Jesus, the Fullness of God.
Colossians 1: 15 – 20.
In Scripture, God expressed Himself in anthropomorphic terms largely for our benefit, but is He anything like man? How we think and imagine God to be is important, as our constrained and skewed human perception and imagination tend inevitably to orientate towards humanoid behavioural expressions, at times negatively impacting our attitude and views of Him. We are aware that Jesus Christ incarnated, but in our mind’s eye, how do we ever comprehend or embrace the totality of His divine-human personality? Paul’s acclamation of Christ in his Epistle to the Colossians is one of these grand revelatory descriptions through a sequence of divergent imageries: viz., the invisible and the visible, the uncreated firstborn over His creation, being fully human and fully God, and achieving peace through His blood. We may still see through a glass darkly, but Paul obviously saw aspects of the Alpha and the Omega in His glorious detail, in his attempt at convincing the Colossian believers to continue to trust in Christ, instead of the heresies that had gripped them.
Although John, the fourth evangelist, said that no one has ever seen God (Jn 1:18), Paul’s own confrontation by the resurrected Christ on the Damascus road traumatically evoked a recognition that Jesus is none other than the visible form of an invisible God, where in Him the nature and being of God is perfectly revealed (i.e., eimi eikon ‘be image’ means having the quality of being, a visual representation of God; Col 1:15). Jesus Himself too attested that ‘he who has seen Me has seen the Father’ (Jn 14:9). And when this precious creative Word, who was in the darkness at the beginning of time, shines into our hearts, revealing in the depths of our soul the glorious face of God in Christ, it will transform, transcend, and challenge our earthy relationship in our attempts at grasping divine spirituality (2 Cor 4:4-6).
Read in its context, the firstborn over all creation implies that Jesus is the pre-existing One by whom the whole creation came into being (Col 1:15-18; cf., Jn 1: 1-2; Heb 1:2; Rev 22:13). The richness of this description of the pre-incarnate Christ is beyond human comprehension: His creative power spans the heavens and the earth, including both the seen and the unseen, the down-to-earth rulers and dominions, and the hidden realms of powers and authorities. Entering into human history, He died, and resurrected to be the head of the church, which is His body. In a sense, the whole created order is held together by Him, and will eventually be consummated in Him (c.f., Eph 1:10).
There are discernible human limits to exploring the subject of the fullness of God dwelling in Christ (Col 1:19). What is clear from our limited perspective is that God had defined that the totality of divine essence and authority is resident in Christ (c.f., Col 2:9); all of God’s attributes are disclosed in Him. This remains a mystery of the Oneness of the Trinity!
The Fall corrupted everything and God purposed that redemptive reconciliation had to be initiated (cf., Rom 8:19-23), whereby hostilities and conflicts with the Creator are to be replaced by conciliation and peace. Finally, Paul centred on Jesus’ momentous ransomed sacrifice on the Cross, where for eternity, all sinful life in heaven and on earth was reconciled to Himself, and through Him peace with God secured (c.f., Rom 8:20-23). This leads us into the final summing up of all things into Christ, which is yet to be accomplished (Eph 1:10). So, if there is any desire to know what God is like, a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ is the way to go; for a day will arrive when at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:1-11).