The Primal Creation >>back home

The primal creation, though it was pronounced 'very good', was not an idyllic paradise. The great Adversary had access to it; it was perhaps designed to be the scene of his defeat. It was created as it is now, 'subject to futility', with elements of fear, predation, pain and death. Man was given the task of subduing it and bringing it to harmony. Through an act of self-will at the beginning of human history he failed in his mission. Creation fell under the curse of disappointed hopes and broken relationships. It awaits man's final redemption and the uniting of all things in Jesus Christ.

It is common knowledge that the Bible teaches that after God's initial work of creation something tragic happened in the Garden of Eden: man disobeyed his Maker, and brought disaster on the race. The nature and extent of this disaster (according to the Bible's own testimony) we shall have to look into later; first we have a more immediate matter to consider ‑ the character of the physical creation as it first left the hand of God. What was it like? My own conclusions about this primal creation (as we may call it) are going to be rather different from those which have commonly been held, so a brief statement may be helpful at the outset to set the matter in context.

      A common view of the primal creation is that suggested by Milton in Paradise Lost: Eden was a Paradise, a place of ideal bliss. But even outside Eden (since the epithet 'very good' is applied to the whole creation in Genesis) there was nothing to 'hurt or destroy' 1. Diet for both man and the animals was wholly vegetarian, and there was no pain, disease or fear among them. Perhaps there was even no death; certainly there wasn't for man himself. In the physical world earthquakes, droughts, volcanic eruptions, storms and such like were probably unknown. In fact, everything was idyllic – until man sinned. Then things changed dramatically for the worse. This is probably a fair statement of what has been held by many (and is still held by many) to be the Bible's teaching. Against this I shall argue that the primal creation was not idyllic; that some animals were predators, and that all were mortal; that even man himself was probably a flesh eater; and that storms and floods were as much a matter of course then as now. This to many will be a fairly radical reinterpretation, and I shall have to set out carefully my reasons for adopting it. It would be disingenuous to maintain that it had no attractiveness as making a reconciliation with the scientific view easier. It obviously has. But it seems to me, nevertheless, to be a valid conclusion (I am claiming no more) from the biblical teaching. Let me give my reasons.

The view that the primal creation was perfect is based principally on the repeated statements in Genesis 1 that the work of the successive days was 'good' 2. Except for minor variations at first, the formula which announces this is quite uniform and in the singular; 'it was good'. It seems reasonable to suppose therefore that it was the action taken to which the 'good' primarily applied. At the end, God saw all that he had done3, and 'it was very good' 4. In the common view, this is effectively taken to mean that, judged from our present day standpoint, everything was there and then perfect; the whole contained no single source of disharmony. This conclusion is hardly beyond question, as I shall try to show.

A supporting argument for the common view is based on Gen.1.29,30: Behold, I have given you every plant for food. On the face of it this appears to say that man and the animals at the beginning were wholly vegetarian. This conclusion is apparently reinforced by God's words to Noah when the earth was re‑peopled after the flood: Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything 5. This is a new concession, it seems, made to man fallen from innocence. With it comes 'fear' and 'dread' of him into the animal world. Interpreted thus, this reference adds its support to the view under discussion. All‑in‑all therefore, it has been argued, the Bible gives us the picture of a primal creation where all was harmonious, was where the predatory habit, and fear and pain were unknown. The Messianic age it seems, will restore this, for then, they shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain 6.

