World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
19-22. For, &c.—"The apostle, fired with the thought of the future glory of the saints, pours forth this splendid passage, in which he represents the whole creation groaning under its present degradation, and looking and longing for the revelation of this glory as the end and consummation of its existence" [Hodge].
the earnest expectation—(compare Php 1:20).
of the creature—rather, "the creation."
waiteth for the manifestation—"is waiting for the revelation"
20. For the creature—"the creation."
was made subject to vanity, not willingly—that is, through no natural principle of decay. The apostle, personifying creation, represents it as only submitting to the vanity with which it was smitten, on man's account, in obedience to that superior power which had mysteriously linked its destinies with man's. And so he adds
but by reason of him who hath subjected the same—"who subjected it."
in hope—or "in hope that."
21. Because the creature itself also—"even the creation itself."
shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption—its bondage to the principle of decay.
into the glorious liberty—rather, "the liberty of the glory."
of the children of God—that is, the creation itself shall, in a glorious sense, be delivered into that freedom from debility and decay in which the children of God, when raised up in glory, shall expatiate: into this freedom from corruptibility the creation itself shall, in a glorious sense, be delivered (So Calvin, Beza, Bengel, Tholuck, Olshausen, De Wette, Meyer, Philippi, Hodge, Alford, &c.).
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 2Pe 3:13).