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names, nor by their own native strength. When they wrought miracles, they addressed a power foreign from themselves. When Paul had healed a cripple by saying, "Stand upright on thy feet," the Lycaonians reputed him as a god; and would have offered him sacrifice. But he denied all claim to divine honors; all claim to any thing above humanity. When any prophet or apostle wrought miracles, there was always clear and decided evidence that he acted entirely under authority; that he acted under the operation of a power, which was occasionally communicated to him for special purposes.
But Christ performed greater works. He performed them with higher authority, and under different circumstances. "Thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. All things were made by him and without him was not any thing made that was made." The first of these two passages was not designed to convey the idea that Christ created the world exclusively of the Father and Holy Spirit. In the history of the creation it is said, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." It is worthy of notice, that the original word in this text rendered God, is in the plural number; and is used uniformly in the plural number through the whole history of the creation. This plural noun embraces the divine nature generally. It embraces the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Creation is ascribed to them collectively; it is also ascribed to them individually, (Heb. 1:2. John 1:3. Psalm 33:6, and 104:30.) There appears to be no ground for ascribing the work of creation to the Father exclusively, primarily, or officially. There appears to be no ground for ascribing it to the Son, or to the Spirit, under either of these qualifications. All those works, recorded in the scriptures, which do not immediately and directly include the work of redemption, are attributed to God, to divine nature in plurality, without special regard to dis
tinction of character, of order, or of office. They are, of course, attributed with the strictest propriety either to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit. There is design, wise design in exhibiting the works of creation in this manner. It conveys the idea that there is but one God; that there is a distinct plurality in the divine nature; that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are divine; that they are united in nature; in design; and in operation.
When the scriptures represent God creating the world by Jesus Christ, they do not design that it should be understood that Christ was a mere instrument in the work. The original word, (d) translated by, often signifies, or implies in the sacred scriptures an efficient cause of any kind. Consequently, this mode of expres sion helps to prove that Christ, by his own inherent power was author of creation. The same original word often signifies, and is often translated in. With this signification of the word, it would be understood that God created the world in Jesus Christ. This would be an evidence of the union, which subsists in the divine plurality.
There is the clearest evidence that the sacred writings attribute creation to Jesus Christ. This forms an argument to prove that he is divine; for the scriptures attribute divinity to the Creator. "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." As the works of creation prove the eternal power and divinity of their Creator; and as Christ is their Creator, it follows that he and divinity. possesses eternal power "Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth." In this passage Hezekiah ascribes the works of creation to God alone. As the same works are ascribed to Christ, it follows that Christ is God. "Thus saith the
Lord, the Holy One of Israel and his Maker,-I have made the earth and created man upon it; I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens and all their host have commanded." Whether the names Lord, Holy One, and Maker, in this text stand for the Trinity or not, creation is attributed to the Lord; to the Holy One of Israel. As Christ is proved to be Creator, it follows that Christ is Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
There is no necessity of supposing that Jesus Christ is a subordinate or instrumental agent in the work of creation. If it be admitted that there is a plurality in the divine nature, it is easy to perceive that the creation of all things may be attributed with equal propriety to the Son, as to the Father.
It is not necessary that God should employ an instrument in the work of creation. Almighty power needs no foreign aid. He can and does accomplish all his pleasure, and none can stay his hand. There is no intimation in the history of creation that God employed a subordinate agent. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God said, let there be light and there was light." There is not the least appearance of any medium through which he operated.
In the formation of the first creature, it is impossible that God should operate through the medium of any agent. There was a date in duration, in which there was no agent, or active medium between self-existence and non-existence. The first creature, therefore, was necessarily made by the immediate act of God. There is no intimation given in the scriptures that the first creature was formed in a manner different from succeeding creatures. It is written, "All things were made by him, (i. e. Christ;) and without him was not any thing made that was made. As he made all things, he, of course, made the first creature. If he made the first creature without an instrumental medium, he was able to make them all in the same manner.
It is absurd to suppose that Christ was a created medium, through which God made the world; because,
without him was not any thing made that was made. If Christ were a mere creature, he must, if this text be true, have created himself, which is absurd. God used a medium in the formation of the world, it must have been a created one. If he made it a passive instrument, the work could not properly be attributed to the instrumental medium. If God should make an absolute impartation of creative power to a creature, he would divest himself of that power; and the creature would possess the prerogative of divinity. Such inconsistency proves that God did not create the world through the medium of a subordinate agent, but that he made it immediately by his own power.*
*Mr. Yates maintains "that when a New Testament writer employs the preposition AIA, (with a genitive case) to point out the cause of any effect, he means the instrumental cause, and refers to some other being, either expressly mentioned, or contemplated, who is considered as the first, or original cause." In view of this principle let us examine a few of many texts. "It must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man, by whom (di iv) the offence cometh," Mat. 18:7. This learned Unitarian remarks thus upon this passage. "It must needs be."-"Who imposed the necessity? Undoubtedly, the Almighty Creator and Governor of the universe." We would inquire, was this imposed necessity natural, or moral? If it was moral, how could it be imposed? Or how could it consist with the efficiency of an extraneous "original cause?" If the necessity was natural, if it was imposed by "the Almighty Creator and Governor of the universe-as the first or original cause," what then is man? He is but the medium, or instrument, through which divine power produced the offence. What! Is God then the author of sin? Has the subject come to this dilemma, that Christ possessed creative, i. e. divine power, or moral evil must be traced up to God, as its original cause? I would rather believe the mystery of the Trinity, than believe that the holy nature of God is the "original cause" of moral evil.
"Woe to that man, by whom (di iv) the Son of man is betrayed," Mat. 26: 24, "Was Judas also," (says Mr. Yates) "an original cause? Was then the salvation of the world by the death of Christ left to depend upon the supreme power and uncontrolled discretion of an insignificant mortal? The scriptures teach a very contrary doctrine. He was betrayed by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God."
"By one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin," Rom. 5:12. "The clear meaning of the apostle's words (says Mr. Yates) is, that sin entered into the world by the decree of God, through one man as his instrument, and death through sin."
This learned Unitarian appears to be unwilling to allow that a creature is the efficient cause of any effect, but that he is only a medium, through which divine power operates. We shall not here examine whether this hypothesis destroys moral agency or not. But he does not appear to make a distinction between the natural powers of a creature, and those powers, which are supernaturally communicated. He does not appear to distinguish the nature of the act of Moses in killing an Egyptian, from that of dividing the Red Sea. In the latter case he was the instrumental, in the former, he was the efficient cause. The conclusion we would draw from the foregoing remarks is this, that Christ, in the work of creation, and in the performance of miracles, wrought by his own natural power, and not by power which was extraordinarily communicated to him; and it may be added, the Greek particle, which is connected with him as agent does not militate against this opinion.
Had the Greek preposition rПO been used in connexion with Christ instead of dia, the case would not be materially different, as Mr. Yates supposes. For this preposition is frequently connected with created beings to express their efficiency. See Mat. 2:16. Mat. 3: 6, 13. Mat. 4: 1, and many other places.
In the case under consideration, there appears to be a similarity between the idiom of the Greek, and the idiom of our own language. We say, an illustrious deed is performed by a certain man; and we say, a certain man has performed an illustrious deed. We consider the expressions equivalent. In like manner, it appears to be the same thing, whether it be said, all things were made by Christ, or he made all things. In 1 Cor. 1:9, the preposition fix is connected with God. "God is faithful, by whom ye were called into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." This shews that this Greek particle is connected with an efficient cause. Also in Heb. 2:10, fi is connected with the Father. "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom (Si iv) are all things," &c. This latter text, Mr. Yates has passed unnoticed.