Does Colossians 1:15 Argue that Jesus was Finite and Created?

By: Justin Angelos

Certain religious traditions, such as the Jehovah Witness movement will claim that Jesus was created. It is argued that when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:16) that he does not make a claim to divinity. They believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but they do not believe Jesus is God, and nor do they worship Jesus as God.[1] A few Jehovah Witness missionaries told me that Colossians 1:15 is proof that Jesus did not eternally exist, but that Jesus is finite and created. If we carefully examine Colossians 1:15, is the apostle Paul really saying that Jesus was created? The short answer is an emphatic no. Colossians 1:15 says, “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” I think the mistake the Jehovah’s Witnesses are making is looking up the phrase “firstborn” in an English dictionary. They draw their conclusion based on what the phrase means in an English dictionary, first as an adjective: in the order of birth; eldest, or as a noun: a firstborn child, a primary result or product.[2] The phrase “firstborn” in Greek, especially in Paul’s day, did not mean the same thing. The Greek word for “firstborn” (πρωτοτοκος prōtotokos) according to Greek scholars like Bill Mounce is the definition of first-born, Luke 2:7; Hebrews 11:28; in NT prior in generation, Col. 1:15; a firstborn head of a spiritual family, Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:6; firstborn, as possessed of the peculiar privilege of spiritual generation, Heb. 12:23.[3]

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