Key Verse: Romans 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.”
“Earth Day” is coming up soon. It is a day of laudable, idealism and provides an appropriate warning: we must assume, finally, our responsibility as stewards of our home planet. As novel as Earth Day is, however, it may surprise you to learn that the Bible has been teaching stewardship not only of the earth, but of creation, for hundreds of years. On top of that, Paul tells us that they creation is somehow dependent for its renewal on the “children of God” (v.21).
Paul says the creation is bound “to decay” (v.21), presumably because man, who has been placed as steward, has willfully sinned and fallen “short of the glory of God”. We’ve polluted creation, not only with our garbage and toxic waste, but with our self-absorption. It has no power to cleanse itself; it must wait for the sons of God to be cleansed — then the creation clean-up and recreation can proceed. That’s why the frustrated creation “has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (v.22). Paul suggests that our own frustration (our own inward groaning) gives us insight into how the creation feels, “as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (v.23).
So the creation hopes and waits. Just as we hope and wait. But there’s a final word to a groaning universe, and a groaning people — it’s a groaning Holy Spirit (v.26). God Himself groans.
But the point is this: the pain is childbirth pain. A new creation is at the door. And only those who have been “born from above” will enter that spring-fresh kingdom. All creation, earth and man will be made new.