The Saviour of All Mankind
God's Purpose in Creation
Did God bring the creation into being to fulfill a predetermined purpose and plan, or was the creation brought into being without aim or plan? The fact that God had a definite purpose in creating is clearly revealed in His Word. It is an all-inclusive and glorious purpose worthy of a loving, wise, righteous and all-powerful God. Exactly what is God's purpose for all His creatures?
Notice what is revealed about this in the following passage of Scripture. The Son of God's love is the Image of the invisible God, Firstborn of every creature, for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones, or lordships, or sovereignties, or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him (Col.1:15-17).
Four outstanding facts are revealed in this passage concerning the entire creation: (1) all was created in the Son; (2) all was created through the Son; (3) all was created for the Son; (4) all creation has its cohesion in the Son. Three different Greek words are used to distinguish the facts set forth about the creation in these verses: all was created (1) in (en), (2) through (dia), and (3) for (eis) the Son. Eis, as used in this passage indicates purpose, the final cause. (cf Greek-English Lexicon by J.H. Thayer, D.D.).
The fact that all was created for the Son raises the question: In what sense is all to be for the Son, and how will this be brought about? The answer is: (1) in the sense that God's Son is to be enjoyer of the allotment of all and so will possess all; (2) in the sense that all will be subjected to the Son; (3) in the sense that all will be conformed to the Son.
I. GOD HAS APPOINTED HIS SON HEIR OF ALL
The fact that Gods Son is to be the enjoyer of the allotment of all is set forth as follows: . . . of old, God, speaking to the fathers in the prophets, in the last of these days speaks to us in a Son, Whom He appoints enjoyer of the allotment of all (Heb.1:1,2).
Since all was created for the Son, He was appointed enjoyer of the allotment of all. It is not God's plan and purpose that part of the creation shall ultimately be for the Adversary and part of it for God's Son. Neither is it God's plan that part of the creation shall finally be left to Sin and Death and only part be given to His Son. God's purpose is that the whole creation shall ultimately be for His Son.
II. ALL WILL BE SUBJECTED TO GODS SON
The subjection of all to God's Son is repeatedly referred to in the Scriptures (cf 1 Cor.15:25-28; Eph.1:9,10,20-23; Phil.3:21). Those who read a forced subjection of unwilling creatures into this theme, ascribe characteristics to God which dishonor Him. Philippians 2:10,11 makes it clear that a loving and joyful subjection of a redeemed creation is in view. Not one will be missing! In the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God, the Father. What a glorious day it will be when all are joyously subjected to God's Son. He is indeed a triumphant Saviour and Lord.
III. ALL WILL BE CONFORMED TO GODS SON
The plan and purpose of God for His creatures goes even beyond the subjection of all to the Son. God's plan and purpose is that all shall ultimately be conformed to His risen, glorified Son.
In this connection, one must first understand what God is doing for the chosen (2 Tim.2:10), those who are being saved through faith in Jesus Christ during this present life (Eph.2:8-10). Such ones are chosen to be holy and flawless in [God's] sight (Col.1:22). These are referred to as the ones who love God and are called according to the purpose that, whom He foreknew, He designates beforehand, also, to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be Firstborn among many brethren (cf Rom.8:28-30).
But those who believe now are not the only ones who will be conformed to God's Son. In due time the whole creation will experience this completion of God's salvation. For the premonition of the creation is awaiting the unveiling of the sons of God. For to vanity was the creation subjected, not voluntarily, but because of him Who subjects it, in expectation that the creation itself, also shall be freed from the corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom.8:19-21).
Think of it, the whole creation is to be freed from the slavery of corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God! Some of the things that this includes are as follows: through the obedience of Jesus Christ all mankind will receive lifes justifying and be constituted just (Rom.5:18,19); through the blood of His cross the entire creation will be reconciled to God (Col.1:20); all who die in Adam will be made alive and experience the newness of the resurrection life of Christ (1 Cor.15:20-28); all will then be a part of the new humanity of which Christ Jesus is Head (cf Eph.2:5; 4:24); all then will have been brought into the new creation and will be completely conformed to God's Son (cf 2 Cor.5:176; Eph.1:9,10; 3:14-21; Rev.21:3,5).
The Son will then deliver up the kingdom to the Father and will Himself be subjected, "that God may be All in all." When God is All in all, there is no further need for the Son to reign. Think carefully about what is revealed in the words, "God All in all." This is perhaps the most profound and comprehensive statement in the entire Word of God. Its breadth, its length, its depth, and its height go beyond the ability of the heart and mind to comprehend. It is not "God much in many," neither is it "God All in some." It is definitely "God All in all" or "God Everything in everyone."
Even as the believers will one day "be completed for the entire complement of God" (Eph.3:19), thus also, ultimately, all creation will delight to dwell in Him (cf Col.1:17,19). Can the words, "God All in all" mean anything less? No other expression can more surely and clearly reveal God's purpose in creation than the glorious words "God All in all."
To teach that any part of the creation will fail of the purpose for which God created it, is to deny every attribute of God. The true and living God is in supreme control of His creation. Nothing is too hard for Him. He is the "God of gods" (Psa.136:2). He is the One Who is operating all in accord with the counsel of His will (Eph.1:11). Even the Adversary himself, who is "the god of this eon" (cf 2Cor.4:4), has no power except that which God grants to him. When the time comes to stop Satan's activities, God will send a single messenger (or "angel") with a chain in his hand to bind the Adversary and lock him up in the abyss (Rev.20:1-4).
What more terrible slander against God can be perpetrated than the teaching that He will endlessly torment billions of His creatures in fire and brimstone?
The teaching of annihilation denies every attribute of God just as surely as the teaching of endless torment. To teach that God will condemn many of His creatures to endless extermination, is to represent God as frustrated and incompetent. it is to represent Him as lacking in wisdom, resourcefulness and ability. The principle difference is that annihilation represents God as less cruel than endless torment. To exterminate when salvation is needed and possible is not glorifying to God. The only way annihilation can be made to look respectable is to stand it alongside of endless torment.
To teach that many of God's creatures will be endlessly lost, is to teach either that such an end is according to His plan, or that God has been frustrated or defeated in His plan and that His purpose in creation has failed. Thank God that neither of these concepts is true, and that, through Jesus Christ, there is victory over death for all.
When the truth is understood about the purpose of God to become All in all through the sacrifice of His Christ, it becomes clear that all of God's dealings with His creatures contribute something to the realization of His loving, wise, and glorious purpose.
To know the true and living God "out of Whom all is" (1 Cor.8:6), is to recognize that His purpose for His creatures can only be loving, wise, righteous, and good. To know Jesus Christ, "through Whom all is" (1 Cor.8:6), is to know that God's purpose cannot fail.