Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thankfulness and Praise from Hebrews 1:10

“And [as is written in Psalm 102:25], ‘You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands…’” (Hebrews 1:10).

I am thankful that all of creation is a testimony to not just a “Creator,” but specifically Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:10 is still the testimony of the Father concerning His Son, Who is one God with Him and at the same time personally distinct from Him. Now the Father uses the words of Psalm 102 as His testimony. In that Psalm, the Lord’s unchanging and eternal nature is contrasted with humanity’s temporary experience in this world.

“In the beginning God [the Father] created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said [the Word Who is God the Son]…” (Genesis 1:1-3).

“By the word [the Son] of the Lord [the Father] the heavens were made,
And by the breath
[the Spirit] of His mouth all their host” (Psalm 33:6).

“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 came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:1-3).

“…there is but one God, the Father, from Whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Corinthians 8:6).

The Father’s “beloved Son…is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:13-17).[1]

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, through Whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
From everlasting I was established,
From the beginning, from the earliest times of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills I was brought forth;
While He had not yet made the earth and the fields,
Nor the first dust of the world.
When He established the heavens, I was there,
When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
When He made firm the skies above,
When the springs of the deep became fixed,
When He set for the sea its boundary
So that the water would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
Then I was beside Him, as a master workman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
Rejoicing in the world, His earth,
And having my delight in the sons of men”
(Proverbs 8:22-31).[2]

Jesus, the eternally divine God the Son, is the Mediator by which the Father created the universe. He is also the means by which the universe is maintained. This is not the main point of the Hebrews 1:10//Psalm 102:25 passage, however.

The main point of the text is to contrast Creator with creation, with His eternality and creation’s temporary nature.

The Psalmist feels this momentary existence in the world: “…my days have been consumed in smoke, and my bones have been scorched like a hearth. My heart has been smitten like grass and has withered away…He has weakened my strength in the way; He has shortened my days” (102:3,4,20). But he appeals to the God Who is not subject to this brief life. He is not part of creation, but is Creator. He is not aging through time, but is beyond time, Creator of time, and maintainer of the flow of time in its relationship with spatial reality. This is the Son, Who added humanity to His eternal Deity. The timeless One entered time. The Creator came into creation. We, in this short moment of weakness that we call life, appeal to this divine Son Who is Creator for all our help and salvation alone.

Looking toward southeast Arizona's mountain ranges
over the dust storms of the Lordsburg Playa.
And all that is around us exists to remind us of this truth, this reality, this relationship.

Praise Him with great praise.

[1] Christ as “firstborn of creation” doesn’t make Him part of creation. It makes Him both Source and Ruler of creation.
[2] I include this passage even though it is a poetic statement given by the personified Wisdom in Proverbs. It seems like it must in some way reflect the place of Christ in creation. The phrase “from everlasting I was established” does not endorse Arianism (modern Jehovah’s Witnesses), which states that there was a time when Jesus did not exist and a time when He was created. I affirm the eternal generation of the Son. He has always existed, and always existed as the only-begotten Son of the Father. There was never a time when He was not begotten, but has always been begotten of the Father. “In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, Who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him” (1689 Baptist Confession, 2.3).

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