The Final Answer (Hebrews 1:2)

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
(Hebrews 1:2, again)

Not too far from my home, you’ll find the foundation of an old house. Recently, I met a man whose uncle formerly lived in that house. I’m not sure who first built it, but I do know that people farmed our property beginning in about 1840. Today, less than 200 years later, nature is reclaiming everything that hasn’t been maintained over those years. The fencing around that old foundation has rusted and will be fragmented in a few more decades. Human use of the land, it seems, is a temporary thing. Once our stewardship over it relaxes, the cedar trees and vines begin the succession that will culminate in towering oak trees. Nature, it would seem, prevailed here long before humans arrived and will reclaim anything that the humans relinquish.

But there is something that predates nature and that will survive its reign. We could easily slide over the words in the second half of today’s verse, missing their incredible import. To avoid such a mistake, though, I thought it necessary to dwell on this verse once more.

Who is this Son of whom the author of Hebrews speaks? Of course, it is Jesus, and we learn valuable things about Jesus from these dependent clauses. We learn that God created the universe through Jesus. What precisely does that mean? Does that make Jesus the general contractor? Somehow I don’t think that’s answer. Many would point to the powerful speech of God in Genesis 1 and then the equating of Jesus and the Word and God in John 1. In reality, I’m not sure that such connections truly get us a great deal closer to understanding God creating the universe through Jesus.

Similarly, I’m not entirely sure what it means for Jesus to be the heir of all things. I do understand inheritance from a human standpoint, but how do you inherit the universe that you’ve had a hand in creating? I don’t really understand that either.

What I do understand, however, is that nature was not here first. Nature will not be the ultimate victor over my farm or any other place. By aligning myself with Christ, I align myself with the first and the last, I allow God to make me a joint heir. That ‘s enough for me to understand for today.

 

Beyond the Sun (Psalm 19:5-6)

It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.–Psalm 19:5-6

Given its role as the primary source of light and warmth on earth–before electric bulbs and furnaces that is–the sun took an understandable place as an object of worship among primitive people. Today, we know better. We don’t deify the sun. We save that sort of treatment for mediocre celebrities or old growth forests. Perhaps, then, we’ve not advanced quite so far as we like to believe.

The natural tendency, it seems, is for humans to worship elements of the creation. When David remarks in these verses on the majesty, the power, and the indispensable nature of the sun, he might be accused of just such worship. However, we need to recall that he began this passage by noting that God had erected a tent for the majestic sun, the powerful sun, the indispensable sun. It is as if he were asking, “Do you think the sun is amazing? Well, I do too! Now let me tell you who hung the sun up there in the sky.”

The natural world is remarkable. From sprawling trees to tiny frogs, I can see wonders all around without leaving my own property. Today, as spring gets started in Missouri, the greening of the grass and the buds on trees declare God’s glory just as surely as the stars in the sky.

Our folly comes when we find ourselves amazed by the grass, leaves, and flowers, the sun, moon, or stars, but we fail to look beyond these to the Creator God who made them all possible.

 

Three Witnesses–1 John 5:7-8

For there are three that testify: 8the[a] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement. –1 John 5:7-8

No, you do not misread me. I’m staying on the same verses again today. Why? It’s simple. In yesterday’s meditation, I had a good deal to say about the phrase that is almost certainly not a part of John’s text, but I said virtually nothing about those words that are John’s.

Today, I stood outside in my yard, setting up a tent in preparation for a trip Tom and I are taking in a few weeks. As I struggled with fabric and poles, I felt the power of the sun beating onto my face and watched the wind churn up the surface of the lake. All I could do was smile as I felt God’s goodness in all this. As I stood there, nature seemed to proclaim his bounty.

I could not stand there long, as Ira and Sydney joined me, “helping” me drive pegs into the ground and unzip zippers. They giggled and squealed as they coursed into and out of the tent. Although the temperature had to be fifteen degrees higher in the tent, Ira couldn’t get enough of it, flinging his shoes off and rolling around on the floor.  Again I smiled, recognizing again the goodness of God manifest in these children.

Finally, and most importantly, I felt the testimony of God’s Spirit in that moment. Although I might misinterpret the testimony of nature (the water) and living beings (the blood), I could not misunderstand the message of the Counselor. It told me of a fallen world, redeemed by a single, perfect man. With all that in play, who needs the “improvements” offered by that long-ago scribe.