In Colossians 1:17, the Greek word translated “consist” is sunistano , from which we also get “sustain.”
By Him All Things Consist
Consider Colossians 1:16,17—
For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
The Greek word translated “consist” is sunistano , from which we also get “sustain.” The things created by the Lord Jesus Christ are now being held together—or sustained–conserved, if you prefer, by Him. As I continue with this, please understand that as an undergraduate biology major, indoctrinated by the white lab coats (science professors) I likely would have laughed at this scripture or idea. Of course, even forty-some years ago that was an impossibility because Jesus was already banished from the classroom, along with any alternative explanations to evolution and millions of years (on origins). But re-enforcing this Colossians 1 passage, Hebrews 1:2,3 powerfully states:
“[God] hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
So, Scripture says he is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). Along this same fascinating thread, Acts 17:28 says “In Him [Jesus] we live, and move, and have our being,” and John 1:3 also states “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Someone reading this post might be a barely lukewarm Christian (not good; see Revelation 3:16), or simply a curious atheist, but regardless I want you to know that when something is repeated in the Bible it is usually extry important. There are other such scriptures on Jesus as Creator. The most basic of all scientific principles is implied in the first two verses (Col. 1: 16-17); the principle of conservation of mass-energy, or “all things.” According to this principle, nothing is now being created or annihilated-only conserved, as far as quantity is concerned. This is what we see in the world. It is well known that matter can be changed to a different state; one type of energy can be converted to another (mechanical to sound, electrical to light or heat energy); and under some conditions, matter and energy can even be interchanged (nuclear fission), but the total quantity of mass-energy is always conserved. This law (the First Law of Thermodynamics) is perhaps the best-proved law of science (closely rivalled by the 2nd Law), but science cannot tell us why it is true. The reason why nothing is now being created is because Christ created all things in the past. Even in the heavens with our powerful telescopes, we have seen many stars die, but never a new one form (no stellar creation, or evolution). The reason why nothing is now being annihilated (different from change) is because all things are now being sustained by Him. If it were not so, the binding energy of the atom, which holds its structure together, would collapse and the whole universe would disintegrate into chaos.
Back to Hebrews 1:3, “brightness” (KJV) is from a Greek word used only here in the New Testament, literally meaning “off-flashing.” In context of both this passage and modern astronomy, it could well be understood as “radiation.” As the “express image” of the Father, the Son of God is analogous to the life-giving rays of the sun. Just as the Father dwells “in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Tim 6: 16), so no man can gaze long at the sun without being blinded. Yet, physically speaking, as the sun’s radiation provides both light and life to the world, so the Son is spiritually both the “light of the world” (John 8: 12) and the “life” of the world (John 1: 14; 14: 6; Acts 17: 28).
Held Together By His Word
On “the word of his power” . . . The eternal Son not only created all things by His omnipotent Word (Psalms 33: 6; Heb 11: 3) but is now “upholding all things by the word of His power.” Note the remarkable relationship here between “things” and “power,” or in modern scientific lingo, between mass and energy. The atomic structure of our very bodies is being held together (or “sustained”-Col. 1: 17) by mysterious nuclear forces or binding energies that keep the atoms from disintegrating into chaos. Scientists and pundits do not yet truly understand such energies or their origin-they merely name them. The fact is that we (and everything else) are being upheld by the out-radiating energy of the Son of God, so that He is “not far from every one of us” (Acts 17: 27), whether we believe in Him or not. “Where the word of a King is, there is power…” (Eccles. 8:4). These verses in Hebrews 1:2,3–as well as Col. 1:14-20 and Rom. 11:36–beautifully summarize the past, present, and future work of Christ in relation to the whole universe.
*Note: Remember, in Hebrews 1:2, it was the Son (Jesus), “by whom also he made the worlds.” Also, recall John 1: 3 (and others), where scripture says “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (referring to the Son). People need to know Jesus Christ as offended Creator before they can believe with understanding in Him as sin-bearing Savior and Redeemer. A foundation of Creation as the only meaningful framework for true evangelism is thus revealed through John under divine inspiration. Many Christian leaders seem to not totally grasp this all-important precept.
Written by : Dr. Robin Johnson
Dr. Robin Johnson’s love of geography, the natural world and the outdoors as well as enthusiasm for learning about history and science—particularly paleontology— has led him to research these interrelated topics and share his findings with others. Read my complete bio.