“36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Rom 11:36 NKJ)”
For of Him: The preposition which is translated “of” or “from” indicates source or origin. The object of the preposition is the source or the origin of whatever the writer is talking about. What is the prepositional phrase describing or modifying? The antecedent is “all things.” So the author, Paul, is telling us that “all things” originate with God. In what sense is that true? Jesus tells us that not a sparrow falls apart from the Father. Isaiah 46:10 tells us that God declares the end from the beginning and that He will do “all My pleasure.” He made everything that exists, calling everything into being by the word of His power. As we discover more about the universe we live in it becomes increasingly clear that the very fabric of space and time itself are relative, and that they had a beginning, though there is much about that beginning that we do not yet understand. One thing we know clearly from Scripture is that it was God who brought about that beginning. He brought about the universe itself, everything in it, all the rules that would govern how it works and the people who would inhabit it.
And through Him: “Through” indicates means or instrument, how something happens. God is not a mere watchmaker who winds up the world and lets it go off on its own. His will is continual in the world and necessary to its ongoing operation. According to Psalm 104:29-30, the upholding power of God is constantly necessary for the life of God’s creatures. If He withdraws their breath, they die. In the account of creation in Genesis 1 we read about the Spirit of God hovering over the waters; in Psalm 104:30 it is the Spirit of God that continually gives life to all of God’s creatures. Proverbs 21:1 tells us that the heart of kings is in God’s hand, that He turns their hearts to go wherever He desires. He raised up Tiglath-Pileser to punish His people (1Chronicles 5:26) and then He raised up Cyrus to restore them (Isaiah 44:28).
And to Him: “To” indicates a destination, a final goal. It is the opposite of “from” or “of”, which indicates something’s origin or source. So everything comes from God and goes back to God. That is to say, all that He does is done for a purpose, and that purpose lies within Himself. Everything that exists must exist for God’s purpose, since God intended to bring it all about when there was nothing but God in existence. The purpose He has in mind is self-revelation, that He be known and glorified. The phrase, “So that you will know that I am God” peppers the Scriptures, speaking both of God’s judgment and of His redemption.
Paul’s only conclusion to all of this is to praise: “To whom be glory forever and ever, Amen!” This must be the conclusion we draw, as well. God is certainly deserving of our praise, and because He created us to this end, praising Him will be our highest joy and pleasure.