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Jesus is the firstborn (not the firstcreated) of all creation (Colossians 1:15)

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Colossians 1:15

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (NASB)


1. J.E. Rosscup: He is "the firstborn of all creation" (Col. 1:15 NRSV), a statement misunderstood by the Arians of the 4th cent. and modern-day Jehovah's Witnesses, who make him a created being and not God. The proper meaning is that Christ, truly God, stands in a relationship of priority or sovereignty over all creation (see, e.g., J.B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon [1879], 146-47). This second meaning is correct because: (1) Christ is himself creator of all (Col. 1:16); (2) he is prior to all, having existed before creation (v. 17), and also supreme over it; (3) only this view that he is God would combat the Gnostic error Paul answers, for they made Christ only a created emanation from God, and such a concession by Paul would play into their hands; (4) rabbis called God himself "firstborn" as the supreme being, the "firstborn of the world" (R. Bechai, cited by Lightfoot, 147); (5) Paul claims the fullness of deity for Christ elsewhere (2:9; Tit. 2:13). Paul further says that Christ is "firstborn from among the dead" (Col. 1:18; cf. also John in Rev. 1:5). Certain others arose from the dead before Jesus did, but they later died again. He was first to rise bodily from the grave to immortality, and he is also the one supreme over those in this class. He is the firstfruits of the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:20) (The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible 2:577-578, firstborn).

2. William Mounce: The description of Christ as the firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15; cf. Heb. 1:6) refers not to his temporal beginnings but to his supremacy and honor (Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, firstborn, page 255).

3. Murray Harris: v. 16a distinguishes Jesus from "all creation" when it affirms that "the whole universe" (ta panta) was created "in" him; if Paul had believed that Jesus was the first of God's creatures to be formed, the adj. prōtoktistos ("created first") or prōtoplastos ("formed first") might have been expected instead of prōtotokos, and v. 16a would have continued "for all other things were created in him" (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament: Colossians and Philemon, page 44).

4. See also the informative article provided by Robert Keay in the following link:




Hebrews 1:6

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.” (ESV)

Notice further that in relation to the "worship" directed unto the Lord Jesus as the "firstborn" in Hebrews 1:6 it is used of "of deity in monotheistic cult" (BDAG, 3rd Edition, proskyneō, page 882).








Edited by Faber
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Groups such as the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the fact that the Son is the "image" of God proves that He was created (Colossians 1:15).


Insight on the Scriptures: God’s firstborn Son, who later became the man Jesus, is in his Father’s image. (2Co 4:4) Inasmuch as that Son was obviously the one to whom God spoke in saying, “Let us make man in our image,” this likeness of the Son to his Father, the Creator, existed from when the Son was created. (Ge 1:26; Joh 1:1-3; Col 1:15, 16) (Volume 1, Image)



As properly defined "image" (Greek: eikōn) as used in Colossians 1:15 and 2 Corinthians 4:4 does not mean the Son was created. In fact, it actually proves He is God.

1. W. E. Vine: of Christ in relation to God, 2 Corinthians 4:4, "the image of God," i.e., essentially and absolutely the perfect expression and representation of the Archetype, God the Father; in Colossians 1:15, "the image of the invisible God" gives the additional thought suggested by the word "invisible," that Christ is the visible representation and manifestation of God to created beings; the likeness expressed in this manifestation is involved in the essential relations in the Godhead, and is therefore unique and perfect (Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, Image).


2. A. J. Grieve: It is not simply that He is like God-He is God manifest (Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament, Image).


3. Otto Flender: In 2 Cor. 4:4 and Col. 1:15 Christ is said to be the image or likeness of God. There is no difference here between the image and the essence of the invisible God (NIDNTT 2:288, Image).

4. Hermann Kleinknecht: Image is not to be understood as a magnitude which is alien to the reality and present only in the consciousness. It has a share in the reality. Indeed, it is the reality. Thus the eikōn does not imply a weakening or a feeble copy of something. It implies the illumination of its inner core and essence (TDNT 2:389, eikōn).

