"And he is before all things,and in him all things hold together". Colossians 1:17 ESV

"I form light and create darkness". Isaiah 45:7.

"God is light, and in him is no darkness at all". 1 John 1:5

How can all things hold together "in" him if there is no darkness "in" him?

[1 John and Colossians verses quoted both have Greek "en", so KJB use of "by" might need explaining rather than be an explanation].

  • Hi C. One of the site requirements for posts is to identify the Bible version that you are working from. In this case it is particularly important as you are asking about the English translation. Can you please click on the "edit" link underneath the tags and indicate the version? In fact, perhaps you could quote the passage instead of just supplying the address. And when you have a minute you might want to take the site tour: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Ruminator
    May 10 '19 at 1:09
  • Possibly related: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/13182/…
    – Ruminator
    May 10 '19 at 1:22
  • The KJV translates εν αυτω as 'by him' whereas Young's Literal has 'in him'.
    – Nigel J
    May 10 '19 at 6:40

Colossians 1:

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

The word "all" appears 5 times in these 2 verses. The phrase "in him" appears twice. Paul depicts a unifying and universal framework in which all created things exist. All normal matter, dark matter, and dark energy exist in this universal framework.

Is there anything outside of this framework?

No, except the uncreated God himself.

1 John 1:

5 God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

This metaphor refers to God as a person, not as the universal framework. God is a moral agent as a person.

How can all things hold together "in" him1 if there is no darkness "in" him2?

him1 refers to the universal framework; him2 refers to the moral agent of God.


"I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things". KJB

"You shall surely die". Genesis 2:17.

Man can see darkness and evil as against man's interest because for man they result in death.

"God raised him up". Acts 2:24.

Evil is never good for its own sake but God can use evil. God used evil to prove that it has no power over Christ, by raising him.

"you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good". Genesis 50:20.

God using evil does not make it good. It is still evil.

If God has a way of making good come from evil, then evil is part of his thinking. That which is in his thoughts is "in Him".


The King James Bible reads: "And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."

The meaning is, that they are kept in the present state; their existence, order, and arrangement are continued by his power. If unsupported by him, they would fall into disorder, or sink back to nothing. If this be the proper interpretation, then it is the ascription to Christ of infinite power - for nothing less could be sufficient to uphold the universe; and of infinite wisdom - for this is needed to preserve the harmonious action of the suns and systems of which it is composed. None could do this but one who is divine; and hence we see the reason why he is represented as the image of the invisible God. He is the great and glorious and everactive agent by whom the perfections of God are made known.

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