Colossians 1:16

Monday, 27 March 2017

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:16

The word “For” here is given as an explanation of the previous verse. There it said, “He is the image of the invisible God.” In order to explain what that means, these words are now given. It is not that Jesus Christ is merely a knock-off copy of God, but that He is God, wholly and completely. This is now substantiated by the words, “For by Him all things were created.” This takes us right back to Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In that verse, the term “the heavens and the earth” are meant to be taken as an all-encompassing statement. Elohim created all things.

Elohim is the Creator; Jesus is the Creator… not hard to figure out what Paul is telling us. Further, the words “all things” (in Greek ta panta) given a collective sense – “the all.” This then signifies the entire universe which includes all things. From the atoms to the galaxies, all things were created by Him. Without the article in Greek, it would mean all things individually, but the article shows that it is all things collectively. He created, and all things came to be.

It is the same message written by John at the very beginning of his gospel, and it is the same message which is repeated in various ways and by various writers in both Testaments of the Bible. Logically, there can be only one Creator. Anything created by Him is then a contingent being. A contingent being cannot create anything. And yet, man has done everything possible to deny the deity of Jesus Christ in order to separate Him from what is said about Him. They have even added words into this verse in order to change the meaning of it in order to obscure what God has done in and through Jesus Christ (see below).

The words “were created” are in the aorist tense. This then denotes a specific, definite event which occurred in history. It wasn’t that there was a creation, and then a re-creation. Nor were there things created, and then later other things were created. Rather all things were created and they remain as the creation to this day.

Going on, and as if what Paul said in his opening words was not enough, he continues with “that are in heaven and that are on the earth.” Again, this is an all-encompassing statement concerning the totality of creation. Paul’s words take us right back to Genesis 1:1, showing us that everything created by Elohim was created by Jesus. Elohim is God; Jesus is God… not hard to figure out what Paul is telling us. But to ensure that even the dull of mind can figure this out, he adds in the words, “visible and invisible.” We are to understand that “all things in heaven and that are on the earth” also includes those things which cannot be seen, such as spirits. Everything which is in the material world, and everything which is in the spiritual world, is included in Jesus’ creative efforts. No angel exists apart from His work of creation.

This is further defined by the term, “whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” Within both the spiritual and the earthly realms, there are levels of authority which govern the affairs of sentient beings. These were all created by Christ Jesus, and none exists apart from His authority in creation. All things, and all levels of authority, are subordinate to Christ Jesus. As a qualifier to this statement though, Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15 –

For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,” it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:27, 28

It may be worth your time to refer to the commentary on those verses to understand what is being relayed there. Jesus Christ is not above the Godhead, but is a member of it.

To finish up this verse, Paul gives the thought, “All things were created through Him and for Him.” He repeats the words ta panta or “all things” in order recapitulate what he has just said. They are to be taken collectively once again – “All things, collectively, were created through Him and for Him.” However, Paul changes the tense of the words “were created” from the aorist to the perfect tense. In so doing, it reads more literally, “All things have been created through Him and for Him.” Nothing is left undone, and His creative efforts are all-inclusive. The scholar Lightfoot says, “The latter describes the definite, historical act of creation; the former the continuous and present relations of creation to the Creator.”

Paul’s words of this verse are so clear, so meticulously presented, and so obvious as to what they are relaying that even a dolt, nay – a sub-dolt – can figure out what he is saying. Paul is not merely implying that Jesus is God, rather his words make the claim explicit. But this doesn’t not fit with the theology of heretics, and so they must actually change the word of God in order to deny what Paul is saying. And so to understand the depths of hatred towards God that some are willing to go to in order to deny Jesus Christ His rightful position within the Godhead, this verse is translated by the aberrant cult, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as –

“because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him.”

The word “other” is inserted twice by them in an attempt to obscure the truth of who Jesus Christ is. Without any Scriptural support at all, they have changed God’s word, thus bringing upon themselves eternal condemnation for their deceit. This is not an argument concerning a variation in a Greek manuscript, but rather a purposeful act intended to deceive the world about the truth of God in Jesus Christ. Do not allow yourself to be sucked into their web of deceit, but stand on the truth of Scripture which teaches that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man.

Life application: Stand on the truth of the Word of God. Jesus Christ is God and it is to Him that we are accountable for our life and doctrine. Should someone come to you with any other teaching, do not even greet them, lest you share in his wicked work.

Heavenly Father, Your word confirms the deity of Jesus Christ, and also that of the Holy Spirit, as clearly and completely as any other doctrine to be found in it. Both testaments attest to this fact, and yet people argue against it, thus railing against You. Help us to be people of faith, and to accept Your word at face value. The Trinity is what Your word proclaims. And so we praise You, O God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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