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The Firstborn of Creation

Supernova Remnant, photo credit NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Colossians 1:15

Does that mean that Jesus was created and not fully God?

If you do a quick read of this verse, it does seem that Jesus was a created being and not fully God. But if you look at the verse in its context and do a study of the word “firstborn,” the true meaning of this verse becomes clear.

The word firstborn usually means the first child born into a family, but not always.  King David was the youngest son born in his family but he is ranked as the firstborn of the kings on earth.

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I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him:…I will also appoint him my firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. Psalm 89:20,27

Israel was not the first nation on earth, but God regarded his people as firstborn.

Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says; Israel is my firstborn son, and I told you, let my son go, so he may worship me.’ Exodus 4:22-23b

God had chosen the people of Israel to receive honor and prominence and thus the title of firstborn.  If we look at the word firstborn as the meaning of a Title of Honor, then this word makes sense in the way it is used in the context of the entire passage.

To clarify this let’s look at the two verses following verse 15.

For 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.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17

If Jesus did create “all things in heaven and earth”, then it makes no sense to say that Jesus himself was created. Plus Paul stated that Jesus was “before all things.” Yes, Jesus existed before creation, which means he has existed for all eternity.

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When interpreting this verse in the context of the entire passage it is clear that Paul is teaching that Jesus is the God who created all things, and that all creation was created through him, sustained by him and for him.

Written by Doug Velting

Writer of the website EasyCreationLessons.com

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  1. Excellent clarification! I hadn’t seen that term “firstborn” as a rank or position that comes naturally to the first born, but that can also be transferred to a favored son. But now that you mention it, examples of the “firstborn ranking” shifting from the eldest to brother to younger brothers is in many places; i.e. Ishmael to Isaac, Esau to Jacob, Reubenites to the Levites (Numbers 8:18) are some quick ones from off the top of my head. Since Jesus created all things, it makes sense that His “ranking” is that of “firstborn”! Even the footnote in Romans 8:29 NLT clarifies this definition: “…his Son would be the firstborn (footnote states: Or “would be supreme”) among many brothers and sisters.” Great article and thanks for posting it!

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