A John Ankerberg Show viewer asks: “Colossians 1:15 defines Jesus as…the “image” of THE invisible God, the firstborn of all CREATION…
Question – Jehovah’s Witnesses teach others that the Bible teaches Jesus was created…so are they wrong about Jesus having a beginning?”
The Jehovah’s Witnesses use the word “firstborn” here in an attempt to make the case that Jesus was created. Without getting into the Greek, suffice to say that there is a word the Apostle Paul could have used which means created. He didn’t use that word. So, if he didn’t mean created, what did he mean?
Jewish history gives us a good idea of Paul’s meaning here. In Genesis 41:51-52 we find Joseph naming his firstborn Manasseh and his second born Ephraim. However, in Jeremiah 31:9 God calls Ephraim his firstborn . He didn’t change the order of birth but rather the title and authority that goes with it. In Genesis 25:31, Jacob (the second born) bargains with Esau (the first born) to sell his birth right or first bornness. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel and in Exodus 4:22 God calls him the firstborn. There are other examples but firstborn could be transferred from one to another or sold by one to another. It really has to do with being the one with the right to rule. That is the idea in Colossians as well. The Jehovah’s Witness New World Translation inserts the word “other” 4 times in verses 15-18 but it is not in the original and changes the meaning of the passage. Paul is developing the case that Jesus is the one with the right to rule (firstborn) because He created everything. Everything that exists was created by Him and for Him and He holds it together. Therefore He has the right to rule over all creation. The apostle John confirms this as well in John 1:3 where we read in the NWT:
All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.
“Not even one thing.” So, if Jesus is created, He would have had to have created Himself, because, according to John, if Jesus didn’t create it, it isn’t created. So, that leaves the JWs with a problem. If Jesus is created, He had to have not existed (in order to he created) and existed (in order to create Himself) at the same time. But this is obviously impossible. Biblically Jesus is the uncreated creator and therefore, as Paul notes, is the one with the right to rule.
L.L. (Don) Veinot Jr. , President
Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc.