By Charles H. Welch
If there be no Creator, there can be no moral ruler. If no moral ruler, there
can be no responsibility, no sin, no penalty, no law, and no gospel. If there be
a Creator, He alone can plan the unfolding ages, He alone can introduce a way of
escape for the penalties He Himself has joined to sin. Consequently we find
creation in the opening verse of Genesis, and a New Creation coming into view as
the last chapters of Revelation are reached. The fact of creation is found in
the very heart of the ten commandments and by the one fact of creation and its
necessary implications all Job’s problems were solved and his anxieties stilled
(Job 37 to 42). The restoration of Israel and the faithful fulfilment of all His
promises, is linked by the prophets to the Creator and His work, and creation
therefore finds a prominent place in the unfolding dispensations. In this quest
we are particularly concerned with the place occupied by creation in the
epistles, and we find this distributed under two headings. The visible creation
and invisible creation.
The Visible Creation
‘For the invisible things of Him from the creation of
the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even
His eternal power and Godhead’ (Rom. 1:20).
‘Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and
worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed for
ever’ (Rom. 1:25).
‘The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth’
‘For the creature was made subject to vanity’ (Rom. 8:20).
‘The creature itself also shall be delivered’ (Rom. 8:21).
‘For we know that the whole creation groaneth’ (Rom. 8:22).
‘(The Gospel) was preached to every creature’ (Col. 1:23).
‘Neither is there any creature that is not manifest’ (Heb. 4:13).
‘That is to say, not of this building’ (Heb. 9:11).
‘Every ordinance of man’ (1 Pet. 2:13).
‘From the beginning of the creation’ (2 Pet. 3:4).
‘The beginning of the creation of God’ (Rev. 3:14).
‘For every creature of God is good’ (1 Tim. 4:4).
‘Every creature which is in heaven’ (Rev. 5:13).
‘The creatures which were in the sea’ (Rev. 8:9).
‘Neither was the man created for the woman’ (1 Cor. 11:9).
‘Hid in God, Who created all things’ (Eph. 3:9).
‘By Him were all things created’ (Col. 1:16).
‘Which God hath created to be received’ (1 Tim. 4:3).
‘Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure’ (Rev. 4:11).
‘Sware by Him ... Who created heaven ... earth ... sea’ (Rev. 10:6).
In these passages the fact of creation is stated or assumed, and various
consequences drawn from this fact are given. Those which have a dispensational
bearing and demand some fuller examination in this analysis are the following:
Ephesians 3:9 R.V.
‘And to make all men see what is the
dispensation of the mystery which from all ages hath been hid in God Who
created all things’.
This one passage throws us back to Genesis 1:1 in which we read: ‘In the
beginning God created the heaven and the earth’, and it was then that this great
purpose of the ages was conceived, and the necessity consequent upon Israel’s
blindness that would arise, for a parenthetical dispensation to intervene until
the blindness of Israel should be removed. For a fuller examination of this
theme, see ‘The foundation of the world, before, from’, and also the phrase
‘before the world was’ - literally ‘before times of ages’ in the article
entitled AGE. All that we need stress here is
that Ephesians 3:9 shows that like every other part of the Divine purpose of the
ages, the mystery cannot be separated from the initial purpose and fact of
creation. It is this as well as a common redemption, that links all spheres of
blessing together, however different they may be, as surely as creaturehood
unites in one, the highest created being in heaven, with the lowest and simplest
element of earth. Under the heading
DISPENSATION, the two readings of Ephesians
3:9 (A.V. ‘fellowship’ and R.V. ‘dispensation’) will be considered, and under
the heading MYSTERY all the mysteries of
Scripture will be associated and their differences assessed.
Colossians 1:16 R.V.
‘For in Him were all things created’.
This verse will come up for consideration again, when we are dealing with the
‘invisible creation’, all that we will do here is to draw attention to the
change from the A.V. which reads: ‘For by Him were all things created’. First
let us record that the preposition en
which means, literally ‘in’, can and must often times be translated ‘by’, as for
example in Ephesians 5:26, ‘by the word’, or 1 Corinthians 3:13, ‘revealed by
fire’, but when Colossians 1:16 continues to say, ‘all things were created by
Him’, the Greek preposition used is not en
but dia, and the reader is not given a
clear-cut rendering, especially when we observe that the preposition
en is repeated at intervals in this great
passage of Colossians 1. In the following the various occurrences of
en are indicated by the use of the italic
‘For by Him
were all things created, that are in
heaven ... by Him all things consist ... that
in all things He might have the preeminence ...
in Him should all fulness dwell ...
in earth, or things
in heaven ...
by wicked works ...
in the body of His flesh’ (Col.
