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Abraham Kuyper, former prime minister of the Netherlands, once said, “…there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human life of which Christ, Who is sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

Though scholars dispute its origin, most agree that Colossians 1:15-20 is an early Christian hymn of praise to Christ. The first stanza of the hymn (verses 15-16) proclaims Christ’s preeminence over creation. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…”

When you think of creation, you might picture the beautiful pedals of a flower or the plume of a peacock. Perhaps you think of the ribosome that transfers RNA into protein or the unfathomable number of stars in the sky. These things are awe inspiring, but Christ’s creative power extends even further. He made not only this physical universe, but every spiritual realm. He made things like love, compassion, grace, and kindness. He is the fount of all goodness, as John Calvin said.

Yet, not only is Christ preeminent over creation, he is also preeminent over the new creation. The second stanza of the hymn begins, “…he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven... (verses 18b-20a).”

God did not make monkeys, magpies, or manatees in his image; he made humankind alone in his image and appointed them as caretakers and cultivators of his creation. When Adam and Eve, and with them all their progeny, took this caretaking role into their own hands – apart from God’s moral law – a schism resulted between humankind and God. That schism had dire consequences for all of creation.

Usually reconciliation is initiated by the offending party, who then makes restitution to the offended party. However, in the case of creation, Christ initiated that process, through the incarnation, and made our restitution, by his precious blood shed on the cross (verse 20). When Christ rose from the dead, he became the founder of the new creation.

Abraham Kuyper was right. Christ is sovereign over all! Let us praise his mighty works of creation and new creation!

The Rev. Michael Birbeck is pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Wellsboro.