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.Romans 8:19-22 NIV
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
There are probably not many who will look out at the world and see it as being perfect. While in many ways the natural world is glorious, it is also one filled with disease and upheaval. Earthquakes, storms and drought are common across the globe. While the earth has little pockets of paradise; by and large it is unsettled. And that does not even take into account the impacts of human action.
Paul here seems to allude back to God’s creation in Genesis and his pronouncement that it was very good. And then to the fall of humanity and the resultant consequences for all of creation. Creation is now subjected to frustration by the will of God; hoping for something to come.
But he also looks forward to the fulfilment of that hope; the revelation of the children of God. When that occurs, the creation will be liberated from its bondage to decay. The creation itself will participate in the freedom and glory of God’s children.
At Christ’s return, when he comes for his chosen ones, the whole creation itself will be transformed and renewed. The groanings of the creation now are compared to childbirth. It will come to an end when God’s children are fully revealed. Until then, it suffers in anticipation.