18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 20For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, 21Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. 23And not only they, 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.
God has built an extraordinary system within His creation, and He uses it to experientially teach mankind of His will and covenant. There is a great deal of evidence of His plan and purpose for humanity all around us, but it often goes unappreciated due to the abuse of sin. As Romans 1 teaches us, the “creature,” or all of creation is a testament of the will of it’s Creator, but it has been made subject to vanity.
Being subject to vanity simply means being exposed to the abuse of ungodly lusts and agendas. Everything physically created was intended to be a reflection of the glory of God, but the excessive and sinful pride of man has exploited the power of the Lord’s creation for his own worthless agenda.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
As a result, things as we see them are a deterioration from their divinely intended glory, because continued abuse has perverted the original purposes of God. The bible likens the creation’s suffering to birth pains, and this is a significant allegory that is used elsewhere in scripture. In much the same way that mothers experience and deal with the pain of giving birth, God’s creation and especially His children groan in pain while earnestly awaiting the manifestation of the sons of God.
So Romans 8:23 means this: like mothers enduring pain and showing signs of the promise within, all of creation along with the elect of God experience pain in this life but also increasingly reveal to others that we are the sons of God.
1 John 3:1-3
1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
The entire process of reproduction, beginning with betrothal and engagement, continuing into marriage, developing through conception and ending with birth is instituted by God to reflect His will. So, Satan’s attacks on these divine institutions and arrangements is nothing short of an attempt to distance humanity from purpose by robbing us of the information provided by God. Premarital sex (fornication) and sexual sin, unbiblical divorce, adultery and abortion among other evils are deeper than the acts committed in the flesh. At the core, they are spiritual attacks, inspired by Satan and carried out by mankind, that destroy humanity’s awareness of God’s plan and their ability to participate in it. The first instance of these sinful and destructive unions happened in the garden
*Genesis 3:8-16, 20
8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 14And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The Punishment of Mankind
16Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
20And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.*
In the garden of Eden, Satan deceived mankind into following him, essentially stealing the right to influence them as a result. He manipulated them into an unintended covenant with himself. The result was the undesirable seed of sin. He accomplished this with the same deceit that occurred within himself, wielding illusions of grandeur to overthrow their better wisdom of God’s sovereign purpose. Eve’s courtship of Satan exposed man’s naivety and vulnerability, and this created an opportunity for Satan to violate of the bride betrothed to Christ. Inevitably, sinful children were born alongside the children of promise who bore the nature of their mother’s rapist, Satan.
Understanding Verse 15 (between thy seed and her seed):
Notice, Eve is the called the mother of all living in verse 20. From her, the human race proceeded, both the good seed and bad seed. So when she eventually gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel, these two immediately reflect the curse previously pronounced by God, and they reflect the two types of spiritual seed that humanity carried—one being sin and the other salvation. As spoken by God, enmity (opposition; hatred; hostility) existed between Cain and Abel, and it has continued to this day among all mankind.
Eventually, the seed of promise, Jesus, would come and “it” would bruise Satan’s head as Satan would bruise His heel. This occurred during Jesus death on the cross. It is interesting that even before God used the singular word, “seed” with Abraham, He used it in Genesis 3:15 while speaking with Eve.
15Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. 17And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. 18For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
Remember that Adam and Eve as the husbandman and the bride are intended to represent Jesus and the bride of Christ. Interestingly, Eve was beguiled into sin, as expected, but Adam is the one who failed to represent the sacrifice and forgiveness of Christ as he should have.
Verse 16 is the curse upon the woman which is an intentional parallel to the curse upon humanity. Among other curses, a woman’s pain in childbirth reflects the struggle of the human condition as a result of sin, and she (humanity) shall eventually give birth to the promised seed of God. Therefore, as the children of God, our strength to endure pain and suffering comes when we consider that the promise of our future glory is about to be birthed (Ephesians 1:3-13) out of our struggle.
Ephesians 1:3-13 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Just as a woman shows ever-increasing signs of her imminent birth, the heightened power of the Holy Spirit is the increasing evidence that we are maturing within to eventually be united with our Heavenly Father in due season. Expect God to continue to do great things within us, in various ways, unto the praise of His glory!
Romans 8:12-17 12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
Satan’s kingdom and its agenda have not changed, and it has always reflected his nature. He was a liar from the beginning, seeking to affect the will of humanity through lustful imagery and cause them to unknowingly join him in covenants of sin and destruction. Mercy has been our only protection, holding us until we are discover our escape into the arms of grace that empower us back into our destiny, through Jesus.
Despite the treachery of Satan, none of His actions ever caught God by surprise, who anticipated the fall of naive men and provided a way of protection and deliverance. Our protection against the immediate destruction of our sin is found in the veil.