WVW: Created or Creator - Colossians 1:15
Updated: Feb 1, 2019
Is Jesus a Fraud?
I love when my daughters try to speak; it’s literally the cutest thing I have ever heard. Sometimes I can figure out what they want or need because I know them. For example, skabetti, is spaghetti and nanas are bananas. My absolute favorite is when my oldest daughter first started talking, she called yogurt, ahyu; we knew exactly what she wanted. Beyond familiarity, sometimes I need to search for context clues when they communicate or else I have no idea what they want. Without understanding context, people, things, and Bible verses can be easily misunderstood. We need to understand the full picture instead of just trying to understand one aspect of something.
A perfect example of this is Colossians 1:15.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” Colossians 1:15
In Christianity, one of the most important beliefs is that Jesus Christ is God. If Jesus isn’t God, we are all frauds and have poorly interpreted the scriptures for thousands of years. Jesus MUST be God in order for his death to mean anything and in order for us to spend eternity with God; however, in Colossians, we find a rather confusing verse- a verse that quite possibly contradicts everything we have ever believed in as Christians. Many religions, like Jehovah Witnesses use Colossians 1:15 to prove that Jesus cannot be God; in this verse, Christ is called the firstborn of all creation. First of all, the first word firstborn throws me off. Wasn’t Adam the firstborn of all creation? Secondly, the second half of the verse gets even more confusing. “Of all creation” makes it seems like Jesus Christ is not God because he’s a created being. This verse is vital for apologetics, and perfect for a Weird Verse Wednesday!
What does this verse mean?
In Scripture, The Greek word prototokos (firstborn) can hold a variety of different meanings; It could refer to a literal firstborn child, or it could refer to someone who is superior; however, firstborn in the Old Testament seldom is related to the one actually born first. In context, and with all accuracy, the verse should be understood like this, “And He is the image of the invisible God, the Head of all creation.” To better demonstrate this point, in several parts of scripture, the greek word prototokos means head or heir; for example, Issac, Jacob, and Judah are called firstborn though none were born first. Another example of prototokos describing someone in scripture is David, THE YOUNGEST SON.
“And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” Psalm 89:27
In this example, the term firstborn speaks of superiority since he was obviously not the literal firstborn in his family; David was in fact the youngest. Therefore, in this context, the idea of firstborn has the idea of rank or superiority and does not consider time or date of birth.
Why does prototokos (firstborn) hold different meanings?
Because it was the firstborn male child that was generally the one who became the patriarch of the next generation, the term firstborn (prototokos) in the original greek, became a technical term for the Heir or Head. Therefore, in Colossians 1:15, Paul is not referring to Christ as a person who was born or created first, he is simply saying that Jesus Christ is the head over all of creation. Also, in verse 18, the scripture tells us that Jesus is the firstborn of the dead. Firstborn of the dead would make no sense if we define firstborn as a person who was physically born first. In this context, scripture is telling us that Christ is not only the head of creation; He is supreme over all things- even death and life.
Is Jesus a created being?
As Christians, we believe that our triune God has always existed. Jesus Christ was not a created being, Colossians continues by telling us that all things were made for and through him. How can all things be created through him if he apparently existed after them? At Bibledingers headquarters, we believe that scripture is inerrant- without error (or us Brooklynites put it- errar- how u doin?). The Bible cannot and does not contradict itself. In fact, Colossians as a whole was written by Paul to prove Jesus Christ’s divinity.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:16
What does this mean for us?
Jesus is the head of creation; he is the head of your life- God incarnate. Clearly, scripture teaches that Jesus Christ is not a created being. He is God and you were created by him as a display of his glorious power. You were created for him as a display but also because he enjoys your relationship. That’s right I said it. God, the Creator of every life, desires a relationship with you. It brings him joy. He loves you and died on the cross for you; this is the gospel, the good news- the best news we can ever get in our entire lives. If you don’t know Jesus, and you always wondered if the Bible actually teaches that He is God, I hope this WVW brings you clarity. I encourage you to declare to the world that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior and say it proudly! He is God, and there is no question about it.