5. Gerhard Kittel: When Christ is called the image of God in 2 C. 4:4; Col. 1:15, all the emphasis is on the equality of the eikōn with the original (TDNT 2:395, eikōn).

6. Marvin Vincent (2 Corinthians 4:4): Theodoret says: "The effulgence is both from the fire and with the fire, and has the fire as its cause, yet is not divided from the fire; for whence comes the fire, thence also comes the effulgence."


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‘Christ is equal to the Father as touching His Godhood and inferior to the Father as touching

His manhood’. (The Athanasian Creed)

When JWs claim that Jesus was a lesser deity than the Father, they point to verses such as:

a) ‘The Father is greater than I’. (John 14:28).

b) Jesus referred to the Father as ‘my God’ (John 20:17).

c) ‘The head of Christ is God’ (I Corinthians 11:3).

d) Jesus ‘will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all

in all’. (I Corinthians 15:28).

e) Jesus is called God’s ‘only begotten Son’ (John 3:16).

f) Jesus is called ‘the firstborn of every creature’ (Colossians 1:15).

g) Jesus is called ‘the beginning of the creation of God’ (Revelation 3:14).

To this we say generally that:

i Each passage must be examined in its context.

ii Many WT arguments are based on a bad misunderstanding of the incarnation of

Christ who is God taking on human form.

iii Many passages quoted by JWs view Christ from the point of view of His manhood.

Let us examine some such passages:

1. I Corinthians 11:3 - Is God superior to Christ?

‘But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the

woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God’.

Watchtower teaching: JWs say that, because Jehovah is the head of Christ, then Christ

cannot be God. They say that since I Corinthians 11:3 was written in 55 AD when Jesus was

ascended and glorified, then this superior rank of Jehovah over Jesus applies to their present

relationship in heaven. They claim that ‘Jesus is always presented as a lesser, separate,

humble servant of God’. Should you Believe in the Trinity? p.20.

The Bible teaching: I Corinthians 11:3 has to do with patterns of authority, not to do with

inferiority or superiority of one person over the other. Paul says that the man is the head of

the woman, even though men and women are 100% equal in their essential being.

Biblically men and women and equal in nature.

They are both 100% human, created in God’s image, and one in Christ (I Peter 3:7 ‘Heirs together’)

Key: Hence, even though men and women are equal in nature, they function within a

hierarchy. In the same way, Christ and the Father are 100% equal in their divine being and

nature. ‘I and the Father are one’. (John 10:30), even though Jesus functions under the

Father’s headship authority. There is no contradiction to say that among the three persons in

the Godhead, there is an equality of divine being and nature as well as two members

functioning under the Father’s authority.

Christ is 100% God and fully equal to the Father in being and nature, yet Christ is

subordinate or submissive to the Father, especially in becoming a man.

Therefore I Corinthians 11:3 does not teach that Jesus is less than God.

Within the Godhead, the Father acts as Head without diminishing the full deity of the Son.

Ask: Are women inferior in nature to men because men exercise headship over women?

Ask: If ‘no’, then why does the WT teach that the Father’s headship over Christ means that

Christ is inferior in nature to the Father?

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The Son is “the only begotten from the Father” (Jo 1:14). “The only begotten” means unique, only one of His kind. The Father and the Son are of the same divine nature. They differ only in origin, function, and relationship: the Father is not begotten; the Son is begotten. The Father originates; the Son governs.


The word begotten here does not mean one event in time as when a woman gives birth to a baby. The process of bestowing the divine properties and character of the Father upon the Son is not something that had a beginning. A beginning implies a time when it was not. This divine begetting of the Son is before time — outside of time — eternal. As the Father did not begin, neither did the Son. The Father continually bringing forth the Son out of Himself is a divine relationship — an ongoing, deeply personal union between them forever.



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