Tuesday, March 04, 2008

John Owen: The purpose of creation

In drawing theological instruction from the description of the Son in the latter part of Hebrews 1:2 ('by whom he made the worlds') Owen argues that the creation always had the new creation in view:

“God designed from eternity that his great and everlasting glory should arise from the new creation.”

That's why the creation was made by the Son - the very one who would later become incarnate and inherit the creation as its Redeemer:

“God in infinite wisdom ordered all things in the first creation, so as that the whole of that work might be subservient to the glory of his grace in the new creation of all by Jesus Christ. By the Son he made the worlds in the beginning of time, that in the fullness of time he might be the just heir and lord of all.”

Or, put another way, “[a]ll things at first were made by him, that when they were lost, ruined, scattered, they might again, in the appointed seasons, be gathered together into one head in him.”

This, he argues, explains the idea in Romans 8:19-22 of creation eagerly awaiting the full manifestation of Christ's kingdom:

“The creation hath, as it were, a natural propensity, yea, a longing, to come into subjection unto Christ, as that which retrieves and frees it from the vanity, bondage, and corruption that it was cast into, when put out of its first order by sin. And this ariseth from that plot and design which God first laid in the creation of all things, that they, being made by the Son, should naturally and willingly, as it were, give up themselves unto obedience unto him, when he should take the rule of them upon the new account of his mediation.”

Creation was made in such a way (by the Son) as would fit with God's intention that it be redeemed and brought under the rule of Jesus Christ in his role as mediator.

All from John Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Vol III. 77-81.

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