A Study of Hebrews Chapter 1: Part 4

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Through whom also He made the worlds;

There have been numerous biographies written in history about great men who accomplished great works and lived extraordinary lives. When an individual writes a biography concerning one of these historical figures, there is an attempt to list the most relevant facts concerning this person in order to bring about the full extent of his/her life. We are now viewing in this chapter a state of progression by which the writer wishes to expand upon the unique attributes given to the Son which make Him the Son. It must be observed that in most cases when the reflections of the inspired writer communicates the idea of the supremacy of Christ especially in His proprietorship, it is generally accompanied with a statement concerning His role as creator. The reason for His heirship and proprietorship is due to the fact that through Him He made the worlds.

Christ Jesus, in the beginning, created all things but the extent by which He accomplished this is sometimes put into question. Not too many individuals will argue that He had a part in creation however to attribute Him the full function as creator has been endorsed by some.  The term “through” (Greek dia)[i] has caused many people all sorts of problems regarding how exactly did Christ create all things. Some have suggested that Christ’s creatorship is merely His being an instrument of creation[ii] however the thought here and throughout scripture seems to go far beyond this simplistic understanding. Anyone who holds to monotheism cringes at the thought of a secondary party involved in creation. We read in Genesis “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7) The question that must be asked is: did Jehovah actually do this or was it someone else? Notice the language of workmanship attributed to Jehovah in the book of Isaiah

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand,
 Measured heaven with a span
 And calculated the dust of the earth in a measure?
 Weighed the mountains in scales
 and the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40:12)

While keeping this in mind, we can assert that the creatorship of Christ is not that of a representative or a co-worker but a cooperating agent. Scholar Marvin Vincent explains:

Dia commonly expresses secondary agency; but, in some instances, it is used of God’s direct agency. See 1 Cor. i.1; 2 Cor. i.1; Gal. Iv.7. Christ is here represented as a mediate agency in creation. The phrase is, clearly, coloured in Alexandrian conception, but differs from it in that Christ is not represented as a mere instrument, a passive tool, but rather as a cooperating agent.[iii]

The counsel of God is being referenced here and the mark of creatorship is attributed in an equal sense to all three persons of the Trinity. The contemplation of the sole creatorship of Jehovah should be acknowledged especially when we examine the text of Isaiah 44; “Thus saith Jehovah, thy Redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb: I [am] Jehovah, the maker of all things; who alone stretched out the heavens, who did spread forth the earth by myself; (Isaiah 44:24 Darby).  It should be well observed that the term “worlds” here is a translation that could have certainly been rendered more precisely as “ages”. The term ages is far reaching since it denotes outside the area of simply the realm of the earth but expands to the boundaries of things visible and invisible (Col. 1:16) and into the realm of “all things” (John 1:3). This Son whom had revealed His Father in those days was the creator of all thing!

[i] Quoting Bowman’s book regarding the preposition “dia”: “The argument from the use of different prepositions (ek or ex, “from,” the Father; dia, “through”, the Son) fails to come to terms with the way ancient writers used these prepositions in reference to creation. Paul uses both prepositions in another passage referring simply to God: “For from [ex] him and through [di’] him and for [eis] him are all things” (Romans 11:36 NAB). Pauline scholar Thomas Schreiner accurately paraphrases Paul’s statement: “God is the source of all things, the means by which all things are accomplished, and the goal of all things.” Bauckham rightly understands the three phrases to express God’s causation of all things in three ways: God is the efficient cause (ex autou), the instrumental cause (di’ autou), and the final cause (eis auton). All three of the prepositional phrases in Romans 11:36 occur in 1 Corinthians 8:6, which states, “To us there is one God, the Father, from whom [ex hou] are all things and we for him [eis hou], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom [di’ hou] are all things and we though him [di auton]”. As Bauckman notes, Paul here assigns two of the causal functions of God to the Father and the third to Christ. One should not infer from 1 Corinthians 8:6 that the causal funcations assigned there to God the Father are not also applicable to the Son or vice versa…elsewhere, the apostle states, “In Him [en auto] all things in heaven and on earth were created…allthings have been created through him [di’ autou] and for him [eis auton} (Col. 1:16) Here, Paul assigns the “final cause”, as Bauckham puts it, to the Son. — Putting Jesus in His Place: The case for the Deity of Christ, R. Bowman Jr., J. Ed. Komoszewski, Kregel Publishings,  Page 190

[ii] The Watchtower Society among many Neo-Arians have affirmed this position in stating that the Lord Jesus was the first created thing of Jehovah whom then created all other things. This rendition is very similar to a form of gnosticism that was rampant during the time of the apostles. The belief was spirit was absolutely pure while flesh was purely evil. They could not accept that a pure spirit such as God could create the fallen human race hence they began teaching that God created mediators or demi-gods that functioned as creator for God. This was exactly the teaching that the apostle Paul was writing against in the book of the Colossians using their own terminology (pleroma/aeon) to contradict their theology in verses such as Colossians 1:15-19; 2:9. See James White’s “The Forgotten Trinity” for further information.

[iii] Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. IV, Hendrickson Publishers, M. Vincent, Page 380


Written by shawnkjmcgrath

July 23, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Posted in Hebrews Ch.1

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