Thursday, 3 January 2013

All things

1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (NASB)

This verse deserves a second look to tease out something very important. John writes that all things came into being through the Word (Jesus), and uses a negative to emphasize this - there isn't anything that is that didn't come into being through him. Paul makes a similar point in Colossians 1:16. We might be used to thinking about this with regards God the Father - but here we see the redeemer as the creator of all things as well.

Genesis 1 (which these verses echo) makes the point of how good things are in God's sight - with humans in their place it is very good. It seems, according to OT theologian John Walton in The Lost World of Genesis 1 that this is a functional rather than simply moral statement (although I suspect the two are closely related), that is everything was working as it should until human sin disrupted relations with God, between ourselves and with the rest of creation.

So this fact that Jesus made all things should hint that he might redeem all things (Paul makes this point in Romans 8) but also that nothing is in itself not worthy of our attention or preservation. For example, many of the Early Church Fathers had a negative attitude towards sex, yet sex in itself is good. The context of its use is what makes it bad. Paul can state that sex is for marriage and marriage for sex (1 Corinthians 6) while reminding the Corinthians of the wrongs of adultery and other sexual misdemeanors. This is while Jesus can elevate singleness to a blessed state in a culture where marriage was the norm.

Jesus himself was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton, showing he liked to enjoy a meal with all comers, including a drink (in proper moderation). In setting aside the food laws he can say all foods are clean in Mark 7.

I guess the point I want to remind readers is that because Jesus made all things, then nothing in theory is beyond our concern, consideration or enjoyment. Paul puts it well in two places:

In Colossians (2:21-23) in dealing with asceticism in the church he writes "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence. (NASB)

And in Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Let's be Christian hedonists, not pursuing pleasure for its own sake, but enjoying all that Christ has made and is of value with thankfulness.

No comments:

Post a Comment