What Is The Creation of Romans 8:18-25?
Romans 8:18-25 states: "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. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance."
- Paul had already used the word "creation" (ktisis) earlier in his letter in reference to the created universe that God had made from the beginning: "For since the creation (ktisis) of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." Therefore, using the principle of the consistency of language, Paul is showing that this is in reference to the created universe.
- It cannot be referencing the church because Paul makes a distinction between the church (the sons of God) and the creation, which therefore cannot be referring to the church.
- The creation was subject to vanity - a historical allusion back to the very beginning of creation when it became corrupted because of a curse placed upon it (Genesis 3:15-17). Man was to labor harder for his food (which would now be obtained with difficulty, that is, with thorns and thistles) and woman was to bring forth children in pain (that is, her pain and conception would be multiplied).
- It cannot be referencing the church or mankind in general because the creation was made subject to vanity "not willingly". We know that those who came into the church (Acts 2:47) and mankind in general were/are sinners who sinned willingly. They had the choice to sin (1 John 3:4). Mankind bears the curse because of its own willful disobedience. The same cannot be said of "the creation" because it was not responsible for its terrible condition of corruption. Unlike man, it did not willingly disobey the commandments of God; but, it was God himself who made the choice to bring a curse upon it.
- There is a connection between the created universe and the Christians (the children of God) who live in that creation. Something will happen to the creation at the same time the children of God are rewarded with glory. The creation shall be delivered from the curse under which it has labored, just as Christians will be delivered from the bondage of corruption. We must recognize that the Bible harmonizes with itself. The Bible states in 2 Peter 3:10-13 that the earth and the works therein shall be burned up. It also states that the elements shall melt with a fervent heat. These statements must be made to harmonize with the saints being glorified and the creation being delivered from the bondage of corruption. This can only mean that our present physical, decaying bodies will have new, incorruptible transformed bodies given to them that are fit for the new dwelling place God will create and the present heavens and earth will be replaced with an incorruptible new (kainos - "new" in quality) heavens and new earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). Both Christians (as well as those redeemed under the other past dispensations) and the creation labor under the curse of corruption, which will be lifted at the final day of judgment. A glorious freedom is awaiting both in the future.
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