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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Colossians 1:13-20(NASB)
13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Most of this passage is a riff on John 1. Some have tried to hammer at verse 15's "firstborn of all creation" and try to make Jesus a created being rather than part of God; if you want to try that, go back to John 1:1's "... and the Word was God." Paul uses the firstborn line to help set up verse 18's "firstborn of the dead." Jesus has first place in everything and is in charge of everything. He's the alpha and omega male. People who want to put themselves in charge will get a rude awakening; the job's already taken and the occupant has a lifetime contract. Verse 19 is interesting, for it both reminds me of a fellow blogger and begs the question of what "all the fullness" means. I try to get my mind around the Trinity by picturing Jesus (as well as the Father and the Holy Spirit) as an infinite subset of God, but there are ways that they are not subsets, but one. The subsets have parts that they don't share in common, for Jesus didn't know the day of his return in Matthew 24:36, only the Father knows. However, there are parts they do share in common; thus, Jesus has the fullness of God in Him. He's not just some subroutine in the celestial mainframe, He is God. I've had a problem fully accepting the statement "Jesus is God" for that seems to kick the Holy Spirit and the Father out of the Godhead. In my desire to understand the Trinity, I have tried to demote Jesus to being just a third of God. By obsessing on one factoid that God the Father has password-protected, I've been lessening Jesus. "Fully human and fully divine" was the construct used to get around the Gnostics; my mind wasn't quite giving Jesus as full a divineness as He deserves. For some reason, my mind flitted over to the tag line of a sport-drink ad campaign-"Is it in you?" If it is that fullness, that essence of being God, my mind then turns to the construct "Is it in Jesus?" Ya, you betcha. I can't define what it is, but He's got it. That makes Him fully God even as there are some parts of God that aren't He.

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