For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)
Everything that exists originated in eternity past as a thought in the mind of God.
Everything. The heavens, stars, bugs, molecules, iPhones, humans.
All of it.
All of the dynamics of human life once were thoughts originated in God’s mind. Relationships, marriage, work, entertainment, rest, family.
The existence of a seemingly intentional creation or a creation intelligently designed is an apologetical argument in defense of the Christian worldview once referred by G. K. Chesterton as the problem of goodness. You might make arguments against the existence of God from the evil in the world, but from where do you find such order or attention to detail? The fact that we enjoy food versus absorbing it through our skin, or that families are birthed within the context of marital relationships with one another verses mere autonomous cell division; how do you account for these in a way which upholds their inherent goodness outside of the existence of God?
Colossians 1:16 argues that everything was created by God, through God, and for God.
How was everything created for God?
Everything in creation, untainted by the fall, in one aspect or another, declares the glory of God.
The authors of Scripture are not slow to realize this point.
O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens. (Psalm 8:1)
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard. (Psalm 19:1-3)
In creation God programed general revelation which “declares” to us elements of God’s glory. Because of sin, humanity is blinded to this reality and needs special revelation to interpret creation’s original intention.
But as image-bearers who are called to imitate God (Eph 5:1), do we imitate his intentionality?
If God ordered all of existence to display his glory, are we intentional in ordering our lives in ways which give God glory?
That does not look like every Christian quitting their jobs and starting 24-hour worship sessions until Christ returns. But that does look like Christians examining God’s word to see how all of the many facets of their lives were designed to give God glory and striving to maximize their God-glorifying potential.
Also, that means examining the telos, or end, of our lives. What are our lives moving towards? What is the driving motivator for what you and I do? Are we seeking to build our own kingdoms in our work, recreation, parenting, singleness, and families, or are we using them to glorify God? Are we recognizing how the world is trying to dictate and reprogram our desires and goals in life towards non-God-glorifying ends?
Also, in the church, are we intentional about ensuring that our churches are glorifying God in all of the details? If everything in creation was delicately designed to declare the glory of God, can the same be said about our churches?
Many Christians do not view churches as something more than a weekend experience meant to serve their religious void, but Scripture tells us that the unique relationships within the church are meant to declare the wisdom of God to the watching world (Eph 3:10).
This also means that everything in our churches ought to be regulated by Scripture. While there are not biblical mandates for building designs or programs, we ought not to see these things as undeserving of careful biblical reflection.
We want to ensure that even the smallest details of our lives, ministries and churches reflect a thoughtfulness corresponding to God’s own thoughtfulness for his own creation to reflect his own glory.
Friends, in our personal lives, churches and ministries, let us strive to reflect a God-glorifying intentionality and discernment which seeks to order every detail of our lives and churches for the glory of God.
Jared Poulton (MDiv, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Pastor of Children and Families at First Baptist Church Dublin, in Dublin, GA. He is married to Kerry Poulton and they have two children, Riley and Oliver. Jared and Kerry are originally from South Carolina. You can follow Jared Poulton on twitter at @Jared_Poulton, or see his personal blog at @jspoulton.wordpress.com.