Now the trouble with this view is that it jumps to conclusions I believe, too quickly. It makes the assumption, for instance, that it knows exactly what the Bible means when it says that what God had 'made' or 'done' was 'good' or 'very good'. It tends to make these epithets absolute, instead of relative, and this is especially apt to mislead when the verb is translated made. But if they are taken as relative (as in some sense they must be, for God alone possesses absolute goodness)7 a natural question is, relative to what?; and an obvious answer is, relative to the purposes of the Creator. Before we consider the wider question this raises it is worth noting a minor parallel, also from the Pentateuch. The land of Canaan where Israel was to start its national life God pronounces a good land . . flowing with milk and honey 8. Yet in spite of this it was occupied by fierce aliens; it required both hard fighting to possess it and hard work to exploit it; and it remained surrounded by potential enemies. Its God‑declared 'goodness' did not reside in its splendid climate; superlative scenery, natural resources, freedom from threat and whatever else makes people happy; we could all probably think of places much better. It resided rather in its eminent suitability for God's purpose of blessing and training His chosen people.

What of the question then of the purposes of God in creating our physical cosmos (or should we restrict ourselves to the earth, Luke 4.5ff)? Here Milton is almost certainly on biblical grounds in linking our destiny with other and non‑physical orders of creation. The Bible bears witness to the fact that our cosmos is not all that God has created. Jesus spoke of the angels, good and bad 9; Peter writes of angels, authorities and powers 10; Paul of the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, the powers, the world‑rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places 11. Of course, belief in such orders of created intelligences (particularly evil ones) is widely rejected today, especially in educated circles. Why? 'Theological and philosophical fashion' is the principal answer. There is no actual evidence against this belief; on the contrary there is a great deal of evidence for it 12. The devil (to be particular) may be out of contemporary scholarly favour, but clearly he's not out of a job. Like all wreckers he prefers to work in secret, unrecognized and unsuspected, so the present climate of opinion is not surprising, and no doubt suits him well 13.

Now the bearing of this on our subject should be obvious. The primal creation was one to which, in the wisdom of God, this great Adversary had not only access, but actually authority14. Why is not clearly revealed. What the Bible does tell us is that the work of Christ, conceived in heaven and wrought on earth, has reference to more than just the plight of humanity, however central to it that may be. He must reign till he has put all his enemies under his feet, Paul writes; and this includes Satan and the fallen angels 15. In this work of overcoming angelic rebellion and handing over the kingdom to God the Father 16, humanity has a central significance. It is 'through death' at the hands of men that Jesus destroys him that has the power of death, that is the devil 17, and it is through his death, confessed by faith, that redeemed humanity itself overcomes the devil and participates in his defeat 18. Thus, Paul says, it is through the church (i.e. the body of believers) that God the Creator makes known Hismanifold wisdom . . to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places as He fulfils His eternal purpose to unite all things in Christ Jesus as Lord 19.

What all this suggests is that God had a purpose in the creation of our physical cosmos that reached beyond it, just as He had a purpose in calling Abraham that reached beyond his own race 20. He already had a rebellion on His hands, and our world was to be the scene of an act (of supreme cost and self‑giving) by which He would not only reconcile our world to Himself (for that world would join the rebels) but also achieve the end of all rebellion and bring in everlasting righteousness 21. If we accept this, it is bound to influence the view we are prepared to take of the primal creation. We shall hardly expect the latter to be a state of perfect bliss, an idyllic paradise. We shall rather be ready to understand the 'good' and 'very good' of Genesis 1 in terms of the stern (but loving) programme the Creator had in mind for His new creature, man. At this programme we must now look.

It is expressed in the mandate given to man in Gen.1.28 which reads, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion . . overevery livingthing.. This mandate charged man with 'subduing' the earth 22. The Hebrew word for 'subdue' is kabas, and in all its other occurrences in Scripture (about twelve in all) it is used as a term indicating strong action in the face of opposition, enmity or evil 23. Thus, the land of Canaan was 'subdued' before Israel, though the Canaanites had chariots of iron 24; weapons of war are 'subdued'; so are iniquities 25. The word is never used in a mild sense. It indicates, I believe, that Adam was sent into a world where not all was sweetness and light, for in such a world what would there be to subdue? The animals, it suggests, included some that were wild and ferocious 26; and Adam was charged to exercise a genuinely civilizing role and promote harmony among them 27. In fact, this function is set out very suggestively in Psalm 8, where man's Godlikeness, his strong delegated authority (all things under his feet), his encounter with opposition (the enemy andthe avenger) and the secret of success (the open celebration of God's glory, even by babes and infants) are the significant emphases. What man failed to do it fell to the lot of Jesus the Messiah to accomplish, and it is no surprise, therefore, to find this psalm referred to Jesus in the New Testament 28. All this seems to justify us in believing that man's role was designed to be a Messianic one29.

