1 Corinthians 8:6
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
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(6) But to us.—Though this be so, yet for us Christians there exists but one God the Father, from whom alone every created thing has come, and for (not “in”) whom alone we exist; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are created (John 1:3), and we Christians created spiritually by Him. All creation is of the Father through the Son. All creation is for the Father and likewise for the Son. (See Colossians 1:16.) The words “we by Him” must not be regarded as a repetition of part of the thought of the previous sentence; but as the words “by whom are all things” express the fact of physical creation, so the words, “we by Him,” attribute our spiritual re-creation as Christians to the same source. (See Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:10.) This sixth verse then sweeps away completely any pantheistic conception which might have been thought to be in the previous words. Even granting, for argument sake, that such gods or lords do exist, we have but one God, one Lord.

8:1-6 There is no proof of ignorance more common than conceit of knowledge. Much may be known, when nothing is known to good purpose. And those who think they know any thing, and grow vain thereon, are the least likely to make good use of their knowledge. Satan hurts some as much by tempting them to be proud of mental powers, as others, by alluring to sensuality. Knowledge which puffs up the possessor, and renders him confident, is as dangerous as self-righteous pride, though what he knows may be right. Without holy affections all human knowledge is worthless. The heathens had gods of higher and lower degree; gods many, and lords many; so called, but not such in truth. Christians know better. One God made all, and has power over all. The one God, even the Father, signifies the Godhead as the sole object of all religious worship; and the Lord Jesus Christ denotes the person of Emmanuel, God manifest in the flesh, One with the Father, and with us; the appointed Mediator, and Lord of all; through whom we come to the Father, and through whom the Father sends all blessings to us, by the influence and working of the Holy Spirit. While we refuse all worship to the many who are called gods and lords, and to saints and angels, let us try whether we really come to God by faith in Christ.But to us - Christians. We acknowledge but one God, Whatever the pagan worship, we know that there is but one God; and he alone has a right to rule over us.

One God, the Father - Whom we acknowledge as the Father of all; Author of all things; and who sustains to all his works the relation of a father. The word "Father" here is not used as applicable to the first person of the Trinity, as distinguished from the second, but is applied to God as God; not as the Father in contradistinction from the Son, but to the divine nature as such, without reference to that distinction - the Father as distinguished from his offspring, the works that owe their origin to him. This is manifest:

(1) Because the apostle does not use the correlative term" Son" when he comes to speak of the "one Lord Jesus Christ;" and,

(2) Because the scope of the passage requires it. The apostle speaks of God, of the divine nature, the one infinitely holy Being, as sustaining the relation of Father "to his creatures." He produced them, He provides for them. He protects them, as a father does his children. He regards their welfare; pities them in their sorrows; sustains them in trial; shows himself to be their friend. The name "Father" is thus given frequently to God, as applicable to the one God, the divine Being; Psalm 103:13; Jeremiah 31:9; Malachi 1:6; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2, etc. In other places it is applied to the first person of the Trinity as distinguished from the second; and in these instances the correlative "Son" is used, Luke 10:22; Luke 22:42; John 1:18; John 3:35; John 5:19-23, John 5:26, John 5:30, John 5:36; Hebrews 1:5; 2 Peter 1:17, etc.

Of whom - ἐξ οὗ ex hou. From whom as a fountain and source; by whose counsel, plan, and purpose. He is the great source of all; and all depend on him. It was by his purpose and power that all things were formed, and to all he sustains the relation of a Father. The agent in producing all things, however, was the Son, Colossians 1:16; see the note at John 1:3.

Are all things - These words evidently refer to the whole work of creation, as deriving their origin from God, Genesis 1:1. Everything has thus been formed in accordance with his plan; and all things now depend on him as their Father.

And we - We Christians. We are what we are by him. We owe our existence to him; and by him we have been regenerated and saved. It is owing to his counsel, purpose, agency, that we have an existence; and owing to him that we have the hope of eternal life. The leading idea here is, probably, that to God Christians owe their hopes and happiness.

In him - (εἰς αὐτόν eis auton); or rather unto him: that is, we are formed for him, and should live to his glory. We have been made what we are, as Christians, that we may promote his honor and glory.

