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Colossians 1:16

Origins

16 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:


To place emphasis on the fact that Jesus was the firstborn, or the first, of all creation (v.15), Paul now states that this is true because "...by Him were all things created."

The statement has given commentators some difficulties, because the Greek could be translated as, "in Him were all things created," or as another way, which I have not seen discussed by any of the scholars, "for Him were all things created." The translator has to decide whether Christ is to be the instrument of creation, the one who benefitted by the creation, the cause of creation, or the place of creation. The grammar justifies all of these, and only the context can tell us what Paul intended.

To save the reader from much confusion concerning the Greek grammar, allow me to rely again on the writing of P.T. O'Brien. "Quite clearly the point about Christ as the Mediator of creation includes the notion of instrumentality... We agree with Haupt... and Bruce... who suggest that the preposition "in" ( ἐν) points to Christ as the "sphere" (cf. "in him" of v19) within which the work of creation takes place. According to Haupt the phrase "in him" has the same force as in Ephesians 1:4; God's creation, like his election, takes place "in Christ" and not apart from him. On Christ depended (causally, so Meyer, 281) the act of creation so that it was not done independently of him." (O'Brien, Peter T.; Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 44, p.45; Word Inc. 1982) I might also add that Christ was also advantaged by the creation ("and for Him"), so that all of the possible translations sort of melt together into one concept, which we might not fully understand until we finally meet Him.

All things "that are in heaven" include all of the heavenly bodies, all of the universes and black holes, and everything on the earth. It would also include the heaven where God resides. The Lord was before even the heaven and the heavenly host of angels and was involved in their creation.

"...visible and invisible..." Everything that man can see, from the macrocosms of the universe to the tiniest atomic particles for which scientists are still searching, were created by Him. How many things are there in the creation of God that we cannot see and have not been told about? The spiritual realm that surrounds us might be even more complex and more ingeniously designed than the physical world. They were all created through the instrumentallity of the Son of God.

"...thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:.." Within both the visible and the invisible there are ruling laws, ruling men, and ruling angels, good and evil. All are created by Jesus, and the powers and authorities that they have are all granted to them by Him. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." (John 1:3)

Before The Throne:

If you understand this passage, Jesus should be your All in All. How does your life reflect that? Pray about it, giving Jesus the credit for the blessings in your life, for the abilities that you posses, for the authority that you have and for the authorities that you serve. Pray that He would open your eyes to the spiritual world around you and would enable you to follow His lead in dealing with it. Pray that His will should be done in your life.

For Further Study:

(v.16)
** by him were. Col 1:15; Ps 102:25-27; Isa 40:9-12; Isa 44:24; John 1:3; 1Cor 8:6; Eph 3:9; Heb 1:2; Heb 1:10-12; Heb 3:3-4; ** in heaven. Col 1:20; Deut 4:39; 1Chr 29:11; Eph 1:10; Phil 2:10; Rev 5:13-14; ** thrones. Col 2:10, 15; Rom 8:38; Eph 1:21; Eph 3:10; Eph 6:12; 1Pet 3:22; ** by. Prov 16:4; Isa 43:21; Rom 11:36; Heb 2:10;

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