Daily Thoughts on Hebrews: The Son as Creator and Upholder

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power… (Hebrews 1:1-3, ESV)

As Son of God Jesus is also the direct agent or cause for the creation of the world (literally, ‘the ages’).  As creator of the ages he is the author of all time-bound history, indeed the creation of time itself and the physical universe that had a beginning and awaits renewal.  This is part of his inheritance from the Father and shows us that within the Trinity there are distinctions of function.  The Father made the specs and the Son did the building.

The only way this is possible is if the Son is indeed God, the sovereign of the universe.  No created being can be the Creator.  It requires infinite wisdom and power to accomplish this feat.  And that is exactly what the author of Hebrews tells us, that Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory, that is, the radiance that emanates from the glory of the Father, a radiance that is in every sense a perfect representation of the Father’s glory.  To use another metaphor, Jesus is the charakter (Greek word for precise imprint on a coin, for example) or exact imprint of God the Father’s nature.  Realize, of course, that if he is that ‘imprint’ he must, in every way, accurately duplicate the Father, reinforcing that he is God in every sense.

And it is in this capacity as God that he is also the one who “upholds the universe” (literally ‘all things’) by the word that expresses his power.  He created it and he keeps it going.  Though scientific explanation would properly describe the laws of the universe, gravity and others, as in effect, Hebrews helps us think more accurately to see that Jesus is behind the constant functioning of these laws and processes.  He is the sustainer of our worlds, the one who exercises providence over creation, seeing to its care and directing its functioning, managing it with utmost care and exactitude.

Fascinatingly, the tool Jesus uses to accomplish all this is his spoken word.  We saw this in Genesis when God “says” and it becomes “so”.  If this is the One who has granted us this new age in which the shadows of the Old Testament are fulfilled, how much more should we listen to Him, the ultimate prophet!

And yet today we are in the habit of listening to all others besides Him.  Perhaps we think what he has to say is not relevant to what our field of endeavor is.  But just because he hasn’t spoken to the prophets about all things doesn’t mean he cannot do so.  It would benefit us to bring all we are thinking about or working on to him for any insights he might want to give us.  Isn’t it likely that the germination of ideas previously unthought-of come from Him?  That is likely part of his work of upholding the universe.

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