THE CREATION of the Son is the beginning which will lead to the fulfillment of God's great purpose to bringing "all out of God." According to our judgment God might have continued by bringing into existence and life all the rest of creation through the Son. Instead of this, however, the Scriptures present the next divine act as "All in the Son"
(Col.1:16). Instead of being created immediately, there is the transfer of the uncreated universe out of God into His Beloved. So, by a single act, God fulfilled His primeval purpose.
The resultant revelation of His Son could be superscribed: "The Untraceable Riches of God's Son," for it comprehends a transcendent fullness of glory. Before we enter into the revelations lying within it, we will first point out what God has concealed in it. We seek in vain for any further explanation how this transfer of all out of God into Christ was accomplished. God's Word informs us that it occurred, but not how or when.
Again and again we must emphasize the fact that along with the glorious revelations concerning the precreation period there are many operations which are hidden from us. One cause of the divine reticence is the probability that we, in these bodies of humiliation, are not competent or strong enough to grasp such mighty manifestations of God's power. Nevertheless these secrets are freighted with much joy for us, for they point to the transcendent riches of the knowledge of Christ which we will some day explore and enjoy. It is quite impossible to exhaust the riches of Christ down here. But when we are above we will possess unimagined powers to grow in knowledge. Then, in glorified bodies, will we be able to sound the depths of the precreation period, which are as yet concealed from our understanding.
In a general view of the earliest revelations concerning Christ we now see that the Son of God appears in a likeness to God as well as a likeness to creation. With strong bonds God has bound Him to Himself as well as to the creation. This double relation of Christ is the equipment for His later mediatorial mission, and is the firm foundation for the immutable basis on which His Saviourhood rests.
Now if Christ, as God's primal creation (Col.1:15; Rev.3:14), is already on the level of the creature (Heb.2:11), yet, with His creation began His exaltation. He was not called into life along with the rest, but alone, as the first. No other creature can stand with Him in this regard, and that meant for Him the first step upward out of the likeness to creation, yet without being exalted to absolute equality with God. It was an intermediate position, from which He ascended to His highest place (Phil.2:6).
We have already considered Christ in some of the roles of the Firstborn. Now Colossians deals with a revelation which bears witness to the transcendent greatness of the Son. "For in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him" (Col.1:16).
These words record the installation of Christ in His highest honors. This consists in the transfer of some of God's own relationship to all to the Son also:
out of God -- in Christ
through -- through
for -- for
How deep must be the basis of such profound thoughts, when we read of Christ, that all is in and through and for Him! Like the sun rising in the morning with the full force of its beams, so shine the precreation glories of Christ in this Scripture with every gleam of His Godlikeness and the nobility of His sonship. There is not a single creature which was not once found in Him, as it had been before in God, and is therefore bound to Him with the bands of love and life.
And as once, in God, the creature was endued with an inner inclination which would bring it back to its Creator, so now it received the same tendency to return to Christ. Before all come home to the Father, will the Father draw all to Christ. And through Christ will every creature be brought back to God (John 6:44,45; 14:7). With this method of salvation we have another magnificent revelation of Christ's mediatorship. The way to God leads only through Christ.
In all this it is already evident why and for what purpose God brought creation into existence. In His hand it becomes the medium to exalt His Son to the highest form of likeness to Himself, and to display His manifold glories, in order to glorify Himself.
Perhaps no other words are able to bear witness to the greatness of Christ as those which reveal to our hearts that all was once in Him. In order to accommodate all, as it originally was in God, demands that He be in the form of God. Even if we know nothing of the particulars, we are convinced that He must have been immeasurably great. This revelation is a worthy commentary to all that Paul says of His precreation glory in his epistle to the Philippians (2:6), that He was inherently in the form of God. Here we should get a glimpse of the depth of Christ's humiliation. He Who, when inherently in the form of God, carried all in Himself, came as a Babe into the world!