And one Lord ... - One Lord in contradistinction from the "many lords" whom the pagans worshipped. The word "Lord" here is used in the sense of proprietor, ruler, governor, or king; and the idea is, that Christians acknowledge subjection to Him alone, and not to many sovereigns, as the pagans did. Jesus Christ is the Ruler and Lord of his people. They acknowledge their allegiance to him as their supreme Lawgiver and King. They do not acknowledge subjection to many rulers, whether imaginary gods or human beings; but receive their laws from him alone. The word "Lord" here does not imply of necessity any inferiority to God; since it is a term which is frequently applied to God himself. The idea in the passage is, that from God, the Father of all, we derive our existence, and all that we have; and that we acknowledge "immediate and direct" subjection to the Lord Jesus as our Lawgiver and Sovereign. From him Christians receive their laws, and to him they submit their lives. And this idea is so far from supposing inferiority in the Lord Jesus to God, that it rather supposes equality; since a right to give laws to people, to rule their consciences, to direct their religious opinions and their lives, can appropriately pertain only to one who has equality with God.

By whom ... - δἰ οὗ di' hou. By whose "agency;" or through whom, as the agent. The word "by" (δι ̓ di') stands in contradistinction from "of" (ἐξ ex) in the former part of the verse; and obviously means, that, though "all things" derived their existence from God as the fountain and author, yet it was "by" the agency of the Lord Jesus. This doctrine, that the Son of God was the great agent in the creation of the world, is elsewhere abundantly taught in the Scriptures; see the note at John 1:3.

Are all things - The universe; for so the phrase τὰ πάντα ta panta properly means. No words could better express the idea of the universe than these; and the declaration is therefore explicit that the Lord Jesus created all things. Some explain this of the "new creation;" as if Paul had said that all things pertaining to our salvation were from him. But the objections to this interpretation are obvious:

(1) It is not the natural signification.

(2) the phrase "all things" naturally denotes the universe.

(3) the scope of the passage requires us so to understand it. Paul is not speaking of the new creature; but he is speaking of the question whether there is more than one God, one Creator, one Ruler over the wide universe. The pagan said there was; Christians affirmed that there was not. The scope, therefore, of the passage requires us to understand this of the vast material universe; and the obvious declaration here is, that the Lord Jesus was the Creator of all.


6. to us—believers.

of whom—from whom as Creator all things derive their existence.

we in him—rather, "we for Him," or "unto Him." God the Father is the end for whom and for whose glory believers live. In Col 1:16 all things are said to be created (not only "by" Christ, but also) "for Him" (Christ). So entirely are the Father and Son one (compare Ro 11:36; Heb 2:10).

one Lord—contrasted with the "many lords" of heathendom (1Co 8:5).

by whom—(Joh 1:3; Heb 1:2).

we by him—as all things are "of" the Father by creation, so they (we believers especially) are restored to Him by the new creation (Col 1:20; Re 21:5). Also, as all things are by Christ by creation, so they (we especially) are restored by Him by the new creation.

Whatever the idolatrous heathens think or believe, to us (who are Christians)

there is but one who is truly and essentially God, ( though indeed there be more than one person in the Deity), the Father, who is the Fountain of the Deity, communicating his Divine nature to the other two persons, and of whom are all things. It is a term which signifieth the primary Cause and Author of all things: we subsist in him, according to that of the apostle, Acts 17:28:

In him we live, and move, and have our being; and we are for him, created for his honour and glory, as the phrase may also be translated.

And one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things. He is the second person in the holy Trinity. It is the observation of a learned author: That though the name of God be often given to Christ, yet no where by Paul where he maketh mention of God the Father; from whence he concludes, that the term of Lord given to Christ, signifieth his pre-eminence above all things, (the Father excepted), according to what the apostle speaks, 1 Corinthians 15:27. By this Christ, saith the apostle, are all things: All things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made, John 1:3; yet the difference of the phrase is observable, to denote to us the order of working in the holy Trinity. All things are of the Father by the Son.

