WHEN we approach the Sacred Scriptures with the sincere desire to discover the very earliest revelation of God's plan of salvation, our spirits will go back far before the first of Genesis. God gives us a view of a vast area which lies previous to the creation there revealed. It is a most glorious scene, in which the searching spirit finds the most precious treasures of knowledge. In the light of God's Word, the Creator's preparations, which precede the actual creation, are so clearly revealed that we are able, not only to get a general oversight, but to recognize the order in which they occurred.
First we are privileged to perceive how all began with God, when it was still in Him. That leads us on to see our Saviour, in His divine Sonship as the Original of all creation. Furthermore it is especially encouraging to our faith to see ourselves, in that early epoch, as the Firstborn of God's achievements in His grand purpose to create and reconcile the universe, in connection with the gifts which He even then prepared for us. Besides all this we see mirrored in these, the earliest of divine revelations, a clear picture of God's glorious goal for His entire creation. Yea, these divine declarations concerning the universe, even before He created it belong to the most glorious gifts of grace found in the treasuries of revelation. In order, they may be arranged as follows:
b. All in God.
c. The Creation of God's Son.
d. All in Christ.
e. Our Choice in Christ.
f. The Pre-eonian Grace Gifts of the Present Ecclesia.
This may be considered as the very first divine revelation. We may have no direct statement to this effect in the Scriptures, but it is founded on a passage that implies it, and evidently points back to it. It is found in Rom.11:36: "Out of Him and through Him and for Him is All," and in 1 Cor.8:8: "God, the Father, out of Whom all is." On this revelation—all out of God—we may base the idea of God's solitary existence to begin with. Because all is out of God it must have been in Him before this. It was hid in God, without any outward visible existence, hence there was nothing and no one apart from God. According to this, we must banish from our thoughts concerning that primordial era everything in existence, visible and invisible, and prostrate in deepest reverence before this grand and overpowering thought: God alone. It is a marvelous sanctuary into which God, the Father, allows believers in Christ to enter, there where He, in solitary majesty, sits enthroned. This is farthest back that the light of God's Word leads our spirits. Beyond this lies a domain in which we cannot tread, of which God has revealed nothing.
All else but God has had a beginning, He only has none. God—without a beginning! There is, perhaps, no p81
God by Himself without a Beginningother truth that so fully transcends our mental faculties, and stuns the operation of our brains, and shows how limited we are in our thoughts as to the boundlessness of God's existence. Here the searching spirit comes to a barrier which it cannot surmount without danger of its own destruction.
In this revelation we have the best possible commentary to the many Scriptures which emphasize the fact that there is only one God (Deut.4:35,32:39; 2 Sam.7:22; 1 Chron.17:20; Isa.44:6,8; 1 Cor.8:4-6). No God but Him, and none beside Him! This is already apparent in the very first part of the era before the creation. No one else has no beginning, and no other can share this exclusive grandeur with Him.
In the past, as in the future, God has no bounds, only with this difference, that He came out of the limitless past alone, but, in the future, His heart of love shares His endlessness with His creatures. Yet this is only one of the infinite attributes of the Deity. According to the declaration of His Son in John 4:24, God is spirit. That is His real essence. According to this revelation God possesses, in addition to His boundless existence, unthinkable greatness and power. Besides there is invisibility. All this creates a deep chasm between Him and us. This shows us how distant and unapproachable God is except when we see Him as the Father, through Christ, His Son and Mediator.
Notwithstanding the fact that these superhuman proportions expose our own nothingness, sound faith will welcome these overwhelming revelations of the Deity, in the recognition that such a God, Who cannot be confined on any side within the sphere of human imagination, is the only insurance of the success of all that He has undertaken. Here we pause in order to give thanks for the high honor bestowed upon us in giving us a glance into His pre-eonian solitude.
But this is not all that the spirit has revealed concerning God in this primeval period. According to 1 Cor.2:10 it is searching all, even the depths of God. Up to this point the principal subject was the revelation of the divine externals, not, however, His inner being. But now we are granted a deeper insight, for the spirit teaches us what it has discovered in the depths of God, that is, the whole universe! The creation which God planned did not exist merely in His purpose, but was actually and really included in Himself. This leads us to the next point, with its startling statement:
As in the foregoing, so we must acknowledge, first of all, that the Scriptures do not use these actual words. But, as we have already said, the truth that "All is out of God," without any special commentary, implies this precious fact, that all was in God. In order to proceed out of anything it is necessary to be in it beforehand. That is a self evident axiom, and requires no process of reasoning to establish it.