In order to enjoy the deepest insight into this divine operation, it is important to carefully choose an appropriate name for it."Transfer" would not be false, but does not convey the esoteric values. It can be used of anything, even if it has no living relation to its surroundings. It is better to use a word like transplant, which suggests the vital esoteric relationship between Him and the creation. The word reminds us of our relationship to Christ in death and resurrection (Rom.6:5). There we are planted together in the likeness of His death, and will be in that of His resurrection also. Our old humanity was crucified with Him, yet now we are living together with Him. So, at one time, God transplanted us, and all else, like a living plant in fertile soil, so that we are found in vital union.
This early connection of all with His Son was made by God in order to bring them the greatest possible blessing eventually. No alien might will ever be able to destroy it, for, before sin drew down the creation into the depths it was planted in the Son, and anchored in His Beloved.
In this blessed location, in Him, we again find ourselves. It was not enough for God that we should look back and find ourselves in Him. Before we found our way into conscious existence we were privileged to rest in the heart of the Beloved, and our life was hid in Him. When we meditate on this truth our hearts are filled with exultation. This knowledge is a spring of the purest, deepest and most strengthening joy. We should drink of it often in order to enjoy and employ its all conquering strength in all our temptation and trials.
To recapitulate: All humanity was once in Adam, vitally connected with him, for it has inherited its life from him by generation, and is involved in his offense and mortality. It suffers temporary torment because of this relationship although no one has any conscious recollection of this phase of his existence whatever. Many resent this, although they cannot deny it. So also, even before all men were in Adam, they were in the Son and God, for from these their life is derived by creation. This vital connection is inherent in them and involves them in their righteousness and immortality. They will enjoy eternal blessedness as a result, even though they have no conscious recollection of their primeval existence whatever. Yet they will reap the benefits of their divine origin, and enjoy immortality and eternal blessedness on account of it. At present, however, this is restricted to those who believe, and are a first-fruits of Christ's sacrifice. All of this came before the entrance of sin and it will not be fulfilled until after its exit at the consummation.
God had a special object in view in including all in His Son. As an introduction we may use again a phase of family life. We have already referred to this in setting forth God's love by means of the love of parents for their children, which comes by generation.
We cannot think too highly of parental love, for its continual recurrence probably saves mankind from becoming wholly depraved in its present defection. To be sure, humanity has sunk deep, and the corruption of our days has invaded far into family life, and is doing desperate damage. A cold and callous communion, ever strife and contention, characterize many a household. But one thing that persists is the care of the mother for her child. Indeed, in many cases such are careless enough, and children are considered an incumbrance.
As a general rule, however, parents show affection for their offspring. Even if there are unnatural parents who desert their children, they are very scarce. In these last days children are stubborn to parents (2 Tim.3:2), but we do not read that parents will mistreat their children. There may be mothers, enslaved in sin and decadent in body and soul, yet even then, if one of her neglected children dies, the heart of the mother is depressed. But how definite and decided is this love line in decent people, and more in holy, believing ones. Now if this love, due to the inclusion of the children in their parents, is able to endure in sinful souls like ourselves, and cannot be eradicated, with what strength and fullness must it have been in the Son of His love because of the inclusion of all in Him!
However, we must not reason from this that God transplanted all into His Son, in order that He also should love them and therefore be able to save them through His cross. That would be most dishonoring to Him. Even if He had come into contact with creation only outwardly, with His hands, that would suffice to fill His heart with a boundless love for it. As the sympathetic Son of His Father, He would have entered fully into God's love for His creatures. This love would have been enough to lead Him on the way of death and crucifixion. Mere contact with him extracted power. The woman who merely touched the tassel of His cloak, in the days of His humiliation, found healing (Matt.9:20-22). But God has much greater blessings in store for creation than this. In order to be able to appreciate them, it must be brought into a much closer relationship with the Son. On this account, for our sakes, and for the creation, God transplanted all into His Beloved.
