Paul tells us in Romans 8:22, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Before we can understand what this verse means, we must understand the context of this verse.
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
Now, that we have the background surrounding context, we can understand this verse of Scripture a great deal better. It is also recommended to read the verses ahead of a passage of Scripture as well in order to obtain the full meaning of the single verse.
The Groans of Creation
After we have read the surrounding context, we can understand that God’s entire creation is waiting in eager expectation when everything will be made perfect (Romans 8:18-21). This means the whole world, all the animals, and everything else in creation is in a waiting period.
As a person often does when waiting, creation is growing tired of waiting and is groaning together (Romans 8:22). More than simply growing tired, the world is groaning in pain. Jesus told us during His earthly ministry that there will be birth pangs before the end (Matthew 24:8).
Likewise, Paul compares the groaning of creation to be the same as the pains of childbirth. This is to emphasize the fact that creation is experiencing great pain. As rightly stated by BibleRef, “this groaning coming from creation as it suffers in bondage to decay has been going on since sin entered into the world.”
In other words, all of creation has been groaning ever since the fall of mankind, which happened in the Book of Genesis. Until the New Heavens and New Earth are created by God, all of creation will remain in the state of groaning together.
Similar to a woman giving birth, the groaning pains do not endure forever. The woman will eventually give birth even though she may be in labor for quite some time. After the woman gives birth to her baby, the groaning pains stop, and she can rejoice in the fact that her child has been born.
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world (John 16:21).
Likewise, creation is in groaning pains now, but it will be relieved of its pain once God establishes the New Heaven and New Earth. In the New Heaven and Earth, there will be no more pain, grief, or death for the old order of things has passed away.
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Revelation 21:4).
The Groans of Believers
In addition to the earth groaning, believers are groaning for the New Heaven and New Earth. Peter calls the New Heaven and New Earth “the home of righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13). If you are a believer, you may have had times when you have prayed for God’s coming to be quick.
We do this because we can see the pain, turmoil, and disaster in the world and we want to be freed from it. God did not design mankind to die as He never wanted us to die. God never wanted us to experience death, pain, or sin.
He created the Garden of Eden for us to live with Him free from death, pain, and sin; however, Adam and Eve chose to disobey God (Genesis 3:1-24). By disobeying God, Adam and Eve sinned, which meant they could no longer dwell in the Garden of Eden.
Rather than experiencing a pain-free life, mankind now has been born into sin and cursed (Genesis 3:14-19). In our inner souls, we know that the state of the world is not what it should be as God designed the world perfectly and declared it “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
In our modern-day society, it is not hard to discover that the world is filled with illness, turmoil, and hate. This is because of sin in the world. When God creates the new heaven and the new earth, sin will be eradicated and there will only be peace.
Until we reach that time, Christians will groan in anticipation of God’s new creation of the New Heaven and New Earth, which will be perfect. There is nothing we can do to speed up this process as only God is in control of when He will create the New Heaven and New Earth.
We do know that the Rapture will happen first, then the Tribulation, and finally the thousand-year reign of Christ. After the thousand-year reign of Christ, God will destroy the present earth and create our new home.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare (2 Peter 3:10).
As believers, we need to live in the light that one day we will be living in the New Heaven and New Earth. This is only possible because of Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins. If you are a Christian, you can rest in the knowledge that no matter what happens in your earthly life, everything will be wonderful in eternity.
Rather than focusing on the pain of this world and becoming disheartened, we can be encouraged by knowing that we are beloved children of God, awaiting our eternal home. If you are not a Christian, you can become one today by placing faith in Jesus.
You can do this by believing that Jesus died for you, was buried, and rose again (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). God wants all people to come to know Him and come to live with Him for all eternity. Until then, all of God’s creation will groan together.
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Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.