The Whole Creation Groans

Our incredible future beckons us from the creation.

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of eastern California
Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of eastern California

Source: By Dcrjsr via Wikimedia Commons

A couple of summers ago while my husband and I were up in the High Sierras of California camping, we decided to take a day trip to the ancient Bristlecone Pines.  We had caught our limit of trout, so we left the beauty of our surroundings to venture down the mountains on the west side of the Owens Valley and ascended the White Mountains on the east.  The road weaved its way through short scrub pines and rocky-colored shale, opening to panoramic displays of the mountain ranges on the west.

The paved road ended and we decided to proceed ahead on the dusty gravel road that led to the oldest of the trees.  The distance to the Patriarch Grove was 12 miles and the warning signs left you with the feeling of “abandon hope all ye who enter in.”  We had had a flat tire on the way to our campsite, so driving on our spare tire, we proceeded with a little concern but mostly anticipation.

The views changed from pines growing among granite rocks with colorful wildflowers in shades of red, purple and yellow scattered over the ground to something like the austere surface of the moon.  This was summer and temperature down in the valley reaches into the 100s, yet up where we were at the 11,000-foot level, small patches of snow dotted the ground.

We made it to the parking lot and surveyed the area around us.  There was no one around and the visitors’ area had been boarded up, but all around us stood the most amazing looking trees.  Hanging precipitously off the edges were sculpted pieces of reddish brown bark with roots twisting and weaving themselves into the rocky ground.  A branch here and there contained live pine needles with some showing small red pine cones.

Here stood the oldest living things on this earth.  One of the trees in the park named Methuselah is believed to be 4,750 years old.  Its location is kept a secret by the park rangers for fear that someone would damage the tree.  “Joe was here” just would not look right on the beautiful bark of one of these trees.  The tree identified to be the oldest back in the 50s at 4,862 years old was cut down by students who were studying tree rings.

Harsh conditions on earth

These trees do not sink their roots down into the ground to obtain moisture, for in this desolate area there is none.  They receive the nourishment from the air.  The winds twist and pummel them and sometimes when they topple over they continue to grow with their roots hugging the ground. The small pine cones drop to the ground and from their seeds small trees dot the landscape.  For these ancient Bristlecone Pines, life has been going on since the flood in Noah’s day.

The trees groan, struggle, persevere.  Why?  They are waiting stoically for the fulfillment of the verse in Romans:8:18-22, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”

To see those marvelous trees helps to bring to life the scriptures that reveal our awesome potential and responsibility.  To be in God’s family and to have a part with our Creator to restore the creation to the beauty it once had is an incredible privilege.  This time is described in Isaiah:51:3, “For the Lord will comfort Zion, He will comfort all her waste places; He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness will be found in it, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.”

God gave man a beautiful garden to live in (Genesis:2:8-15).  The animals, plants and trees grew in perfect harmony.  Man was to dress and keep it. But since man rejected God’s ways, creation and man have struggled ever since.  The flood brought a chance for renewal, but man, without seeking the knowledge of God, returned to his own ways.

So, high in the mountains of California and Nevada the seeds of the Bristlecone Pines began to sprout and grow again.  But, instead of growing strong and straight and healthy, they twist and struggle and groan. They are waiting for a glorious future!

To learn more about the amazing future in store for all creation, request our free Bible study aid What Is Your Destiny?


John-A-Mcguire's picture

Thank you Suzanne...mind provoking and courage in pray and obedience.


macnana's picture

What a nice article.
Since the rebellious against "Jehovah The Almighty God" by our first parents, man has not even a second not experience pain in his life. We all suffer pain(illness, death, wars,) just to name a few.
Since then all creation weep and suffer from the decision our first parent took.
We hope and we all await the day.
Let us not be hypocrite about what we learned from the Bible.
We must apply every single word in our daily life.
Greetings from Ghana!!!

linda effenberger

linda effenberger's picture

Thank you for your inspiring article. A picture holds a thousand words. Just to think of that old, twisted, deformed tree relates to our struggle to maintain life in Christ despite all the encounters and struggles we face. This tree is a good reminder of our quest to go onward until the time of change and renewal comes.

Interesting that the trees receive their nourishment from the air. God is everywhere like the air and God's people receive nourishment to grow in Christ through the Spirit of God. An analogy well worth to keep in mind.

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