Monday, January 19, 2009

Colossians 1:15-20

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 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. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
There is so much here. Jesus is so great that the language strains to catch a hint of his glory. But what struck me particularly was what this passage also says about us. We too are created in the image of the invisible God. While Jesus is firstborn, we share the family likeness, marred though it may be by sin. We have not created all things, but we are creators. As head of the church, he is not head of an alien population - a foreign potentate ruling over a subjugated people. His church is made up of people who look like him; who are family. We are redeemable by Christ because we are made in his image. He could not have become incarnated as a frog, but only as a human who shared his likeness. And we, when we are redeemed, shall be made like him, for we shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2). Like the one who spins the universe into life and holds all things together... We have no real idea yet what we will be like in glory, but this passage points us in that direction, even as it points to Jesus.


Christina said...

This is such an incredible passage. When we were all driving to Fresno, I started a book called Deification in Christ: the Nature of the Human Person. It's basically a synthesis of early fathers (from the East) on this topic. Very interesting stuff! It talked about this passage, but with bit of a twist I hadn't thought of before. The first verse here says that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and that other verse you mentioned says we are being made like him. So they take this another step and say that when we were created in the image of God originally, we were actually created in the image of Christ, the image of God. In a fallen state, that image is tainted, leading to Christ dying to reconcile us to His image. However, they say, even in a pre-fall state, it was always part of God's plan for Christ to become incarnate, not so much to redeem us, but to complete us in His image (theosis). Pre-fall, we created in the "image and likeness." But they distinguish between image and likeness, saying that likeness implies more to come/more to go. I hope the way I'm saying this makes sense: I'm no theologian, and I'm trying to do this from memory! :) Interesting, huh?

RalphW said...

Thanks for passing along these insights. I've thought too that there are aspects of God's plan and nature that become only visible here on earth as he works his purposes out with us. It is also fascinating to imagine what things would have been like had there been no fall. C. S. Lewis in his space trilogy was the first to lead me in that direction and I've thought a number times about that since then.