(prop. נֶפֶשׂ, ne'phesh, animated or spirit having thing; κτίσμα [less distinctively κτίσις; on Ro 8:19, see the Baptist Quarterly, Apr. 1867, art. 2]; but also שֶׁרֶוֹ, she'rets, "moving creature," elsewhere "creeping thing," i.e. not merely reptile [q.v.], but any gliding or short- legged quadruped), a general term in the Scriptures for any animal (q.v.). SEE DOLEFUL CREATURE.
In the New Test. this word designates,
1. The whole creation, any or all created objects or beings; so Ro 8:39, "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature," etc.; Col 1:15, "the first-born (Master) of every creature;" Re 3:14, "the beginning (source) of the creation of God; comp. also Re 5:13; Heb 4:13.
2. Humanity, or the whole human race, in the universal sense; so Mr 10:6, "But from the beginning of the creation (κτίσεως) God made them male and female." The word here cannot mean the creation in general, since we find αὐτούς to explain the word κτίσις, or to bring the meaning back to it. Mr 16:15, "Preach the Gospel to every creature;" Col 1:23, "the Gospel which was preached to every creature which is under heaven." That mankind alone is here alluded to is self- evident, and the expression "under heaven" shows that all reasonable beings on earth are to be included in the meaning. Particularly remarkable, though different in sense, is the passage Ro 8:19-22, "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain together until now," in which also the expression creature is used to designate the totality of mankind. This is first indicated by the γάρ in verse 18, which brings forward in behalf of the λογίζομαι which rests on it, that "all mankind takes part in this aspiration and in the hope of future glorification." In ver. 23, Christians, as part of humanity, are set over against the whole of it. We cannot here place Christians in contrast with the inanimate creation, and overlook entirely the non-Christian part of mankind, to whom a vague longing after the glorious freedom of the children of God could be better attributed than to inanimate nature. Paul nowhere speaks of a "change" or glorification of the earthly abode of men; this δόξα is exclusively reserved for man (1Co 11:34). — Krehl, N.T. Handworterbuch; see also Ellicott, The Destiny of the Creature, 2d. ed. 1862; Journal of Sacred Literature, Oct. 1862, p. 27.
The LIVING CREATURES spoken of in Eze 10:15,17,20 (הִי, ehay, alive; the ζῶον of Re 5:6, sq., improperly "beast"), are imaginary or composite beings, symbolical of the divine attributes and operations, such as were common in the mythological representations of all antiquity. SEE CHERUB.