Christians do not merely believe that God created all things from nothing and an intelligent design of the universe, we believe that the only fully rational accounting of the universe, science, logic, reason, and human experience begins with the authority of Scripture, submits to the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things, and surrenders in glad worship at His throne.
“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by 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 him and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col. 1:15-17).
SUMMARY OF THE TEXT
The Apostle Paul is in the process of reviewing the gospel that was preached to the Colossians and has begun to bear fruit in their lives (Col. 1:4-8), and the prayer the apostles now have for the Colossians is that it might bear much fruit in their lives in knowledge and wisdom and good works and strength and joy (Col. 1:9-11), since salvation is deliverance from darkness into the kingdom of the Son, redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:12-14).
This is where our text picks up underlining the power and potency of the gospel by underlining just who Jesus is: the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all of creation (Col. 1:15), the Creator of all things, the reason for all things (Col. 1:16), and that means that He is before and greater than all things and He is the One who upholds all things (Col. 1:17). Because that is Who He is, He is the Head of the New Creation, the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18), the fullness of God Himself, and therefore His cross is potent to reconcile all things, reconciling His enemies to Himself and presenting them holy and innocent in His sight (Col. 1:19-22).
ACKNOWLEDGING THE CREATOR
Paul’s argument is this: If we preach the death and resurrection of Christ and men and women who are dead in their sins come to life, full of peace, from the madness and violence and confusion of sin and darkness, then a New Creation has begun. And if Jesus is the Head of that New Creation, He is the Head, the Source, the Firstborn of the Old Creation. He is the Center.
Another way to put the argument is that everyone must have a standard for truth, a standard for evidence, a standard for making sense of everything. Paul is claiming that Christ and His authority is that universal standard for all men everywhere. Christ is the ultimate standard because He is the image of the invisible God, the Creator all things, and because without him nothing could exist (Col. 1:15-17). Of course the comeback is something like: But you can’t simply assert what you must prove. And our response is twofold: First, why not? You’re asserting a canon of reason, but you haven’t proven that you must prove every assertion in order for it to be valid. But the fact is that everyone must start with a presupposition that ultimately trusts God or man, the Creator or something in creation. You might start with reason, logic, science, experience, psychoanalysis, or consensus. But then you are beginning with a presupposition that one or more of those things are reliable guides to truth and coherence, but you haven’t (and cannot) prove their full reliability. In fact, all of those things are highly limited and have let people down in every era, and the last few years is no exception. Second, the proof of the authority of Christ is the forgiveness of sins and peace with God.
EVIDENCE BASED FAITH
It is sometimes claimed that reason and faith are opposites, or that science and religion are at odds. But the Bible everywhere teaches that God is reasonable, His creation is reasonable, and He expects human beings who bear His image to think and reason. What the Bible rejects is autonomous reason. We reject human reason that rejects the authority of God’s Word. Faith is simply reason in submission to God.
This means that all thinking people must reject Darwinism as complete nonsense and irrationality. It makes no sense at all to trust reason or science based on the assumption that the present world emerged by accidents and mutations. This is to claim that order and meaning emerged from chaos and meaninglessness, but every canon of reason and science rejects this.
Unlike irrational religions and superstitions, the Bible everywhere assumes that God has established certain natural patterns and habits to the created order. This order is what allows nature to be studied, for the nature of things to be observed, logged, experimented with, and learned from. Cause and effect, logic, reason, and the scientific method all require an orderly and intelligent universe. In fact, modern science emerged from a largely Christian and Protestant worldview that believed in a personal and rational Creator God.
CONCLUSION: WHAT ABOUT MIRACLES?
One of the obvious questions following the assertion that God has created the world with an order and nature that is fix and stable is: then what about all the miracles in the Bible? The simple answer is that the Bible itself presents miracles as, well, miraculous, unusual, deviations from the norm. In addition, it assumes that in order to believe in miracles, any rational human being would need evidence, testimony, and proof.
The central miracle of the Bible is the announcement that Jesus rose from the dead. And when John records the resurrection, he records the doubt of Thomas, who says he will not believe unless he sees the nail prints in the hands of Jesus and puts his hand into the side of Jesus, where the spear pierced Him. Then John says that the next time Jesus appeared, that was exactly what Jesus presented to Thomas (Jn. 20:27). And Thomas answered and said, “My Lord and my God” (Jn. 20:28).
And John’s gospel closes with these words, “And Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that by believing you might have life in His name” (Jn. 20:30-31).