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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO THE COLOSSIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 17

Verse 17. And he is before all things. As he must be, if he created all things. Those who regard this as referring to a moral creation, interpret it as meaning that he has the pre-eminence over all things; not as referring to his pre-existence. But the fair and proper meaning of the word before pro is, that he was before all things in the order of existence. Comp. Mt 8:29; Joh 11:55; 13:1; Ac 5:36; 21:38; 2 Co 12:2.

It is equivalent to saying that he was eternal—for he that had an existence before anything was created must be eternal. Thus it is equivalent to the phrase, "In the beginning," Ge 1:1; comp. See Barnes "Joh 1:1".

 

And by him all things consist. Or are sustained. See Barnes "Heb 1:3".

The meaning is, that they are kept in the present state; their existence, order, and arrangement are continued by his power. If unsupported by him, they would fall into disorder, or sink back to nothing. If this be the proper interpretation, then it is the ascription to Christ of infinite power—for nothing less could be sufficient to uphold the universe; and of infinite wisdom—for this is needed to preserve the harmonious action of the suns and systems of which it is composed. None could do this but one who is Divine; and hence we see the reason why he is represented as the image of the invisible God. He is the great and glorious and ever-active Agent by whom the perfections of God are made known.

{b} "before all things" Joh 1:1

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