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 not only a theological but also a physical “theory of everything.” And here’s the shocking twist – it’s a person. An obscure human being 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 man, and his 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 translated as “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 – Everything came into existence by the work of Christ.
and for him – Everything in history is for his sake, and everything in creation 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 is the graviton. He is the elusive theory of everything. He is the unifying principle of this life. Its 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 here used to describe Christ our savior (v19-20). The same cosmic Christ that is the center of the entire universe, left his lofty heights and entered the squalor of the cross. 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. Christian, the one who is sustaining the universe is sustaining you. He can be trusted as the Lord over every part of your life no matter how big or how small it may be. You can wholeheartedly turn control of your life over to him.
“To live is Christ” means that the person who is the theory of everything, shares everything with us. All love. All grace. All wisdom. All creation. All life.
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 Redeemer Creator.
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