jhine: Paul deliberately made that statement about Christ creating all things
that were created to counter the same arguments then that the WT are
Not quite! I think you are looking at this from the mainstream trinitarian angle. Try to look at it from the Judeo-Christian angle.
The "God" of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was the "God" of the Hebrew people. He was acknowledged as the Almighty. Back in the time of the prophets, surrounding nations of Israel worshipped many false gods, idols made by human hands. The Promised Messiah was still in the future as Israel's savior. The Messiah was not seen as a threat to the God of the Hebrews. The Messiah was to be sent by God for a saving purpose, not to take over God's place. When pagan nations challenged the God of the Hebrews, the prophets made clear that their God Jehovah was superior to all the other gods. God "alone" created the heavens and the earth, and everything in it, not the useless pagan idols. The Messiah was not in scope at the time in that sense. Why bring the Messiah into the creative process to complicate things before the pagans. Also, pagan nations worshipped a multiple number of gods, many being triads of gods, unlike the monotheistic Hebrews who only worshipped one God Jehovah.
But as promised, the only hope for Jewish salvation depended on the appearance of the Messiah, which God Almighty had promised through Abraham's descendants.
Thousands of years later, the Messiah shows up as "Jesus" the Savior of the world. However, the Jewish people were long entrenched in the mosaic code of law. To recognize Jesus as the Promised Christ required faith, and trickled revelations from Christ himself, in addition to powerful works by the holy spirit. Even with Jesus' miracles and other displays of God's might, most Jews ignored Christ as their Savior because they were expecting a quick liberation from the Roman forces. Jesus' followers kept the preaching work by spreading strong arguments that Christ was far superior to both the mosaic system and the Greek way of thinking. Greek philosophy was a strong force to be reckoned with, and so many were lured by it.
In that setting, it was convenient to exalt Christ to a degree they had never seen before. Christ was just not any human walking about, he was ‘the only-begotten Son of God.’ In fact, he was there "in the beginning with God [not God]." (John 1.2) Who else could one say that of? No other! Jesus was so "mighty" (divine; a god) that he was described as an "exact replica" of God, as a version described him at Heb. 1.3. He was ‘embodied with divine authority and power.’ (Col 2.9; Acts 10.38) The Greeks were very philosophical on the subject of creation.
Many Greco-Roman philosophers said that all things were held by together by Zeus or by the Logos, divine reason, emphasizing the unity of the cosmos. In Stoic thought, Wisdom existed before all things and through it God created and then shaped the world. Many Jewish writers, including Philo, gave angels a role in creation. In this backdrop of Greek-Judeo-Christian thinking, Paul set out to clear some matters.
Jesus was bigger and higher than any of these attention-grabbers. Imagine their response when Paul told the Greek gentiles that it was through Christ that God created everything. Paul never said that creation came out (Greek: "ex") from Christ as the source. Instead, Paul said that the source of creation was God (Greek: "ex," out of ), and through (Greek: "dia") Christ did all things, visible and invisible. That would put Christ above anything else within their mental comprehension. Paul would never complicate matters further by introducing a mix of "trinitarian" concepts of the gentiles with the recent Judeo-Christian doctrine of Christ being explained as ‘the way to God.’ (John 14.6)
“The Greek phrase through
him indicates that the
Word was the agent in creation, but at the same time the context
clearly implies that God
is the ultimate source of creation
… Similar expressions are
found in Paul's writings and in the Letter to the Hebrews … The
Greek text indicates clearly that the Word was the instrument or
agency employed by God in the creation.”
(A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of John, Newman &
Paul described Christ as seating "at the right hand of God." (Col. 3.1) It would be so strange to have Paul argue that ‘Christ was next to God,’ and at the same time claim that Christ is the Sovereign Creator (as Trinitarians want to believe), when "God" is the one being depicted throughout Colossians, at the center of it all.