By Heath Jarrett
The gospel of John’s opening statements echo the words of Genesis 1:1 while also detailing the role of the Son in creation:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1–3).
The Word, whom John reveals as Jesus (John 1:14–18), already existed at “the beginning,” “was God,” and made everything that was created without exception. Therefore, as John says, “In him was life” (John 1:4a). Everything that has life is derived from the one who is life.
Not only did creation and life originate from Christ’s creative power but, as God, he is also the sustainer of life, the one who continues to give life to the creation every day. In the words of Colossians, “all things hold together” in him (1:17).
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:15–17, see also Heb 1:3).
Notice how these passages necessarily connect the deity of Christ, his role as creator and also his ongoing role as the sustainer. All life depends on him.
Many religious people have denied this ongoing dependence on God, however. Thomas Jefferson liked to think of himself as a Christian but denied central aspects of Christianity. He is famous for his Jefferson Bible which sought to eliminate any reference to the supernatural by picking-and-choosing what he wanted to believe. Sounds a lot like the milieu of modern day America—over two hundred years later.
Seeing God as the master clockmaker who created the universe, wound it up and let it go to operate apart from him, deists of the past like Thomas Jefferson set up a false God to worship. As Christians, we must affirm that God not only created all things but that he is the giver of all life who continually sustains the creation as well. We also must deny the deistic view that God is no longer intimately involved in the day to day operations of the universe.