He Is Still Upholding the Universe

Everything in the universe continues to exist because Christ is maintaining it.

A watchmaker winds his watch and lets it run until it winds down. The watch fulfills its purpose best at the very beginning if its existence when it is new and freshly wound. Someday, inevitably, it will wind down and stop forever, never to fulfill its true purpose again. Not so with creation. Creation is forever fulfilling it’s purpose perfectly because it is being moved toward its ultimate aim by the One who made it.

 

Right now as I write, and right now as you read, everything in the universe continues to exist because Christ is maintaining it. It is he, says the writer of Hebrews, who “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). Paul says something similar inColossians 1:17: It is in Christ that “all things hold together.” The laws of the universe are laws because Christ upholds them. He sustains the gravity that sticks everything together.

Christ and his creation are not like a watchmaker and his watch. A watchmaker assembles a watch, winds it up, and lets it run. There is no “letting it run” with Christ; He keeps the universe moving along by his own power. What’s here is here because he made it, and it keeps on working because he continues to make it work.

But the difference between Christ and the watchmaker is even greater than this. Leon Morris says the thought in Hebrews 1:3 is that Christ

is carrying [the universe] along, bearing it toward an important goal. Creation is not aimless; it is part of God’s plan and the Son is continually bearing creation along toward the fulfillment of the plan.1

A watchmaker winds his watch and lets it run until it winds down. The watch fulfills its purpose best at the very beginning if its existence when it is new and freshly wound. Someday, inevitably, it will wind down and stop forever, never to fulfill its true purpose again. Not so with creation. Creation is forever fulfilling it’s purpose perfectly because it is being moved toward its ultimate aim by the One who made it.

The winding down we see in creation—everything and everyone dies, for instance, and the weeds in my garden grow faster than I can pull them—is purposeful winding down. It’s a winding down that’s moving forward. The creation, Paul says in Romans 8:20, “was subjected to futility . . . in hope.” Hope, biblically speaking, isn’t a wonderful future that might or might not happen, but a wonderful future that is rock solid certain. In its futility—or in its winding down, to use the watch analogy—creation is moving toward a day when it will be made new, instantly, into something better than it was on the last day of creation.

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