What is it?
Is Failure Possible ?
Did God bring the creation into being to fulfil a predeterm-ined purpose and plan, or was the creation brought into being without aim or plan?
The fact that God had a definite purpose and plan in creating is clearly revealed in His word. It is an all-inclusive and glorious purpose worthy of a loving, wise, righteous and all-powerful God. But what exactly is God's purpose for all His creatures?
Notice what is revealed about this in the following passage of Scrip-ture. The Son of God's love "is the Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation; for in Him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him, and unto Him; and He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:15-17 A.S.V).
Four outstanding facts are re-vealed in this passage concerning the entire creation.
First All was created in the Son.
Second All was created through the Son.
Third All was created for the Son.
Fourth All creation has its cohesion in the Son.
Three different Greek words are used to distinguish the facts set forth about the creation in these verses. All was created: en =in, dia =through, and eis =into, (or for the Son.) Eis, as used in this passage indicates "purpose, the final cause." (See the Greek Lexicon by J.H. Thayer, DD).
The fact that all was created for the Son raises the question: In what sense is all to be for the Son, and how will this be brought about? The answer is: First, in the sense that God's Son is to be "heir of all" and so will possess all. Second, in the sense that all will be subjected to the Son. Third, in the sense that all will be conformed to the Son.
The fact that God's Son is to be heir of all is set forth as follows: "God, having of old time spoken unto the fa-thers in the prophets ...has at the end of these days spoken unto us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things" (Heb. 1:1,2).
Because all was created for the Son, He was appointed heir, allottee of all things. It is not God's plan and purpose that part of creation shall ulti-mately be for Satan and part for His Son. Neither is it God's plan that part shall finally be for Sin and Death, and part for His Son. God's purpose is that the whole creation shall ultimately be for His Son.
2. ALL SUBJECTED TO GOD'S SON
Notice how this is revealed in the following passage.
"You did put all things in subjection under his (man-kind's) feet. For in that He subjected all things unto him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.
But now we see not yet all things subjected to him. But we behold Jesus, Who has been a little lower than the angels (because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour) that He by the grace of God should taste of death for everyone.
For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings"
Observe the striking connection between: The subjection of the entire creation to the Son; His tasting death for everyone; and all being for the Son.
The subjection of all to the Son is repeatedly referred to in the Scrip-tures. See 1 Corinthians 15:25-28; Ephesians 1:9-10 and 19-23; Philippi-ans 3:20,21 et al. Those who read into this a forced subjection of unwilling creatures ascribe characteristics to God which dishonour Him. Philippians 2:5-11 makes it clear that it is a loving and joyful subjection of a redeemed creation. Not one will be missing! "In the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father." What a glorious day that is going to be when all are joyously subjected to God's Son. He is indeed a triumphant Saviour and Lord.
3. ALL CONFORMED TO GOD'S SON
The plan and purpose of God for His creatures goes even beyond the subjection of all to the Son. God's plan and purpose is that all shall ultimately be conformed to His risen, glorified Son.
In this connection one must first understand what God is doing for the elect who are being saved through faith in Jesus Christ during the present life (2 Tim. 2:10). These are chosen "to be holy ones and flawless ones in God's sight" (Eph. 1:3-6). They are to be "filled unto all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:19). Jesus Christ will present all of these "holy and without blemish and unreprovable before God" (Col. 1:21,22). These are referred to as the ones who love God and are "called according to the purpose that, whom He foreknew, He also designates beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be Firstborn among many brethren (See Romans 8:28-30).
But those who believe now are not the only ones who will be con-formed to God's Son. In due time the whole creation will experience this fullness of God's salvation. "For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of Him Who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the liberty of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:19-21). Think of it, the whole creation is to be freed from the slavery of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. Some of the things this liberty of the glory includes are as follows: Through the obedience of Jesus Christ all mankind will receive justification of life and be constituted righteous (Rom. 5:18,19). Through the blood of His cross the entire creation will be reconciled to God (Col. 1:15-20); All who die in Adam will be made alive and experience the newness of the resurrection life of Christ (1 Cor:20-28);
All will then be a part of the New Humanity of which Christ Jesus is Head. All will then have been brought into the New creation and be fully conformed to God's Son (See 2 Cor. 5:14-21; Rev. 21:1-5; Eph. 1:9-11; Eph. 3:14-21).
The Son will deliver up the Kingdom to the Father and will Himself be subjected "that God may be All in all." When God is All in all, there is no further need for the Son to reign. Think carefully about what is revealed in the words, "God All in all" This is perhaps the most profound and comprehensive statement in the entire word of God. Its length, its breath, its depth, and its height go beyond the ability of the heart and mind to comprehend. It is not "God much in many", neither is it "God All in some". It is definitely "God All in all" or "God Everything in everyone".
As the believers who make up the true Church are to be "filled unto all the fullness of God" when the Lord returns, so ultimately the entire creation is to be filled unto all the fullness of God. Can the words, "God All in all" mean anything less? Noth-ing more surely and clearly reveals God's purpose in creating than this glorious consummation toward which He is bringing all through His Son.
To teach that any part of the creation will fail of the purpose unto which God created it, is to deny every attribute of God. The true and living God is in supreme control of His crea-tion. Nothing is too hard for Him. He is the "God of gods" (Psa. 136:2). He is the One Who is "working all things in accord with the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). Even Satan himself who is "the god of this eon" (2 Cor 4:4), has no power except as God permits him to have it. When God's time comes to stop Satan's activities God sends a single angel with a chain in his hand to bind Satan and lock him up in the abyss (Rev. 20:1-4). What more terri-ble slander against God can be perpe-trated than the teaching that He will endlessly torment billions of His crea-tures in fire and brimstone.
The Scriptures do teach that some spirit beings will be tormented "for the eons of the eons" (Rev. 20:10). But this is certainly not without end.
The teaching of annihilation denies every attribute of God just as surely as the teaching of endless torment. To teach that God will condemn many of His creatures to endless ex-termination is to represent Him as lacking in wisdom, resourcefulness and ability. The principle difference is that annihilation represents God as less cruel than endless torment. To exterminate when salvation is needed and possible is not glorifying to God. The only way annihilation can be made to look respectable is to stand it alongside of endless torment.
To teach that many of God's creatures will be endlessly lost in whatever sense, is to teach one of two things: First, God planned it that way and this is His purpose in creating. Or Second, God has been frustrated or defeated and His purpose in creating has failed. Thank God there is another alternative, the alternative of the triumph of Jesus Christ.
When the truth is understood about the purpose of God to become All in all through His Son, it becomes clear that all of God's dealings with His creatures contribute something to the accomplishing of His loving, wise, and glorious purpose. We are even told that "all judging has been given unto the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father" (See John 5:22,23).
To know the true and living God "out of Whom all is." is to know that His purpose for His creatures cannot be other than loving, wise, righteous and good. To know Jesus Christ "through Whom all is", is to know God's purpose cannot fail (1 Cor 8:4-6). In the words of God through the prophet Isaiah:
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me; declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done; saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure. yea, I have spoken, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it."