I have always been of the firm conviction that all doctrines finds it basis to some degree or another in the doctrine of the Trinity. This doctrine is the necessary groundwork for covenant, salvation, kingdom, and all other important aspects of theology. The covenant of redemption (and the finer parameters), namely, the covenant made between God the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit), before the foundations of the world, is one which we need to pay close attention to (John 3:35; Hebrews 2:13; 13:20; etc.). Now we can delve deep into how God demonstrates his love for his Son, and I believe those are without a doubt important things for us to consider. One particular passage that I find breath-taking, would be Colossians 1:15-18:
“who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him. 16 He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. 17 He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (World English Bible)
I want to briefly examine this passage, and conclude with a few remarks:
- Firstborn over all creation
In this verse Christ is identified as the “image of the invisible God” (εικων του θεου). This corresponds closely to where Christ states that whoever has seen Him has in fact seen the Father (John 14:9), and other instances where Jesus is identified as being the exact imprint of the Father’s being/nature. This is probably one of the strongest indications to Christ sharing his Father’s divine nature (cf. 1:19; 2:9). Christ is of the same nature, as the Father accordingly.
Paul expands saying that Christ is the “firstborn over all creation.” Contrary to Arian and Semi-Arian proposals, this verse does not in any way assert that Christ is the first created being. Various interpretations have been given, but the Arian interpretation is ruled out as being valid considering the proceeding text which states that “all things” came into exist by (εν) Christ himself. I believe the implied meaning is defined in verse 18, which states that he is “the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” What does this mean? The term πρωτοτοκος here I believe is not saying God created Jesus first, but that Jesus’ rank is that of a firstborn, that he has firstborn status. The NET Bible Notes expands this,
Verse 18 tells us that Christ is the firstborn from among the dead, the firstborn, the first person resurrected to bodily immortality, and Paul asserts that this happened so that in “all things he might have the preeminence,” that is to be superior in rank. I believe then, that Christ is the firstborn “over all creation” (πάσης κτίσεως), because he has inherited the firstborn rights to rule over the world by means of his resurrection. Paul qualifies that the reason this is so, is because he is in fact the creator in verse 16, and that all things are created through him (δι αυτου) and for him (εις αυτον).
Paul is telling us Jesus Christ has been risen to the status of firstborn, inheriting the world, as he is entitled to as the creator and the one for whom all things are made (implying deity).
Bridgeway Bible Commentary remarks, “Christ is not some part-angelic being, but God himself. God is invisible, yet people can see him and know him in Jesus Christ. Jesus is God and therefore was not created. He existed before creation, and is superior to all created things (15). In fact, he himself is the Creator. He is the source and controller of all things, seen and unseen, including the world of angelic beings that the false teachers liked to talk about. More than that, he is the goal of all creation; all things exist for his glory (16-17).”
- Over All Authority
Jesus Christ is the king of kings (Revelation 19:16). His role as firstborn implies exactly that, as the Son whom inherited the earth from the Father, Jesus Christ is now the supreme authority over all authority:
“For by him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and for him.” (v. 16)
We find that Christ at his resurrection is said to be given this kind of authority at Matthew 28:18,
“Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”
Christ is the firstborn over all creation, including the authorities whether spiritual or natural. He reigns supreme over them all.
- All Through Him And For Him
Christ is the divine agent of Creation, since all things are made through him:
“ All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
“has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:2)
“yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we live through him.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
Christ was constantly on the mind of God in creation, and by means of him all things are made. This leads us to the fact these things are created for Him:
“all things have been created through him, and for him.” (1:16)
“The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.” (John 3:35)
Colossians 1:15-18 not only tells us that Christ being the superior one over all creation, and the creator himself, but paints a more deeper picture–that God loves Christ, and made the world for Christ. Everything that exists, exists for the mere pleasure of Christ. Creation is not about primarily about us, rather creation is about God loving his Son.
God loves Christ, creation is the evidence.
- Understanding The Devotional Implications
Turning my thoughts back to this text, makes me realize a very deep truth–God loves Christ. God made all this for Christ.
I was going up a mountain with some of my friends sitting in the vehicle, realizing that all plants on that mountain, they grow in a specific way. The colours that have been given to each plant, the rock being shaped in a specific shape, and all other things present on that mountain exists not simply because of random happenings but exists for the pleasure of Christ. All things are for Christ.
Think about it, why does a tree grow in a certain shape not growing like all other trees? Is it like this because it simply is, or is it God behind the world animating and making new dimensions of art for his Son, and his ultimate glory? I believe that if all things are made for Christ, this world and what happens, should to some degree be seen in light of the love the Father has for the Son.
The Father loves the Son, and the Holy Spirit sent by the Father applies this realities to point back to Christ since the ministry of the Spirit is to bear witness of Christ (John 15:26). God, show us Christ Jesus, let us be pleasing to our King Jesus!
Creation is through Christ and for Him. Let us adore the majesty of our King Jesus.