We pass on to consider what is involved in the 'dominion' over the animal world with which man was charged. In common with 'subdue', the idea here is, as von Rad notes 23, "remarkably strong". It would seem indeed rather inappropriate if all man had to do was to exercise a gentle beneficence. What then did it involve? Permission to use animal flesh (as well as plants) for food? Calvin certainly had an open mind on this question 30. I shall argue at once that it did, and then attempt finally to reconcile this viewpoint with the statements of Genesis 1.29 and 9.2,3.

Soon after the expulsion from Eden man was keeping sheep 31. Indeed animals of a domesticable sort seem to have been explicitly included in the initial act of creation 32. The occupations of Cain and Abel are introduced in a strictly parallel fashion; the presumption is therefore that their purpose was similar, in the main to provide food and clothing. Abel's sheep can hardly have been only for religious sacrifice, as has been urged; for Abel brought only the firstlings as an offering. Further, of those sacrificed only the 'fat portions' appear to have been burnt 33. There is a strong presumption therefore that part of the sacrifice was eaten by the worshipper, (a practice to be regularized later in Israel's history). Again, sacrifice was not apparently a frequent event 34; it can hardly therefore have been the main purpose of Abel's sheep‑keeping. If this main purpose was to provide skins for clothing 35, what happened to the carcases? They can hardly have been left to rot, for how then could they ever have come to be regarded as a thing worthy to be offered in sacrifice? The biblical record seems therefore to point to the conclusion that man was, at least as early as Abel, a regular eater of animal flesh, and not only so in connection with sacrifice. Can we go further back than that? Yes, possibly. We have the statement that immediately subsequent to the Fall the Lord God made for Adam and his wife garments of skins, and clothed them. We need not suppose that this means that the Deity physically fabricated the garments Himself; rather He gave the word of instruction to Adam and his wife themselves or even to some angelic servants (cf. Gen.19.15f). But nothing is said about how the skins were to be acquired. Presumably this was by slaughter; but if this had been a radically new departure for man it is plausible to argue that this would have been made explicit. It is at least possible therefore that skins were ready to hand, having been used up to that point perhaps to construct shelters. This takes us back therefore to before the Fall, that is, into the primal creation.

We turn to the New Testament evidence. There is an important reference to what was almost certainly the eating of flesh 36 in 1Tim.4.3,4. Paul is warning Timothy against those who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. This is a strongly worded statement, with no obvious reference to the postdiluvial concession of Genesis 9:3. Rather, created 37 takes us right back to Genesis 1, an impression reinforced by the next verse: for everything created by God is good, as that great chapter stresses. We may conclude therefore that Paul is referring to the primal order before man fell, and that man's 'dominion' then included the use of flesh for food.

A quite distinct argument concerns the practice of Jesus. Even after his resurrection, in the power of an indestructible life 38, he himself partook of animal food and provided it for others39. Would this have been likely, it may reasonably be asked, if the eating of flesh had been a concession to man as fallen sinner? Concerning marriage ‑ coupled with foods by Paul in the passage we have just examined ‑ Jesus did not hesitate to re‑direct his disciples' obedience to the creation ordinance established 'in the time of man's innocency' 40. If man was in the time of his innocency a pure vegetarian why did not Jesus re‑direct his disciples to this ordinance too, instead of ignoring it? It would have been quite practicable (as experience both then and now confirms), and ex hypothesi, probably beneficial. I believe the right answer is that pure vegetarianism was not a creation ordinance in the sense in dispute; that is, it did not represent the primal status quo.

