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Who Created the Universe?

Posted by Matt Postiff May 21, 2018 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Creation 

The simple, "Sunday school" answer to the question is, "God created all things." But this question is a little more particular than that:

We have heard that all three members of the Trinity were responsible for creating the universe. That seems to be the case in the Genesis account. But based on Colossians 1:16, it seems specifically only the Son of God, Jesus, created the world. So who created the universe?

In Genesis, the text says "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (1:1). The next verse adds, "And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters" (1:2). Verse 26 says, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness...'" The plural pronouns do tip our thinking in favor of the Trinity, even though the Son is not mentioned specifically here.

Colossians 1:16 focuses specifically upon the Son when it says, "For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth..." Hebrews 1:10 quotes the Father speaking to the Son and saying, "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands." John 1:3 is also speaking of the Word-made-flesh, Jesus, and it says, "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."

To add even some more complexity to the question, Psalm 104:30 attributes a creative role to the Holy Spirit: "You send forth Your Spirit, they are created..."

So who created? The theological resolution is that in all their activity, the Trinity perfectly and harmoniously accomplishes the work that the Triune God does. They together as One plan, decree, create, guide, and sustain all things.

Now, this does not mean that all three of their fingers pressed the "create button" at the same moment. Each member of the Triune God does a particular part or function of the overall task. The preposition through in John 1:3 helps us understand this. It was through the Lord Jesus Christ that God created all things. Said another way, God (the Father) created all things but did so through the agency of the Son. Similar wording is found in Col. 1:16: by Him all things were created.

So there is no contradiction or confusion here. All the members of the Trinity were involved in the creation of the universe, each in their own role. We could think of it in terms of a delegated role. The President did such-and-such thing in international affairs, but it may have been actually accomplished through one of his ambassadors, rather than an act that he himself did.

This is like how God creates new spiritual life in a person who becomes a believer. The Father draws (John 6:44); the Spirit gives life (John 6:63); the Son also gives life (John 5:21). The Father foreknows and chooses (1 Peter 1:1); the Spirit washes and regenerates (Titus 3:5-6); and the Son bears our sin in His body (1 Peter 2:24).

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