Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christ the Creator, the Wisdom of God

Where was the Son during the creation? Genesis begins with God [the Father] and the [Holy] Spirit, but the Son is conspicuously absent. God’s statement “let us make man in our image,” may give us a little more of a showing of the Son, but is that sufficient evidence to support these New Testament passages?
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)

He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. (John 1:10)

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:16-17)
Does Christ get any kind of shout out in the Old Testament that would justify these statements, or did the New Testament authors deduce that since Christ was God, He must have been involved in the creation?

While I believe the second option would be an appropriate argument for His involvement in creation, I think the New Testament authors saw plainly that Christ was creator based on strong Old Testament passages.

A minor argument comes from John’s paralleling the beginning of Genesis. He begins his Gospel with, “In the beginning was the Word…” Genesis starts with, “In the beginning God…” Although much has been written on John’s use of Word (logos), one implication of its use is that John is making a link between God the Father speaking in Genesis and Jesus being the Word.

But a much stronger argument comes from Proverbs 8:22-31.
“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.”
This passage from Proverbs is a poetic speech from Wisdom. Yet the early church recognized this personification of Wisdom as Christ. Is there any evidence of that in the New Testament? I think there is.

First, consider a few other short statements from the Old Testament:
O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. (Psa. 104:24)

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. (Prov. 3:19-20)

It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens. (Jer. 10:12)
I think the last verse helps bridge the gap, showing Christ indeed is Wisdom personified, especially in Proverbs 8 above. Paul seems to make an allusion to this verses in Jeremiah when writing to the church at Corinth. The believers there faced difficulty in sharing the gospel with their non-believing neighbors because the gospel was not what they expected. He says,
For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (1 Cor. 1:22-24)
Notice anything in common between Paul’s and Jeremiah’s writing? Jeremiah says God made the earth by His power and established the world by wisdom. Paul says Christ is God’s power and His wisdom. The New Testament authors recognized the personification of Wisdom in the Old Testament was none other than Jesus Christ, God the Son. Because of this, they are fully right to ascribe the great creation act to Him. He was there. He did it. And “He upholds the universe by the word of His power” (cf. Heb. 1:3).

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