Creation has forever had imprinted upon it the memory of the glory of God and of a time before sin when its nature was different from what we know today. It longs to be redeemed and be restored to its original state. In reading different translations of Romans 8:19, one can feel a sense of urgency and expectant longing from creation for the sons of God to be revealed.
Many images come to mind. It can be likened to the image of the final seconds of the world championship game with only one play left, and every person is leaning forward on the edge of his seat in expectancy and anticipation holding his breath waiting to see if his team can pull off the last second winning play. Everything hangs in the balance and hinges on this one single play. If our team can make the play, they win everything. If they lose, everything is lost.
A second image is of a drowning person alone in the tumultuous ocean. He wrestles to get his head above water for a desperate gasp for air before being thrust under the water again. He is longing and desperate for someone to come along to rescue him. Apart from being rescued, he has no hope and will surely die. With his energy spent and with the last final gasp for air, He thinks, “All is lost. This is surely the end.” As hope is spent and at the last possible moment, someone reaches out a hand and pulls creation to safety.
Creation wants more than anything to again be in communion with God. However, it has no power to redeem itself. A captive has no ability to free himself from captivity. Creation must be set free from its bondage by someone who is already free, the sons of God. Because creation longs to be free and to commune with God, it yearns and waits for the sons of God to be revealed.
It is not merely a segment of creation which longs for the sons of God to be revealed. Every created thing carries this longing. Even the angels in heaven who do not die are not contaminated by sin are earnestly and passionately desiring for the sons of God to be revealed. Angles do not eat food the way we do. They are sustained by the presence and glory of God. When angels are in heaven, they are in the presence of God and enjoy the communion with Him and His glory. They are fully alive in His presence and are in a state of continual renewal and refreshing.
However, the Spirit of the living God does not dwell within angels. God dwells in the hearts of His children. Our spirit then is in continual communion with the Holy Spirit as He lives in us. When angels are given assignments, and come to earth to complete their tasks, they are no longer communing with God. They are separate from His presence until their task is complete and they have returned to heaven. They are eternal beings and do not die, but do not of their own power have an unlimited supply of energy.
When they are separate from God they are no longer plugged into their power source which is direct communion with God. Think of a rechargeable battery that slowly loses power. Eventually it will be of little use if not recharged. The longer angles are apart from God, the less they operate in the fullness of life. In some respects, angels are like humans in that they find rest and rejuvenation when in the presence of God. When not in His presence, they grow weary and get worn out. Angels can only be renewed in God’s presence when in heaven or when God’s people bring heaven to earth and manifest His presence and glory on the earth. They long to be continually in the place of God’s presence and for the fullness of heaven on earth. With eager expectation, they wait for the sons of God to be revealed.
In heaven, things exist which never leave the presence of God and are always drawing life from Him. Yet, even these long for the sons to be revealed. For when the contamination of sin entered into creation, it would have spread throughout creation, and all of creation would have been consumed by sin and death. To prevent this from happening the portion contaminated had to be severed from the rest of creation and from the presence of God. This rift has left creation no longer whole.
It can be likened to the treatment for gangrene in the 1800’s. The only option at that time was to amputate the portion of the body where the infection had caused gangrene to set in. The amputated part then died being cut off from the rest of the body. The amputation brought containment and removed the contamination. The body remained alive, but the body was no longer whole. Thus, every created thing, whether in heaven free from contamination or on earth filled with contamination, feels the pain caused by the amputation because it is no longer whole. All of heaven and all of earth long to be rejoined as one, whole, restored, alive, and free. All of creation is longing for the sons of God to be revealed. They are waiting for us.