From time to time a passage of scripture, sometimes a single verse, will seem to leap of the page of my Bible filled with fresh meaning and personal application. I am sure this is a fairly common experience among those who take the time to form a more intimate relationship with scripture. In my own experience, it is as if the Bible is less paper and ink and more like a living organism.
I suspect I should not find this surprising. In the beginning, God breathed into Adam and he became a living being.
He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils and the man became a living person. (Genesis 2:7).
Later on, in 2 Timothy 3:16 Paul tells us that all scripture is “inspired” or “God-breathed.” Is it any wonder that the Bible has a tendency to become a living being when it is read with reverence, wonder, and in the Spirit.
Recently, one verse of scripture has been churning around in my mind and heart with regularity. It is one of those seemingly minor verses that we often tend to gloss over rather than spend time ruminating on. But recently, while reading Ephesians, this little verse got my attention and kept it. Like a speed bump in a parking lot, it slowed me down. In Ephesians 4:10 Paul, speaking of Christ says:
And the same one who descended is the one who ascended higher than all the heavens, so that he might fill the entire universe with himself. (NLT)
In this passage, Paul is making a statement that is actually quite profound. What he is saying is that after Christ left his heavenly abode, he descended to earth and once his mission down here was finished, he not only returned to heaven, but ascended higher than the heavens. And according to Paul, once Christ did this something was radically different in the entire universe. Everything in the universe, from the greatest galaxy to the smallest quark, was filled with Christ. Pause and let that sink in for a few moments.
What this means is that after Jesus’ earthly mission ended, everything changed. In some metaphysical manner that is beyond human understanding, every aspect of the universe was filled with a new vivifying, animating potential – and this potential was Christ in his cosmic incarnation. After the ascension of Christ, the very fabric of the universe and everything in it was altered. I am the first to admit that I don’t understand the physics of what took place, but it is helpful for me to think of it in terms of what in scripture is called the “Transfiguration.” Just as Christ’s body was altered in some fundamental way that night on the mountain as three of his disciples looked on, with his ascension the entire universe underwent a type of transfiguration.
In some new and life-giving way, humankind, after Christ, began to live in a renewed and participatory universe that is both alive and purposeful. By infusing himself into all things, Christ also infused all things with his life and his purpose.
It is usually right after saying such things that writers will now have to pause and waste time and words telling readers that he or she is not talking about pantheism. I am not going to waste much space doing that because anyone with half a brain can deduce that I am not speaking of pantheism here. If I had said, “All things are Christ,” that would be pantheistic. I am not even saying “all things are in Christ.” What I am saying is that “Christ is in all things.” If you disagree with that statement, don’t argue with me – argue with scripture because that is what it plainly says in Ephesians 4:10. This is not New Age metaphysics or mumbo jumbo. It is a fundamental biblical principle.
to be continued…..
(c) L.D. Turner 2010/All Rights Reserved