|- J. Preston Eby -
It would be of utmost profit for any of us to diligently study the oft repeated scriptural term "in Christ" or "in Him". With this thought in mind I would draw your attention to some scripture passages which appear to teach us that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of all things. He is, of course! But that is not the truth set forth in these particular verses. The first passage we will consider is the one we have already quoted and commented upon in Col. 1:15-17. I will quote this first from the Authorized Version for this is one of the passages which seems to say that all things were created by Jesus Christ. "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature; for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist."
From this scripture we would be led to believe that the creation was made by the Son; but the word translated "by" here in the first instance is the Greek word EN, and means "in", not "by", and this is the way most of the other translations have rendered it. "For IN HIM were all things created. If you have other translations, check it, and you will see that this is correct. The Greek preposition EN clearly defines location or position. The second instance in this verse where the word "by" is used, "All things were created BY HIM and for Him," the word translated "by" here is the Greek word DIA and means "through", or "on account of", or "by the agency of", and you will find the other translators have translated it this way Weymouth's rendering of this is lovely: "For IN HIM was created the universe, of things in heaven and things on earth, things seen and things unseen, thrones, dominions, princedoms, powers, all were created and exist through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and IN and THROUGH Him the universe is one harmonious whole." Isn't that beautiful?
You see, there is a whole world of difference between something being created BY Him, or created IN HIM, and my prayer is that the Holy Spirit will make this real to you. I think, as we continue with this study you will begin to see what the Spirit has said. It is unfortunate that the translators were so inconsistent in some of the translation. In this verse, "For BY Him were all things created that are IN heaven...," the word by, and the word in, are both translated from the same Greek word EN, yet in the first instance it was translated "by", and in the second instance, "in", as it should be. This is misleading to the reader.
I am not a carpenter by any stretch of the imagination, but when we were on the mission field in Mexico back in the 1960's I built most of the furniture we had in our house, crude though it was. From rough lumber I constructed kitchen cabinets, tables, chairs, beds and a variety of other items. Even I was amazed at how serviceable and attractive some of these articles turned out to be! They were made by me, but when I left the place where they were, they were all sold and left behind, and I was separated from them; because, you see, they were not part of me. Though they were made by me, they had no part with me. But if somehow they had been made IN me, and not BY me, then wherever I went they would be with me, for they would be a part of me, part of my being. If the creation had been merely made BY the Son, then it could be a thing apart from Him, and not a part of Him. When we see that God the Father created the universe IN THE CHRIST, and the whole universe was in the beginning an integral part of His Being, then that is an altogether different picture.
Words are totally inadequate to articulate a truth so sublime, so I must leave this ultimately to the Holy Spirit of Truth to unfold within your spirit. You see, when God planned the universe, He planned it in and around His Christ. The Christ is the center and the circumference of it all. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. The whole vast creation was made in Him and for Him. It began in Him and it will end in Him. The present creation was created in Him. The Christ was the beginning of the creation of God. "These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD" (Rev. 3:14). He will also be the end, for all things must begin in Him and end in Him, for this is the Father's purpose for His Son. Everything that can possibly exist or be, is included in the scope of creation in Col. 1:16-20. Within the compass of five verses we read no less than eight times that the things created IN Him and FOR Him are all-inclusive and all-pervading. He is the first-born of EVERY creature. ALL is created in Him, and ALL is created through and for Him. He is before ALL. ALL is BOUND TOGETHER BY Him. In ALL He is becoming first, having pre-eminence. ALL fullness, or the fullness of ALL, dwells in Him. He reconciles ALL through the blood of His cross and on two occasions this is amplified and defined as ALL that is IN THE HEAVENS and ALL that is ON THE EARTH. It is said to include both visible and invisible. Nothing is omitted and nothing can be left out.
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