“Here am I, the servant of the Lord;
let it be with me according to your word.”
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.
Have you ever wondered why there is something rather than nothing? It’s a question that has occupied people for ages. All of us in our more quiet moments have probably asked, “Where did the world come from?” “Where did the stars and all the galaxies come from?” Or, more urgently, “Where did I come from?” Even if it all began with the Big Bang, who fired the Bang?
Christians in Colossae wondered where everything came from. How did it all get started? False teachers finagled their way into the Colossian church saying that everything was created by cosmic spirits and angel powers. The false teachers held that Jesus was but one of these emanating spirits between God and the creation (See Colossians 1:19; 2:9). They believed that these spirit powers were both the source of creation and controllers of peoples’ destinies.
In this Christ Hymn the apostle Paul sets about to refute the false teachers as he exalts Christ as the supreme One and “the firstborn of creation.” Christ is adored as preeminent over all creatures “for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created.” Jesus is not simply a part of creation, but the Creator.
John’s Gospel echoes Paul’s refutation, declaring, “apart from Him [Jesus] nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). Similarly, the author of the book of Hebrews affirms: “He [Jesus] is the one through whom God made the world” (Hebrews 1:2). The breathtaking immensity of the Creator’s work is seen in the repetition of “all things” in today’s text; it overwhelms the imagination:
- “all things in heaven and earth, things visible and invisible…”
- “all things have been created through him and for him…”
- “He himself is before all things…”
- “in him all things hold together.”
Try to imagine for a moment what the “all things” encompass! Scientists estimate that in our galaxy alone, the Milky Way, there are 100 billion stars. And there are thought to be at least 100 billion other galaxies in the observable universe! But light from most of the universe has not had sufficient light years to reach us, so that we have no evidence that the universe has an end.
So much for “the things visible” that Christ has made and holds together! What about the “invisible”? The invisible staggers credulity as scientists estimate that 85% of the known universe is made up of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. That is matter and energy that can only be assumed because it emits and absorbs no light, but its gravitation affects normal matter. It is out there, but we cannot see it. (See CERN website for The European Organization for Nuclear Research)
So, here we are, you and me, living out brief lives in the 15% of the visible universe. What are we to make of our lives? There are three prepositional phrases in today’s text that give wondrous meaning and hope to our lives in Christ:
- All things were created IN HIM
- All things were created BY HIM
- All things were created FOR HIM
We do not live in a vast, random, and impersonal universe in which the future of everyone and everything is hidden. Rather, we live in our Father’s world, created IN CHRIST, and BY CHRIST, and FOR CHRIST. The future holds no fear for us because our Savior is also our Creator, the very Source and Goal of all things.
Who can fathom the mystery of the Creator descending into the womb of a young peasant girl,
“infinity becoming finite, and immensity reduced to a span, He whom Heavens cannot circumscribe, to be conceived and born a little tender infant.”? (Christmas Advent, or, Entertainments for That Holy Season, anonymous 18th century writers)
Why is there something rather than nothing? Why did the Infinite make Himself finite? Simply this: the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created a whole cosmos for the express purpose that YOU might forever live in their love and joy! They want YOU to forever be with them!
- Where do you see in our culture people worshipping the creation rather than the Creator?
- What does the vastness and complexity of the creation say to you about the Creator? What does it say about you?