For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.…
In the text we have —
I. THE PARTY WHOSE UNEASINESS IS TAKEN NOTICE OF. "The whole creation." Yet this phrase is not so universal but that it admits of some exceptions.
1. The angels, for as they were not made for man, so they are already perfectly happy.
2. The devils. The creature here is subjected in hope (ver. 20), but the case of devils is hopeless.
3. The reprobate. Their groans shall never have an end.
4. The elect. Some of them are in heaven, and groan no more, and those on earth must also be excepted (ver. 23). Now, these being excepted, it remains that by the whole creation we understand the creatures made for the use of man. They are all uneasy. The visible heavens were made the roof of his house, the earth his floor; the sun, moon, and stars were made to be his lights, the air to breathe in, the wind to refresh him; the various produce of the earth to afford him necessaries, conveniences, and delights. He was lord of sea and land. Fishes, fowls, and beasts of the earth, were all at his command. While he stood they were all of them most easy in his service. But now that matters are reversed with him their situation is also reversed.
II. THE AGONY THAT THE WHOLE CREATION IS IN.
1. They groan. This is a metaphor taken from a man with a heavy burden on his back, which so straitens him that he cannot freely draw his breath, and when he gets it it is a groan.
2. They "travail in pain." A metaphor taken from a woman bringing forth a child.
III. THE MOURNFUL CONCERT THEY MAKE. They groan and travail together. Before sin entered into the world they all looked blythe, and as it were sung together; but now they have changed their tune and groan together.
IV. HOW LONG THEY HAVE SUNG TO THE MELANCHOLY TUNE. "Until now." And how long it may be to their delivery we know not. But one thing we know, it will never be till the world end.
V. THE AUDITORY THAT LISTENS TO THE MOURNFUL CONCERT. "We," believers, hear the mournful ditty. Can the shepherd not observe when the whole flock is crying together? Were all the men of a city groaning, and all the women travailing, that person must be deaf that would not hear the sound, and he must have an heart of adamant that would not be affected. But the whole creation, above us and about us, are groaning and travailing together, and that for our sakes; yet a sinful generation has no ears to hear, no heart to be affected with it, and with sin which is the cause. But serious Christians, awake to it, cannot miss to hear, and their ears affect their hearts.
(T. Boston, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.