Colossians 1:15-20 Christ as Lord of Creation

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 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. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. 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.

Christ as Lord of Creation

Some people think that this section of Colossians is an ancient hymn that was sung by the early church.  However, it is more probable that it is a poetic piece written by Paul to connect Christ with creation and the ancient concept of Wisdom.

The words at the beginning of Genesis, “In the beginning … ” has two components in Hebrew.  The first component, which we translate, ‘In …’ can be translated as by, in, or through.  Paul shows the supremacy of Christ by using all the possible meanings to talk about Jesus.  ‘The beginning’, the second component, can be translated as head, or beginning.  Paul shows how Jewish thinkers would use a word and mean all of its meanings rather than just one.  Jesus, as the Wisdom of God in creation, transcends all of reality.  This person exists within the system, but also predates the system.  It is not that Jesus was created first, but that the system he sustains is the one that he has created.

There are so many levels to think about this.  Those who want to limit Jesus to a man who walked two thousand years ago, and no more, try and discredit Paul.  They say that Jesus, the man, walked the Earth, but Paul invented the cosmic Christ.  However, the gospels point toward the developed theology of Paul so that the thoughts Paul communicates are seamless conclusions to gospel thinking.  Jesus, then, as he claimed, is more than a man.  He is a person, but he transcends any other person.  All of creation, including angels, are subject to him.  No aspect of creation can be fully understood without understanding Jesus.

This last point reaches into our education system and challenges our secularism.  If all of the universe speaks of Jesus, we have learned to ignore that fact.  If Jesus is the source and the sustainer of all reality, he is the source and sustainer of all truth.  No curriculum that is silent about Jesus is complete.  Can the complexities of Jesus’ connection to the curriculum ever be exhausted?  No.  There are infinite understandings that we have yet to uncover.  Yet mankind, in his rebellion, thinks that he is intelligent because controversy has been eliminated by excluding religion from learning in many cases.  This passage leaves such a perspective as the perspective of fools.  The fool says in his heart there is no God.  In our day and age fools rule the nations, and the people have become proud that they have left God out of the cosmos.  They are blind and they boast that they can not see.  I advocate what Duane Litfin calls the Christocentric unity of all truth.  We put Christ back into his creation.  Not as an addition or some kind of fraction, but as its whole – as its entirety.  In fact, we ‘do’ nothing.  We just proclaim what ‘is’.  In so doing we bring the people back to truth.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you transcend all mankind and angelic beings because you are God.  You reflect the reality of divine glory because it is the essence of who you are.  You are the wisdom behind all mysteries, and you are the answer to all of our prayers.  All creation speaks your name and the Scriptures point to you.  You are a man and so much more.  You are the sacrifice that reconciles creation with its divine purposes.  May we keep you in your right place of preeminence.  May we remember you more as we walk in your world.  May we be mindful of you as we go about our lives.  You are the life-giver and in worship we give our lives back to you.

Aliens, Angels, and the Cosmos | Strange Notions

Questions

  1. What was created by Jesus?
  2. Which words show the magnificence of Jesus?
  3. Why would Paul need his hearers to know the nature of who Jesus is?
  4. How does Paul’s description of Jesus affect how we should educate?
  5. How can you think of Jesus more like Paul’s example?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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17 Responses to Colossians 1:15-20 Christ as Lord of Creation

  1. 1. What was created by Jesus ?
    All things-in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
    2. Which words show the Magnificence of Jesus ?
    “For in Him all the fullness of God was PLEASED TO DWELL” Pleased!
    3.Why would Paul need his hearers to know the nature of who Jesus is?
    Jesus is not just a good guy, or a nice prophet. He is God-everything (including us) exist because of Him. He is indescribable-though Paul gives us a pretty good list of how awesome God is!
    4. How would Paul’s description of Jesus affect how we should educate?
    Everything was made from Jesus and for Jesus-everything we teach is because of Jesus. There’s no subject that doesn’t have God’s stamp on it. It’s our duty to show our children this truth, and it’s all for Him.
    5. How can you think of Jesus more like Paul’s example ?
    Thinking of him as everything and everywhere makes me want to take a second look at some things-Jesus is here, everything that has been and is, is because of Him. Kinda opens your eyes to see more of Him in all you do.