It is really marvelous to note anew how this divine method is reflected in family life. In the relationship of children to parents there is a law which, in its operation, is a miniature of the divine love for us. The family is based on immutable laws that operate automatically as regards the children, due to the unalterable law that the children are out of the parents. Because of this connection, or, we might better say, the mingling of their lives, the children share the spiritual and physical bent of their parents. This is a most important fact, and even the evil tendencies are inherited. It may include health or disease, virtue or vice. This is already in the child when it is born. But there is no ironclad rule, for often the opposite seems to be the case, and good parents have bad children, or vice versa. Otherwise we would have a kind of evolutionary theory. Nevertheless, there is enough left, even in the abnormal conditions of these last days, of the effects that flow from the inclusion of children in their parents. A further law, which flows from it, is the responsibility of the parents for the children. If minors do any damage, the parents can be held accountable.
What is especially interesting, in this connection, is the law of inheritance, not only after the death of the parents, but during their lifetime. The children have the right to share and enjoy what belongs to their father or mother. Even disobedient children cannot be absolutely excluded from this.
The family is a vital unit, in the fullest sense. The bond of blood builds a unity in which the issues of life flow from the parents to the children. That is all based upon the inclusion of the children in their generators. How necessary this inclusion is in order to obtain the property of the parents will now be shown by an example.
A rich married couple, without children, may pick one up. They surround it with their whole love, and care for it as if it were their own. The child really lacks nothing. Yet, if that is all they do, they have neglected the most important thing. When they die the child can inherit nothing. The most distant relatives, with a very faint blood relationship, have more right to the estate than this child, which they treated as if it were their own. For such cases the law has provided. Childless couples can legally adopt children, give them their name, and transfer to them all the rights of those who are bound to them by ties of blood. But no blood transfusion p156
Purpose of Transplantingis necessary. A legal document, properly attested, suffices to secure to the child the inheritance. It is a purely spiritual tie which replaces the blood bond. But this is an abnormal case in the life of the peoples, and by no means does it displace the normal. It is a praiseworthy arrangement for childless couples who yearn for the joys of parenthood.
In this legal provision for family life we may be able to see the chief cause for transplanting all into the Son. It is the divine preparation of a way by which every creature will be sure to attain the blessing which God has in store for it. In deed, the previous inclusion of all in God already secured this to them. As, however, God cannot enter into direct relationship with His creatures, He had to make an added provision, to make this possible. In order to reach this, the longing of His love, He has devised a wonderful way. He included all in His Son, and made this the ground for the certain conveyance of His gifts, so that, at the consummation, not a single creature will be overlooked. In this we have the great original, which He purposely repeats in the lives of humanity, in order to make it clear to us.
Yet what a vast difference between the original and the copies! The unity of all in the Son because of their inclusion in Him is exalted far above that of the family, as this inclusion in Him, the Head of all creation, reaches deeper in the lives of His creatures than that between parents and children. If, however, bonds of blood unfailingly bring to them the estate of their parents, how much more does God, through inclusion in His Son, guarantee to all the gifts He has in store for them!
Now, however, there is another great task in God's purpose, for which this inclusion provides the solution. God's creation came to be lost, subject to an alien power, and Christ must seek and save that which He lost. In order to enjoy the gifts which God has for it, all must have part in this salvation. This made it necessary that all should not only share what comes to them from inclusion in God, but also in the salvation which comes through the work of Christ, the Son, the Sacrifice for Sin.
It is worthy of notice at this point that we are concerned with far more than salvation. Clear thoughts concerning this are important for the believer. We are taught this lesson at the very beginning of the nation of Israel. The first gift they received was exemption from the judgment which fell on Egypt, through the blood of the lamb. Yet this was followed by their liberation and exit from the house of slavery. But Israel was not only a redeemed and liberated people, that had experience a great salvation. God had prepared for them a land gushing with milk and honey, in which every Israelite received an allotment. God has provided correspondingly for the present ecclesia, only the blessings are on a very much higher plane. The first is justification by the blood of Christ, which frees from the coming judgment (Rom.5:9; 1 Thess.1:10). The grace delivers from the slavery of sin and leads to a life of freedom. Yet, as the wilderness wanderings of Israel really were a pilgrimage to the beloved land, so, also, our walk in faith has a glorious goal. The heavens are our future home (Phil.3:20). Thence will Christ, when He comes, lead His own, and give each one a glorious allotment (Col.1:5). We should have a much greater longing for that which is above (Col.3:3), for this makes the life of faith joyful and effective. The celestial allotment is only for the present ecclesia but all will yet receive justification of life (Rom.5:18,19), and in this is included an allotment, so that everyone will enjoy his special blessedness. God has made marvelous provision, which will be fulfilled in every case.