Revelation 3:14 reveals that Christ Himself is ‘the beginning of the creation
of God’ and throws a vivid light upon Genesis 1:1 ‘in the beginning’ being not
so much a note of time, but a reference to Him, Who is the
Image of the invisible God, the
firstborn of every creature, the One in
Whom Creator and creature, Redeemer and redeemed, meet, the One Mediator, the
One in Whom not only the spiritual world finds its sphere, but the very visible
creation itself is seen to have been created ‘in Him’. We shall supply the
structure of the whole passage, with its corresponding portion in chapter 3,
when we deal with the second heading, ‘The invisible creation’.
‘Created in Christ Jesus unto good works’ (Eph. 2:10).
‘For to make in Himself of twain one new man’ (Eph. 2:15).
‘The new man, which after God is created in righteousness’ (Eph. 4:24).
‘After the image of Him that created Him’ (Col. 3:10).
‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature’ (2 Cor. 5:17).
‘A new creature’ (Gal. 6:15).
‘A kind of firstfruits of His creatures’ (Jas. 1:18).
Of these references to the invisible creation, let us consider the following:
Ephesians 2:15 R.V.
‘That He might create in Himself of the twain one new man, so making
It will be observed that the A.V. reads ‘make’ here, which is not an adequate
translation of ktizo, which should always be rendered ‘create’, as distinct from
make, fashion, form, etc. If this new company is a ‘creation’ it must be
something new. The Church of the Mystery is not an evolution from the Church of
Pentecost, or from the Church as constituted according to Galatians 3:26-29. In
the Acts period the basis and background of the Church was the promise to
Abraham - here, Abraham is never mentioned (see article
his relationship with the Church). The believing Gentile during the Acts period
was grafted contrary to nature into the true olive tree of Israel. The present
dispensation is not a consequence of the dispensation of the Acts but something
thrust in to fill the gap occasioned by the defection of Israel. It is a newly
created company, resting upon an entirely different promise, chosen at an
entirely different period, blessed in an entirely different sphere. (For the
nature of these distinctive blessings, see articles on
HEAVENLY PLACES 6 ,
FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD,
ISRAEL and MYSTERY).
The Place which Ephesians 2:15 occupies in the apostle’s argument will be seen,
together with the structure of the passage in articles entitled
MIDDLE WALL and
‘And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the
image of Him that created him’. The passage containing this reference is in
structural correspondence with Colossians 1:13-23, as the following
structure will indicate:
Colossians 1:13-23 and
1:15,16. The Creator. The Image.
1:20. Reconciliation of heaven and earth.
1:17,18. Christ pre-eminent. All in Him.
1:20. Peace and forgiveness of sins.
1:22. Holy, blameless, unreproveable.
A 3:10. Created after the Image.
B 3:11. Reconciliation of Jew and
C 3:11. Christ is all and in all.
D 3:13,15. Peace. Forgive
E 3:9,12. Put off, put on, holy
The reader will perceive that the order of one or two verses has been
inverted. To exhibit the complete structure in perfect alignment and in full
detail would occupy a disproportionate amount of space, and serve no good
purpose. The above will demonstrate the evident correspondence that exists and
that is all we need at the moment.
These two references in the epistle of the Mystery will show that there is a
most definite link between the initial purpose manifested in creation with the
subsequent unfolding of the purpose that is presented in the different
dispensations, and that while the Mystery is unique, it is not unrelated, but
holds a most definite place in the purpose of the ages, and indeed constitutes
its crown and climax. When contemplating with wonder the glory of the truth as
revealed in Ephesians, we may for a moment think that the pseudo-scientific
attack upon the authority of Genesis 1 and 2 is too far removed from the matter
to call for any exercise of prayer and testimony, but it is not so; indeed, the
taller the building the more essential the foundation, and consequently if the
ten commandments needed the truth of creation to be incorporated in them, how
much more the high calling which is made known in the epistles of the Mystery?
For the purpose of this analysis, however, the most critical passage is that
of Ephesians 2:15, and the presence and consequence of the word ‘create’ must be
recognized and observed if we would have the truth of the present high calling
unsullied and complete. It should be remembered, whenever there is a tendency to
bring over from one calling, observances and doctrines that belong to another,
that where a new creation is mentioned in the Scriptures, there we usually find
that ‘former things have passed away’. If this principle be observed when
dealing with Ephesians 2:15, the one new man, will be seen as ‘new’ indeed.