~by Randy Bushey
He [Christ] is before all things and in Him all things consist (Colossians 1:17).
Paul was engaged in one of the most mind-stretching activities to occupy the mind of any thinker: to consider the character, attributes, and eternal essence of the God-man, Jesus Christ.
The One who is the enfleshment of God.
And that process inevitably confronted the Apostle – as it confronts each of us who think deeply about who Christ is and why it matters – with the concept of aseity.
Paul has declared that Christ is the image of the invisible God (v.15). In this enigmatic assertion – visible image of One who is invisible? – Paul is defining Christ as the tangible depiction of what is non-physical; Jesus is the flesh & blood representation of what is pure Spirit; the Son of Man is the Incarnation of God.
And because Jesus is God, He possesses all of the attributes of God, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Aseity: God is a self-existent, completely autonomous Being and therefore possesses absolute and ultimate independence.
In that way, God is different from every other being.
Because He is without beginning, and is uncreated and self-existent, He holds the power of being in His invisible hand. That’s part of what Paul means when he says, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” (Romans 11:36).
Every other being (including you and me) is created, derived, contingent, and therefore dependent on God.
Let’s push our thinking to another level: logic demands that if anything exists, then
Something must have always existed. Otherwise, we are left with an impossibly vicious infinite regression of cause and effect.
Thomas Aquinas (13th century) described God as a Necessary Being, a Being who cannot not be. (Did you get your mind around that last sentence?)
Or think of aseity this way: Thomas asserted that if anything exists, then Something must have the power of being within Himself.
That transcendent, Ultimate Being is God.
And Christ is God.
As such, He is before all things and in Him all things consist.
The Philips version of the Bible: He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation.
Takeaway: as we’ve repeated often in our current series Who is Jesus? Why does it matter? you can’t love Christ with your heart without understanding Him – accurately, authentically, biblically – with your head. As we grow in our capacity to know Him, may our love, and reverence – the jaw-dropping awe of this One who died for us! – increase and find expression in lives of worship.
* acknowledgment: Dr.R.C.Sproul (theologian), Dr.William Lane Craig (philosopher) and James
Dolezal influenced my thinking by way of their teaching podcasts/writings on this topic.
** some of the content of this post appeared last in June 2018.