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Charismatic Puritan

Right doctrine leads to right thinking, and right thinking leads to right living.

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Location: Gaithersburg, MD, United States

Jealous for the truth, beauty and majesty of our glorious risen Savior.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Colossians 1.13-23 - Part 3

III. Jesus as creator.

We typically talk of God the Father as creator, but the NT describes what the OT hinted at, that is the plurality of agents in creation, by telling us in several places that creation was formed by, through and for Jesus (All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3 (ESV)), as it does here.

Paul explains a fourfold relationship of Jesus Christ to Creation.

1. He existed before Creation

2. He created all things

3. All things exist for Him

4. He holds all things together

1. He existed before Creation

He is “the firstborn of all creation…by him all things were created…And he is before all things…” The term firstborn (prototokos) does not specifically refer to time, but to place or status. Jesus Christ was not the first being created, since He Himself is the Creator of all things.

Firstborn primarily means “of first importance, of first rank, the heir.” Firstborn of all Creation can also impose a chronological relationship however, and thus means “prior to all Creation.” As we said before when we discussed His God-head, He is eternal God. (Before Abraham was, I am.) (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (ESV))

2. He created all things

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.” “All things were made by Him” (John 1:3). He is the Creator, not of “the rest” of the universe, but of “all things.” The word for that introduces this verse could be translated “because.” Jesus Christ is the Firstborn of all because He created all things. It is no wonder that the winds and waves obeyed Him, for He is Master over all. All things are under His command.

3. All things exist for Him (v. 16b).

Everything exists in Him, for Him, and through Him. Jesus Christ is the Sphere in which they exist, the Agent through which they came into being, and the One for whom they were made.

Paul’s use of three different prepositions is one way of refuting the philosophy of the false teachers. For centuries, the Greek philosophers had taught that everything needed a primary cause, an instrumental cause, and a final cause. The primary cause is the plan, the instrumental cause the power, and the final cause the purpose.

When it comes to Creation, Jesus Christ is the primary cause (He planned it), the instrumental cause (He produced it), and the final cause (He did it for His own pleasure). What He is not, is one with it. Creation is not of Him, that is of his substance.

This world with its mountains and lakes, its insects and birds and fish and beasts, and flowers (especially TULIPs) was made so beautiful because it was Christ’s world. Man was created and the ages of history were all arranged for Him.

Sin was ordained for him so that He could save us from it. Creation was designed to be the stage for manifesting God’s glory through Jesus Christ. The eternal purposes of redemption and their fulfillment in time were all for him so that He could simultaneously demonstrate God’s love and mercy and justice and wrath.

4. He holds all things together (v. 17).

“In Him all things hold together.” “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. Hebrews 1:3 (ESV))

Science continues to look for a universal theory that would explain the function of the universe, what is euphemistically called the Theory of Everything (TOE).

There appear to be different rules for how big things like galaxies function and other rules for how atomic and sub-atomic particles behave. And different rules for different kinds of particles. Light has wave and particle properties. Small particles have particle and wave properties. There are electric, magnetic and gravitational forces, and subsets of those.

When you consider the volume occupied by an atom, it is mostly empty space. Imagine that the nucleus of an atom was a golf ball. The first electron shell would be 1000 meters away. If the nucleus was the size of a period on the fifty yard line of a football field, the first electron would be out at the goal line. These are massive distances relative to the size of the objects that hold them together. What is the force that does this, that keeps matter together? It is Jesus. That may sound like a simple school child answer, but that is what it is. The Word of his power.

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ῥῆμα [rhema /hray·mah/] “word” 56 times, “saying” 1 time. That which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word. 1a any sound produced by the voice and having definite meaning. speech, discourse.

Jesus speaks and His words have sufficient power to not only create, but sustain and carry the universe through to its purposeful completion. (Heb 1.3 - uphold = to carry to completion) He holds it together yet keeps it from collapsing in on itself. He rules it at the cosmic and subatomic levels, and at all stages in between.


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