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All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1: 3. There are various sources, from which information may be derived respecting the nature of beings. Something may be learned from their names. Something may be learned from their attributes; and much may be learned from their operations. Those exercises, which are limited in degree and in extent, are justly attributed to finite beings. Those exercises, which are unlimited in degree and extent, or are in the highest possible degree, characterize a nature of infinite power. In the chain of visible existences there is a visible chain of dependencies. Those limited are discovered, are dependent; and may be traced to a power, as their origin, which is independent. This power resides in a nature, which is distinct from all other natures, and is superior to them. It resides in a nature, which alone is divine. That power, from which all other power originated, is infinite and independent. This power is attributed to the Son of God, and it designates his divinity.
The apostle Paul, in one place says that God made the worlds by Jesus Christ. In another place he says,
him he created all things. From this mode of expression it has been inferred that the Son had no inherent power in his nature adequate to the work of creation; that he was merely an instrument in God's hand, by which he performed this great work. The phrase, by him (di AUTOū) has been considered importing an instrumental, but not an efficient cause. But this phrase does not necessarily import mere instrumentality; nor does it usually import it in the sacred scriptures. The same particle is connected with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, as well as with the Son. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The apostle Paul speaking of God says, “Of him and by him, and to him are all things.” If the particle (81) connected with God and the Holy Ghost, does not import instrumentality, it does not necessarily import it, when it is applied to the Son. The same particle repeatedly imports, in the sacred scriptures, the principle and efficient cause. After Peter had healed a lame man, he ascribed the cure to the power of the Son of God as its cause. “The faith, which is by him, hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all."
Christ was the Author of this faith; and this faith was the instrumental or secondary cause of the cure. The apostle Paul, speaking of Christ, says, “By whom we have received grace and apostleship.” The scriptures abundantly testify that Christ is the Author, or cause of grace and apostleship. Paul, in his salutation to the Galatians begins thus, Paul, an apostle not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father. The same efficiency is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who by (82) the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” “God is faithful, by whom (Si oU) ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. It became him for whom are all things, and by whom (di ou) are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.” From this indiscriminate use and application of the terms, by him, it follows that they do not necessarily import mere instrumentality.
The common use of the term, as well as the scripture ! use, shews that the particle by '(82) is often connected with the principal agent, or efficient cause.
It is not only said in scripture that God created the worlds by Jesus Christ; but it is also said that all things were made by him; and the word God, is not connected with the declaration. There is no doubt that these different forms of expressing the same thing were not accidental; but were designed to express the co-operation of the Father and the Son in the work of creation. Christ frequently declared his union and co-operation with the Father. “My Father worketh hitherto and I work. What things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone. He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me." These passages in their connexion prove the union and
operation of Christ with the Father. (See Macknight, and Schleusner's Lex. on di.) Other
passages of scripture, whose signification does not turn on prepositions or doubtful expressions, ascribe the work of creation to Christ. In the Revelation of St. John, Christ is called “the beginning of the creation of God." The original word (agxn) rendered beginning, is used in different senses. It signifies efficient cause, author, or head. (See Poole on the text.) Upon this construction, which is the most natural, the text proves that Christ was Author of Creation. (esx Christus vocatur, quia fuit ante omnes res cuatas. . Schleus. Lex.) If any doubt remain respecting the translation of this word, other texts offer their assistance to prove the subject under consideration. Christ saith of himself, “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." This text authorizes a belief that there is such a union between the Father and the Son, that the same work may be ascribed to both. All things are of the Father,
but they are by the Son. All the works of nature may be traced to them both as one undivided Cause.
Another passage is clearly to the present purpose. “By him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth; 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: 16, 17. These texts describe the extent of his works. All things, wheth. er in heaven or in earth, visible or invisible, were created by him. They were not only created by him, but they were created for him. He was not only the cause of their existence, but he was the ultimate object, for which they were created. They were made for his service and glory. His power did not cease to operate at the close of creation; but it continued in sustaining the works of his hand. “By him all things consist;" 1. e. are supported. He was before all things. Before creatures were, he was. He was begotten before the whole creation. (orgulótonos TUOMS utidews.) Of course he was not himself any part of creation. (Christus vocatur πρωτοτοκος πασης κτίσεως princeps & dominus omnium rerum creatarum. Schleas. Lex.)
The apostle to the Hebrews ascribes the work of creation to Christ in the clearest terms. Speaking of Christ, he says, “Thou Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old, as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” The connexion justly admits of application to no other than to Christ. But the prophet says, “The gods that have not made the heav.. ens and the earth shall perish.” This makes a visible distinction between Christ and the gods of this world. The same, which the apostle applies to Christ, the Psalmist applies to God. If, what the Psalmist says has any weight in proof that God created the
world, it has the same weight of proof that Christ created the world. The whole declaration is explicit. It contains none of those prepositions (Síd, ev, &c.) which have been construed to answer any purpose. If plain language has any weight, there is proof that the Son is the Creator of the world. "Some have been willing to think, and bold enough to say, that these four verses were fraudulently added, and were not originally a part of this epistle. But all the copies and ancient versions of this epistle retain these four verses; so that any pretence of forgery or interpolation does but expose the man that makes it, and the cause that needs it."
Many other texts have a direct bearing upon this subject, and prove that the sacred scriptures attribute the work of creation to Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding the scriptures are so explicit on this subject, a question has arisen whether Christ created the world by his own inherent power, or whether he created it merely as an instrument, or by power delegated to him. If he was divine, or if divine nature was united with his humanity, he performed, by his own power, the works attributed to him. If he was not divine, or if this union did not subsist, he performed his works by delegated, or borrowed power. God maketh his angels ministering spirits. He sometimes deputizes man to act in a more elevated sphere than that, for which his native powers had qualified him. The prophets and apostles were endued in this manner. God led Israel by the hand of Moses. By him he wrought miracles. By his prophets and apostles he also wrought miracles. If there be no difference in the nature, decree and circumstances between their works, and the works of Christ, then it may
be admitted that he was but a man, furnished with extraordinary power, as were the prophets and apostles.
When they exhibited signs and wonders; when they performed works, which exceeded the efforts of human power, they never pretended to do them in their own