And we by him; and we (saith the apostle) are by the Son created, redeemed, &c. But to us there is but one God, the Father,.... In this Christians and Jews agree with the best and wisest philosophers of the Gentiles, that there is but one God; which is clear from the perfections of God, as necessary existence, eternity, infinity, omnipotence, all-sufficiency, goodness, and perfection; from one first cause of all things; from the government of the world; and from the writings of the Old and New Testament: so that to us believers this point is out of all doubt; but who this one God is the Gentiles knew not, and the Jews are very ignorant of; but we Christians know him to be "the Father"; by whom meant either God essentially considered, the one God, Father, Son, and Spirit, called the Father, not in relation to any person in the Godhead, but in relation to the creatures: so this one God, Father, Son, and Spirit, is the Father of spirits, the creator of angels, and the souls of men, the God of all flesh, the Father of all the individuals of human nature, the Father or author of all the mercies and blessings the children of men enjoy. Or else personally considered, and so designs the first person in the Godhead, who is called so in relation to his Son, who is styled the only begotten of the Father: and when he is said to be the one God, it must be understood, not as exclusive of the Son and Spirit; for if the Son stands excluded in this clause from being the one God with the Father, by the same rule of interpretation, the Father, in the next clause must stand excluded from being the one Lord with Christ; but as dominion or lordship belongs to the Father, so deity to the Son, and also to the Spirit.

Of whom are all things; all created beings and things; angels are of him, are created by him, serve and worship him; devils are of him, and under him, and at his control, though they have rebelled against him; all mankind are of him, and are his offspring; the whole universe, the heavens, the earth, and seas, and all that in them are, are of him; all things in nature, providence, grace, and glory, come of him: he is the author of every mercy, temporal and spiritual.

And we in him: or "for him": as creatures we are not only made by him, but live in him, and are supported in him, and by him, and are created for his glory: though this seems rather to respect what believers are, as new creatures; they are in God; they are interested in him as their covenant God, and in his everlasting and immutable love; they are engraven on his hands, and set as a seal on his heart; they are "into him", as it may be rendered; they are brought into nearness to him, and communion with him; and are "for him", are chosen, redeemed, regenerated, and called for the glorifying of his grace, and to show forth his praise.

And one Lord Jesus Christ; so called, not to the exclusion of the Father and Spirit, but in opposition to the lords many before mentioned, and with respect to all his people. Christ is the one Lord of all, as he is God over all, the Creator and Former of all things; and he is so likewise as Mediator, having all power, dominion, and government put into his hands: he is, in a special sense, the one Lord of his people, and that by right of marriage to them; by right of redemption of them; through his being an head unto them, and King of them; and by a voluntary surrender of themselves to him, rejecting all other lords, as sin, Satan, and the world, who have formerly had dominion over them, they acknowledge him to be their one and only Lord:

by whom are all things; in nature; all the created beings of this, or the other world, whether visible or invisible, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, are by him; no creature was made without him, and all by him; and all things in grace, our election, redemption, reconciliation, pardon, justification, and everlasting glory and happiness,

And we by him; we are redeemed by him from sin, Satan, the law, death, and hell; we are by him what we are, as Christians, as believers in him; by him, and from him, we have all the grace and the supplies of it we have; by him we have access to the Father, and fellowship with him; by him we are governed, influenced, protected, and preserved to his kingdom and glory; and by him we are, and shall be, saved with an everlasting salvation.

But to us there is but one God, the Father, {f} of whom are all things, and we {g} in him; and {h} one Lord Jesus Christ, {i} by whom are all things, and we by him.

(f) When the Father is distinguished from the Son, he is named the beginning of all things.

(g) We have our being in him.

(h) But as the Father is called Lord, so is the Son therefore God: therefore this word one does not regard the persons, but the natures.

(i) This word by does not signify the instrumental cause, but the efficient: for the Father and the Son work together, which is not so to be taken that we make two causes, seeing they have both but one nature, though they are distinct persons.

1 Corinthians 8:6. Apodosis: yet have we Christians but one God, the Father, etc. Therefore: οἴδαμεν ὅτι οὐδὲν εἴδωλον κ.τ.λ[1335] The ἘΣΤΊΝ to be supplied after ἩΜῖΝ is the simple verb substantive.