There remain to be considered two outstanding passages in Paul's epistle to the Romans. The first is Romans 8.18‑25, especially the statement in verse 20: the creation was subjected to futility not of its own will but by the will of Him who subjected it in hope 41. This statement is most often interpreted as referring to the curse of Gen.3; yet the whole passage quoted has no noteworthy verbal affinity with the latter, whose memorable language Paul might so easily have taken up into his own rhetoric, in the manner he so often adopts 42. It is true that there is an affinity of ideas between the two passages, Paul's picture of the whole creation groaning in travail recalling the words to Eve of pain in child‑bearing greatly multiplied, and death forming another link (if we interpret 'futility' as implying death). This we can agree. Yet I still feel a difficulty besides that lack of obvious verbal affinity. To extract the whole range of animal sorrows ‑ predation, savagery, jealousy, fear and death, with all else that could be read into 'futility' ‑ from the simple terms of the curse (which mentions only the ground . . thorns and thistles) is to go far beyond what those terms themselves suggest. It is surely sounder exegesis to limit the meaning of the curse as far as possible to what it actually says, if this yields an adequate sense; and the sense that man's relationship with his natural environment was henceforth to be a blighted one is serious enough. We shall discuss it further below. What is being suggested therefore is that we should abandon an interpretation that equates the subjection to futility simply with the Genesis curse, and understand it instead as referring to the primal creation itself. Meanwhile, it is not necessary to dismiss as of no significance the presence of the two important ideas (travail and death) linking Paul's passage and the curse; they retain importance as part of the wider view.

There is, moreover, an objection of a different sort to the traditional interpretation of this great passage. To identify the subjection to futility with the curse is to anchor it to a particular moment within history 43; it is from this moment that Paul's thought is made to take off. But Paul does not seem to be in such a temporally‑limited frame of mind in this chapter; witness verses 29 and 30, where the span of his thought is from foreknowledge (before history began) to glory (after it has ended). Is it not likely, we may ask, that the same is true of his thought in the passage we are discussing? If this is so, its span would then be from the very conceiving of the physical creation to its fulfilment in the liberty of the glory of the children of God. On this understanding of Paul's words the subjection to futility comes within the purview of Genesis 1 rather than of Genesis 3; this is what we have been maintaining.

      The second passage is the moving peroration with which Paul closes the eleventh chapter of Romans (11.33‑36 NKJV):

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledgeof God! How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out.' For who has known the mind of the LORD or who has been His counsellor? Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be repaid to him? For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to Whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Of what is Paul thinking when he uses the words 'unsearchable' and 'past finding out'? Principally, no doubt, of God's ways as Redeemer. But he can hardly be thinking exclusively of these. One of his principal lines is from Isaiah 40, a chapter rich in allusions to creation. Further, the from, through and to of Romans 11.36 is too close to other similar Pauline passages 44 for it to be denied that God as Creator is also in view here. Now it is clearly inadmissible in the case of redemption to limit this great ascription of praise to a historical process which began only with Adam's sin (as if redemption was an ad hoc idea only then conceived by God). In terms of time it must span the whole of God's revealed activity (and more) from Gen. 1.l onwards: the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory 45. But if that is true for redemption it is a priori likely to be true for creation also. Again, Paul powerfully asserts that God's ways run utterly counter to what human wisdom would expect: God has consigned all men to disobedience that He might have mercy upon all46. He is speaking here, of course, of God as Redeemer; but again there is no reason to disbelieve that God's ways as Creator partake of this same character. They too are 'unsearchable' and 'past finding out', and that from the very foundation of the world. They no more make sense to natural human wisdom than does God's plan of salvation. For this reason therefore I find no difficulty in believing that, in God's inscrutable wisdom, the animal world was created subject to futility 47; that is, subject to the same imperfections as we see it to have now. Man failed in his mandate to lead it to liberty 48, and now he is himself in thrall to futility and death and awaits his own final redemption. With his revealing in glory as God's son, Paul asserts, the animal creation too ‑ and no doubt more beside ‑ will attain its own glorious fulfilment, and its travail will be at an end. This is the cosmic hope to which it is looking forward. If it be objected to this reading of the scriptural evidence that there is a grave moral difficulty in believing that God created animals subject to such evils as have been outlined (for example, death and predation) there is an immediate reply. Is it in principle less of a difficulty to believe that he would have subjected them afterwards to the same evils through no fault of their own? 49 Surely not; for the evils we are thinking of go far beyond what a mere solidarity between man and the animals would naturally entail 50 . Thus the moral objection seems to cancel itself out; it is one of the deep things not yet made known to us.

