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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS - Chapter 8 - Verse 6
Verse 6. But to us. Christians. We acknowledge but one God. Whatever the heathen worship, we know that there is but one God; and he alone has a right to rule over us.
One God, the Father. Whom we acknowledge as the Father of all; Author of all things; and who sustains to all his works the relation of a father. The word "Father" here is not used as applicable to the first person of the Trinity, as distinguished from the second, but is applied to God as God; not as the Father in contradistinction from the Son, but to the Divine nature as such, without reference to that distinction—the Father as distinguished from Ms offspring, the works that owe their origin to him. This is manifest,
(1.) because the apostle does not use the correlative term "Son," when he comes to speak of the "one Lord Jesus Christ;" and,
(2.) because the scope of the passage requires it. The apostle speaks of God, of the Divine nature, the one infinitely holy Being, as sustaining the relation of Father to his creatures. He produced them. He provides for them. He protects them, as a father does his children. He regards their welfare; pities them in their sorrows; sustains them in trial; shows himself to be their friend. The name Father is thus given frequently to God, as applicable to the one God, the Divine Being, Ps 103:13; Jer 31:9; Mal 1:6; 2:10; Mt 6:9; Lu 11:2, etc. In other places it is applied to the first person of the Trinity as distinguished from the second; and in these instances the correlative Son is used, Lu 10:22; 22:42; Joh 1:18; 3:35; 5:19-23,26,30,36; Heb 1:5; 2 Pe 1:17, etc.
Of whom. ex ou. From whom, as a fountain and source; by whose counsel, plan, and purpose. He is the great source of all; and all depend on him. It was by his purpose and power that all things were formed, and to all he sustains the relation of a Father. The agent in producing all things, however, was the Son, Col 1:16. See Barnes "Joh 1:3".
Are all things. These words evidently refer to the whole work of creation, as deriving their origin from God, Ge 1:1. Everything has thus been formed in accordance with his plan; and all things now depend on him as their Father.
And we. We Christians. We are what we are by him. We owe our existence to him; and by him we have been regenerated and saved. It is owing to his counsel, purpose, agency, that we have an existence; and owing to him that we have the hope of eternal life. The leading idea here is, probably, that to God Christians owe their hopes and happiness.
In him. eiv auton; or rather, unto him: that is, we are formed for hun, and should live to his glory. We have been made what we are, as Christians, that we may promote his honour and glory.
And one Lord, etc. One Lord, in contradistinction from the "many lords" whom the heathens worshipped. The word Lord here is used in the sense of proprietor, ruler, governor, or king; and the idea is, that Christians acknowledge subjection to him alone, and not to many sovereigns, as the heathens did. Jesus Christ is the Ruler and Lord of his people. They acknowledge their allegiance to him as their supreme Lawgiver and King. They do not acknowledge subjection to many rulers, whether imaginary gods or men; but receive their laws from him alone. The word "Lord" here does not imply of necessity any inferiority to God; since it is a term which is frequently applied to God himself. The idea in the passage is, that from God, the Father of all, we derive our existence, and all that we have; and that we acknowledge immediate and direct subjection to the Lord Jesus as our Lawgiver and Sovereign. From him Christians receive their laws, and to him they submit their lives. And this idea is so far from supposing inferiority in the Lord Jesus to God, that it rather supposes equality; since a right to give laws to men, to rule their consciences, to direct their religious opinions, and their lives, can appropriately appertain only to one who has equality with God.
By whom, etc. di ou. By whose agency; or through whom, as the agent. The word "by" (di) stands in contradistinction from "of" (ex) in the former part of the verse; and obviously means, that though "all things" derived their existence from God, as the Fountain and Author, yet it was "by" the agency of the Lord Jesus. This doctrine, that the Son of God was the great agent in the creation of the world, is elsewhere abundantly taught in the Scriptures. See Barnes "Joh 1:3".
Are all things. The universe; for so the phrase ta panta, properly means. No words could better express the idea of the universe than these; and the declaration is therefore explicit that the Lord Jesus created all things. Some explain this of the "new creation;" as if Paul had said that all things pertaining to our salvation were from him. But the objections to this interpretation are obvious.
(1.) It is not the natural signification.
(2.) The phrase "all things" naturally denotes the universe.
(3.) The scope of the passage requires us so to understand it. Paul is not speaking of the new creature; but he is speaking of the question whether there is more than one God, one Creator, one Ruler, over the wide universe. The heathen said there was; Christians affirmed that there was not. The scope, therefore, of the passage requires us to understand this of the vast material universe; and the obvious declaration here is, that the Lord Jesus was the Creator of all.
And we. We Christians, (1 Pe 1:21;) or, we as men; we have derived our existence "by" (di) or through him. The expression will apply either to our original creation, or to our hopes of heaven, as being by him; and is equally true respecting both. Probably the idea is, that all that we have, as men and as Christians, our lives and our hopes, are through him, and by his agency.
By him. (di autou) By his agency. Paul had said, in respect to God the Father of all, that we were unto (eiv) him; he here says that in regard to the Lord Jesus, we are by (di) him, or by his agency. The sense is, "God is the author, the former of the plan; the source of being and of hope; and we are to live to him: but Jesus is the agent by whom all these things are made, and through whom they are conferred on us." Arians and Socinians have made use of this passage to prove that the Son was inferior to God; and the argument is, that the name God is not given to Jesus, but another name implying inferiority; and that the design of Paul was to make a distinction between God and the Lord Jesus. It is not the design of these Notes to examine opinions in theology; but in reply to this argument we may observe briefly,
(1.) that those who hold to the divinity of the Lord Jesus do not deny that there is a distinction between him and the Father: they fully admit and maintain it, both in regard to his eternal existence, (i.e., that there is an eternal distinction of persons in the Godhead,) and in regard to his office as Mediator.
(2.) The term "Lord," given here, does not of necessity suppose that he is inferior to God.
(3.) The design of the passage supposes that there was equality in some respects. God the Father and the Lord Jesus sustain relations to men that in some sense correspond to the "many gods" and the "many lords" that the heathen adored; but they were equal in nature.
(4.) The work of creation is expressly in this passage ascribed to the Lord Jesus. But the work of creation cannot be performed by a creature. There can be no delegated God, and no delegated omnipotence, or delegated infinite wisdom and omnipresence. The work of creation implies divinity; or it is impossible to prove that there is a God: and if the Lord Jesus made "ALL THINGS," he must be God.
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