We have seen that, as blood bonds secure earthly inheritance, where this inner connection is lacking, nothing is sure. Had we not been in the Son we would be like children who have not been adopted, and, notwithstanding much care and love, have no right to the estate. It is very significant that such customs should exist among the peoples, in order to impress us with divine truth. As adoption, however, or gift, could have replaced it, we might reason that God could have accomplished His purpose in another way. But our loving Father would hardly use a substitute when such a glorious exhibition of His love was possible.
In this act, the inclusion of all in the Son, we see the effulgence of our good and gift giving God. We see in it the root of the divine decree: "The children ought not to be hoarding for the parents, but the parents for the children" (2 Cor.12:14). God was the first to fulfill this charge, for He not only brought the creation into existence, but prepared in every way for its future. His gifts were secured to it beforehand.
In the family the estate of the parents goes to the children in the form of an inheritance after their death has occurred. Not so with God's gifts. The sons of Israel did not inherit their holdings, but received the enjoyment of an allotment. The land was and remained in the hands of God. The Owner of all is and remains God. He has made His Son the enjoyer of the allotment of all (Heb.1:4). It is through and in the Son that all the rest receive their allotment. In the future, the members of His body will be the first to enter their allotment. According to Romans (8:17) we are not only enjoyers of God's allotment, but joint-enjoyers of Christ's. The same is seen in Galatians (4:7). So that you are no longer a slave, but a son. Now if a son, an enjoyer also of God's allotment, through Christ. So will it go on in the coming eons till every creature will receive its allotment of blessing through Christ.
Now we have not only a proof for the unfailing fulfillment of this divine method in the family life of humanity, but it is much more clearly displayed in mankind as a whole. All humans were included in Adam, and therefore are involved in the consequences of his offense. Had this been a good deed, it would have brought blessing to mankind, and all would boast of their connection with the first Adam, instead of with the Second, Christ. But that was not God's plan. It was the one act of disobedience which offended God, and which demanded judgment, that brought in death. All mankind partakes of this "gift," because all were included in Adam. All are now mortal and born as sinners, without being asked or tested, just as if they had taken part in his transgression. Yet on this gloomy background God is painting the most glorious expectation for the creation, for He acts in the same way in relation to its inclusion in the Son. His one act on Golgotha was the exact opposite of Adam's. It was an act of obedience and love, from which blessing will flow to every creature, because all were once included in Him. The promise is unmistakably clear, "Consequently, then, as it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus also it is through one just award for all mankind for life's justifying. For, even as, through the disobedience of the one man, the many were constituted sinners, thus also, through the obedience of the One, the many shall be constituted just" (Rom.5:18,19). According to this divine statement the work of Christ has the same universal range as that of Adam. We see that the depths of the cross of Christ are revealed only when we associate it with the inclusion of all in Him. His work has the same effect as if He had accomplished it while all was yet included in Him.
When Jesus, with willing obedience, was about to endure the suffering of the cross, He prayed to be glorified with the glory which He had with His Father before the world was created (John 17:5). Probably He thought of the glory which was His when an was yet in Him. Now He desired to accomplish the deed for which He was equipped when all was still in Him, that the blessing of His obedient offering may come to all. In God's counsels the cross undoubtedly was in view at that time. Then the foundation for the death of the cross was already laid.
Usually, when searching the truth concerning God's ultimate, these first beginnings have been ignored, and, as a result, men arrived at a false conclusion. By commencing later, with His creatures, and basing all upon their conduct toward the Deity, we get human religion, which begins with the creature and seeks to find a way to God from below. Said to say, this is true of the saints, who make human "free" will the deciding factor in mankind's destiny.