Yet it is well to accept this indirect conveyance of divine knowledge, and the introduction to it with discrimination, and not tactlessly ignore the reserve with which it has been revealed. The primordial portal which led to His innermost recesses has been shielded against all publicity, so that it is not apparent to the casual glance, for it is the entrance to His holy of holies. This can only be done with deep, reverential awe, in order that we, to whom this grace is granted, humbled by a consciousness of what we are, may be allowed a glance into His innermost essence.
It is a most precious and lovely picture which is unveiled to us by the spirit—the universe reposing in the heart of its Father—God. What a treasure trove of deepest divine knowledge, to discover the ultimate source of all creation securely stowed until the time of its creation! This includes all that exists, without exception, not omitting Christ, the Son of God. This is the first revelation of the Son which is vouchsafed to the believer, and is the foundation of God's fatherhood and the Son's glories. All other creatures are divided into classes and named: "all...that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities..." (Col.1:16). Although these divisions are made in relation to Christ, they may actually be referred to before creation, for even then they existed in God.
In the original Greek, "all," or "the all" is in the plural, and might be literally rendered "the alls." Although this expression is hardly admissible, it shows very clearly that everything that exists, whether matter, elements, or living creatures, was in Him. Absolutely nothing existed outside of God at that time.
Besides this, "All in God" has a very personal message for us, for through this truth we discover the first intimation of our own existence, long before we were born. What a depth of bliss to learn of the blessed location, where we also find ourselves, the place of our origin! Yea, what strengthening for our faith and joy to find ourselves in God! We really cannot wish for a more satisfactory answer to the question whence we are.
In view of this divine declaration, we may well ask: How is it possible that the whole creation could, at one time, be in God? The Word of God gives us several solutions of this difficulty. Since faith is "a conviction concerning matters which are not being observed," according to Heb.11:1, no believer should or will doubt the truth of this divine revelation, but will take it to himself without reserve. But God has not left it without further proof, but fostered the faith which honors Him by examples that help us to understand this glorious truth, that many are often included in a single one. In fact, God has made this a principle in His citation.
Responding to the word of the Creator, the earth sprouted with verdure, herbage and fruit trees whose seeds contained within them all those that have ever appeared since. It is hardly possible to put into words all that this implies. All the harvests since then until now, and in the future, were really included in these originals, and they have come out of them. So that even nature, with its elementary and constricted revelation, gives us a good example which explains how all could be in God at the beginning.
Even a planer proof of this principle is seen in the race of mankind, for every last one of the human species was at one time in Adam, the forefather of us all.
It is more than merely interesting to see that one product of modern science (probably unconsciously and without intention) provides evidence for the reliability of this principle. This is atomic research. Astonishing is not only its tremendous concentration of force, but the previous work that accomplishes this, that is the return of matter to its primordial elements through reduction in volume. The astonishing thing about it is that it is reduced to its smallest size, yet it retains the same measure of force. For example, a rod of uranium a yard long may be reduced very much, yet the weight remains the same. The workers in the first atom factory, so we read, wondered how great quantities of material were brought in, but no one ever saw anything go out.
When God allows men, in their earliest steps, to discover the original condition of matter to reach such astonishing results in the mutation and diminution of matter, we may see a clear indication of the concentrated form in which the universe must have existed before creation. Even if we follow the trail of science it will help us to grasp the glorious truth of the inclusion of all in p85
Vital Union with GodGod. Yet that is only one aspect, and this very faintly hinted at. Moreover, there is no need to visualize the universe in the smallest size in order to believe this truth, for God is unutterably great. He is spirit, and as such He cannot have a measurable mass or dimension, if we, in our constricted human speech, may be allowed to speak thus. It is a mistake to base this truth on mere size and mass. Apart from all this the man of God accepts this purely external aspect without difficulty, just because it is written. God's Word reveals a much greater aspect, the esoteric union of the Creator with the universe, out of which the earliest beams of His immeasurable love gleam forth.
This revelation of the inclusion of all in God withdraws the foundation from all speculative reasoning as to the whence of the universe, for God alone is its source. When science traces all back to a single cell, that is a good indication, but the reef on which this research is often wrecked is the refusal to give this cell its proper name, and to recognize it as God and Creator.
By its inclusion in God the whole creation was vitally united with its Creator. Notwithstanding its later separation by sin and judgment, the roots of this union have not been disturbed and, as the basis for the accomplishment of His plan of salvation, have retained their undiminished value and significance.
But not alone with God, also with Christ, the creation was in vital union. Organically God incorporated all in Christ and it formed a unity together with God. This truth teaches that, according to the divine intention, not only He, but Christ also, shall be united with the creation, and that is the ground in which the anchor of reconciliation rests.
