Romans 8:22
For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Groaneth and travaileth.—In view of the physical evil and misery prevalent in the world, the Apostle attributes a human consciousness of pain to the rest of creation. It groans and travails together, i.e., every member of it in common with its kind. The idea of travailing, as in childbirth, has reference to the future prospect of joyful delivery. (Comp. John 16:21.)

Until now.—This consciousness of pain and imperfection has been continuous and unbroken (nor will it cease until an end is put to it by the Coming of Christ.)

Romans 8:22. For we know that the whole creation — Ever since the first apostacy of our nature from God; groaneth — Suffers a variety of miseries; and travaileth Συνωδινει, literally, is in the pains of childbirth, to be delivered from the burden of the curse; until now — To this very hour, and so on to the time of deliverance. “According to some commentators, the words πασα η κτισις denote the whole creatures of God, animate and inanimate, which, as they were cursed for the sin of the first man, may, by a beautiful rhetorical figure, be represented as groaning together under that curse, and earnestly wishing to be delivered from it. Such figures indeed are not unusual in Scripture. See Psalm 96:12; Psalm 98:8. Nevertheless, Romans 8:21, where it is said that the creature itself shall be delivered, &c., into the glorious liberty of the children of God; and the antithesis, Romans 8:23, not only they, but ourselves also, show that the apostle is speaking, not of the brute and inanimate creation but of mankind, and of their earnest desire of immortality. For these reasons, and especially because (Mark 16:15) preach the gospel, παση τη κτισει, means, to every human creature, I think the same expression in this verse, and η κτισις in the preceding verses, signify mankind in general, Jews as well as Gentiles. The same expression, also, Colossians 1:23, signifies every human creature.” — Macknight.8:18-25 The sufferings of the saints strike no deeper than the things of time, last no longer than the present time, are light afflictions, and but for a moment. How vastly different are the sentence of the word and the sentiment of the world, concerning the sufferings of this present time! Indeed the whole creation seems to wait with earnest expectation for the period when the children of God shall be manifested in the glory prepared for them. There is an impurity, deformity, and infirmity, which has come upon the creature by the fall of man. There is an enmity of one creature to another. And they are used, or abused rather, by men as instruments of sin. Yet this deplorable state of the creation is in hope. God will deliver it from thus being held in bondage to man's depravity. The miseries of the human race, through their own and each other's wickedness, declare that the world is not always to continue as it is. Our having received the first-fruits of the Spirit, quickens our desires, encourages our hopes, and raises our expectations. Sin has been, and is, the guilty cause of all the suffering that exists in the creation of God. It has brought on the woes of earth; it has kindled the flames of hell. As to man, not a tear has been shed, not a groan has been uttered, not a pang has been felt, in body or mind, that has not come from sin. This is not all; sin is to be looked at as it affects the glory of God. Of this how fearfully regardless are the bulk of mankind! Believers have been brought into a state of safety; but their comfort consists rather in hope than in enjoyment. From this hope they cannot be turned by the vain expectation of finding satisfaction in the things of time and sense. We need patience, our way is rough and long; but He that shall come, will come, though he seems to tarry.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 Romans 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 Romans 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 - Until 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, Romans 8:20-21, Romans 8:23. 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 special. The Scriptures say nothing of the future condition of the brutal creation.

22. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now—If for man's sake alone the earth was cursed, it cannot surprise us that it should share in his recovery. And if so, to represent it as sympathizing with man's miseries, and as looking forward to his complete redemption as the period of its own emancipation from its present sin-blighted condition, is a beautiful thought, and in harmony with the general teaching of Scripture on the subject. (See on [2229]2Pe 3:13). If here again the heavens and the earth, with what is therein, be understood, then the apostle further enlargeth upon their present state and condition; before they waited and expected deliverance, now they groan and travail in pain. They also are metaphorical expressions; one is taken for a man who hath upon him a heavy burden, another from a woman that is near her delivery. And this they do

until now; i.e. from the fall of Adam to this present day. They that understand the words of the Gentile world, thus interpret them: We, the apostles and ministers of Jesus Christ, do find by experience, that the Gentiles are very forward to receive the gospel when they hear it, whilst the Jews generally reject it. The Gentile world is, as it were, in pangs of travail ever since Christ’s time till now, ready to bring forth sons and daughters to God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth,.... As a woman with child, ready to bring forth: for it is added,