  2. Christa Larsen-Sorterup says:

    1. What was created by Jesus? All things, all that we can see and cannot see
    2. Which words show the magnificence of Jesus? Words that describe how He is the creator of all things, His preeminence, His ability to hold all things together, His reconciliation of all things, the fullness of God dwelled in Him
    3. Why would Paul need his hearers to know the nature of who Jesus is? They would need to see that He was far more than just a teacher or a man but God Himself the maker of all that exists
    4. How does Paul’s description of Jesus affect how we should educate? When we recognize Jesus as He truly is we must also recognize the truth of all that He preached which leads us away from trusting in ourselves like most secular educators and to a place of trust and dependance on Christ
    5. How can you think of Jesus more like Paul’s example? Recognize His divine capabilities like holding all the world together rather than always focusing on His friendship with me or the more personal side of relationship with Him; there is a need to see the fullness of Christ as the God-man

  3. Jung Kim says:

    1) What was created by Jesus? All things that are visible and invisible.
    2) Which words show the magnificence of Jesus? “All things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.” (vv.16-18)
    3) Why would Paul need his hearers to know the nature of who Jesus is? Paul’s hearers need to know that God is beyond our understanding and is far more than just a man or a teacher but the Creator of all things and He Himself exists.
    4) How does Paul’s description of Jesus affect how we should educate? We must first believe and know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We then approach the students with in-depth truths that Jesus is the key to everything and that the reason we live is because of Jesus Christ.
    5) How can you think of Jesus more like Paul’s example? I think that recognizing who really God is and what He has done to us is very significant before building relationship with Him.

  4. Michael McCardle says:

    1. All things seen or unseen have been created by Jesus.
    2. Reconcile, fullness of God, Firstborn, beholds all things.
    3. Paul would want his hearers to know the nature of Christ so that they are not lead astray by false teachers.
    4. Paul’s description of Jesus requires that when we teach about Jesus, we do not present him a merely a man, a good teacher or philosopher. But that we teach that Jesus is fully God and fully man.
    5. The more we know about someone, the better our relationship with them will be. The same goes for our relationship with Christ. God has revealed himself to us and we learn more about God through his revelation to us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  5. Megumi says:

    1. Everything
    2. Image of the invisible God, firstborn of creation, before all things, in him all things hold together, head of the church, the beginning, firstborn from the dead, the fullness of God…
    3.If all things have been created by Jesus, and in him they find their meaning, Paul’s readers need to know Jesus to know anything.
    4.If all things have been created by Jesus, and in him they find their meaning it is imperative that Jesus be included in how we teach all things.
    5.I need to practice including Jesus in my thoughts about all things, and stop whenever I catch myself thinking is secular, disjointed categories.

  6. All things, unseen and seen have been created by Jesus. Throughout this passage, some words stand out which speak of Jesus’ magnificence: “firstborn of all creation”, “by him all things were created”, “he is before all things”, he is the head of the body, the church”, and “he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent”. The church needed to understand that Jesus was more than a mere man. We should educate with a mindset that Jesus is in all things, and anything apart from Him is incomplete, including curriculum/teaching. I need to be more mindful of Jesus’ preeminence and power on this earth.

  7. 1. All things were created by Christ regardless of their position or visibility.
    2. Christ is stated as being the firstborn of all creation, the head of the Church, and the beginning and the firstborn among the dead. Not only that, but all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell within Him.
    3. Paul needs his readers to understand Jesus’ nature because He is God. He is not just a man; he is the God-Man. He is the one who created all things and still holds all things together. He is not just a good man or a prophet, he is fully God.
    4. The main priority in our classrooms ought to be to convey to the fullest of our ability the truth of Jesus as our Savior. Our students need to see us set the example of putting Christ at the center in how we care for our students and teach. His truth needs to be the focus of our classroom because He is the One who created us along with the world that He has given us.
    5. It helps me to think of the thickness of His presence. If He holds all things together such as the the molecules that surround me, I realize his power and his closeness. He not only holds everything together around me, but He made all of it.

  8. Maelynn says:

    1. Jesus created all creation.
    2. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of Creation.”
    3. So they could understand him and know him better.
    4. We need to have the true perspective that everything exists and continues to exist through and because of Jesus.
    5. He is truly the One in whom all things hold together. Including my own personal life.

  9. Nate Silvieus says:

    1. All things
    2. Firstborn over all creation, by him all things were created, created by him and FOR him, in him all things hold together, the head of the body, firstborn among the dead, in everything he might have the supremacy, God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him–basically the entire passage highlights his magnificence.
    3. Going back to the previous verses, so that they will grow in knowledge, patience, and gratitude.
    4. If Jesus is the creator and preeminent savior, then all that we teach is from him, and those whom we are teaching to are his creation and so are we the teachers. Our teaching is to glorify him, and is to encourage students to look to Jesus in everything that they are learning for it is all created by him and all held together through him.
    5. He is holding all things together. Everything that happens in this world does not happen outside of his knowledge and will. Through him we have been reconciled to God and one day there will be complete peace in his name.
    Also, random side note. I’m glad that being only 1 of 3 guys in the class, I got the pink icon.

