Romans 8:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Romans 8:22, NIV: "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."

Romans 8:22, ESV: "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now."

Romans 8:22, KJV: "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Romans 8:22, NASB: "For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now."

Romans 8:22, NLT: "For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time."

Romans 8:22, CSB: "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now."

What does Romans 8:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The previous verse described a future moment when God's children will be revealed in glory, and all of creation will be freed from bondage to decay and corruption. In other words, all will be made right. Creation will be returned to the state it occupied when first created, before sin entered into the world (Revelation 21:1–4; 1 John 3:2).

Now Paul makes it clear that we are not there yet. In this present moment, all of creation continues to groan together in the pains of childbirth. Clearly, this groaning coming from creation as it suffers in bondage to decay has been going on since sin entered into the world. It's still happening. Paul also adds a hopeful word picture. This groaning is like the pains of childbirth. In other words, the pain is real, vivid, and intense, but it is leading to a moment of "birth" when all will be made right and the pain will be forgotten.

This is similar to an analogy used by Jesus, in John 16:21–22: "When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."

Once again, we see that this passage of Romans does not ignore or dismiss human suffering. Pain is real, and human beings experience suffering in this life. The point here is not that pain is pleasant—on the contrary, it's a miserable thing. What can get us through the pain is knowing what awaits us on the other side. This is much like a woman in labor to deliver a baby. No woman wants the pain, itself, but she is willing to endure it because of the joyful result it brings.

Paul will show in the following verse that not only does creation groan now, but we Christians do, as well. We are also waiting for the day when the suffering will end and all will be made right.