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Colossians 1:15

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Colossians 1:15, ‘…πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως…’ (the Firstborn of all Creation).

I won’t get into this one too much now for the sake of time….suffice it to say that, though the Son of God is eternal and uncreated, the incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, is not eternal since His humanity is created. So, according to His humanity, Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation. How are we to understand that? I think TF Torrance (building on Barth) gives a wonderful explanation when he suggests that ALL of created reality derives its being not from a generic participation in the being of God, but by virtue of its union to God in the incarnate Son. Creation is upheld from chaos and dis-integration only because it is vitally united to the Logos, to the Word, to Wisdom, to the Formative and Rational Principle who is the Beloved Son. And creation is thus united to Christ (and so granted being, form and intelligibility) because of the incarnation, in which created reality is inseparably and personally (hypostatically) united to God Himself in the Son. This union of creation to Creator, of what is Not God to God, this is the ontological and epistemological ground for ALL of reality (since by this union all of reality is granted being, form, and intelligibility) and this is the incarnation. Thus, the incarnation (ie, the “creation” of the God-Man, Jesus Christ) is the foundation of all that is not God….in that sense, then, Jesus truly is the “first born” of all creation.

What Paul goes on to say supports the interpretation given above since—if what I’ve said is the case—then it is indeed true that ALL things were thus created in (εν) and through (δια) Him and that in Him all things hold together. Ah, Lord! What a glorious truth!! What an unspeakably beautiful reality!! All things that exist, ALL things—even the invisible spiritual powers of malevolence and rebellion—ALL things receive their being in Christ and through Christ, are sustained in their existence in Christ, and possess that existence for the sake of (εις) Christ.

What can we say to these things!? These are lifetimes of excellence to be unfolded from just these few words….

>>> All things in/by and through Him

He is the personal agent through whom all that has, does, or will ever exist possesses its existence. Now….this would be incredible if it was stated about a certain equation or substance or energy….but this is being said about a PERSON, indeed, about the person of Jesus Christ….the person who loves with the perfection of Calvary….the person who is Himself love incarnate. All things exist in and through this One….What a wonder….

>>> All things for Him

Jesus Christ is the telos of all things that exist, and since we may say that an entity is understood, rightly valued, and truly defined only in light of its purpose, then we may say that ALL THINGS are intelligible only in light of Jesus Christ. He is the harmonization of all the dissonance in reality since He Himself is the single, unifying purpose of all that dissonance, He is the one to whom it is all pointing, toward whom it is all flowing, and in whom it will all find consummation (Eph.1:10).

This is an incredibly rich concept that needs to be considered much further…Aristotle is the one, so I am told, who said that we do not understand a thing until we have grasped its “why.” Well, Paul here tells us that the ultimate “why” of all things—the “final cause” of all things—is Jesus Christ. Glory to God, what a beautiful truth. The one crucified in love, the one crucified under the hell His enemies deserved, crucified in supreme, self-outpouring love; and the one raised up beyond all hope, the Eucatastrophic Lord whose resurrected light turns crucifixion into beauty and sorrow into joy—this one, THIS ONE is the telos, the end, the goal, the purpose, the final cause of ALL THINGS…..Thus, to know anything aright we must know Christ and know that—whatever the thing is—it is (and will soon be revealed to be) for Him.

>>> And in Him all things hold together

Again—what can be said!? Jesus Christ is the unifying and sustaining principle for all of reality. All things “subsist” in Him. This returns a bit to the TFT concept mentioned above. All of reality receives its form and intelligibility by virtue of union to God through the incarnation…..thus all form, all rationality, all solidity and persistence of identity, all of this is by virtue of union to the uncreated Son of God in the created humanity of Jesus Christ. Wherever we see form, order, intelligibility, consistency, pattern etc. etc….we are seeing, seeing the direct effect of union to Jesus….we are seeing something (something) of God in Jesus Christ. Hallowed be His Name!