jesus-creationHe’s a few thoughts I want to throw up for discussion. If we follow the Apostle Paul’s example in Athens and elsewhere, then when explaining ourselves to Pagans we should emphasize cosmic Christology over ecclesiastic Christology and the resurrection’s implications for the creation over those for the covenant. Or to put it simply, how Jesus has significance, not just for everyone, but everything.

Of particular significance, I think, is Paul’s repeated use of the words panta and panton in passages thick with cosmic Christology, and its corollary, Christological cosmology. For example:

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things (panton), and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things (panta) by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1:1-3)

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things (panta) were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things (panta) have been created through him and for him. He is before all things (panton), and in him all things (panta) hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)

He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all (panton) the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe (panta). (Eph 4:10)

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. (Acts 17:24)

These passages echo the statements of Jesus regarding all things (panta) being handed over to him (Matt 11:27) and all things (panta) being restored (Matt 17:11). In summary, I think our theologizing need to begin with the recognition that the significance of Jesus extends well beyond the social world to embrace everything: the sea, the sky, the earth and everything in them. A favourite image of mine is the throne scene from Revelation 4 and 5 where the lamb of God is surrounded, not only by the twenty four elders (signifying the covenant people) but also the four living creatures (signifying the creation itself engaged in worship).

Thinking visually a common theme in eastern orthodox iconography is Christ pantocrator, that is, all powerful. This begs the question of what we as Christians mean by power. But I think the lamb, called lion, is the clue to that. This is a counter-cultural understanding of power. It is this understanding of power, of a power grounded in giving, rather than taking, in the cross rather than the sword, that we need to share with the Pagan community as good news of Jesus, as the magic of the Messiah.

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