  10. Christina W. says:

    1. All things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible.
    2. Image of the invisible God; in him all things hold together; he is the head of the body, the church; firstborn from the dead; and in him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
    3. In order that the readers might understand just who Jesus is. He is not merely a good teacher but he is the one in whom the fullness of God dwells. He is everything.
    4. Paul’s description of Jesus will impact the way that we educate because it shows that teaching is incomplete without Jesus. He is the source of all things including truth.
    5. I can think more like Paul’s description by recognizing the presence of Jesus in everything. This recognition will help me to avoid categorizing various aspects of my life.

  11. Olyn says:

    1, All things were created by him-heaven and earth, things seen and unseen.
    2. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
    3.So that they can get an idea of who Jesus is-the son of the true Lord!
    4. We should show students how everything revolves around Christ-nothing is separate from Him. “All concepts of reality which do not take account of Him [God] are abstractions”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    5. Questioning and making sure our reasoning and thinking leads back to Christ.

  12. 1. Jesus created all things, visible and invisible.
    2. Jesus is before all things, and He holds all things together.
    3. Paul needed his hearers to hear that Jesus wasn’t merely a mortal man, but the creator of all things. He IS God.
    4. Paul’s description of Jesus helps educators understand that while we may strive for things to be perfect, we are imperfect people and we will always fall short. God uses us (in all our imperfection) to fulfill His will and we need to rely on Him to mold students’ hearts.
    5. I can think of Jesus as the all-knowing, all-powerful, all-seeing God that He is and trust that He is capable of using me as an educator to teach students.

  13. Kimberly W. says:

    1. Jesus created all things– “all things were created through him and for him”.
    2. The whole passage is about the magnificence of Jesus! The phrase “in him all things hold together” specifically stands out to me as showing the magnificence of Jesus by speaking of his power.
    3. Paul needs his hearers to know the nature of Jesus to show why this God-man is worthy of their worship.
    4. Too often in education we forget the foundation–Jesus. Since Christ is the creator of all, when we study creation we must study Him. He is the source of all truth, directly impacting all school subjects.
    5. This passage overwhelms me with the power of Jesus. Our life and world is only because of Him. He is the beloved Son of God, and this is the Son who was sacrificed for our sins.

  14. Andrew Moore says:

    1.What was created by Jesus?
    Everything
    2. Which words show the magnificence of Jesus?
    “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,”
    3. Why would Paul need his hearers to know the nature of who Jesus is?
    So they would have a better understanding of the savior they are seeking to serve.
    4. How does Paul’s description of Jesus affect how we should educate?
    When we educate people about Jesus, we should be sure to emphasize the greatness of Christ.
    5. How can you think of Jesus more like Paul’s example?
    I can think of Christ in his fullness and in his greatest, remembering that he is pre-eminent and the creator of all things.

  15. Emmy R says:

    1. ALL THINGS
    2. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
    3. Paul needed his hearers to know the nature of Jesus in order to see the truth in the words that were being taught.
    4. Paul’s description of Jesus should remind us that we are not just teaching about a man, but we are teaching about someone far greater than anything we could ever imagine.
    5. I think of Jesus more like Paul’s example by constantly reminding myself and immersing myself in the truth of the Bible.

  16. Molly says:

    1. Jesus created all creation.
    2. “All things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.”
    3. So they would have a knowledge of who their Savior was.
    4. Christ is the foundation for everything, we need to put Him first and make him our foundation for which we base everything else off of, and we should view our students and co-workers as image bearers, made in His perfect image.
    5. Like the verse quoted above, it’s pretty incredible to think that through Him all things are held together in Him, even my very life.

  17. Maria T. says:

    What was created by Jesus? All creation was created by Jesus.
    Which words show the magnificence of Jesus? I would say this whole passage shows His magnificence, because He is the image of the invisible God, and He created all powers and authorities and has preeminence over them, and He is the fullness of the deity dwelling in bodily form. Magnificent is too empty a word to use to describe Him completely.
    Why would Paul need his hearers to know the nature of who Jesus is? They needed to know that Jesus transcends the world because He created it, but that He is fully man within it, even as He is preeminent.
    How does Paul’s description of Jesus affect how we should educate? Jesus is the reality of the universe, and thus any time we try to explain something and exclude Him, we are ignoring reality. Thus, in order to truly educate, He must take center stage in everything.
    How can you think of Jesus more like Paul’s example? Through repentance and aligning my heart to submission under His supreme authority.

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