I am not maintaining dogmatically that the view advanced here is without doubt the Bible's teaching; but I believe that it is sound exegetically, and it seems to makes better sense than the usual view. Of course, as we noted earlier, it is easier than the latter to harmonize with the theory of organic evolution; but that should not be allowed to prejudice us either way. Nevertheless, were the cases for both interpretations hermeneutically exactly equal, evidence of an extra‑biblical (i.e. scientific) nature should surely be allowed to influence the view we take. This principle has been universally accepted in connection with the interpretation of biblical passages which seem prima facie to suggest the mechanical fixity of the earth (e.g. Pss.93.1; 104.5), and the result has been a genuine deepening of our insight into Scripture. It is at least possible that the same may be true in connection with our understanding of the primal creation, and that, here too, study of nature has a little to offer. I firmly believe that Scripture implies that it is God Himself who teaches man the principles used in science (see Isa.28.23‑29), and I have defended this view elsewhere 51. All truth is God's truth; and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving (1Tim.4.4).

We may summarize this understanding of the primal earth as it was 'in the time of man's innocency' as follows:

(1)       It faced a brooding, antagonistic and personal 'Power of darkness', of whose origin the Bible tells us little 52. It was destined to be the theatre of his overthrow, and this seems to be already implied in the very strong mandate given to man. The primal creation can hardly therefore be regarded as idyllic.

(2)           The Bible gives us no real reason to doubt that in its general physiography and its flora and fauna the primal earth 'in the time of man's innocency' was essentially the same as it is today; that is, that there were predators and herbivores, fruit trees and thistles, sunshine and storm, and much else that we now see.

(3)       The primal creation was nevertheless 'very good' in view of the purpose God had in prospect for it.

Man was to play a key Messianic role, and the outcome of his filial obedience (we may conjecture from reading the Bible more widely) would be a happy race of men and women filling the earth, living in complete harmony with one another and their environment and revelling in the divine presence. The earth's physical turbulence would have been subdued for beneficial use; the animal creation civilized and brought into concord by the gentle elimination of discordant elements 53; and the plant world encouraged into luxuriance and beauty. We are not to suppose that the Curse (which will be discussed later) altered the direction of man's endeavours to master the earth; it only soured and largely perverted them. The mandate originally given to man was to eradicate everything hurtful, promote peace, organize plenty, and attain in himself a wondering comprehension of the world he lived in. The setting of the primal creation provided for this programme to go ahead with speed and success; and the far‑reaching directive of Gen.1.29,30 (Ihave given you every plant yielding seed . . and every tree with . fruit . and every green plant for food) is interpreted accordingly, and in harmony with other scriptures. It was not what was there and then in force, but a goal to be worked to. Had man lived in filial obedience all this delightful outcome would have been happily and no doubt speedily achieved 54 . That was why God saw all that he had done, and behold it was very good. Alas ‑ but that is another story.