ἈΛΛʼ] as in 1 Corinthians 4:15.

ΘΕῸς Ὁ ΠΑΤΉΡ] might be taken together here as forming one conception, like Κύριος ὁ Θεός (Fritzsche, a[1336] Matt. p. 168); it agrees better, however, with the ΕἿς ΚΎΡΙΟς Ἰ. Χ. which follows, to understand Ὁ ΠΑΤΉΡ as in apposition to ΘΕΌς and defining it more precisely. By Ὁ ΠΑΤΉΡ, and the relative definitions of it which follow, the ΕἿς ΘΕΌς has its specific character assigned to it, and that in such a way as to make the reader feel, from the relation of the One God to the world, and from his own relation to Him, how the Christian, despite that plurality of gods, comes to rest in the thought of the unity of God, and how idols are with him put out of account altogether. Comp Hofmann, Schriftbew. I. p. 348.

ὁ πατήρ] in the Christian sense, according to the idea of the υἱοθεσία of Christians. Romans 8:15; Galatians 3:26.

ἘΞ ΟὟ ΤᾺ ΠΆΝΤΑ] as to primary origin. see on Romans 11:36.

ΚΑῚ ἩΜΕῖς ΕἸς ΑὐΤΌΝ] i.e. and we Christians are destined to serve His purposes: He is our End. Here again, after the καί, we have the deviation from the relative construction, common with the apostle from his preference for direct address. Comp on 1 Corinthians 7:13. Bernhardy, p. 304. It is arbitrary to take ΕἸς in such a narrow sense as is given to it by Piscator, Grotius, Rosenmüller, al[1339]: for God’s honour; but positively incorrect to take it for ἘΝ, with Beza, Calvin, and others; or for ἘΞ, with Schulz, Heydenreich, and Pott. Billroth interprets it in Hegelian fashion: “that man should be towards God, should return into Him as his First Cause, not remain for himself.” This has only a seeming likeness to Augustine’s “Fecisti me ad te, et inquietum est cor nostrum, donec requiescat in te,” Conf. i. 1. Olshausen, following older expositors (Calovius, Estius, al[1340]), finds the Trinity here also (comp on Romans 11:36), which is obviously wrong, were it only for this reason, that we have neither one subject alone named in this passage (as at least in Rom. loc. cit.), nor three, but two.[1342] He holds, with Billroth (comp also Neander), that the ΕἸς refers to the agency of the Holy Spirit in bringing all back to its primary origin.[1344]

διʼ οὗ τὰ πάντα] does not apply to the new moral creation (Grotius, Stolz, Pott), and consequently cannot include all that is involved in redemption and atonement (Baur, neut. Theol. p. 193), which is clearly against the sense of the preceding τὰ πάντα; but it means that Jesus Christ, in His pre-mundane existence, as the Son of God (not as the Ideal Man or the like), as πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως (in John’s phrase, as Λόγος), was He through whom[1345] God brought about the creation of the world. see on Colossians 1:15 ff. Comp John 1:3. Usteri, Lehrbegriff, p. 315 ff.; Räbiger, Christol. Paul. p. 29 ff.; Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. § 85; Lechler, p. 51 f.; Weiss, bibl. Theol. p. 318. Philo calls the λόγος the ὄργανον, διʼ οὗ κατεσκευάσθη (ὁ κόσμος). See de Cherub. I. p. 162. In Romans 11:36, διʼ οὗ is said of God, and the reference is therefore of a different kind than here.

καὶ ἡμεῖς διʼ αὐτοῦ] is not to be referred to the physical creation (Rückert); for the idea thus elicited would not only be tame and obvious of itself, but also out of keeping with what has previously been stated of God, the second clause in which, κ. ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν, adds a different, namely, an ethical relation. The reference here is to the new creation of believers (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15); this is effected by God through Christ, who, as in the physical creation, is the causa medians. Just as we Christians have but one God, the true Creator, whose designs: we serve; so, too, we have but one Lord, the true Mediator, to whom all things owe their being, and we our Christian existence, that which we are as Christians. This “one God and one Lord” shuts out the whole heathen gods as such, so far as the Christian consciousness is concerned.

