Romans 8:19-22 (DRB):

19 For the expectation of the creature waiteth for the revelation of the sons of God. 20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him that made it subject, in hope: 21 Because the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.

Does "the creature" mean "all humanity"?

If "the creature" means "all humanity" then, could we consider this as a promise of God that "all humanity" will be saved?


The operative word here in Rom 8:19 is κτίσις (ktisis) which occurs about 19 times in the NT. It is most often translated as "creation", meaning "the sum total of everything created, creation, world" (BDAG #2b). For example:

  • Mark 10:6, But from the beginning of creation, [God] made …
  • Mark 10:19, … the beginning of the creation which …
  • Mark 16:15, … the gospel to all creation.
  • Rom 8:19, … For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly
  • Rom 8:20, For the creation was subjected to futility, …
  • Rom 8:21. that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay …
  • Rom 8:22, We know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until the present time.
  • Col 1:15, The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation
  • Heb 9:11, the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation.
  • 2 Peter 3:4, For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.

The same word can also mean an act of creation (BDAG#1), eg, Rom 1:20.

It can also mean the result of a creative act (BDAG #2a), eg, Heb 4:13, Col 1:23, etc.

The curse of sin affected more than just humanity: it affected all animals, and the rest of "all creation". Thus, "all creation is groaning" (death began after the first sin in Eden) while it awaits the final redemption/restoration of all things when death shall be eliminated (1 Cor 15:51-54).

This passage cannot be used as justification for Universalism (= all people will be save) because Jesus explicitly tells us in John 5:28, 29 (NIV), "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned."


Other versions use the word “creation,” which I think helps show that Paul is speaking about all creation, and not just mankind. Verse 22 alludes to the general suffering we experience as humans, but also in the earth as a whole (earthquakes, natural disasters, famines, etc). Only in verse 23 does he refer to humans specifically, and that is not all humankind, but rather those who are born again in Christ and who are eagerly awaiting the fullness of the reality of our “place” as sons of God and brothers to Christ.

In verse 19, the “expectation” (in DRB) or “anxious longing” (in NASB) refers to how all of God’s creation is longing for and looking to the “revelation of the sons of God,” that is, our being made to become like Christ in all fullness in His new Kingdom (Ephesians 4:13, James 1:4, Ephesians 5:27, Matthew 5:48) and also perhaps the “revealing” of who is truly the Lord’s and who is not, which can only be revealed when He returns.


1) no. it appears to mean the rest of the creation of life from Gen 1:11-25.

2) n/a

  • what do you mean by: n/a – salah Apr 10 '20 at 19:43
  • sorry it means "not applicable" – Walter S Apr 10 '20 at 19:50

I argue in another post that the "creation" that Paul is discussing is the new creation (the kingdom of God):


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