of the Spirit
1 John 4:3
- Colossians 1:15, 16
- "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created . . ."
- This passage is understood by J.W.'s to teach that "Jehovah" created his Son as his first creative act, and then subsequently performed all creative acts by His Son. Other religious bodies merely assert that this passage proves that Christ existed prior to his birth on the earth, since all the creative acts are ascribed to him.
- The Messianic prophecy in Psa. 89:27 indicates that the J.W. assertion, that "Jehovah" created his Son as his first creative act, is unscriptural. "Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth"1 proves that Christ was not the first-born prior to the creation narrative in Gen. 1 and 2, but rather Christ was not to be made first-born until many years after the Psalmist penned his words. (The Messianic character of the Psalm is indicated by comparing the following: vs. 26 cf. 2 Sam. 7:14; Heb. 1:5 and Psa. 89:35-37 cf. Psa. 72:1-8).
- "The firstborn of all creation" is qualified in verse 18 to be "the firstborn from the dead". Frequently an apparently absolute declaration is limited in application. Consider the following examples in which "all" is clearly to be understood in a restricted sense:
- ". . . there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed." (Luke 2:1). The "all" refers to the Roman world, not the areas of South, Central and North America.
- "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers . . ." (John 10:8). The "all" does not refer to John the Baptist and other prophets.
- See also Gen. 3:20 ("all living" did not include the beasts); Gen. 6:13 ("all flesh" did not include Noah and the creatures taken into the ark.)
- The creation of which Christ is the first-born is the "creation" of new men and woman, and not the creation of light, dry land, etc. of Genesis. "Create" and "creation" are used of the work of Christ in this regenerative sense. Consider the following:
- "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10 cf. 4:23, 24).
- ". . . for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace." (Eph. 2:15).
- See also Col. 3:9, 10 R.S.V.; Gal. 6:15; James 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:17.
- The inspired Apostle, employing the Old Testament background of the first-born, is ascribing to Christ his position, rank, and status in the divine purpose. The following is a summary of this background:
Adam lost this privilege because of his personal unworthiness, but the last Adam became perfect, through things which he suffered, and inherited the "double portion". He became the "firstfruits of them that slept" - the "firstborn among many brethren" - "the head of the body, the church . . . that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:20; Rom. 8:29).
- The first-born succeeded his father as head. (2 Chron. 21:2, 3).
- He received a double portion of the inheritance. (Deut. 21:17).
- A younger son could be elevated to the position of first-born if there were personal unworthiness in the eldest. (1 Chron. 5:1).
- "Who is the image of the invisible God." This is an obvious allusion to Gen. 1:26, "Let us make man in our image". Christ who was "full of grace and truth" demonstrated that he was the "image of the invisible God" by his faithfulness to death. In him both earthly and heavenly creatures are "created" because in him they have a new function in the divine purpose. The angels who "minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14) have been instructed to pay him homage - "let the angels of God worship him." (Heb. 1:6).
- Colossians 1, rather than supporting the trinitarian doctrine, is opposed to it. Consider the following:
- If Christ is the "image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15), then he is a replica, not the original.
- Christ is the "firstborn of every creature". (Col. 1:15). "Firstborn" implies a beginning, therefore Christ is not the "Eternal" Son of God of the trinitarians.
- The force of this point is obscured in the J.W. New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (Brooklyn, New York: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of N.Y., Inc., 1961). It reads as follows: "Also, I myself shall place him as first-born, The most high of the kings of the earth." Return