[1335] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[1336] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

[1339] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1340] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[1342] Hence we find, in some of the later codd. and Fathers, additional clauses respecting the Spirit, namely, καὶ ἓν πνεῦμα ἅγιον, ἐν ᾧ τὰ πάντα κ. ἡμεῖς ἐν αὐτῷ, and: καὶ ἕν πνεῦμα ἅγ. διʼ οὗ πάντα. But so early an expositor as Chrysostom remarks expressly that the Spirit is not mentioned here.

[1344] In order to bring out the “all” (Romans 11:36), Olshausen affirms: “Insomuch as the church is destined to receive all men into it, and insomuch as it exerts a reflex restorative influence even upon the κτίσις (Romans 8:19 ff.), those who believe are equivalent to things as a whole.” An instance—to be taken as a warning—of exegetical subjectivity in the interest of dogmatic preconception.

[1345] Not ἐξ οὗ, which holds only of the Father, although εἰς ὅν could be said of the Son also (comp. Colossians 1:16).1 Corinthians 8:6 affirms in positive Christian terms, as 1 Corinthians 8:4 b stated negatively and retrospectively, the creed of the Cor[1249] believers. The “one God” of O.T. monotheism is “to us one God the Father”. “Of whom are all things, and we for Him:” the universe issues from God, and “we,” His sons in Christ, are destined therein for His use and glory—He would reap in “us” His glory, as a father in the children of his house; see, on this latter purpose, Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:10 ff., Ephesians 1:18 b, 1 Corinthians 3:9 ff.; also 1 Peter 2:9, Jam 1:18, John 17:9 f., etc.; cf. Aug[1250], “Fecisti nos ad Te”. In the emphatic ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτὸν there speaks the joyful consciousness of Gentiles called to know and serve the true God; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:2 f., Ephesians 2:11 ff.—The “one Lord Jesus Christ” is Mediator, as in 1 Timothy 2:5—“through whom are all things, and we through Him”; again ἡμεῖς stands out with high distinction from the dim background of τὰ πάντα. The contrasted ἐξ οὗ, εἰς αὐτὸν of the previous clause is replaced by the doubled διὰ of this: God is the source of all nature, but the end specifically of redeemed humanity; Christ is equally the Mediator—and in this capacity the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:24-28)—of nature and of men. The universe is of God through Christ (Hebrews 1:2, John 1:3): we are for God through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18, Ephesians 1:5, etc.). Colossians 1:15 ff. unfolds this doctrine of the double Lordship of Christ, basing His redemptional upon His creational headship.—It is an exegetical violence to limit the second τὰ πάντα, as Grotius and Baur have done, to “the ethical new creation”; in 2 Corinthians 5:18 the context gives this limitation, which in our passage it excludes. The inferior reading διʼ ὅν (for οὗ: see txtl. note), “because of whom are all things,” would consist with a lower doctrine of Christ’s Person, representing Him as preconceived object, while with διʼ οὗ He is pre-existent medium of creation. The full Christology of the 3rd group of the Epp. is latent here. The faith which refers all things to the one God our Father as their spring, and subordinates all things to the one Lord our Redeemer, leaves no smallest spot in the universe for other deities; intelligent Christians justly inferred that the material of the idolothyta was unaffected by the hollow rites of heathen sacrifice.

[1249] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[1250] Augustine.6. to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things] There is but one eternal First Cause and fountain of existence. Compare for the whole passage Ephesians 4:5-6. “The ancient doctors have not stuck to call the Father the origin, the cause, the author, the root, the fountain, and the head of the Son.… The Son is from the Father, receiving His subsistence by generation from Him. The Father is not from the Son, as being what He is from none.” Bishop Pearson, On the Creed, Art. i.

and we in him] Rather, as margin, for Him.

