NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES AND THE CREATION

 

Four key passages in the New Testament give us detailed information on God the Creator and specifics about the universe which he has created. These scriptures are found in John, Chapter 1, Colossians, Chapter 1, Hebrews Chapter 1, and Revelation Chapter 1. This is in keeping with the Holy Spirit's teaching style: "Here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept" (Isaiah 28:10). Truth about a given subject in the Bible is not found all in one place (as in encyclopedias). Biblical revelation is also progressive in time. More truth is revealed by God as history unfolds. To really understand God and all he wants us to know about life, it is obligatory for each one of us to become familiar with the entire Bible. We can not formulate a Christian view of Creation, for instance, if we consider only the first three chapters of Genesis. There is valuable information about creation in Proverbs and in Job and in Psalms, in Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

The New Testament also has a great deal to say about the truth of Genesis. New Testament revelation on this subject in no way diminishes the Genesis account or treats it as myth or tradition. Rather both Jesus the Lord and all the Apostles affirm the authority, historicity and accuracy of Genesis.

John's gospel tells us that the Word of God, the second person of the Godhead, was present with the Father before the creation of the universe. The "beginning" described in the opening two words of the Fourth Gospel is an earlier "beginning" than that given in the opening Hebrew word of Genesis, which is also translated "beginning," bereshith. The Son, here identified as ho logos "the word" of God, has always existed, and is himself very God of very God.

Next we learn that all things were made through the Son and that apart from the Son nothing at all in the entire universe has come into existence. Our thoughts can not be communicated to others without words. So the design of the universe was conceived in the mind of God the Father, and it was Jesus who spoke the universe into existence.

John's gospel also establishes an immediate connection between life and light---Jesus is now revealed to be the Light of the World---He reveals the Father. Paul says of God that He is "the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen." (1 Timothy 6:15).

John tells that most of mankind, and especially his people, the Jews, do not know Jesus and do not recognize him when he comes to them. Yet John says that Jesus alone imparts life to all who come to him, and that it is Jesus alone who makes the Father known to men.

"In the beginning (en arche)was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it....The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father...And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known." (John 1:1-18)

Writing to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul assures us that those who know Jesus have already been transferred (or, "translated") from a kingdom ruled by darkness to the kingdom of light ruled by Jesus. Then Paul tells us that Jesus is the exact likeness of the invisible God, that in Him all the Godhead dwells in bodily form. Jesus is the Firstborn in his relationship with the Father---in his resurrection out from among the dead, and in his pioneering, trailblazing work blazing a path for his followers into the new kingdom.

"He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born [prototokos] of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities---all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

Paul specifically tells that all things were created through Jesus---he then elaborates---(1) things in heaven and (2) things on earth, which includes dominions, principalities, authorities. In this grouping are included all the orders of the angels from least to greatest, all living things, animal and vegetable, and all objects in the material universe near and far.

The passage also makes clear all things were created for Jesus. We are therefore accountable houseguests in Someone else's universe! Jesus is the Land Owner and Master of the Household referred to in the Gospels who will return and ask for an accounting by the stewards he left in charge during his absence.

"Hear another parable. There was a householder who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. When the season of fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, to get his fruit; and the tenants took his servants and beat one, killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants, more than the first; and they did the same to them. Afterward he sent his son to them, saying, `They will respect my son.' But when the tenants saw the son, they said to themselves, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him and have his inheritance.' And they took him and cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." Jesus said to them, "Have you never read in the scriptures: `The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'? Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it." (Matthew 21:33-43)

Colossians also tells us that Jesus reconciled all things to himself by his death on the cross. This is an awesome and sweeping statement. All human sins were dealt with when Jesus identified with each and every descendant of Adam and Eve---becoming sin for every one and so dying in our stead. Beyond that Jesus also resolved the angelic revolt, won back the title deed of the earth lost by Adam's fall, and Jesus unlocked the destructive, disintegrative forces in the universe-making possible a whole new creation.