The Genesis witness has far‑reaching significance. Some great Eastern philosophies 55 are world‑ and life‑denying. Existence, they teach, is an evil thing. Something of their attitude spasmodically appears in Western society: "Stop the world, I want to get off." Against this the Bible is robustly world‑ and life‑affirming. Creaturely existence is good, it says. But that is not quite all. It is to get better. Hope, in the Bible, is one of the three outstanding things (faith, hope and love) which 'are always there'. Significantly therefore, the present interpretation implies that hope was in full exercise from the very first. Man was not brought on to the scene to enjoy a physical creation already perfect and looking forward to nothing better. Rather, as the first creature with full self‑consciousness, to be a fellow‑worker with God 56, he was given the task of leading the animal world to a fuller liberty and more pleasurable life. This conclusion gains in significance from understanding Paul's subjection to futility as a reference not only to the curse of Genesis 3, but also to the creation‑work of Genesis 1. Paul's eager expectation (i.e. 'hope') thus assumes an earlier and more fundamental place in God's scheme of things 57. That is surely, as it should be, entirely appropriate for one of the three things which 'abide' and are always there (1Cor.13.13).

Conclusion

The subject of the present chapter is one on which the Bible leaves us 'knowing only in part' (1Cor.13.9), as it does the vast question of the origin of evil. But it indicates clearly (Eph.3.9f) that there are invisible realities concerned not open to scientific enquiry. What this chapter has attempted to do is to think of the 'primal creation' in the light of these realities also, headed up as they are by the Serpent (Rev.12.9). This approach is surely a biblically valid one.

NOTES

1    cf. Isaiah 11.9

2      Gen.1.4,10,12,18,21,25. The verb (in italics, KJV) is understood.

3    The Hebrew verb asa means equally both 'do' and 'make' (like French

      faire); compare Gen. 2.2 in RV and RSV,. and Gen. 1.31 and 2.2 (where

      the same verb is used) in the NIV, RSV, REB. I have adopted the

      meaning 'do' here.

4    Gen.1.31 The words (italicised in some versions) 'it was' or 'it is' are supplied by the translator.

5    Gen.9.2,3

6    Isaiah 11.9

7    Mark 10.18

8    Exod.3.8

9    e.g. Matt.13.34; 25.41

10  1 Pet.3.22

11  Eph.6.12

12  The witness of the Bible; the sheer concreteness of evil; occult

      phenomena and present‑day demon‑possession; the experience of dread;

      primitive intuition. See the sensible remarks of the eminent scholar

      C. E. B. Cranfield, CambridgeGreek Testament COMMENTARY ON MARK p.75

      (CUP, 1977)

13  Attempts have been made to replace the idea of a personal Devil with

      impersonal philosophical conceptions such as the Das Nichtige of Karl

      Barth (cf. John Hick, EVIL AND THE GOD OF LOVE, SCM Press, 1966).

      The results are without practical power, spiritually or ethically.

      It is best to take the Bible in its plain and consistent sense, however great the problem for theodicy.

14   As Gen.3 makes plain. See especially Luke 4.5‑8. For the identity of the tempter see Mark 1.13; 2Cor.11.3; 2Thess.2.9,10; Rev.12.9.

15      1Cor.15.24‑26, cf. Matt.25.31,41; Heb.2.14; 1John 3.8

16      1Cor.15.24

17  Heb.2.14

18      Rev.12.7‑12 ‑ by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their

      testimony, cf. also Luke 10.17,18; Rom.16.19,20

19  Eph.1.10; 3.9,10,11; Co1.1.20

20  Gen.12.3 (NIV)

21  Dan.9.24.

22   I shall limit my comments almost entirely to the living world, though the mandate undoubtedly covers also the non‑living. It is, in fact, a mandate for all branches of science and technology.

23   "The expressions for the exercise of this dominion are remarkably strong: rada, 'tread', 'trample' (e.g. the wine press); similarly kabas, 'stamp' ". G. von Rad, GENESIS pp.59f.

24  Joshua 17.8; 18.1; ('land' is the same word as 'earth' in Gen.1.28, and 'subduing the land' means 'subduing the inhabitants').

