The Providence of God, Christ upholds all things.
Read Colossians 1:15-20
“He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.”
Colossians 1:15-20 is regarded by many to be one of the great hymns and celebrations of the person of Christ found in all the New Testament. In just a few sentences Paul captures his divine nature, his preeminence and his redemptive work. Verse 15 captures his divine nature that he shares with the Father. Christ is the perfect representation of God for he is God himself. Paul then points out that when God spoke the universe into existence it was accomplished through the person of Christ who is the word of God (John 1:1). Because of this, he is the firstborn of all creation (vs 15). This does not mean that he was the first created being, as some have suggested. The term “firstborn” which draws is significance from the Old Testament; referring to the one who is in the highest position of preeminence in the family. The firstborn was not necessarily the one born first, but the one through home the as the one through whom the family name and heritage would proceed (see for example both Jacob and Joseph). This is further highlighted in verse 16 when Paul celebrates the position of Christ over all creation. Not only does the universe owe its existence to him, but he is the goal of creation (“for him”). In other words, Christ stands at the beginning of creation and he stands as the end or goal of creation.
In verse 17, Paul carries it a step further when he states that he is also the one who sustains creation. From beginning to end and everywhere in the middle it is Christ who gives life, purpose, and meaning to all creation. The word hold speaks of one who holds many parts into a cohesive and enduring whole. This is further emphasized in the tense of the verb, which suggests continual and constant cohesions. In other words, Christ is the glue binding the universe together. Science has long been baffled by understand what holds the fundamental forces of nature (i.e. matter, radiation, forces, space and time) together. Einstein believed that if we probed the essence of physics deeply enough there would be one and only one way that everything works together. In the quest to discover this, some of proposed the “string theory”. Here Paul gives us the answer mystifying Quantum Physics, the unifying force of all thing, that which binds all things together is not just some impersonal scientific law, it is a living person, Christ himself.
What is true of the universe, is equally true of our own individual life as well. Christ is not only the sustainer of the universe; he is also the sustainer of our own life. In a world of chaotic chance, Christ is the one who brings cohesion and meaning. At times, especially in times of difficulty, life seems out of control, without purpose and security, we can trust in Christ’s providential hand. When we speak of the providence of God, we are affirming God’s presence in the universe whereby he upholds and preserves all things and governs all things by his purpose. The existence of the world and universe is not grounded in chance or even in man’s ability but God’s involvement in creation whereby he sustains all things and moves all things to fulfill his purpose. When life becomes confusing, we have the assurance of God’s sustaining hand. Our life and purpose is not determined by chance or by the “miracles of modern medicine” but the providential care of a loving God.