I forget myself at times…most likely you do too, don’t you? (Please say yes, it’ll make me feel better…thanks.) I’m not talking about a faulty memory (though, I do have that)…but more about taking things for granted, not remembering “how things used to be.” The past few months, especially the last few weeks, have proven out that I don’t always take into consideration that some people are, relatively, new to their faith in Christ. I’ve grown up in church…Sunday School, Training Union (wonder how many even know what that is), Wednesday night Bible Study, youth group, college group (though I must admit that one was somewhat sporadic)…and so on. In other words, I know Christianese, I’ve heard/read/studied a lot of Bible stuff. I’m making that point to say…I often assume everyone knows all the stuff I do…without stopping to consider where they might actually be in their understanding.
Like I mentioned that’s come up several times in the last few month…conversations about “..isms” (Calvinism, Trinitarianism…and so on), general discussions about different topics, last week’s post had a little of that as well (not the only post of mine that does). So, I wanted to start doing occasional “core belief” posts. For some this may be a review, for others it may be reinforcing or understanding a new belief. There may be some that read this that may not hold to these “core beliefs”…but I believe them (sort of obvious, but had to be said) and they are considered “core beliefs”/orthodox.
This was all inspired by those conversations I mentioned earlier…they all had something in common. A misperception or misunderstanding of when Jesus “came on the scene.” So, that’s where we’ll start. This isn’t going to be exhaustive by any means…it’s a start, a pointing in the right direction.
A couple of verses to start with…
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” [Revelation 22:12-13 ESV]
(look at Revelation 1:8 and 21:6 as well…)
Alpha and Omega…the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. First and last…God used that to refer to Himself as the Father and as the Son. He’s telling us, He is everything and has always been. Revelation 1:8 puts it this way…” who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Jesus has always been…not always in human form…but has always been.
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. [Colossians 1:15-17 ESV]
Don’t have time to get “in the weeds” on the phrase “firstborn of all creation”…but I don’t want to leave you hanging either. The context of the Greek in this verse, the context in English of this verse, along with the context of the whole of Scripture, speaks to position or rank. Not that He was created, but that Jesus is over all creation, He is preeminent.
The Greek word used for firstborn is prototokos…could mean first in time order, or that someone is preeminent in rank – “he is before all things.” If you look at the rest of the passage…”For by Him all things were created”…not everything else, all things. We just read earlier that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega…always was…to be “always” means, not created (more context on this to come later).
Hebrews 1 also mentions Jesus as firstborn and Jesus as the Creator…and some powerful verses touch on another aspect of who Jesus is…Remember this is God the Father speaking at this point…
But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; [Hebrews 1:8-10 ESV]
(more on these verses in this post)
The Father calling the Son – “Lord,” calling Him “God.” God’s not created.
All that to ask, when did God create the universe? “In the beginning,” Genesis 1:1. So, if Jesus created everything…He was around…”In the beginning”.
John, in his gospel, put it better than I can…
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. [John 1:1-3, 14 ESV]
Jesus…the Word…the Creator…the Alpha and Omega…always was, always is, and always will be…from the beginning…