By "the all in God" the whole universe with God and Christ inclusive, is set forth as the greatest and mightiest of all unities. God and Christ are thus united with all in the most esoteric of unions. All belongs to God and is Christ's. In these first revelations of God and His Christ in the period preceding the creation are bared the outlines of the normal state of creation.
This original inclusion of all in God is so all-embracing that no creature can claim any independent origin. This unassailable truth leads us involuntarily to think of one unique and mighty being—Satan, the adversary of God. He also had his beginning in God. The disclosure of this, his origin, is of many-sided significance, for it gives us the proper basis for a correct understanding of his career and activity, and provides the key for the solution of the problem of evil in the world.
Satan's position and his relation to God in that primeval condition must be held fast and impressed upon our faith. There he was absolutely subject to God, figuratively speaking, as the unconscious, plastic clay in the hands of the great Potter, Who not only gave him his outer form, but provided him with his character and authority.
Consequently, if Satan, as he is, were not as God intended him to be, then he actually has counteracted God's plans in creation against His will, to His detriment and that of His Anointed. Besides, he would not only himself have originated the necessity of salvation, but would at the same time, have condemned it to a comparative failure. There is no exit from this dilemma. In this case the Creator would have made a serious mistake. His connections with this creature would be like a fundamental failure which would stamp His creative plan as a losing game from the very beginning. God would have started out with missing the mark, and this is the figurative definition of sin.
A skillful doctor, due to his knowledge of the physical structure of the human body, can often foresee eminent crises and diseases and take steps to prevent them, with varying measures of success. If the human spirit is capable of doing this, how much more thorough is God's knowledge of the innermost essence of all His creatures, not only since they were created, but already when they were still included in Himself.
Even the psalmist knew of this divine insight, for he said "My embryo thine eyes did see." And the prophet, Jeremiah makes the astonishing statement (1:5): "Ere I formed you in the belly I knew you." David also testifies (1 Chron.28:9): "into all hearts inquires Jehovah." "He understands our thoughts from afar" (Psa.139:2).
These are only little hints, unimportant fragments of God's mighty preview of the period before the creation. But its roots go much deeper than the mere foreknowledge of all things and the development of the creation. Unavoidably do these definite declarations lead to the conviction that God sketched out and laid down the way to the minutes as well as the mightiest of His creations according to a predetermined plan. In carrying it out nothing unforeseen will bar His way, for "He is operating all according to the counsel of His will" (Eph.1:11). Only He is the primary and concluding cause of all that can happen.
With this sovereign, many-sided, unique and absolutely complete creative might, He would never have overlooked a crisis in which an exalted creature could act independent of and contrary to Him and create evil and turn into His bitterest foe, and so do His creation endless and irreparable damage.
Such a revolt He would have foreseen and discovered in its beginning, and it would be no effort at all to get rid of such a contentious creature, as a root of dire evil. But we should really not speak openly of such a thing, for it comes perilously near blasphemy. How could the seed of such a creature ever have found a place in the absolutely good and holy Deity?
The desire to see the origin of evil in Satan is the equivalent of a deepseated denial of the absolute deity of God, and is a great hindrance to a life of victorious faith, because it throws a dark shadow on the glorious consummation at the very beginning. Where is His omnipotence if even one creature is able to disturb His plans? He Who "frustrates the counsel of the nations," and "repudiates the devices of the peoples" (Psa.33:10), Who "makes void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem" (Jer.19:7), is He powerless in the presence of the plan of a single one of His many creatures? How that would eclipse Paul's admiring praise of God's wisdom and knowledge (Rom.11:33)!
The deep meaning of the revelation that all is of God does not allow any opinion to the effect that any creature may do as he pleases. Rather these also, alone, with all others were included from the beginning in a settled and unchangeable divine plan. The proof of this lies in the fact that, in reality, the adversary only carries out the intention that was deeply anchored in God's love, and he is what he is in order to fulfill the high purpose of the divine affections. That is the satisfactory solution of this difficult problem. Its correctness is continually confirmed in the Word of God.
The inclusion of the universe in God before its actual creation shows how strong are the ties which bind it to its Creator. Not outside of Him, without any near relation to Him was it created, but it has come forth from Him. It originated in and came out of Him. So there is, from the very start, an inseparable union between God the Creator and His creation. How deep the roots of this union go we can hardly tell. Yet when we think of how it is in human generation, we may get some inkling of the earliest impulses of God's love in calling forth the universe.
To be Continued