Much has been written and said about the life and times of Jesus — the man. But how much is known about the activities and accomplishments of Jesus Christ before His human birth?
JESUS CHRIST Superstar, do you think you're what they say you are?" So go the words of the song in the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. But who — or what — does Jesus Christ really claim to be? We know that the Bible ascribes a number of titles or positions to him — king, judge, prophet, redeemer and high priest. What is not generally understood is that from the beginning to the end of the Scriptures he is also described as Creator! And while it may seem startling to many, Jesus Christ of Nazareth — who walked the highways and byways of Palestine almost 2000 years ago — is the same individual who said "let there be light" and "let the earth bring forth" in the first chapter of Genesis!
Christ, God of the Old Testament
The Apostle John makes this point very clear in the first chapter of his Gospel account: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:1, 3). Who was "the Word"? Verse 14 explains: "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." The Word (Logos in the Greek) was none other than Jesus Christ. Referring to Christ as Creator, the Apostle Paul wrote: "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible..." (Col. 1:16). Christ was the Spokesman or Executor of the creation process. He was the One who "commanded, and they [heaven and earth] were created" (Ps. 148:5). He, in close collaboration with the One who was later to become His Father; developed the detailed plans for the universe, the earth, animals, plants, and finally man. Genesis 1:26 clearly demonstrates that more than one Being was involved in this process: "And God [Hebrew Elohim — a plural noun signifying more than one individual] said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." The Bible plainly reveals that Christ was the God of the Old Testament. Again notice what the Apostle Paul says in referring to the ancient Israelites in I Corinthians 10:4: "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ."
Known by His Handiwork
Once we understand that Christ is the Creator of what we see around us, then we can more readily appreciate some of the fascinating attributes of His mind, character and personality. The Apostle Paul explains this process in the first chapter of Romans: "... Since the beginning of the world the invisible attributes of God, e.g. his eternal power and divinity, have been plainly discernible through things which he has made and which are commonly seen and known..." (Rom. 1:20, Phillips translation). God's nature, character and personality are indelibly inscribed across the length and breadth of His creation. They can be found in natural objects and systems, big or small, simple or complex. For instance, consider what it takes for an ordinary creature like a bird to fly. First of all, a bird has to conform to certain aerodynamic principles or it will never get off the ground! This means it must have the proper lift-to-drag ratio, an extremely lightweight structure and a powerful system of propulsion. As it turns out, the anatomy of a bird is superbly designed to meet all of these conditions. The body shape is generally streamlined; the wings are propelled by powerful chest muscles which are anchored to a large sternum or breastbone ; and it has a rapid heartbeat and metabolic rate which ensures it will get all the energy it needs during normal flight. Bird bones themselves look like something that came off an aircraft designer's drawing board. They are not only hollow, but interlaced with a system of internal struts and girders — all very similar to some of the designs used in modern aircraft construction! All of this stands as quite a tribute to their Designer and Architect — Jesus Christ.
A Natural-Born Aviator
But having the proper structural design for flight is one thing. Actually flying is quite another. How does a bird "learn" the actual technique of flying? How does it manage to coordinate wing and tail movements and vary the angle of feathers to attain the correct configuration for flight? Ever wonder why a bird doesn't "stall out" in midair? Its wings come equipped with a device known as an "alula" which works on the same principle as an antistall device in modern aircraft. Whenever the bird reaches a certain angle of attack in its flight, the alula comes into play in order to reduce wing turbulence. Like aircraft, birds have varying aerodynamic designs in order to meet specific flight requirements. The albatross and the vulture have long, narrow wings which enable them to stay aloft for hours with minimum effort. Their basic design is quite similar to that of modern-day gliders or the famous U-2 plane which baffled the Russians for a number of years. Eagles and hawks have broader, more rounded wings, making them ideally suited for their roles as "dive bombers." Hummingbirds come equipped with swivel wings that allow them to hover like helicopters. And the design of swifts (which devour insects on the wing) is reminiscent of a highly maneuverable pursuit plane. Whoever drew up the plans for these fascinating winged creatures obviously had to be quite an expert in the field of aerodynamics. Perhaps you never thought of Jesus Christ in terms of an aeronautical engineer. But He was and still is — or else ostriches, kiwis and penguins would have a lot of company on the ground.
