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Volume 30 - Page 59 of 179 Index | Zoom | |
"Things Visible and Invisible."
pp. 157 - 164
According to Gen. 1: 1, creation is divided into two sections--"the heaven" and "the
earth". In the record of the refashioning of the submerged earth for man, however, the
heaven of Gen. 1: 1 is no longer in view, but rather a specially appointed "firmament"
(Hebrew: raqia, "thinness" or "expansion") which is "called heaven". In this are placed
the sun and the moon, and it is in the open firmament or expanse of this heaven that the
fowls of the air are created to fly. From Gen. 1: to the end of the O.T. attention is
directed in "creation" to man and the earth, until eventually we reach again the heights of
Gen. 1:, in the creation of a new heaven and a new earth at the time of the end. When we
come to the N.T., however, after the great Sacrifice has been offered, we realize that
creation is subdivided in another way. The distinction between heaven and earth is
maintained, but we further become aware of the fact that there is a creation which lies
beyond our ken, not merely because of physical distance, but because this newly revealed
creation belongs to another realm of being altogether. We learn from Col. 1: 16 that the
Lord created all things in heaven and in earth, "visible and invisible". It is this
"invisible" creation that we are seeking to understand a little about in the present article.
The first thing we must face is the essential limitation expressed in the very word
"invisible". What do we know about an invisible creation? The adjective itself is a
negative one. We know nothing positively; all we can say is that it is not visible.
Moreover, this is not by any means the only negative definition that we encounter. We
learn from Scripture that God is infinite, immortal, and incorruptible. Such terms as these
make us realize the greatness of God, but they do not reveal any positive qualities.
"Infinite" means "not finite" or "not having bounds"; "immortal" means "not subject to
death", but these definitions still leave the nature of God unexplained and unrevealed. In
theology and philosophy, too, we meet other negatives--the absolute, the unconditioned,
the incomprehensible--words that make us realize again the limitations of our present
state. It is true that there are also positive revelations awaiting us--we know Him as
Creator, Redeemer, Father, we "see" Him in the person of His Son, and we behold the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ--but we are also told in the same Gospel that
records the words "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father" that "No man hath seen
God at any time". Quite apart from the question of his sin, man needs a Mediator. Christ
is the Image of the invisible God, quite apart from His work as Redeemer. Man himself
belongs to the visible creation, but He is conscious that he is surrounded by an invisible
What exactly do we mean by a "visible creation"? To answer this question we must
enquire a little more deeply into the problem of sight.
Keeping to the physical realm, and avoiding the figurative use of the verb "to see" in
the sense of mental perception, it becomes clear that, after all, the marvel of vision is
essentially superficial. Sight depends upon the combination of several factors: