As Paul writes, “Creation groans and labors with birth pangs.”1 What are these birth pangs? Consider the similar language Jesus used to describe born-again believers.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”2
Being born again is the process by which God redeems corruption. In Romans 8:19-23, Paul links our own “groaning” for the future redemption of our bodies and the creation’s “groaning” to be redeemed. In the same way that we are redeemed and born again, so creation will be redeemed and born again.
For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits 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; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
In the future, Paul says in Acts 24:15, “There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” However, the outcomes of the just and the unjust will be very different from each other.
In Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, illustrating the Final Judgement, God will separate humanity. The unrighteous “will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”3 God will provide justice for all evil done on Earth, reward the righteous—and then redeem all creation.
Christians are forward-looking people. We do not bury our heads in the sand in despondency but lift our eyes toward our future redemption. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.”4
This has been long promised, even before the coming of Jesus. In Isaiah 65:17, God tells us,
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”
Let us not lose hope amid any evil, because God has given us the best hope imaginable: a wholly new creation. There, evil is not simply gone—it is entirely forgotten.
1. Romans 8:22.
2. John 3:6-7.
3. Matthew 25:46.
4. Revelation 21:4.
*Truett Billups is an editor at the Institute for Creation Research.