Birds are only one of many creatures that demonstrate the scientific know-how and expertise of Jesus Christ, their Creator. Another excellent example is the lowly bat. These creatures have traditionally been the object of revulsion, dread and superstition. But there is nothing superstitious about the way an ordinary bat locates its next meal. It utilizes the principle of sonar, which has only recently been discovered by man. The bat's echo-ranging device is far more sophisticated than man's. It can detect an echo from a target as tiny as a mosquito. Recognition of prey occurs in a split second and the bat can then launch an instantaneous attack in order to capture it. How a bat can distinguish its prey from solid objects or other bats still remains a mystery. Bats on the prowl can vary the frequency of their echo detection from as high as 30,000 cycles per second down to 30 or 40. The hungry bat, using the same principle as a sophisticated shipboard sonar system, can determine distance or range to target based on the time delay of a returning echo. The bat's sonar detection device is so sensitive that bats can alter course or deflect a wing after receiving echoes from objects only a few inches ahead. This explains why, for instance, half a million bats can wheel around in a pitch-black cave for several hours without suffering a single midair collision! And all this comes packed into the body of a creature that is in many cases no larger than a small mouse! Not only did Christ have a firm grasp of the principles of sonar, but He also turns out to be quite an expert at the art of miniaturization as well.
An Awesome Array of Creatures
What human can fathom the depth and understanding of a mind that can construct a creature such as a bat? Or for that matter, a tiny insect like the midge, which is less than 1/10 of an inch long — yet it can beat its wings at the furious rate of over 1000 times a second! And at the opposite end of the spectrum there's the mighty sperm whale which can descend over 3000 feet into the abysmal depths of the ocean in order to do battle with the legend-enshrined giant squid. How about the African eagle that decelerates from 100 mph to a standing stop in less than twenty feet? And who would have thought to construct a built-in lathe mechanism inside the beak of the grackle so it could cut through the outer shell of the tough nuts it ingests? As Elihu told the Patriarch Job thousands of years ago: "... Stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God" (Job 37:14). Consider for a moment the ability of a Being who could lay the foundations of the majestic orb we call the earth (Job 38:4) — who understands how the clouds hang in the sky (Job 37:16) and can spread that sky out like a molten mirror (verse 18). Yes, consider the warmth and humor of a Creator God as reflected in the face of a monkey, the pug nose of a lovable bulldog, or the cuddly look of a koala bear. Think about the imagination of a God who designed a bird like the horn bill of Africa, which seals its mate inside their nest until the young are hatched. Or who created a comical looking penguin with the uncommon tenacity to sit on its nest for two solid months without eating one morsel of food — while being buffeted by subzero Antarctic winds with velocities of 100 mph. And don't forget the artistic talent of a personality who can design the impressive tailfeathers of a peacock, the iridescent hues of the hummingbird, and the magnificent panorama of a sunset.
A Coordinated Masterpiece
What is perhaps most remarkable about Christ's creation is the way it all comes together to form a well-coordinated, integrated unit. There is (or was until man upset it in some cases) complete balance and harmony between the myriads of creatures God placed on this earth. Imagine the multitudinous number of permutations and combinations that had to be sorted out in order to come up with such a multifaceted operation. Think about the fine-tuned feedback and counterbalancing mechanisms required to ensure that any number of species would not experience a runaway population explosion at the expense of others. And all of the activities of this vast array of creatures takes place on a planet that is ideally suited as a life-support body. Its size, distance from the sun, axial tilt, and rotation rate all combine to produce optimum temperatures and climatic conditions for the existence of life. Man, even with his technical expertise, knowledge and genius, cannot even begin to come close to duplicating such a feat.
The Real Mark of Greatness
The final and supreme benchmark of Christ's ability as a Creator is man himself. Man. unlike any other creature, is made in the physical image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26). If we admire the talent, ability and personality of various human beings, where does that put God in our estimation? If God designed a human family that could produce the likes of Einstein, Edison, Churchill and Lincoln, then how much greater is that God? And how much greater a destiny awaits those humans who are now becoming a part of Christ's spiritual creation (Mal. 2:10) — who are now training and qualifying to become actual Gods in His family? These are Christ's workmanship, "created in Christ Jesus unto good works" (Eph. 2:10). They are the "new creatures" spoken of by the Apostle Paul in II Corinthians 5:17. Also James 1:18: "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." This, then, is the real heart and core of Christ's work of creation. The physical was only for starters. Right now Jesus Christ, in concert with His Father, is training and developing a people who will someday be a part of the God family, ruling and administering the affairs of this planet and later the entire universe (Rev. 20:4; 3:21; Heb. 2:8). Christ's job as Creator is far from over. In fact, as the song says, it's "only just begun."