The God who is present: Sustaining the Universe
Read Col 1:15-20
“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together”
The threats are real and seem never ending. We face the threat of pandemics and diseases. We see the slow decay of the world around us. We are informed that the very existence of humanity is threatened by global warming, massive famines, unparalleled storms, and unpredictable earthquakes. Because of the threats, people become fearful with a misguided focus that humanity must somehow save the planet even as we neglect to deal with the root cause—the reality of our rebellion against God.
While we are not to minimize the dangers, there is a greater hope than the wisdom of men. Ultimately, it is God, not human effort and wisdom, that sustain the universe. In Colossians 1, Paul highlights the position of Christ’s supremacy over creation. When he states that he is the firstborn of all creation he is not referring to Christ being the first act of God’s creative power, but that Christ stands in a position of preeminence over all creation. He holds this position because it was through him that all things were created in the universe. Furthermore, not only where they created through Him, but the universe was created for him. Thus, Christ stands at the beginning of the universe and at the end of creation. He is the source of all things and the goal to which all creation moves.
Christ is not only the source and the goal, he is the one sustaining all things. The expression, “in him all things hold together,” points to the reality that the universe owes it continuing cohesion to the sustaining work of Christ. His continual presence in the universe is not a passive coexistence. Rather, Christ is present to hold the universe together. This provides us confidence in the present and future. Our existence is not determined by the impersonal laws of nature governed by some law of chance as expressed in the theory of evolution. Our universe is held together by a personal God whose sustaining presence is realized in every nook and cranny of the universe. If the hope of our existence is based upon the actions of humanity, we would be hopeless. The Covid-19 virus has revealed how utterly helpless we are to sustain our own existence even in the face of a microscopic problem.
Not only is our universe and the existence of our planet determined by a universally present Christ, but so is our personal life as well. Because he is present, he knowns the specific issues in our life and his guidance and sustaining work is individually tailored to our own life. Christ works in our lives differently because each of us are unique, not only in our personality, but also in our circumstances.
In the end, God’s omnipresence is our source of confidence. Because we know that Christ is the one who sustains the universe and each of us through his universal presence, then there is no ultimate terror or fear. We do not need to fear that the world will be destroyed because we have a redeemer, who loves us enough to die for us, sustaining and directing all things through his presence.