and travaileth in pain together until now; regeneration is owing to the grace of God, which is compared to "seed", of which men are born again; the means of conveying it is the Gospel, and ministers are the instruments of begetting souls to Christ, and who travail in birth till Christ be formed in them: now the Gospel being carried by the apostles into the Gentile world, and being succeeded there, it was like a woman big with child, ready to bring forth many sons to God; for as it was prophesied, so it came to pass, that "more are the children of the desolate, than the children of the married wife", Isaiah 54:1; and these births were attended with pain. The apostles preached the word with much contention, and the Gentiles received it in much affliction, though with the joy of the Holy Ghost; as a woman rejoices when a man child is brought forth, though the birth has been attended with pain and labour. This was an united groan, and travail of all the converted Gentiles in the several parts of the world, together with the ministers of the Gospel, earnestly desiring more instances of conversion among them; and this vehement desire had appeared "until now", from the first time of the preaching of the Gospel among the Gentiles, to the writing of this epistle; and supposes, that though there were many spiritual births, there were more to come; as there has been, and will be more abundantly, in the latter day: and moreover, this painful labour, and these united groans for spiritual births, the apostles were well acquainted with, and therefore could say, "we know", &c. by their preaching among them, in whom they could easily observe, and do in their writings take notice, how eagerly desirous they were of having the Gospel preached unto them.

(The whole creation was brought under a curse because of Adam's sin. This curse will be removed in the eternal state when Christ will restore the creation to the way it was in the beginning. Editor.)

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and {c} travaileth in pain together until now.

(c) By this word is meant not only exceeding sorrow, but also the fruit that follows from it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Romans 8:22. Proof, not of the ἀποκαραδοκία τῆς κτίσεως (Philippi), which is much too distant, and whose goal remains quite unnoticed here; nor yet of the δουλεία τῆς φθορᾶς (Zahn), which was not the point of the foregoing thought at all; but of what was announced by ἐπʼ ἐλπίδι, ὅτι κ. . ἡ κτ. ἐλευθρωθήσεται κ.τ.λ. For if that hope of glorious deliverance had not been left to it, all nature would not have united its groaning and travailing until now. This phenomenon, so universal and so unbroken, cannot be conduct without an aim; on the contrary, it presupposes as the motive of the painful travail that very hope, towards whose final fulfilment it is directed. The οἴδαμεν (comp. Romans 2:2, Romans 3:19, Romans 7:14) is sufficiently explained as an appeal to the Christian consciousness, in which the view of nature stands in connection with the curse of sin. The perfectly superfluous assumption, that the apostle had a book before him containing a similar deduction (Ewald), is suggested by nothing in the text.

In συστενάζει. and συνωδίνει the συν is not a mere strengthening particle (Loesner, Michaelis, Semler, Ernesti, and Köllner), but, on the contrary (comp. Beza), finds its natural reference in πᾶσα, and denotes “gemitum et dolorem communem inter se partium creaturae,” Estius. Calvin, Pareus, Koppe, Ewald, and Umbreit, following Oecumenius, have indeed referred ΣΥΝ to the groaning being in common with that of the children of God; but against this view Romans 8:23 is decisive, and the reference to men generally, with whom the κτίσις sighs (Fritzsche), is foreign to the context. Fritzsche, without due reason, asserts the want of linguistic usage in favour of our view. For it is unquestionable that, in accordance with the usage of analogous verbs, ΣΥΣΤΕΝΆΖΕΙΝ may denote the common sighing of the elements comprised in the collective πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις among themselves (comp. Ephesians 4:16 : πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον, comp. Romans 2:21; Plat. Legg. iii. p. 686 B: ἐπεὶ γενομένη γε ἡ τότε διάνοια καὶ συμφωνήσασα εἰς ἕν, Dem. 516. 7 : ΣΥΝΟΡΓΙΣΘΕῚς Ὁ ΔῆΜΟς, 775. 18: ΣΥΝΤΑΡΆΤΤΕΤΑΙ Πᾶς Ὁ Τῆς ΠΌΛΕΩς ΚΌΣΜΟς). That concrete examples of that nature cannot be quoted, is not decisive against it, since συστενάζειν (Eur. Ion. 935, comp. συστένειν, Arist. Eth. ix. 11) and also συνωδίνειν (Eur. Hel. 727; Porphyr. de abst. iii. 10) are only extant in a very few passages. Comp. generally Winer, de verb. compos. II. p. 21 f. Just the same with συναλγεῖν, Plat. Rep. p. 462 D, and συλλυπεῖσθαι p. 462 E.

ΣΥΝΩΔΊΝΕΙ] Not an allusion to the חבלי המשיח (Reiche), because the dolores Messiae (see on Matthew 2:3) are peculiar sufferings, that shall immediately precede the appearance of the Messiah, whilst the travail of nature has continued since as early as Genesis 3:17 (Romans 8:20). But the figure is the same in both cases—that of the pains of labour. All nature groans and suffers anguish, as if in travail, over-against the moment of its deliverance. The conception of the ὠδίνειν is based on the fact that the painful struggling of the κτίσις is directed towards the longed-for change, with the setting in of which the suffering has accomplished its end and ceases. Comp. John 16:21.

