“… creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19, RSV).

These are cosmic terms that St. Paul uses in the eighth chapter of the book of Romans. He sees manifold aspects of a cosmic disorder and then rejoices in the certainty of a glorious cosmic hope. Central to his whole thought is the key position of man in relation both to the disorder in the cosmos and to the hope which is set before us; for men are organically related to the whole natural order.

The cosmic disorder is a compound of frustration, corruption, and pain, and it penetrates to every branch of creation. In the human part of creation, there are “the sufferings of this present time”; in the animal and inanimate creation there is subjection to “futility” or frustration and “the bondage of corruption,” and there is “groaning and travailing in pain” everywhere in the physical world, not excluding that part of it represented by the bodies of Christians. Everywhere there is need of redemption.

This revelational light on creation’s insecurities has its counterpart in the scientifically observable facts of the physical universe and in the recurring element of decay in the story of men and nations. Physicists have given us the term “entropy” for the running down of the cosmic clock or “the measure of the unavailable energy in a thermodynamic system” (Webster’s dictionary). According to the second law of thermodynamics the random element in the physical universe has a constant tendency to increase. Then too there is instability in the atomic structure of some elements; and the principle of indeterminacy has been shown to be an integral aspect of the microscopic universe.

Just how much of the knowledge derived from scientific investigation ...

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