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What does it mean that Jesus created all things visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16)?

all things visible and invisible audio

The Bible establishes that Jesus Christ is God: “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body” (Colossians 2:9, NLT; see also Hebrews 1:3). Because Jesus is God, He is also Creator of the universe (Hebrews 1:2). Teaching on the preeminence or supremacy of Christ, the apostle Paul writes, “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16, NKJV). Through His Son Jesus, God made everything we can see, plus all the things we can’t see.

All things “that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible” is Paul’s expressive way of saying Jesus made absolutely everything. There is nothing that Jesus did not create. The apostle John put it like this: “All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created” (John 1:3, CSB). God the Father is the architect of creation. He determined to bring all things into existence. But Jesus, His Son, is the agent who brought God’s plans into living, breathing reality. “Through his creative imagination and power, the created order exists” (Melick, R., Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, Vol. 32, 1991, Broadman & Holman Pub., p. 217).

At the time of Paul’s writing, false teachers were inserting themselves into the church and subverting the truth about the nature of Christ as God. Their beliefs likely included the worship of angels and other unseen beings. In Colossians 1:16, Paul refers to these invisible entities as “thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” The New Living Translation renders the invisible “things we can’t see” as “thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.”

A little later, Paul explains that Jesus Christ “disarmed the powers and authorities, [and] he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). The apostle warns the Colossian Christians not to be persuaded by false teachers: “Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind” (Colossians 2:18). Paul questions why true believers would resort to worshiping angels and invisible powers when Jesus Christ, who created them, reigns supreme (see Hebrews 1:4). He continues, “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules?” (Colossians 2:20).

False teachers were trying to minimize the preeminence of Christ, lowering Him to the same level as invisible powers, angels, and rulers of the unseen world. Paul counters this ridiculous, spiritually immature notion with the facts about Jesus. As Creator of all things visible and invisible, Christ’s authority trumps every other earthy creature and spiritual being. Only He is worthy of our worship (1 Timothy 1:17; John 5:23; Revelation 5:12–13). Knowing who Christ is and maintaining that solid foundation is our very best defense against false teachers and their deviations from the truth.

There is nothing beyond the scope of Christ’s sovereignty. Jesus is preeminent in relation to the entire creation—both visible and invisible. The visible creation includes everything we can see with our eyes. Plants, animals, humankind, sea life, the sun, moon, stars, and planets, mountains, valleys, forests, rivers, lakes, oceans, and seas are all the handiwork of Jesus. The invisible creation includes all that is impossible to see with our eyes—everything that exists in the spiritual realm. Since all things—both visible and invisible, natural and supernatural—were created by and through Jesus Christ, they are all subject to His authority. He is Master and Commander over them all.

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What does it mean that Jesus created all things visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16)?
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This page last updated: March 29, 2024