By Charles H. Welch
If there be no Creator, there can be no moral ruler. If no moral ruler, there can be no responsibility, no
sin, no penalty, no law, and no gospel. If there be a Creator, He alone can plan the unfolding ages, He alone can
introduce a way of escape for the penalties He Himself has joined to sin. Consequently we find creation in the
opening verse of Genesis, and a New Creation coming into view as the last chapters of Revelation are reached. The
fact of creation is found in the very heart of the ten commandments and by the one fact of creation and its necessary
implications all Job’s problems were solved and his anxieties stilled (Job 37 to 42). The restoration of Israel and the
faithful fulfilment of all His promises, is linked by the prophets to the Creator and His work, and creation therefore
finds a prominent place in the unfolding dispensations. In this quest we are particularly concerned with the place
occupied by creation in the epistles, and we find this distributed under two headings. The visible creation and
The Visible Creation
Ktisis and Ktizo
In these passages the fact of creation is stated or assumed, and various consequences drawn from this fact are given. Those which have a dispensational bearing and demand some fuller examination in this analysis are the following:
This one passage throws us back to Genesis 1:1 in which we read: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’, and it was then that this great purpose of the ages was conceived, and the necessity consequent upon Israel’s blindness that would arise, for a parenthetical dispensation to intervene until the blindness of Israel should be removed. For a fuller examination of this theme, see ‘The foundation of the world, before, from’, and also the phrase ‘before the world was’ - literally ‘before times of ages’ in the article entitled AGE. All that we need stress here is that Ephesians 3:9 shows that like every other part of the Divine purpose of the ages, the mystery cannot be separated from the initial purpose and fact of creation. It is this as well as a common redemption, that links all spheres of blessing together, however different they may be, as surely as creaturehood unites in one, the highest created being in heaven, with the lowest and simplest element of earth. Under the heading DISPENSATION, the two readings of Ephesians 3:9 (A.V. ‘fellowship’ and R.V. ‘dispensation’) will be considered, and under the heading MYSTERY all the mysteries of Scripture will be associated and their differences assessed.
This verse will come up for consideration again, when we are dealing with the ‘invisible creation’, all that we will do here is to draw attention to the change from the A.V. which reads: ‘For by Him were all things created’. First let us record that the preposition en which means, literally ‘in’, can and must often times be translated ‘by’, as for example in Ephesians 5:26, ‘by the word’, or 1 Corinthians 3:13, ‘revealed by fire’, but when Colossians 1:16 continues to say, ‘all things were created by Him’, the Greek preposition used is not en but dia, and the reader is not given a clear-cut rendering, especially when we observe that the preposition en is repeated at intervals in this great passage of Colossians 1. In the following the various occurrences of en are indicated by the use of the italic type:
Revelation 3:14 reveals that Christ Himself is ‘the beginning of the creation of God’ and throws a vivid light
upon Genesis 1:1 ‘in the beginning’ being not so much a note of time, but a reference to Him, Who is the Image of
the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, the One in Whom Creator and creature, Redeemer and redeemed,
meet, the One Mediator, the One in Whom not only the spiritual world finds its sphere, but the very visible creation
itself is seen to have been created ‘in Him’. We shall supply the structure of the whole passage, with its
corresponding portion in chapter 3, when we deal with the second heading, ‘The invisible creation’.
The Invisible Creation
Of these references to the invisible creation, let us consider the following:
It will be observed that the A.V. reads ‘make’ here, which is not an adequate translation of ktizo, which should always be rendered ‘create’, as distinct from make, fashion, form, etc. If this new company is a ‘creation’ it must be something new. The Church of the Mystery is not an evolution from the Church of Pentecost, or from the Church as constituted according to Galatians 3:26-29. In the Acts period the basis and background of the Church was the promise to Abraham - here, Abraham is never mentioned (see article ABRAHAM, for his relationship with the Church). The believing Gentile during the Acts period was grafted contrary to nature into the true olive tree of Israel. The present dispensation is not a consequence of the dispensation of the Acts but something thrust in to fill the gap occasioned by the defection of Israel. It is a newly created company, resting upon an entirely different promise, chosen at an entirely different period, blessed in an entirely different sphere. (For the nature of these distinctive blessings, see articles on BLESSINGS, HEAVENLY PLACES 2, HEAVENLY PLACES 6 , FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, ISRAEL and MYSTERY). The Place which Ephesians 2:15 occupies in the apostle’s argument will be seen, together with the structure of the passage in articles entitled MIDDLE WALL and BOTH.
Colossians 1:13-23 and 3:5-15
A 1:15,16. The Creator. The Image.
A 3:10. Created after the Image.
The reader will perceive that the order of one or two verses has been inverted. To exhibit the complete structure in perfect alignment and in full detail would occupy a disproportionate amount of space, and serve no good purpose. The above will demonstrate the evident correspondence that exists and that is all we need at the moment.
These two references in the epistle of the Mystery will show that there is a most definite link between the initial purpose manifested in creation with the subsequent unfolding of the purpose that is presented in the different dispensations, and that while the Mystery is unique, it is not unrelated, but holds a most definite place in the purpose of the ages, and indeed constitutes its crown and climax. When contemplating with wonder the glory of the truth as revealed in Ephesians, we may for a moment think that the pseudo-scientific attack upon the authority of Genesis 1 and 2 is too far removed from the matter to call for any exercise of prayer and testimony, but it is not so; indeed, the taller the building the more essential the foundation, and consequently if the ten commandments needed the truth of creation to be incorporated in them, how much more the high calling which is made known in the epistles of the Mystery?
For the purpose of this analysis, however, the most critical passage is that of Ephesians 2:15, and the presence and consequence of the word ‘create’ must be recognized and observed if we would have the truth of the present high calling unsullied and complete. It should be remembered, whenever there is a tendency to bring over from one calling, observances and doctrines that belong to another, that where a new creation is mentioned in the Scriptures, there we usually find that ‘former things have passed away’. If this principle be observed when dealing with Ephesians 2:15, the one new man, will be seen as ‘new’ indeed.