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I'm trying to get some perspectives on how these two scriptures can be resolved:

1 Kings 19:11-12 NIV:

The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV:

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

So, if God was not in the wind, earthquake, or fire how can he fill everything in every way? This may require a separate post but if God fills everything does he then fill Satan?

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A simple way to resolve these verses is to hold Ephesians 1:22-23's 'all things' and 'everything' is bracketed, and has to do with the new creation and Kingdom, a view which is reasonable given the context.

Claims about 'all' and 'everything' are usually scoped to a context. For example, if I am ordering a burger, and I say "I'll have everything" I don't mean I'll have everything in the universe. I mean everything on the menu that can be added to the burger.

So, look at the lead up to Ephesians 1:22. 1:3 is discussing the Kingdom and Christians.

"who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms."

This continues to Ephesians 1:10, where it then says

"a plan for the fullness of time, to bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ."

What is the scope of 'all things' here? The most straightforward scope is things related to the Kingdom, which is what St. Paul has been discussing for the previous 8 verses.

Ephesians then continues discussing the Kingdom and current believers at 1:11-19.

Then at 1:20-21 St. Paul is talking about Jesus' resurrection and ascension, and Jesus' subsequent rule above 'all rule and authority'. 'All' here is explicitly scoped to things relevant to the Kingdom.

So what is St. Paul talking about with 'everything' and 'all' at 1:22-23? It is reasonable to hold it is scoped to Jesus' rule in the new creation, in the Kingdom.

Compare Colossians 1:15-20, which uses similar language, as well as John 1:1-13. Both can similarly be understood as having an application to the new creation, and the Kingdom.

Also, if one doesn't believe Jesus is God Almighty in the ontological sense, then Ephesians 1:22-23 is talking about the Christ, not God, filling the church, which is the Christ's body.

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  • Good answer. Is Acts 17:28, then, more in line with the 1 Kings passage or is it a problem? Aug 6 at 21:28

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