by David C. Grabbe
CGG Weekly, May 9, 2014
"A man's character is his fate."
In Part One, we considered the apostle Paul's approach to the Hebrews in the church who were about to have their lives completely overturned with the destruction of Jerusalem. Not only that, many of them had become spiritually apathetic and needed to be reminded of the nature of the God they worshipped. Paul forces them to focus on Christ's almighty power and omniscience as Creator and Sustainer of all things:
. . . [God] has appointed [His Son] heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:2-3)
Despite being perhaps the oldest text in the canon, the book of Job contains many detailed, even scientific, insights into the extraordinary creative and sustaining power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Many of these are things humanity did not really understand until recent centuries.
In His speech to Job, God tells of setting limits on the seas (Job 38:8-11), and included with that are the tides, which are affected by the orbit and phases of the moon. People have been able to grasp what is happening to a degree and can create simple models of the forces and effects, but can in no way truly replicate what God has done.
He portrays light and darkness as having dwelling places where each belong (Job 38:19-20), a description that, with what men have discovered, makes little sense to us. But because He created them, He looks at light and dark from an entirely different vantage point. He speaks of treasuries of snow and hail, rather than precipitation that happens in the right atmospheric conditions (Job 38:22). He declares that He determines the path of lightning bolts (Job 38:25).
He relates how the constellations are all under His command, and He moves them at will (Job 38:31-32). He rhetorically asks, "Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule over the earth?" (Job 38:33). Obviously, we cannot, but He understands how the heavenly bodies influence the earth in terms of its orbit, climate, tides, tectonic plates, and any number of other aspects. We have nowhere near the computing capacity even to begin to keep track of all the variables. Yet, He not only knows all these things, but is also sustaining and guiding all the complex equations and forces simultaneously, without any error.
As if the macro view of things were not enough, He then discusses what He does for the individual parts of the creation on earth. Though not stated directly, we can infer from His words that He hunts the prey for the lions (Job 38:39-40), part of His work of sustaining. He provides for the young ravens when they cry out to their Creator (Job 38:41). We do not normally think of the animals doing that, but He describes it in this way. He knows when each mountain goat is about to be born and when each doe is about to give birth (Job 39:1-4). He describes the uniqueness of the donkey, the ostrich, the horse, the hawk, and the eagle—the strengths and characteristics that He gave each one, as well as those He purposefully left out (Job 39:5-30).
The book of Job does not even mention the human body, the pinnacle of God's physical creation, except perhaps in Job's affliction. However, anyone who has researched into the human body or how to keep it healthy appreciates how intricate its organs and systems are and how a proper equilibrium is required to keep everything running smoothly. The variables and interdependencies are so complex that the more we discover, the more we are in awe of the genius behind it—and the more we realize we do not understand.
Perhaps David said it best in describing himself as "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). Yet, he also asked His Creator, "What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?" (Psalm 8:4; see also Psalm 144:4). The best and highest creation on earth is still not worthy of contemplation by this Being—except that the Creator loves His creation. He takes a keen and deliberate interest in us, and that is why we have not destroyed ourselves. He is sustaining His creation and moving it toward a magnificent goal.
The Bible contains many more scriptures and examples from the natural world of God's creative prowess, but this should suffice to remind us of the awesome intellect and limitless ability of this Being in whom "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
In his letter to the Christians at Colossae, Paul describes the position and power of the Sovereign:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 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. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15-17)
Notice how definitive and absolute the terms are here. Jesus Christ is the firstborn, the One who holds preeminence over all creation. He created all things, including every seat of authority, whether angelic or human. As mentioned in Hebrews 1, all things were created through Him and for Him because He is the heir of all things. He existed before everything else, and in Him all things consist. In Him or by Him, everything is held together, which harkens back to Hebrews 1 and the fact that He is maintaining, guiding, sustaining, and propelling all things.
With all this in mind, consider the next verse, Colossians 1:18, which shows a specific area that our omnipotent Creator is intently focused on: "And He is the head of the body, the church. . . ."
Let that sink in.
As the apostle John writes, "In the beginning was the Word" (John 1:1), who is our Creator (verse 3). The Word, the Creator of the physical realm, took on flesh (verse 14), becoming a living sacrifice as an example, then a substitutionary sacrifice, which cost Him His life. He was resurrected by the Father, and from heaven, He poured out His Spirit on those He called, creating the church age. He once again has the glory He held before, and He is using that same proven, overwhelming intellect and skill in sustaining, guiding, and propelling the spiritual creation of His brothers and sisters. He is in the process of creating the age when we will join Him in His glory. He is still revealing Himself to us as Creator, but He has given us the eyes to see some of His spiritual creation as it takes place.
More on this in Part Three.