Supreme Over 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 1:16-17
We live in a beautiful place, don’t we? And I don’t just mean South Orange County, but far beyond in the glimpses of nature programs and science shows, through your travels or my Triple-A magazine: our entire world is a wonder -- a complex system of animal kingdoms and microorganisms, weather patterns, gravity and physical laws. Even the unique place of our planet in our solar system surely cries out to be noticed.
The problem with the majesty and beauty of our world is that some people see creation and its physical laws as the place for wisdom and answers. Ranging from those who worship nature, to scientism (the belief that science can explain everything apart from God) or those who take a more hedonistic approach (it all exists for our pleasure); a lot of people get caught up in giving their lives over to created things.
And yet, the Bible is emphatic that Jesus has supremacy over all creation. It declares Him as the uncreated One through whom God created everything else. If we have it, it’s because Jesus made it. From whales to waterfalls, from stars to sea slugs; each person, each power of this world could only find its existence because of Jesus.
But more than that, it was not only created by and through Jesus, but also for and to Jesus! All creation has at its core a purpose that is for Jesus’ glory. Every rock, tree, water drop, plant, and person exist for the exaltation of Jesus’ name. Whether they know it or not.
In the life of Jesus, we catch glimpses of this: as He turns water into wine – Jesus is supreme over its chemistry. In walking on water, we see Jesus’ supremacy over surface tension. In multiplying the bread and the fish, we see Jesus’ supremacy over matter and in calming the storms, where the disciples say, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:41), we see Jesus’ supremacy over weather.
Why should creation listen to Jesus?
Colossians 1:17 sums it up well: And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Jesus has the preexistent right to rule, as well as the rights of the creator and sustainer. In other words: Jesus is supreme over all creation.
So how do we respond to Jesus in this light?
First, don’t worship the created world.
As great as the ocean is, Jesus is greater; as glorious as the sun is, Jesus is more. So when you are in awe of the crashing ocean waves or the delicate curls of your baby girl – enjoy them, but worship Jesus.
Second, don’t fear the created world.
Bible scholar NT Wright says, “Wherever you look, or whatever realities you think of, you discover entities which, even if they do not acknowledge the fact, owe their very existence to Christ.”
So, mountains and math, logic and love, gravity and governments, dentists and demons… all forces are under Jesus’ authority – so we don’t need to fear.
Now, I’m not saying that this isn’t confusing when we have tragic events like the recent hurricanes in the Bahamas and Florida. Yet even in the midst of this tragic turn of events, we must still say that Jesus is supreme over it. He was not surprised or overwhelmed.
And in turn we have the opportunity to manifest God’s image ourselves through showing love through our service and generosity.
1 John 4:12 reminds us again that, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
In fact, in response to tragedy, have you considered that God has given you the opportunity to do something? In the case of the Bahamas, you can give to Baptist Global Response that has boots on the ground working with local churches to provide relief and help in this difficult time, or in the case of the single mom on your street, you can bring her and her kids dinner. Fearful circumstances turned into opportunities for love.
And finally, find greater understanding of the world with Jesus.
There is a fascinating feature article in Discover Magazine from July 2000, called “The Glue That Holds the World Together.” It’s a look at the sub-atomic particles that make up protons, and here is the opening paragraph:
You do not know what stuff is, you who hold it in your hands. Atoms? Yes, stuff is made of atoms. And every atom is a nucleus orbited by electrons. Every nucleus is built of protons. Every proton is - but there you reach the end of the line. Inside the proton lies the deep, unsettling truth: Stuff is made of nothing, or almost nothing, held together by glue, lots of glue.
It goes on to say that protons are made of 3 quarks, but they just make up 2 percent of its total mass, and they themselves are “rattling around at near light speed inside the proton” with other quarks appearing and disappearing, and surrounding them all are these things called “gluons” – transmitting a force that binds the quarks together. A blob, that some are willing to say makes up 95% of all mass of everything in the universe!
The science is heavy and just reading all the words in the article is enough to make you think you deserve a cookie or something for finishing, (way out of my league), but I was struck by the authors statement of wonder: “how the universe ever managed to design such a thing.” And a final quote from one scientist who says, “If you really study the equations, it gets almost mystical.”
In the same way we know about the science of conception and growth, yet resolutely say it is God who knits us together in our mother’s womb, we too can learn about the mystical and all pervasive power of these “gluons” and still say, Jesus is the One who holds all things together. Jesus is the power behind the power – the creator and sustainer. We can’t truly understand creation without Him, but with Him, we have greater reason to be in awe.
Don't worship it, don't fear it, but rather let the created world and our study of it, help you love Jesus even more -- He is supreme over all creation.
 Colossians and Philemon, NT Wright, page 76.
Derick Zeulner is an associate pastor at South Shores Church. He has a M.A. in Theology from Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, CA and he loves the wacky adventures of doing life with his wife, Rebecca, and 4 kids.