A key word in the above passage is the Greek word sunistemi which means "to stand-together," "to be compacted together," "to be constituted with." This passage can be applied to the structure of the atom, for example. The nucleus of every atom is held together by what physicists call "weak" and "strong" forces. (Physicists today are familiar with four basic forces in the natural world: gravity, electrical forces, a "strong," and a "weak" nuclear force which act at very short ranges. The first two forces decrease in strength inversely with the square of the distance between two objects).

The nucleus of the atom contains positively-charged and neutral particles, to use a simplistic model. Mutual electrostatic repulsion between the like-positive protons would drive the nucleus apart if it were not for the "strong force" which binds the nucleus together. I believe that the strong force may have decreased in intensity (that is, weakened at the time of the fall) causing some atomic nuclei to become unstable and to start radioactively decaying. If this hypothesis is correct, radioactive clocks may not have started running at the seventh day of creation week, but was switched on later. This hypothesis further complicates a comparison of radioactive decay dates with gravity clocks during the early days of the universe.

A related New Testament passage to the Colossians text quoted above also talks about atomic structure and physics. This time the Holy Spirit speaks through the Apostle Peter:

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise and the elements will be dissolved with fire and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10)

The Greek word translated "elements" in this passage from 2 Peter (a word also used in Colossians) is stoicheion which means the building blocks of the universe, or "the ordered arrangement of things." It can also mean the "atomic elements." The word translated "dissolved" is literally (in Greek) the word "unloosed." This suggests a further, future letting-go of the nuclear binding force that holds the nucleus together. This passage strongly suggests that the active power of God is behind the mysterious strong force that holds every atomic nucleus together. If this is so, all the other fundamental forces of nature are likewise forces that originate with Christ and His sustaining direction of the old creation.

If this is a correct view, were God to merely relax His grasp on the universe every atom would come apart "by fire" (that is, by nuclear fire). God dynamically sustains the universe, including the atoms themselves. They are "stable" only because force from the spiritual realm is being supplied into the physical nuclear binding fields. Whatever we may think of God and physics, the Bible leaves us with no room to doubt that God does care about the sparrow that falls to the ground, the widow, the orphan, and the homeless. He does not lose track of His children and watches over them with infinite, patient, intimate Fatherly care. He sustains the universe by His mighty word of power. He also alters the status quo and, in response to prayer, frequently changes the course of entire nations.

The Epistle to the Hebrews opens with grand majestic words about the superiority of God's final word to mankind which is given to us in the Person of His Son: Jesus is the appointed heir of all things. The Father created all things through the Son. Jesus is revealed as the One who sustains the universe moment by moment, day by day, himself directing and governing all forces of nature, all events in human affairs, every detail of our dynamic universe. The old spiritual, "He's got the whole world in his hands..." is Biblically correct.

"In many separate revelations---each of which set forth a portion of the Truth---and in different ways God spoke of old to [our] forefathers in and by the prophets, [But] in the last of these days He has spoken to us in [the person of a] Son, Whom He appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time---(that is) He made, produced, built, operated and arranged them in order. He is the sole expression of the glory of God---the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of the divine---and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God's] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power..." (Hebrews 1:1-3. Amplified Bible)

Finally Chapter One of the Book of the Revelation shows us vividly that Jesus is not now hanging on a cross, no longer suffering for the sins of mankind. (That aspect of his work is finished). One man, Jesus of Nazareth raised from the dead, is today running the entire universe we live in---by the Father's appointment.

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw....Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

"Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty...

"I [John the Apostle] was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, 'Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.'

"Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round his breast; his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters; in his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead."

"But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, 'Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades." (Revelation 1:1-18)

The New Testament leaves us with no uncertainty: Jesus the Son of God stands at the beginning of history and before the creation as the Author of life. He stands at the end of history and at the end of every person's mortal life, as Judge and Lord.

"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:1-11)

Lambert Dolphin
lambert@ldolphin.org
Library
February 8, 1993, revised January 23, 1996