25   Zech.9.15 (for literal, see RV); Mic.7.19

26   See Appendix IV(i) on the 'great sea monsters' of Gen.1.21

27   Even today some men and women have remarkable power to establish friendships between animals naturally enemies. Compare the comment about Jesus in Mark 1.13 and cf. Mark 11.2.

28       Matt.21.16 (quoting from the Septuagint); Heb.2.6‑9

29   Had man faithfully fulfilled his mandate, the outcome, I suggest, would have been as described in Isa. 11.6‑9. The critical factor in securing this is given in verse 9 ‑ the universal knowledge of God. So far from disseminating this knowledge, Adam lost it himself.

30 John Calvin, COMMENTARY ON GENESIS (Eng.trans.1847, Banner of Truth Trust) See comments on Gen.1.29,30 and 9.3; also the fine recent commentary by Henri Blocher op.cit., p.209 note.

31  Gen.4.2

32   Gen.1.24. The Hebrew word translated 'cattle' here can mean simply 'beasts', but the verse is usually interpreted as suggested (cf.NIV). The reference in Ps.8.7 seems to put it beyond reasonable doubt that animals for domestication are meant.

33  Gen.4.4 (NIV, NEB, GNB); cf. the Peace Offering, Lev.3.1‑5; 7.11‑15.

34  Gen.4.3. 'In the course of time', lit. 'at the end of days', seems to imply this.

35  Man's first clothing seems to have been of animal skins, not fabricated wool (cf. Gen.3.21).

36  'Food' here is the general term broma (cf. Matt.14.15). It certainly commonly includes flesh (cf. Rom.14.2,15,20, where it is used three times, with 14.21 where 'flesh' and 'wine' are mentioned explicitly as included in the term; cf. similarly 1Cor.8.13).

37   The aorist tense here indicates an action complete in itself. Had Paul wished to refer to the continuing creation of animals, generation by generation (Ps.104.30) he would surely have used the present.

38 Heb.7.16; cf. Rom.6.9,10

39  Luke 24.42; John 21.9,10

40       Matt.19.4,5. The phrase quoted is from the Marriage Service (BCP).

41  'Futility' (RSV); 'frustration' (NIV, REB); 'inability to attain its purpose' (JB).

42  See such passages as Rom.10.6‑8; 11.34,35; 1Cor.1.20; 2Cor.3.18; 4.6; Ga1.1.15 etc. Note further how unambiguously Paul refers to the Fall in Rom.5.12‑21; there is no such plain reference here

43  This conclusion is not altered if some scholars refuse to regard the Fall as a matter of history; what is important is that Paul himself regarded it as such.

44   e.g. 1Cor.8.6; 11.12; Co1.1.16,17

45   cf. 1Cor.2.7; Eph.1.4,7; 2Tim.1.9,10 (NIV, NEB).; 1Pet.1.18,20; Rev.13.8. The significant phrases are 'before the foundation of the world', 'before times eternal', 'before the ages'.

46      Rom.11.32; cf. 1Cor.1.18‑21

47  Contrast Isa. 42.4; John 17.4.

48      Rom.8.20,21

49  See C E B Cranfield, op. cit. on Rom.8.20.

50  A dog suffers when its master takes to drink ‑ that is an outcome of solidarity. But it doesn't undergo structural and physiological changes which alter its whole biology.

51   Is Hell for Ever? Churchman 110 (2) pp.107‑120 1996

52   Luke 22.53b, cf. Co1.1.13. In both cases the key word is exousia which almost invariably in the N.T. stands for authority vested in a person; the Power was personal. See also Luke 4.6ff. Satan's fall is perhaps adumbrated in Isa. 14.12ff, Jude 6.

53 Such as predators and parasites

54 cf. Isa. 48.18,19

55 e.g. the various forms of Buddhism

56 1Cor.3.9; Acts 15.28

57     Rom.8.19‑22; note the mention of 'pains of childbirth' in v.22. 'Hope' to the biblical writers means 'joyous expectation'.