Colossians 1:16. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
For decades, scientists have been searching for the elusive “theory of everything.” That one scientific theory that explains all the mysteries of the universe. Is it gravity? Quantum mechanics? String theory? Is such a theory even knowable? Or, in the words of Stephen Hawking, is it always out of reach because human descriptions of reality will always be incomplete?
Colossians 1 offers us a theological (and physical) theory of everything. And here’s the shocking twist – it’s a person. An obscure human person that grew up and lived in the back woods of a little district in a giant empire. A person that ended up dying a less than human, shameful, criminal’s death on a cross. Paul is arguing that this person, this man’s death on a cross, was much, much more than it appeared to be. It was literally everything. Why? Because everything is IN, THROUGH, and TO this man.
By him all things were created – The “by” here should be “in.” Everything was created FROM God the Father, but IN God the Son. All of creation pre-existed within Christ, and was brought out of Christ by the Father.
all things were created through him – This word “through” is closer to “by.” Everything came into existence by the work of Christ. “Without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).
and for him – Or “to” him. Jesus is not only the source of everything, he is the goal of everything. Everything in history is for his sake, and everything will end in his glory.
in him all things hold together – He didn’t create everything and walk away. Christ is the unifying bond of the universe. He’s the graviton. The elusive theory of everything. He’s the unifying principle of this life. It’s rhyme and reason. Its origin and its destiny.
And everything means everything. All things in heaven and earth. Visible and invisible. Even all those angelic powers (thrones, dominions, rulers, authorities) that the Colossians were so obsessed with (2:18), are from Christ and for Christ.
Truly these are amazing claims to make about a person. And for that matter, what difference does it make if Christ is a person or not. Couldn’t he be all of these things if he never incarnated? Never took on flesh?
But then these verses would be terrifying if not also glorifying. Then we would have a supreme creator without having a supreme savior. And that is where Paul will go next:
Colossians 1:19-20. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
In – through – to.
The same progression used in describing Christ our creator (v.16) is used to describe Christ our savior (v19-20). This is the foundation of all our hope, all our courage, all our assurance – the Christ who made and sustains the universe is the Christ who also has reconciled us to himself by the blood of his cross. The same cosmic Christ that is the center of the entire universe, left his lofty heights and entered the squalor of the cross. Our squalor. From the eternal light of creation to the darkness of death. From the theory of everything to losing everything for us.
The result? We can live life in complete assurance and confidence. There is no terror in the universe, no threat, no evil, no maleficent force that can do us harm, for Christ is in control of all things from here to infinity and beyond. There is no supplemental salvation plan that must be completed beyond what Christ our savior has accomplished for us by the blood of his cross. There is no mystery left to solve, or knowledge to obtain, outside of the wisdom that is ours in Christ. There is the supreme confidence that the one who is sustaining the universe is sustaining you. That he can be trusted as the Lord over every part of your life no matter how big or how small it may be. So you can wholeheartedly give control of your life over to him.
But the biggest result is seeing in Christ that the God of the universe, the Lord of creation, the one in whom, through whom, and for whom the cosmos exists, is also the God of sacrificial love and mercy. That the living, breathing, fullness of God faced the emptiness of the cross. That the Christ who is the theory of everything now shares everything with us. All love. All grace. All wisdom. All creation. All life.
That “to live is Christ” joins our lives to his in perfect harmony with all creation and our Creator.
Are you trusting Christ with every part of your life?
You in Christ
How does knowing that you are in the Creator Christ give you freedom from fear and doubt today?
Christ in you
Where can you be used by Christ today to help someone “hold it together?”
Playlist: Christ Creator Redeemer.