What does it mean for the creation to wait with earnest expectation for the revelation of the children of God in which it will be delivered from its own bondage of decay so as to experience the freedom of the redeemed and resurrected children of God? Romans 8:19-23
Moses Lard (1818-1880), the conservative editor of Lard’s Quarterly and the Apostolic Times, answered this question in his Commentary on Paul’s Letter to the Romans (1875). Here is his answer in part (pp. 269-273). The word “creation”
includes so much of all creation as fell under the original curse on account of Adam’s sin. Under that curse the earth certainly fell; for God cursed it directly and in so many words. The earth, then, I conclude, is among the things to be “delivered.” From every disability under which it now lies in consequence of sin it will be freed. Not only so, but it will be “translated” into a state of more than pristine newness and glory. It will undergo a change analogous to that which the bodies of the redeemed are to undergo. It will not become absolutely new; but it will be the old earth renewed; and as the change which the body is to undergo will render it a better body than Adam’s was before the fall, so, I conclude the earth will be incomparably better than it ever was. As far as it now is inferior to what it was previous to sin, so far, when renewed, will it excel what it then was…..
….If the brute of the filed browsed on the pastures of Eden, and birds of the air sang in its bowers, why not in the new earth? God made them all to be companions of man at the first, and they were “very good;” why not do so again?….
The expression “glorious freedom of the children of God” comprehends not only complete release from “sufferings of this present time,” but also that fullness of honor and bliss with which the redeemed are to be invested. It exhausts the blessedness of the “spiritual body,” of the “everlasting kingdom,” and of the “new earth.” There is nothing which awaits the ransomed at the “coming” of Christ which it does not include.
….God originally intended this earth for man; and he will never be defeated in his purpose. It is still to be his inheritance forever; but it will be remolded and adapted to him, and made worthy of him in his highest exaltation.
That is a beautiful, hopeful picture of what is to come. God’s earth is not a temporary dwelling place but humanity’s inheritance under the reign of God. The meek, Jesus said, will inherit the earth. And so shall it be.