God, however, began with His preparations and decisions concerning the consummation of His purposes before there was any creation, just as men do today, when they plan some great undertaking. All is sketched and blueprinted before a single part of the project is made. Later, when God was called upon to make provision for the future of Adam's race, He gave men no opportunity to exercise their "free" will, or choose their own way. Adam sinned, and all were made sinners against their own desires. If men had "free" wills, they should at least have the same opportunity as Adam had to decide for themselves in this weighty matter, and be condemned to mortality and death on the basis of their own transgression.
How have men scoffed at the idea that one man sinned and now most men must go to hell! Men see quite rightly that this is a one-sided proposition, which demands a corrective and equalizing operation. For God this way of dealing is no problem. He has used it intentionally, for it has a vital place in the fulfillment of His loving purpose. The failure of Adam was no disappointment for Him, but rather opened the way for the revelation of His love in Christ. Not to Adam was committed the task of securing the future of the race, but to Christ, as the Second Adam, and this by the offering of Himself as a sacrifice. And as not only mankind, but all creation was in the Son, so all will have a part in His reconciliation. That such is the basis of the inclusion of all is evident from the fact that God locks up all in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all (Rom.11:32).
Now it is very important to emphasize the truth that the creation will gain much more through Christ than was lost through Adam. This is shown in the guilt offering (Lev.6:1-5). Here we have restitution in case of any invasion of the rights of others. In reparation a fifth had to be added. So has Christ not only made good any loss, but has restored far more than the damage done by the Adversary. Even if Adam himself had also accomplished such a work it would never have brought the deep and rich blessing which Christ has obtained for all.
Since Adam's deed, apart from the will of his progeny, produced a universal result, it will never do to constrict the work of Christ by leaving it to the "free" will of man. As all were debased by mortality and sin, their will was so weakened and enslaved that it could not possibly decide for Christ by its own power. The authority that Christ has received as the Second Adam, to act in the name of all, must not be abridged or denied, otherwise God's righteousness is called into question. Among no people have they ever tried to alter the law of inheritance into a kindergarten precept for the good or the naughty. When there are any special provisions, they usually demand that disobedient children must not be disinherited altogether. There are cases enough where the parents of delinquent children do not think of reducing their portion. Notwithstanding the pain which these give them, they act on the basis of their inner relationship. It has often happened that such strong parental love has moved the hearts of disobedient children, and conquered them. When parents find it impossible to give their children what they have prepared for them they are filled with sorrow that they have failed to fulfill their chief end in life.
This law of inclusion is strictly observed in relation to men. But, sad to say, in relation to God, out of Whose affectionate, fatherly heart this arrangement sprang, and Who includes all in the Son in His paternal care in order that all with no exception will be partakers of blessing at the end of the eons, it is beset with doubts because men question His ability to actually bring it to completion. Men and women, parents with a strong love for children, overcome unusual hindrances and fulfill His law. God, however, Whose love is much stronger, He is not strong enough to overcome the obstacles! Some would force Him to operate on a lower plane than the ethics of His creatures, so that their disobedience and stubbornness would make Him helpless to fulfill His divine method of operation. If parents suffer when they are not able to pass on an inheritance to their children, how much more would God's heart be heavy if the greatest part of His creatures were eternally in a state in which He is unable to give them the gifts He had provided for them! Giving is purely the great necessity of love. Anything less can only spring from the lack of faith in the overwhelming love of God, and from lack of knowledge concerning the beginning of creation and the great foundation truths unfolded therein.
God, however, will accomplish all that He began by the inclusion of all in Himself and His Son at the beginning. Christ has made provision, through the sacrifice of the cross, so that God can pour out His gifts upon all.
The intervening bitter experiences of evil and sin will prepare all to value and appreciate His gifts. The knowledge of good and evil together will bring forth the precious fruit that fervent thankfulness will rise to Him from every heart. All in the Son of His love!