Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Christ is the Meaning of the Cosmos

Star. Photo by Tom Hall
The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
(Psalm 19:1-4)
The whole cosmos bears witness. The depths of space describe the glory of God. The skies demonstrate his workmanship. Every day they speak to us, every night they bring revelation. But here is a paradox: They have no speech, no sound, no word — yet they have a voice that is heard everywhere and a language understood all over the world.

They speak to us about God. Paul says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1:20). More precisely, they speak to us about Christ. That is how Paul understands this psalm when he quotes from it in Romans 10:18. The revelation of Christ begins in the cosmos.

All the Law and the Prophets are about Jesus, and that is how the New Testament writers and the early Church understood the Old Testament. So creation speaks to us of Christ, for it is he who is the creator of all: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3). “In him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16).

The heavens and the earth always bear a fresh testimony to Christ, for he is not only the creator of all things, he is ever sustaining them. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3).

The testimony of the heavens does not reduce down to data points or arguments for the apologist’s toolkit. The cosmos is always speaking to us about Christ. More than that, it is always revealing the glory of God through Christ, always presenting him before our eyes and our understanding, always manifesting his presence throughout all creation by his sustaining power. Christ is the meaning of the cosmos.