The Suffering Of The Created World

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
–Romans 8:19

In Romans 8:18, Paul said, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Isn’t it interesting that Paul did not go into a lengthy defense of the reality of suffering? He did not say, “Let me prove to you that we suffer.” He did not have to. We all understand that. Instead of defending the concept of suffering, Paul explained, beginning in verse 19, the realms in which suffering takes place.

Paul began his discussion by talking about the suffering of the created world. The suffering of creation is in some ways the reason that we suffer in our own lives. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. … For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (8:19, 22). All of creation is suffering and groaning, looking for something better. Paul was talking about the natural world: plants, trees, animals, and vegetation. He was saying the natural world is groaning and looking for something better. He was not suggesting that the plants and the trees have feelings. But the idea is that they are under a burden, and they are looking for something that is yet to come.

What does the Bible say about nature? What the Bible says about the natural world is very different from what today’s students are being taught. First of all, God created a perfect world. This world did not evolve over a long period of time into something better; it started out perfect. Isaiah 45:18 says God did not create the world “a waste place.” When Adam and Eve inherited the Garden of Eden, there was no pollution, no thorns, thistles, or weeds. Second, sin corrupted the world. When Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God, spiritual death came to all men because of Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12). The environment also had a curse placed on it because of sin. After Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God, God said, “Cursed is the ground because of you … thorns and thistles it shall grow for you” (Genesis 3:17-18). It is not man’s sin against the environment but man’s sin against God that produced the curse of the created world. Third, the Bible promises that one day God will redeem the world. One day the curse He placed on the environment will be lifted. Romans 8:19-21 says, “The anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly 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 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

Just as you and I are looking forward to the day that we will be set free from the curse of sin and death, one day creation is going to be set free as well. God will destroy this present Heaven and earth and create a New Heaven and New Earth. And all of creation will rejoice on that day.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “From Hurts to Hallelujahs” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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