Why Jesus must incarnate die to be glorified to preeminence over all creatures?

For the longest time, I have found it to be unfair for God the Father to send his only begotten Son to die on the cross to save mankind. Because its far easier to say, “Son, I give you to the world to save the world” while He sits on the throne. John 3:16 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  We all know this verse. God (the Father) so loved the world, that he gave his only Son….that means God gave his Son to die on the cross, what we call as incarnate death. But what’s interesting is the whole business of preeminence of Christ. Read here in Colossians:

Col 1: 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Jesus mission to incarnate in the world, is not just to die for the elect, but also to become preeminent in everything. But the sequence is really important to understand. Because Jesus couldn’t become preeminent without incarnate and die for all creation, and because he did that, he is qualified to become the so-called “firstborn” of all creation. “Firstborn” doesn’t mean like the first child born into the family. But it’s the first child to be resurrected!! Because no one has ever been resurrected by God before and after Christ. Jesus is the firstborn of ALL creations.

Now after he’s resurrected, and become the firstborn, Jesus can now become preeminent. It means matchless, peerless, surpassing all. In other words, the Son of God didn’t just come and die and resurrect to save mankind, but he is also, as a result of his overpowering death, to become preeminent. When He becomes preeminent, it means all those profess faith in Christ, will, and must, have Christ to be preeminent in their lives. It means, all Christians must have Jesus as the preeminent one in their lives.

But in a sense, Jesus is already preeminent before the foundation of the world! As v16 says, “for by Jesus all things were created….all things were created through him, and for him.” Now this is very interesting because in a sense, Jesus did not need to incarnate to become preeminent, as he was already preeminent as all things were created by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus. Wow! Do you see the centrality of Christ in our very existence? We owe our life to Jesus existentially! Jesus is far more than all we see in the gospels like walking on water, cast out demons, raised the dead, opened eyes of blinds, etc., powerful they may be, because He is the one who caused the sun to rise in the morning, and the earth to rotate around the sun in the perfect timing, distance, and everything in the universe holds together in Christ!!! I hope you get the idea of how preeminent Jesus is!

So last question: So why did Jesus need to incarnate and die? Of course, we know the answer is that he has to redeem mankind by his own blood. In other words, I would argue that Jesus wasn’t preeminent over all creatures before he incarnate. Did I just contradict myself? No, because Jesus indeed hold everything together, but he lost the preeminence over human race in the Garden of Eden to the devil. When Adam and Eve fell into sins and gave in to the temptations of the devil, they lost the ownership of this earth to devil, and in a sense, and they succumbed and surrendered the ruler ship to the devil. Jesus in fact called the devil, the prince of this world. But on the cross, as he died, and resurrected, Jesus wrestled back the rulership over mankind back from the devil. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, saved mankind and reconciled man back to God. Wow! And through that, Jesus is glorified, and all creations bow to Jesus and learn to love Jesus as he loved us all. That’s why Jesus must incarnate die and resurrect! I would add that all creations will not bow to Jesus preeminence if he didn’t incarnate and die for all creations. Wow!

Thomas Goodwin writes that God’s chief end was not to bring Christ into the world for us, but us for Christ. God contrived all things, even redemption, for setting forth Christ’s glory, more than our salvation [1]. That’s stunning, God actually sent Jesus into the world, not just for our salvation, but even more so, for Jesus’s ultimate glory & preeminence. The doctrine of pactum salutis says we all exist for the greater glory of Jesus Christ.

Finally, God the Father loves the Son so much that he sent him to incarnate die for the world so that the Son may be glorified and become preeminent over all creations, which otherwise he was not. Now, it’s clear that Jesus won the right to become preeminent over all creations, and he is the only one from heaven and earth that accomplished it.

[1] Michael Allen & Scott Swain   Christian Dogmatics p 123

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