Colossians 1:15-16 and the word "other"

by yogosans14 46 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • yogosans14

    "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exists." ( Col. 1:15-17 , for context. The New World Translation--Emphasis added. Note the NWT's addition of 'other' into the text four times. This is discussed here).

    firstborn in greekThe Jehovah's Witnesses interpret the word "firstborn" here to mean "first created" because it is consistent with their theological presupposition that Jesus is a created thing. Of course, Jesus, the word become flesh ( John 1:1 , 14 ), is not a created thing; but that hasn't stopped the Watchtower organization from claiming He is. Nevertheless, there is a Greek word for "first created," and it was in use at the time of Paul's writing to the Colossians. He did not use it here. The Greek for "firstborn" is proto with tikto which would give us "firstborn," and that is what we find here in Colossians 1:15 . The Greek for "first created" would be proto with ktizo, and it is not used here.

    Second, the biblical use of the word "firstborn" is most interesting. It can mean the first born child in a family ( Luke 2:7 ), but it can also mean "pre-eminence." In Psalm 89:20 , 27 it says, "I have found David My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him . . . I also shall make him My first-born." (NASB). As you can see, David, who was the last one born in his family, was called the firstborn by God. This is a title of preeminence.

    Third, firstborn is also a title that is transferable:

    • Gen. 41:51-52 , "And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh: For, said he, God hath made me forget all my toil, and all my fatherï's house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath made me fruitful in the land of my affliction." (NASB)
    • Jer. 31:9 , " . . . for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn." (NASB)

    Scripture best interprets scripture. Firstborn does not require a meaning of first created as the Jehovah's Witnesses say it means here. "Firstborn" can mean the first born person in a family, and it can also be a title of preeminence which is transferable. That is obvious since Jesus is God in flesh ( John 1:1 , 14 ) and is also the first born son of Mary. In addition, He is the pre-eminent one in all things. The Jehovah's Witnesses should consider this when they examine Col. 1:15 . They should also abandon the Watchtower which guides them in their thinking and believing.

    It was a interesting read :p

  • prologos

    I was fascinated by pictures of the comet aquired by the European space probe, it is a dual head. most stars are dual systems.Earth/moon pluto/charon Some of the best marriages are dual systems. I know we are talking physics/romance here, not the spiritual realm, but dualism is not far fetched

  • UBM101


  • EdenOne


  • prologos

    In the examples it is just a juggling of positions is it not? you still had to be born to be among the family, the creation? and if there is created existence, some one has to be first out of the starting blocks?(a) and someone the winner (b), in a race, in a cosmos that obviously rewards success.

  • Phizzy

    The great Leolaia's post on the insertion of the word "other":

    " The Watchtower of April 15th, 1970, p.255:
    "In considering this matter it is well to note that Bible writers often took for granted that certain things would be understood, just as writers in our day do. For example, the apostle Paul states, as we read at Colossians 1:16, that by means of Jesus Christ all things were created in the heavens and on earth. But since we know from Revelation 3:14 that Jesus himself was also created, the New World Translation adds the word "other," which clearly is what the apostle had in mind. But even here, it might be added, that, were it not for the prevalence of the trinitarian teaching that Jesus was not created, it would not have been necessary for us to add the word "other."

    I would have to disagree with this statement....(1) It is not a "trinitarian" teaching per se that Jesus was begotten rather than created....this is an idea that antedates (and does not depend upon) trinitarian thinking,

    (2) It is not the prevalence of "trinitarian teaching" that leads one to to read the text in a way contrary to inserting "[other]", it is the grammar of the immediate context that conflicts with this rendering,

    (3) The immediate context takes precedence in exegetical reading, postulated outside parallels (such as the passage from Revelation cited here) are of secondary importance.

    Some contextual arguments against the NWT rendering:

    (1) The chief problem is the presence of hoti "because" at the beginning of v. 16. A clause marked with causal hoti "because, for the reason that" semantically explains the preceding clause, i.e. John 5:27 "He gave authority to him to render judgment because(hoti) he is the Son of Man." X has AUTHORITY because HE IS THE SON OF MAN. X is FIRSTBORN OF ALL CREATION because ALL THINGS WERE CREATED IN HIM. It is Jesus' role in creation that makes him the "firstborn of all creation".

    (2) The NWT interpretation is rather nonsensical: Jesus was the first creature because all other things were created in him?? (He would still be the first creature if he had no role in the creation of others) (2) The second problem is the scope of the quantifier pas "all". In v. 15 of the NWT pasès(gen. sing.) includes Jesus within the set of "all creation" but panta (nom. pl.) excludes him from that same set (individuated via the pl.) in v. 16-18. It is certainly more parsimonious that pas has the same scope throughout v. 15-18.

    (3) (3) The insertion of "[other]" is justified in the NWT by pointing to examples like Luke 11:42: "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue, and all [other] garden herbs (pan lakhanon) but you neglect justice and the love of God". But this is not a parallel toColossians 1:15 because here mint and rue are included in the set of garden herbs and pas occurs to complete the set, whereas inColossians 1:16-18 where the NWT adds "[other]" in brackets, pas "all" does not complete a set that includes the Son but rather excludes him from that set."

  • designs

    Why are Evangelicals so intimidated by JWs 'lesser god' theory...

  • Aroq

    The reason why a "lessor god" theory is important is because God is one, and if you add a "lessor god" who is also worshiped, then you have polytheism. Polytheism is against God's word. Worship has and is being given to Jesus, if He is not God then you have a problem.

  • designs

    Have you read the Dead Sea Scroll section that addresses this very point within Monotheism.

  • Vanderhoven7


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