands in our version, at the end of the preceding verse, should be
placed in the beginning of this, and be read in connection with #Ro
8:19,20 being a parenthesis, thus: "the earnest expectation of the
creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God, in hope that
the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of
corruption"; and so it is placed in some copies, and in the Syriac
version: that is, "the Gentiles" earnestly wait and expect a larger
number of converts among them, in hopes that ere long the whole Gentile
world will be freed from

the bondage of corruption, under which it at present groaned; by which is
meant, the bondage they were in, not only to their sinful lusts, but to
Satan the god of this world; and particularly to their idols, by which
they corrupted themselves, and to which they were enslaved: they hope for
a deliverance from hence,

into the glorious liberty of the children of God; which designs either
the liberty of grace the children of God have here; and which consists in
a freedom from the dominion of sin and Satan, from the law and bondage of
it, in the free use of Gospel ordinances, in liberty of access to God,
and a freedom from the fear of death, and a glorious liberty it is; or
the liberty of glory the saints shall enjoy in the other world, which
will lies in a freedom from the prison of the flesh, from the body of sin
and death, from all sorrows and afflictions, from all reproaches and
persecutions, from the temptations of Satan, from doubts, fears, and
unbelief, and in the full vision of God through Christ, and in a free
conversation with angels and saints.

{Was subjected} (upetagh). Second aorist passive indicative of upatassw
(cf. verse #7). {To vanity} (th mataiothti). Dative case. Rare and late
word, common in LXX. From mataiov, empty, vain. #Eph 4:17; #2Pe 2:18.
{Not of its own will} (ouc ekousa). Common adjective, in N.T. only here
and #1Co 9:27. It was due to the effect of man's sin. {But by reason of
him} (alla dia ton). Because of God. {In hope that} (ef elpidi oti). Note
the form elpidi rather than the usual elpidi and so ef. oti can be causal
"because" instead of declarative "that."

The creation itself} (auth h ktisiv). It is the hope of creation, not of
the Creator. Nature "possesses in the feeling of her unmerited suffering
a sort of presentiment of her future deliverance" (Godet).

Verse 7
{Is not subject} (ouc upotassetai). Present passive indicative of
upotassw, late verb, military term for subjection to orders. Present
tense here means continued insubordination. {Neither indeed can it be}
(oude gar dunatai). "For it is not even able to do otherwise." This
helpless state of the unregenerate man Paul has shown above apart from
Christ. Hope lies in Christ (#7:25) and the Spirit of life (#8:2).

VINCENT (19th cent)
20 Vanity (/mataioteti/). Only here, Eph. iv. 17; 2 Pet. ii, 18. Compare
the kindred verb /became vain/ (Rom. i. 21, note), and the adjective
/vain/ (1 Cor. iii. 20; 1 Pet. i. 18). /Vain/ is also used to render
/kenos/ (1 Cor, xv. 14, 58; Eph. v. 6; Jas. ii. 20) /Kenos/, used of
persons, implies not merely the absence of good, but the presence of
evil. So Jas. ii. 20. The Greek proverb runs, "The empty think empty
things." /Mataios/ expresses /aimlessness/. All which has not God for the
true end of its being is /mataios/. Pindar describes the vain man as one
who hunts bootless things with fruitless hopes. Plato ("Laws," 735) of
labor to no purpose. Ezek. xiii. 6, "prophesying vain things (/mataia/),"
things which God will not bring to pass. Compare Tit. iii. 9. Here,
therefore, the reference is to a perishable and decaying condition,
separate from God, and pursuing false ends.

By reason of Him who hath subjected (/dia ton upotaxanta/). God, not Adam
nor Satan. Paul does not use the grammatical form which would express the
direct agency of God, /by Him/ who hath subjected, but that which makes
God's will /the occasion/ rather than /the worker--on account of Him/.
Adam's sin and not God's will was the direct and special cause of the
subjection to vanity. The supreme will of God is thus removed "to a wider
distance from corruption and vanity" (Alford).

21. In hope because (/ep' elpidi hoti/). The best texts transfer these
words from the preceding verse, and construe with /was made subject/,
rendering /hoti/ /that/ instead of /because/. "The creation was subjected
in the hope that," etc. /In/ hope is literally /on/ hope, as a
foundation. The hope is that of /the subjected/, not of the /subjector/.
Nature "possesses in the feeling of her unmerited suffering, a sort of
presentiment of her future deliverance? (Godet)/ Some adopt a very
suggestive connection of /in hope/ with /waiteth for the manifestation/.

Glorious liberty (elutherian tes doxes/). Better, and more literally, as
Rev., /liberty of the glory/. Liberty is one of the elements of the
glorious state and is dependent on it. The glory is that of ver. 18. The
Greek student will note the accumulation of genitives, giving solemnity
to the passage.

[1:21 /Vain things/ (/mataia/) was the Jews' name for /idols/.]

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Received on Sun Sep 3 19:34:50 2006

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