It is a trend today to ponder the earth in terms of crisis.
This week I have been pondering the earth in a sense that I heard in a reading on Sunday. The apostle speaks of the earth as "creation" and the creation is painted in terms of present sufferings and "the glory which shall be revealed in us." That is, the author draws a parallel between the creation "subjected to futility" with the plight and hope of the children of God. It is even described as the creation eagerly awaiting "for the revealing of the sons of God."
The apostle alludes to baptism, that is "we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit."
There is the idea that all of creation suffers with birth pangs and so too those have these firstfruits. The present includes labor and groaning and waiting. The creation waits for deliverance and so do we. The apostle writes, "because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." The creation is tied to the children of God in terms of deliverance.
So the creation is "corrupt?" This is not how we are normally led to look at "Mother Earth." The apostle offers a different picture. It is corruption in all of creation as it is in us. But this is not a fact to simply rub in the wounds when we are down. These sufferings, this futility, this labor and groaning is only temporary, a part of a bigger picture that brings hope and redemption.
We see this all working out in the death and resurrection of our Lord. So "bondage of corruption" is changed into "glorious liberty" and those born in sin are changed to await "the redemption of our body." From dust we are and to dust we will return. But the real end foreseen in the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the body together with our Creator in eternal glory.
During the summer months we enjoy the fruits of creation. Autumn and Winter come with their changes. The firstfruits of Spring soon bud again. So too, it is for us whose body is a wonderful creation. We wither and die but our bodies are not forever in the ground - they are redeemed. If there is a crisis it is of our own making for our present sufferings cannot "be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."