by whom are all things] God the Son, the Eternal Word or Reason of the Father, is the Agent by Whom He works in the creation, preservation, redemption, regeneration of all things. Cf. St John 1:3; John 1:10; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:10; Hebrews 1:2.1 Corinthians 8:6. Ἡμῖν) to us, believers.—ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα, of whom are all things) Therefore, we have one God.—τὰ πάντα, all things) by creation.—ἡμεῖς, we) believers.—εἰς αὐτὸν, unto Him) He is the end for whom believers live.—καὶ εἷς, and one) Christ, the object of divine and religious worship. The apostles also, for the purpose of avoiding the appearance of polytheism, more frequently called Christ Lord, than God, when they wrote to the Gentile churches.—Κύριος, Lord) This appellation comprehends in itself the notion of the Son of God, and therefore also of God, along with the idea of Redeemer.—διʼ οὗ, by whom) The dominion of Christ is hereby proved; by Him all things are of God.—διʼ αὐτοῦ, by Him) We come by Him, εἰς, to the Father.

7. Αλλʼ) We have γνῶσιν, knowledge; but others have it not in the same degree.—τινὲς, some) an antithesis to all, 1 Corinthians 8:1. Some, viz. the Jews, holding the idol in abomination; the Greeks regarding it with reverence, 1 Corinthians 10:32.—τοῦ εἰδώλου, of the idol) They had this feeling,[65] as if the idol were something; or at least as if the thing offered to the idol were polluted thereby.—ἓως ἄρτι, until this hour) when by this time they should have knowledge.—ὡς) as: on this depends the distinction.—μολύνεται, is defiled) a suitable expression, by a metaphor derived from flesh.—βρῶμα, food) used indefinitely, 1 Corinthians 8:13.—ἡμᾶς, us) having or not having knowledge.—οὐ παρίστησι) neither as regards pleasing Him in the judgment, nor as regards displeasing Him, πρὸς τὸ ὑστερεῖσθαι [so as to be accounted the worse for it]; συνίστημι, I commend; but the word παρίστημι occupies a middle place between a good and a bad sense, as is evident from the Ep. of Athanasius, προς ʼ Αμοῦν, where he makes this periphrasis, φυσική τις ἔκκρισις ἡμᾶς οὐ παραστήσει πρὸς τιμωρίαν.[66] So 1 Corinthians 8:10, οἰκοδομηθήσεται is used as a word in a middle sense. This is the foundation of lawful power [liberty, 1 Corinthians 8:9], ἐξονσίας; comp. δὲ in the next verse.—οὔτεπερισσεύομεν οὔτεὑστερούμεθα, neither are we the better; nor—are we the worse) because in both cases thanksgiving is retained, Romans 14:6.

[65] Ernesti says, Bibl. th. noviss. T. i., p. 511, that Bengel, along with Heumann, prefers the reading συνηθείᾳ in this verse to the common reading συνειδήσει, and approves of it, but without foundation. Certainly Bengel’s older margin has marked συνηθείαò with γ, the later with δ; and the Germ. Vers. has expressly printed συνειδήσει.—E. B.

[66] Any natural ejection in the animal functions will not bring us to punishment.

Tisch. prefers συνειδήσει with D (A) G Vulg. both Syr. Versions, and fg. Lachm. reads συνηθείᾳ with AB Memph.—ED.Verse 6. - But to us. The "but" means "nevertheless." We Christians only regard these "gods," "lords," and "idols" as nonexistent, except so far as they correspond to created and material things. The Father. Not only by creation and preservation, but much more by redemption and adoption, and as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:15; Galatians 3:26). Of whom are all things. All things, even including the gods of the heathen, "visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all firings were created by him and for him,... and by him all things consist" (Colossians 1:16, 17). And we in him; rather, into or for him. He is the End and Goal as well as the Author of our existence. One Lord. The only real "Lord," though the Roman emperors often took the title, and one of them - Domitian - insisted on the use of the expression, "Dominus Deusque noster" ("Our Lord and God"), as applied to himself (Suetonius. 'Domit.,' 13). By whom are all things. "By whom," as the Agent of creation and redemption (John 1:3, 10; Hebrews 1:2). And we by him. "By him,"as the Mediator and the Giver of life (Romans 11:36, "Of him, and to him, and through him are all things").
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