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Forgiven In Christ




Jesus Christ The Firstborn: Preeminent or First Created?

It really amazes me that anyone who professes a belief that the Holy Bible is completely trustworthy can at the same time believe that there was a time when Jesus Christ, in his pre-incarnate state as the Word (John 1:1-3) was created by God the Father. Many people on both sides of this argument seem to think that their understanding of John 1:1 holds the key to the truth of this matter. While this verse is important in setting the context of the passage, it is verse 3 that really holds the key to a proper understanding of the passage. No verse with a clearer meaning can be found in all of scripture. Jehovah's Witnesses may claim that verse 1 can mean "a" god, but this verse should remove any doubt to its meaning, as no Greek scholar can be found who disputes the clear meaning of verse 3, that is that Jesus created everything that was created and therefore cannot himself be created! This verse seems to be perfectly constructed in such a way that the meaning is clear in all translations.

Some time ago I found that at http://jehovah.to/exe/discussion/stafford_bowman_1.htm, Robert Bowman brings up John 1:3 in a discussion on whether or not the Holy Scriptures can allow for the possibility that the divine Word of God Jesus Christ is a created being. However, Greg Stafford picks up on Bowman's use of the term "temporal" and misses the point entirely that everything that "came to be", as Bowman puts it, was brought to be through the creative agency of the Word. The fact is, this verse makes no distinction between temporal physical and temporal spiritual. The use of the words "apart from him not even one thing came into existence" (NWT), makes it explicitly clear that not even ONE THING came into existence apart from creative agency of the Word. If you believe that the Word was created by God the Father yet you believe this passage in the Bible as literally written, then the Word had to exist first to bring himself into existence! That has to be the ultimate paradox.

Furthermore, I was amazed to find at http://jehovah.to/exe/discussion/response1.htm that Jehovah's Witnesses do not think of PROTOTOKOS (firstborn) as being a figurative use of the term "firstborn". In this argument, a reference is made to Psalm 90:2 where it is said that the mountains were "born". What really amazes me is the belief that "born" literally means, "created" based on this one usage. If this is true, I suppose that Genesis 1:1 should really say, "In the beginning God gave birth to the heavens and the earth." My understanding of the meaning of "figurative" just makes this all the more obvious that Psalm 90:2 makes a clear use of figurative language. I can't help but wonder how you define figurative language. To add to apparent absurdity, this meaning is then transferred to "firstborn" to make it literally mean "first-created". To me the obvious literal meaning of firstborn is that of someone being the first offspring to be born to a set of parents. If Jehovah's Witnesses really want to stand by the meaning of firstborn as being first-created, the Watchtower Society should have translated this as "first-created" in the NWT to eliminate confusion.

Even if the word literally meant "first-created", the word would still necessarily be defined by its usage. For example, examine the following two statements and determine for yourself if "pitcher" means the same thing in both statement 1 and statement 2:

1) I like that pitcher because it holds my favorite drink.

2) I like that pitcher because he's the best in the baseball league.

The first statement is unambiguous. The REASON I like that pitcher is because it holds my favorite drink. We immediately recognize that what is in view here is a container for liquids. No other assumption should be made from this statement.

The second statement likewise is unambiguous. The REASON I like that pitcher because he's the best in the baseball league. No one should have difficulty recognizing that I'm no longer talking about a container for liquids, but instead we have in view a member of a baseball team. No other assumption should be made about the intended meaning of this statement.

The above syllogism matches Colossians 1:15-16. The REASON that Jesus is called the "Firstborn over all creation" (NIV) is BECAUSE (Koine Greek oti) by him all things were created that have been created (compare with John 1:3). "Firstborn" is clearly used in a figurative sense here for source or first cause. No other assumption should be made about the intended meaning of this statement. The statement does not explicitly say that he is not a created being created first in time, but the implication is obvious. To say that the reason for the Son of God being called the first-created over all (or of all) creation is that he created all things makes no logical sense. Even if you add to God's word by inserting "other", it makes no sense. To say that his creating all (other) things made him first-created doesn't logically follow. His act of creating all (other) things couldn't have literally caused him to be created first. If he had been created, his creation by the Father would have been the cause of his being first-created. However, if we do decide that "the Son is the first-created of all creation because he created all (other) things" is correct reasoning, then it would also logically follow that because God the Father created Jesus Christ, God the Father is also first-created. Of course, this assumes that you choose to stand by "firstborn" as literally meaning first-created. However, we could say (if we want to change God's inspired word to fit your meaning) that the Son is the firstborn of all creation because he was created by the Father and then the Son created all (other) things. However, that's quite a bit of re-wording. Let's look at two statements the same way we did with pitcher.

1) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation because by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

2) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation because he was created by the Father and then the Son created all (other) things: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all (other) things were created by him and for him.

Clearly statements 1 and 2 do not mean the same thing. But which one matches the way God inspired His word in the original Greek? Note that the NIV departs from most translations in translating pasas as "over all" rather than "of all", but I believe it is clearly the meaning consistent with the context to make the passage coherent (see John 17:2 and Acts 8:27 for similar usage). How could the Word have been created when John 1:3 explicitly says that the Word created all things that have been created and no exceptions to are made "all things".

I challenge anyone who believes that the Jesus Christ (The Word of God) is a created being to answer my specific arguments and show me one verse that says that the Word was created. Just one verse!


John Hunt
www.forgiveninchrist.org/


revised 09/09/2012