Romans 8:21 reads:

that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (NASB)

The word corruption (φθορὰ) as used by Paul seems to at least include the idea of bodily decay and death, as is evidenced by his use of the word in 1 Corinthians 15:42:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable (φθορὰ), it is raised imperishable; (NASB)

Since all creation is to be freed from slavery to corruption, does this not imply that all animal life will be free from death and enjoy eternal life?

Plant life was given as food to animals in Genesis 1, and thus was not intended to have eternal life. However, are there scriptural indications that not only humankind, but animals as well are to enjoy eternity?

2 Answers 2


The phrase is not freedom from corruption, but freedom from the slavery to corruption. What is the difference in the nuance here?

After the fall, access to the tree of life was terminated for man. The text indicates that continued access to the tree of life for man would have resulted in man’s indefinite mortal existence (Gen 3:22-24). In other words, before the fall, was man in fact prevented from experiencing the expiration of his mortal life because of access to the tree of life? To put it another way, did plants and animals experience the life cycle of birth-life-expiration before the fall while man did not, because of his access to the tree of life?

This suggested paradigm would mean that if and when the curse is ever removed from the ground, the life cycle of birth-life-expiration would continue for both flora and fauna but without the slavery to violent and/or predatory behaviors which stemmed from the curse to the ground.


Look to the rest of the chapter to see what is being talked about. "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God."

This is talking of the children of God. Go back a bit further and see "15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him."

This cannot be talking of animals. Not even all of humanity. Only those who have undergone the adoption as sons or daughters.


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