“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”
Paul warned about false philosophy in the previous verse, but now he turns to the truth that is correspondent and coherent to all reality, truth revealed from an eternal viewpoint.
“For [because] in Him dwells”
The word “for” continues the thought of verse eight. In Greek, the term “for” means “because.” This word is important because it introduces another reason for abandoning false teaching. Verse eight presents the negative reasons for following false and inadequate philosophies. This verse gives a positive sense–all the fullness of God dwells in Christ. That is why he is superior to any ideology or theology. He is all in all. To worship anything else is an error. The doctrine of God is the most comprehensive, coherent belief one may possess. Everything about him corresponds to reality.
The Greek words “in Him” are emphatic, indicating a mighty contrast between “philosophy” and the Son. The Son is superior to any finite philosophy. The issue is whether we start from a limited, circumscribed viewpoint or a universal viewpoint.
“Dwells” comes from two words: down and to settle. It means to settle down in a dwelling, to dwell in a fixed place. Because the Greek word is a combination of two words, it is an intense term. It has the force of a permanent dwelling. The present tense also indicates a fixed abode. “All the fullness of the Godhead bodily” dwells in Christ in a settled manner. Deity does not come and go in Christ, but the universal reality of deity rests in Christ.
Here “dwells” refers to the indwelling of the totality of the attributes and powers of the Godhead living permanently in Christ (cf. Col 1:19).
Any system of thought that does not orient to the criterion of Christ must be wrong, for “all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily.”
Any philosophy “not after Christ” (Col 2:8) must be delusive and deceitful because it has missed the central truth of the universe–the superiority of Christ, an eternal, infinite being. Philosophers have not been able to come to any certainty about the “why” of things. All they know for sure is that we do not know anything for sure.
Today’s panacea of openness to any belief that comes down the pike issues from a lack of certainty or confidence, which begins with divine viewpoint. Today’s worldview perceives anyone with firm conviction as an obscurant. Tolerance is very intolerant of those who know what they believe. They have a great deal of certitude about their uncertainty. The only exception to tolerance is to allow no tolerance for those who are not tolerant!
The reason many believe that it is impossible to come to some universal truth is their own finite creatureliness. It is indeed impossible for the finite to fully comprehend the infinite. Human beings are not God. If we are to understand the infinite, the infinite God must reveal himself deductively to us through the Word of God. God has spoken to us in propositions. He has given us enough but not exhaustive knowledge of himself. We cannot know with certainty who God is or his plans for the universe apart from the Bible.