Shelby G. Floyd

What Does Colossians 1:16 Mean?

All Things Were Made by Christ
John, the apostle, affirms that all things were made by Christ (John 1:3). This includes the universe, all of its elements and its systems of law. Christ, the creator of all things, is himself uncreated, for he was in the beginning with the Father, which means he is eternal in his nature and existence. The same cannot be said for the material universe. It is not eternal since it had a beginning.

The Universe Had a Beginning
John says that all things were made by Christ. The verb “were made” translates a Greek word which is in the aorist tense, and means: to become, or to come into existence, to begin to be, received being, and is used in John 1: 3 of the origin of all things. So from this verb we learn that all things of a material nature definitely had a beginning. They were begun when Christ made all things. The Bible teaches that the material universe had a beginning and it will have an end. Therefore, it is temporary in nature and not eternal. We understand and believe this fact by faith. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).

Hebrews 11:3 | Hebrews 11, Faith scripture, Christian verses

God did not make the world out of preexisting materials as an architect and a builder would make a house; but he made the universe out of nothing. He simply spoke and these things came into existence. This is what Moses affirms in the first chapter of Genesis when he says, “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

God the Father Is the First Cause
Next we notice that while God the Father was the first cause in creation, our Lord Jesus Christ was the instrumental cause in that creation. The apostle affirms that “All things were made by him.” The preposition “by” translates a term which means through, or the instrument by which anything is effected, because what is done by means of a person or thing seems to pass as it were through the same, of an instrument used to accomplish a thing or of the instrumental cause in the stricter sense with the genitive of person, meaning by the service, the intervention of anyone. God, the Father, then is the originator and architect of the entire material universe, while his Son is the instrumental agent in bringing this universe into being.

1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom  are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom  are all

Christ is the Instrumental Agent in Creation
This is more clearly seen and distinguished in 1 Corinthians 8, where Paul said, “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of (ek) whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by (dia) whom are all things, and we by (dia) him” (1 Corinthians 8:6). From this verse we notice that all things came forth from out of the Father, while they were brought into being through the agency, or by the instrumental cause of his Son, Jesus Christ. This is also seen in Paul’s statement to the Colossians,

“For by (en) 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 (dia) him, and for (eis) him: And he is before (pro) all things, and by (en) him all things do consist” (Colossians 1:16-17).

Therefore the Son, Jesus Christ, is the agent, and the instrumental cause in creation as the contractor is the agent of the owner who builds a house. In the book of Hebrews we read that God, “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by (en) his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by (dia) whom also he made the worlds”(Hebrews 1:2).

Therefore, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God, the Father, is the first cause in all of the creation, and his Son, Jesus Christ, was the instrumental cause by which all of these things were brought into existence.*

*Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd                                                                                                                                                                            Heartland Church of Christ                                                                                                                                                  1693 West Main Street                                                                                                                                                            Greenwood, Indiana 46142

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