Vol.III No.XII Pg.7
January 1967

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Who or what is the "creature" (KJV) of ROM.8:19-23?


This question, asked months ago, is the kind we "put off" for awhile.

ROM.6:3-6 teaches that our resurrection (from baptism -- death with Christ) makes a "new life" possible for us. This "new life" is now, not the physical resurrection of our bodies in the future. The "mortal body" that is quickened, is our members, now serving righteousness instead of sin (I do not deny physical resurrection, 1CO.15: but ROM.6: is not discussing that kind of resurrection.).

ROM.7: shows that a system of law can not answer our needs, because sin in our members (mortal body) makes justification impossible by law alone; but declares that Christ (by forgiveness ROM.4:5-8) is the answer. That forgiveness is possible only when we set "the inward man" "mind" "our spirit" to walk according to God's Spirit.

A mind that serves God, with a mortal body that still gives in to weakness of the flesh, is what makes the conflict described in ROM.7. Having shown that Christ will save the "spiritually minded" (and they grossly err who seek to rule out obedience to the gospel of Christ by this phrase); Paul now raises the question about our members, this "mortal body" that continues to produce sin even in those who strive to serve him (1JO.1:7-f.).

His answer, in brief, is that we can "conform to the image of His Son (ROM.8:29) be "changed into the same image from glory to glory: (2CO.3:18) and "be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2PE.1:). (Certainly this is an involved answer; it is a hard question -- involving the core of the argument in the Roman letter and the Christian system)

"Creature" of ROM.8:19-f. is that which is made, (ktidzo) referring to all creation. But its use must conform to context. Vegetable and mineral "creation" is not here under consideration; not even animal except as man comes under that class. "Every statement indicates that he was talking about intelligent beings who had a real interest in the resurrection and glorification of the children of God" (Whiteside).

I must humbly beg to differ with Whiteside's conclusion however. It seems "creature" is used synonymous with "mortal bodies" and "members" thereof which war against the spirit. Paul is saying that is Christ we may bring the flesh into subjection; may conquer our baser inclinations and "be delivered from the bondage of corruption (see ROM.6:) into the glorious liberty of the children of God"

If we will set our spirit upon the Lord -- use the assistance God has provided (hope, God's assurance that He understands even those groanings of our spirit which can not be uttered, and all things which work together for good) then no creature (ktidzo) shall be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ (ROM.8:39).