The Metaphysical Christ
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with the fundamental nature of being and reality. So when we talk about the metaphysical Christ, we are talking about Christ in His ultimate being and reality. In this discussion, Paul says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (v. 15), and that “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (v. 19).
Atheists and non-believers sometimes say that they do not believe in the existence of God because they cannot sense God with their physical senses. How can you believe in the existence of something that you cannot see, feel, hear, smell, or taste? There are at least two responses that can be given to this complaint. The first is to say that they are using the wrong tools, looking for the wrong god, in the wrong places. God is spirit and must be “detected” and “sensed” spiritually, not physically.
But the second is to say that God’s reality and being has indeed been “tested” and “detected” according to the physical criteria set by these atheists. In Christ, God has been seen visibly, heard audibly, and touched physically (cf. 1 John.1: 1-4). God has been subjected to and confirmed by the physical senses in Christ. Jesus Christ is God at His most empirical.
There is also a sense in which we are asking the wrong question when we ask, “Is Jesus Christ God?” This is so because the question presumes that we already know God, and that we are merely asking the question of whether Christ fits into the category “God.”
But what if we do not know God? What if we have no clue about the being and nature of God? What if our ideas about God are misplaced and wrong? If that is the case, then the question of whether or not Christ is God collapses, because there are no categories or criteria that we have about God with which we may presume to “measure” Christ.
We do not know God first and then know Christ. We know Christ first and then – and then only – come to know God. This is so because Christ is the image of the invisible God, the one in whom the fullness of God dwelt, and the one who is the firstborn (i.e., the one who inherits and bears all the rights, privileges, and power of God) of all creation. Christ in His ultimate being and reality is God.