He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:15 - 17 (KJV)
On a hot summer day in the early 60's, our family pulled into a gravel parking lot and walked a short beaten pathway to a clearing. There was a little cabin in this unpretentious setting. You couldn't go in; you could only stare at it from a distance. The cabin was simple and not very interesting. As an impatient pre-teen, I wanted my parents to hurry-up and get on with our travels. That is, until I learned of the prior history of the cabin. This was Illinois, and the name carved on the inside of the rough-cut timbers was "A. Lincoln." Suddenly, there was no hurry. I would've stayed all day!
A place takes on the significance of its owner. This world can be dreary for the tired, hostile to the weak, and burdensome for the "have-nots." But, as we take a look at the name inscribed on this world, our evaluation can change in a hurry. The Name is "Yaw.sad,'" (He is the Founder). His other name is Jesus.
There are two sides to creation's story. There is no fence to sit on concerning either side. The question that is the great divide is; "Are the first four words of Scripture true or not?" "In the beginning God"
Side one is what you will hear today. The believer says, "Yes, indeed!" There are no reservations. Jesus created!
Side two is what Paul faced, and what we see today in the New Age movement. The answer you hear comes in a variety of approaches, but all are steeped in unbelief, and ultimately the answer is… “No, Jesus didn’t create this world.”
Here are some of the variations:
· Well, not really. No one can know.
· The jury is still out on that one.
· It’s not really THAT important; after all, there are many roads to God. We're all trying to get there.
· It's not important what you believe, as long as you believe something.
The word "firstborn" in verse 15 refers to Jesus, and is a perfect example of how Christianity is theologically unique. There are sects today that teach that Jesus was a created being, therefore, He is not equal with God. They use this verse as a proof-text. The only problem is that the verse proves His divinity. The word has two meanings, firstborn as a son; and also supremacy in position.
(See Ex 4:22, Israel was God's chosen, God’s special people; In Ps 89:27 David was a favored king, special over the kings of the earth). The phrase "firstborn over all creation" indicates that Jesus is Lord over all.
Choose your side and let's see what the Bible has to say about the REALITIES of creation and Jesus:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; Colossians 1:15
There are two words that help us understand this, "image" and "firstborn." In the ancient language the word "eikon" meant two things, with one dominating. It meant representation, as a picture represents the real thing. Jesus was that, a picture of God in all His love and care for us. But it also means (and dominates the thought here) a manifestation.
The New Testament leaves little doubt; Jesus was the appearance, or manifestation of the living God:
Hebrews 1:3 (NRSV)
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
John 14:9b (NRSV)
Creation was Jesus’ idea, and…
for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him… Colossians 1:16a
Jesus created every bit of this world. It was "in/through him" (his power). When an artist paints we say he created. Actually he has re-created what already existed; he just took the materials and rearranged what already existed. The same can be said with a building or automobile. We have taken raw materials that existed, and rearranged them to produce something that suits us. Every time the Scripture refers to man making something it is a re-creation of God's creation. But the word ascribed only to God's activity is the creation "ex-nihilo" [out of nothing].
Jesus started with nothing. As the old-time preacher put it, "They wasn't nuthin', an' Jesus reached-out an' kotched his self a bit o' that nuthin' an' made him a-somthin' outa that nuthin'!"
Creation is natural, and the most logical of explanations concerning our existence.
Order suggests an "Orderer." Life presupposes a "Life-giver." Science and philosophy cannot deal with the ultimate issues of life; philosophy is only so much guesswork. But in Jesus, the guesswork ceases. Someone once offered that the theory of the "big bang" of evolution being the origination of the universe has about as much chance of historical fact as if you were to take 70,000 cans of Campbell's Alphabet Soup, toss them in the air, and have the letters fall to the earth perfectly arranged in the collected works of William Shakespeare. I think not!
Creation was Jesus’ idea, and He got it going, and…
Colossians 1:17 (NRSV)
If you believe the first four words of Scripture (In the beginning, God), the rest is enlightenment on how good God really is towards His creation. By Jesus' power the whole creation is held together. The youngster who prayed by his bedside can teach us a lot about this: "Dear Lord, take care of Mommy, Daddy, Sis and me. And Lord, take care of Yourself, 'cause if anything ever happens to You, we're sunk!"
Ownership! It was God’s idea, God got it going, and God keeps it going! Incidentally, He's doing a great job as owner! But never forget the final piece of logic from this text:
all things have been created through him and for him… Colossians 1:16b
The Bible declares that everything (you, me and the lamp post we lean on) was created FOR Jesus. Like it or not, there is an accountability for our lives. He is the Owner, and ownership presupposes accountability.
On another vacation our family visited the Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.
You go down, down, down in this hole in the ground (it was so incredibly deep I distinctly recall hearing a muffled voice on the other side of the wall - speaking Chinese!) At 300' below the surface there is a plaque. It tells how the early Indians would not go any deeper. They felt they had no right, that this was the world of the forces of darkness. The ancients believed if they went deeper demons and gods of the deep would attack. Somewhat below this level is the remains of a 2,500 year-old man who didn't make it back.
It's no wonder they were afraid. Darkness and not-knowing are frightening. But God wouldn't have that for us. The beloved apostle, John, said, The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory.... This is not a god of darkness and fear. This is the God of all creation, Who has let us see His face.
The Bible says that every knee shall bow. One day we will all stand before Jesus. Some of us will stand in judgment, others will stand for rewards. The difference between the two will be only one:
Have you taken the "leap of faith" that says,
· I choose to believe the first four words of the Bible, and then the rest of the story, that God loves me, and Jesus died for me.
· I accept Him as my Savior. I turn from sin and defeat and judgment."
You can bow later in judgment - or you can bow now in humility and receive Christ as Savior. But you will bow!
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, amen!