Last month we began a journey to glorify God by studying the broad narrative of redemption. As we work through this first quarter, analyzing the mystery of creation, I have been trying to study better appreciate the work of a triune God throughout the redemption narrative. Last month, we focused on the Father’s role in creation, how he planned a universe that was both useful and wonderful, a world that was very good. This month, we will look at the role of the Son in creation, seeking to better understand the work of the second person of the Trinity long before his incarnation.
A Holistic View of Christ
It is far too easy to decontextualize the person of Jesus Christ. Christ’s message, miracles, and ministry are so intriguing and so important to the Christian faith, but they alone do not give us a full picture of God’s great plan. The best way to fully understand and love the work of Christ on earth is to study his work as the second person of the Trinity long before and long after his earthly life.
When we practically think as though the Father kept his Son away in a closet before the incarnation, we strip the Son (and the entire Trinity) of the eternality which defines our God. In John’s gospel, we see the Word’s person as God before we see him as man. We must first see the Son’s role “In the beginning with God” (John 1:2) if we are to truly appreciate his redemptive work on earth.
Colossians 1:15-16 proclaims: “[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 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. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
Clearly, Christ was not only present at creation; he executed the Father’s plan for the creation of all things (John 1:3) and now continues to literally hold the fabric of the universe together. While physicists search for a unified explanation of the energy and forces we see today, we know that the answer is found in Christ, and then wait expectantly for the physicist to reveal how Christ is holding creation together. It is impossible for our cosmos to exist independent of God because our very universe requires the Son’s work to hold all things together (Hebrews 1:3). This is why we can have such a sense of wonder and awe both by philosophizing about the eternal and by scientifically examining the physical: because God dwells on and in earth as he does in heaven.
Just as the Father unifies utility, beauty, and mystery, so the Son not only was effectual in the story of creation, but he also was and is working towards an end that is as beautiful as it is functional. Not only were all things made through him, all things were made for him, for a reconciliation in which all things will truly come home. This is how we can better contextualize the incarnation of Christ: by acknowledging his work in creation and how even then, he was looking towards his incarnation.
In the beginning of the Old Testament, the heavens and earth are created through the Second person of the Trinity. In the beginning of the New Testament, the heavens and earth are bridged, or rather, they collide through the eternally begotten Son. The story of creation gives us countless images of separating and filling, all pointing towards Christ, who would fill the largest divide of all: the chasm between God and man.
The Joy of the Son
Christ did not only fill the gap between heaven and earth, being made the heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2). He was not only accomplishing creation and redemption so as to please the Father. He was also pursuing his bride. Romans 8:17 shows that we have been made fellow heirs with Christ and that in the end, the church will be presented as a spotless bride before the Lamb (Ephesians 5:25-27). Even in the act of creation, think of the joy of Christ as he first sees the beginning of what will one day become his bride. I doubt it’s a coincidence that Genesis teaches that we are made in the image of God and then that Paul identifies Christ as the image of God. Just as Christ was looking forward towards the great marriage even through creation week, so we should yearn for the day that we will truly and fully be in Christ.
Grady is a writer for A|C and a music composer. He has twice won competitions for Best Composition by Oklahoma Students. Grady will talk to you about Inception as long as you desire and he loves Hans Zimmer's music. All of it.