ἌΧΡΙ ΤΟῦ ΝῦΝ] that is, up to the present moment; so incessantly has the sighing continued. Formerly Frommann imported the thought: until now, when the revelation of the true goal in Christ has taken place; see, against this, Zahn, p. 524 f. However, Frommann has now corrected his view. Hofmann erroneously takes it as: now still, in contrast to the future change. Comp. rather Php 1:5. The point of beginning of the sighing and travailing is that ὑπετάγη in Romans 8:20. Comp. also ἕως τοῦ νῦν in Matthew 24:21. Now still would be ἜΤΙ ΝῦΝ, 1 Corinthians 3:2.Romans 8:22. οἴδαμεν γὰρ κ.τ.λ.: How Christians know this Paul does not say. Perhaps we may say that the Christian consciousness of sin and redemption is in contact with the ultimate realities of the universe, and that no interpretation of nature can be true but one which, like this, is in essential harmony with it. The force of the preposition in συστενάζει and συνωδίνει is not that we sigh and are in pain, and creation along with us; but that the whole frame of creation, all its parts together, unite in sighing and in pain. Weiss is right in saying that there is no reference to the dolores Messiae; but in συνωδίνει there is the suggestion of the travail out of which the new world is to be born. ἄχρι τοῦ νῦν means up till now, without stopping, ever since the moment of ὑπετάγη.22. we know] By observation of the pain and disturbance everywhere in the material world.

travaileth in pain] A powerful and expressive word, indicating both great present distress and the definite result which is to close it.

together] This word is to be taken with both “groaneth” and “travaileth.” It refers to the complex whole of “creation;” all its kinds and regions share the distress and anticipation.

until now] i.e. ever since the primeval “subjugation.” The “now” perhaps specially refers to the Gospel Age, as that which heralds the final and eternal Age of Glory.Romans 8:22. Γὰρ, for) This aetiology[96] [assigning of a reason] supposes, that the groaning of the creature is not in vain, but that it is heard by God.—ΠᾶΣΑ) all [the whole]. It is considered as one whole, comp. Romans 8:28; Romans 8:32; Romans 8:39.—συστενάζει, groaneth together) with united groanings [sighings]. Dio Cassius, book 39, gives a singular example of this in the wailing of the elephants, which Pompey devoted to the public shows contrary to an express pledge [promise given], as men at the time interpreted it; and the people themselves were so affected by it, that they imprecated curses on the head of the commander.—ἄχρι, until) He insinuates, that there will be an end of pains and groans, the pains and groans of the creature.

[96] See Appendix.Verses 22, 23. - For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. The present unwilling subjection of the whole visible creation to evil is here still more forcibly expressed, and spoken of as being what is known - a subject of experience to all who observe and think; and it is added that this state of things continues still - it is "until now." The yearned-for deliverance has not yet come; and therefore we should not be surprised if we too, the regenerate, while in the body, are not yet exempt from our share in the universal groaning. For we have but the first fruits of the Spirit as yet, not its full triumph; cf. "the earnest of the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 1:22), and "the earnest of our inheritance " (Ephesians 1:14). Its being said that we still wait for our adoption as sons is not inconsistent with other statements (as in Ephesians 4:5-7, and above, ver. 14, etc.), to the effect that we are already adopted, and are already sons; for υἱοωεσία here denotes the final realization of our present sonship, when the sons of' God shall be revealed (ver. 19). Similarly, our redemption (ἀπολύτρωσις) is here regarded as future. In one sense we are redeemed already; in another we await our redemption, i.e. the full accomplishment thereof. It is the consummation called by our Lord ἡ παλιγγενεσία (Matthew 19:28), and by St. Peter, ἀποκατάστασις πάντων (Acts 3:21). cf. 2 Peter 3:13, and Revelation generally. "Of our body" seems to be added with reference to what has been seen above as to our present "mortal bodies" being both the organs of the lust of the flesh and the hindrances to the proper development of our inward spiritual life. For

Introducing the proof of the hope, not of the bondage.

Groaneth - travaileth together (συστενάζει - συνωδίνει)

Both only here in the New Testament. The simple verb ὠδίνω to travail, occurs Galatians 4:19, Galatians 4:27; Revelation 12:2; and the kindred noun ὠδίν birth-pang, in Matthew and Mark, Acts, and 1 Thessalonians 5:3. See on Mark 13:9; see on Acts 2:24. Together refers to the common longing of all the elements of the creation, not to its longing in common with God's children. "Nature, with its melancholy charm, resembles a bride who, at the very moment when she was fully attired for marriage, saw the bridegroom die. She still stands with her fresh crown and in her bridal dress, but her eyes are full of tears" (Schelling, cited by Godet).

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