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THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS - Chapter 8 - Verse 22

Verse 22. For we know.The sentiment of this verse is designed as an illustration of what had just been said.

That the whole creation. Margin, "every creature." This expression has been commonly understood as meaning the same as "the creature" in Ro 8:20,21. But I understand it as having a different signification; and as being used in the natural and usual signification of the word creature, or creation. It refers, as I suppose, to the whole animate creation; to all living beings; to the state of all created things here, as in a condition of pain and disorder, and groaning and death. Everything which we see; every creature which lives, is thus subjected to a state of servitude, pain, vanity, and death. The reasons for supposing that this is the true interpretation are,

(1.) That the apostle expressly speaks of "the whole creation," of every creature, qualifying the phrase by the expression "we know," as if he was drawing an illustration from a well-understood, universal fact.

(2.) This interpretation makes consistent sense, and makes the verse have a direct bearing on the argument. It is just an argument from analogy, he had (Ro 8:20,21) said that the condition of a Christian was one of bondage and servitude. It was an imperfect, humiliating state; one attended with pain, sorrow, and death. This might be regarded as a melancholy description; and the question might arise, why was not the Christian at once delivered from this? The answer is in this verse. It is just the condition of everything. It is the manifest principle on which God governs the world. The whole creation is in just this condition; and we are not to be surprised, therefore, if it is the condition of the believer. It is a part of the universal system of things; it accords with everything we see; and we are not to be surprised that the church exists on the same principle of administration— in a state of bondage, imperfection, sorrow, and sighing for deliverance.

Groaneth. Greek, Groans together. All is united in a condition of sorrow. The expression denotes mutual and universal grief. It is one wide and loud lamentation, in which a dying world unites; and in which it has united "until now."

And travaileth in pain together. This expression properly denotes the extreme pain of parturition. It also denotes any intense agony, or extreme suffering; and it means here that the condition of all things has been that of intense, united, and continued suffering; in other words, that we are in a world of misery and death. This has been united; all have partaken of it: it has been intense; all endure much: it has been unremitted; every age has experienced the repetition of the same thing.

Until now. Till the time when the apostle wrote. It is equally true of the time since he wrote. It has been the characteristic of every age. It is remarkable that the apostle does not here say of "the whole creation," that it had any hope of deliverance; an additional consideration that shows that the interpretation above suggested is correct, Ro 8:20,21,23.

Of the sighing and suffering universe he says nothing with respect to its future state. He does not say that the suffering brutal creation shall be compensated, or shall be restored or raised up. He simply adverts to the fact that it suffers, as an illustration that the condition of the Christian is not singular and peculiar. The Scriptures say nothing of the future condition of the brutal creation.

{1} "the whole creation" or, "every creature"

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