Within the Eternal Purpose of God there is a marvelous provision that says all things must be gathered together in one into Christ. That phrase translated gathered together in one is just one word in the Greek language: anakephalaioō, which means “to sum up again.” Thayer’s Lexicon is particularly helpful:
“In Ephesians 1:9, God is said to bring together again for Himself… all things and beings (hitherto disunited by sin) into one combined state of fellowship in Christ, the universal bond.”
The not-so-obvious truth in this passage is that this is not merely a gathering together, but a re-gathering together into Christ; getting a lot of scattered parts to come back together again and be where they belong. The implication is that at one time everything was gathered together into Christ. At one time, Jesus did have the universal and manifest preeminence in all things, and we did see all things submitted to Him.
Something happened which caused this Heavenly Order to be disrupted. We are presently in a great interim period where God is working to increase Christ and bring all things back to that original condition – a place where Christ is preeminent in all things, in all places, in all people.
That is clearly not what we see today. So what happened? Why this disruption? When did it take place? And what can we learn from it? To answer these questions we turn to the record of man’s earliest days: the Book of Genesis.
“Let There Be Light”
Scripture tells us that the invisible attributes of God can be clearly seen and understood by the things that He has made (Rom. 1:20). Light is one of the most profound things God has ever created to teach us about Himself. The Law of Increase will be more easily understood when we consider it in the context of light.
Light travels through the void of space at a speed of approximately 186,282.4 miles (299,792,458 meters) per second. Scientists generally believe that the universe is expanding infinitely outward in every direction at a rate of increase equal to the speed of light. The implications of this cosmic expansion are staggering. When you drop a pebble into a pond the ripples expand outward in every direction, emanating from the point where the pebble first disturbed the surface of the water. Similarly, if the universe is expanding infinitely outward in every direction then it has a single point of origin from which this expansion has emanated from. If we could somehow stand outside the universe and capture this expansion on video tape, we could play the tape backwards and trace this expansion back to a specific beginning point.
Why is this significant? The expansion of the universe proves that the universe had a starting point to expand out from. Christians believe this starting point began with a creative act, and a creative act means there is a Creator. Jesus says He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last (Rev. 1:8, 22:13). In a literal as well as a figurative sense, Christ is the true center of the universe.
Out of Chaos, a Heavenly Order
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. (Gen. 1:1-3)
Earth became disordered somewhere between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. According to the Book of Genesis, the earthwas formless and void with darkness upon the face of the deep. The original Hebrew text could just as easily be translated as “the earth became formless and void.” The Spirit of God acted upon the chaos and darkness of this world and imposed His creative power and will upon it, for “God is not the author of confusion [disorder], but peace.” 1 Cor. 14:33
The fact that God brings order to Creation is referred to as Intelligent Design. It means the intricacies of creation are too detailed and explicit to have come together by chance; it is far more likely that a monkey could produce the complete works of William Shakespeare by randomly pressing the keys of a typewriter. One physicist estimates that the odds of a random sequence of events resulting in the creation of life is greater than 1 in 126 (that is a 1 with 26 zeros behind it, or one chance in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). In other words, it is a statistical impossibility.
If you walk into a dark house and find the furniture scattered and the rooms covered with dust and spider webs everywhere, you would probably conclude that no one had lived there for some time. But if you walk into a house and find the lights are on, the rooms are tastefully decorated, the furniture is arranged in an orderly fashion, the table is set and dinner is cooking on the stove then you would not be surprised to find someone lives there and has put everything in its place. The more we look at creation the easier it is to believe that there is Someone with infinite wisdom Who designed everything with purposeful intention according to a definite order and arrangement. The Scripture says that this Someone is God, Who “created all things by Jesus Christ.” Eph. 3:9
Christ: The Light of the World
God’s first recorded act relative to the Heavenly Order was to call forth Light. This sounds perfectly reasonable until you realize that Light was shining on the first day but the sun, moon and stars were not created until the fourth day(Gen. 1:4, 14). Whether you interpret the six days of Creation to be literal twenty-four hours, periods, or epochs of time, the fact remains that Light was shining before the sun, moon, and stars were made. We also see that God separated Light from Darkness, not once, but twice (Gen. 1:4,18).
What does this mean? As we progress through the Scriptures we discover a Light that is not attributable to the sun, moon, or stars. This Light is not some abstract spiritual force or metaphor for goodness or morality. This Light takes on a particular personality and identity. This Light is eventually revealed to be a Person. The Scriptures make it very clear, and Jesus Himself states, that He is the Light of the World. When we read the Genesis account we are compelled to accept this literally as well as figuratively and spiritually. The Light that began shining into the darkness, disorder, and chaos of Genesis 1:3 was Jesus Himself. This is the only way to explain why (and how) Light could be shining before the sun, moon, and stars were created.
It also explains why Light was separated from Darkness twice: the first was a spiritual separation we could not see, and the second was a natural separation we can see. The spiritual governs the natural, while the natural helps us to interpret the spiritual. When God said, “Let there be light” He established the foundation of the spiritual and the natural world. In the natural world, according to what we can observe, light is increasing the size of our universe infinitely in every direction. But in the spiritual world, the True Light, Jesus Christ, is shining into spiritual darkness with an irresistible, unstoppable brightness.
When God said, “Let there be Light,” He was saying, “Let Christ be infinitely increased in all directions at once!” And it was so. He must increase, therefore He will increase, and He is increasing.