20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
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The creation was subjected to "frustration" (also translated as "curse", "futility" or "vanity") as a consequence of humanity's fall into sin. God spoke of the effects of this condition when He told Eve in Genesis 3:16 that her pain in childbearing would be greatly multiplied, and when He told Adam in Genesis 3:17-19 that he would have to toil to make the earth bring forth food for him (instead of yielding only thorns and thistles); and that edible food would be produced only through arduous effort (the sweat of Adam's brow) until, finally, Adam would die (which, from a human standpoint, might be considered the ultimate "frustration"). However, at the same time (and as also noted by Paul in the passage cited in the question), God provided humanity with hope in Genesis 3:15 through the first promise of a Savior, who would ultimately make possible, through His sinless life, redeeming death, and resurrection, the ultimate restoration of the creation that Adam's sin had caused to be cursed.
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