Colossian 1:16 - "all OTHER things"

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  • aqwsed12345

    Due to their apparent theological bias, the Watchtower shamelessly inserts the word "other" in order to "make room" for their own idea that Jesus is also a created being. It is clear that Jehovah's Witnesses try to avoid having to admit that Christ created everything because "the one who constructed all things is God" (Hebrews 3:4). Instead, the Society teaches that "Christ was the only one created by God," and that then He "created everything else with Jehovah." (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth From this perspective, Christ is not the Creator God but merely the first created angel - "The greatest angel is Jesus Christ, who is also called Michael." (Watchtower, November 1, 1995, page 8)

    Jesus is eternal and the Creator (see Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2; John 1:1, 3, 10; 8:58; 13:19; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2, 8, 10; 13:8; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 1:17-18; 22:13). In addition to the above clear references, the Scriptures also state that God alone is the Creator (see Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6; Isaiah 40:28; 44:24; Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 11:12; Ephesians 3:9; Hebrews 2:10).

    However, did God actually create only one angel, and then use this angel to create everything "else"? No! God testifies that He Himself created the heavens and the earth, "alone," "by myself." (Isaiah 44:24)

    The Scriptures clearly state: "I am Jehovah, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, And I spread out the earth. Who was with me?"

    Therefore, the Bible declares that everything was created by the Son, that the Holy Spirit was present at creation (Genesis 1:2), and that the LORD (Jehovah) was "alone" there. This only makes sense if the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute the one true God.

    The idea that a lesser God (demigod) participated in creation, separate from "Jehovah," is refuted by Isaiah 44:24; Malachi 2:10; Job 9:2, 8, as well as the fact that the Father did not create alone but with the Son (John 1:1-4, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2) and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2, Job 33:4, Psalm 104:30). Creation is an exclusively divine ability, and no created being can even serve as a means for creation. God is the unique source of creation, as He does not cooperate with any tools, partners, or materials in the work of creation. God's creative activity is exclusive. No one and nothing can create as God does. The creative capacity of God is an incommunicable attribute for any creature. To be able to create, that is, to bring existence from nonexistence, one must be God.

    If, however, "in Him all things were created," it would necessarily follow that He Himself was also created in Him (through Him), which would be a contradiction. Therefore, the Son is not a created being.

    The Watchtower presents several arguments in defense of the insertion of the word "other" in verses 16-17:

    • In Luke 13:2, some Bible translations render this word as "the rest," "everyone else." - But here, there is additional information that is not found there. It is written that these people were also Galileans. However, it is not written about Jesus that he is also a creature.
    • Luke 21:29 - It is written that the fig tree also belongs to the category of trees. But it is not written about Jesus that he is also a creature.
    • Philippians 2:21: This is a perfect own goal. Paul logically did not list Timothy, whom he praised, among those who seek not Jesus' interest but their own. The Watchtower's "logic" would demand this in this case as well.

    Just because the Watchtower brought some translations where the word "pas" is translated as "everything else" in other places does not automatically justify their method. They need to construct a parallel between the specific Bible passages' message, speech situation, etc., and Colossians 1:16-17. The speech situation was different in those cases because it was stated about the unique entity (opposed to "everybody else", or "all other tings") that they were also Galileans, they were also trees, or it could not be said about Timothy that he was profit-seeking - so the reference is not good. The parallel does not work because the mentioned examples either do not have the factor justifying "everyone else," or it is present but guaranteed by an explicit mention (classification) that is missing from Colossians 1:16-17.

    In Greek, there is indeed such a tendency, but the examples brought up are very different from the one in the Colossians letter. Numerous other places say that Peter was also an apostle, that Paul and his companions were imprisoned, that everyone who went to the temple threw something into the collection box, and so on. However, here it is not at all self-evident that the word "other" should be there. We saw that the "firstborn of all creation" in 1:15 could very well be a dignitary name denoting inheritance, and the immediate continuation lists everything created in him, further distancing the verse from the examples intended for parallelism. The verse emphatically repeats at the end that "everything was created through/by him", and the New World Translation is forced to insert the word "other" here and in the next verse. It is therefore difficult to convince anyone that the meaning of "everything else" is unambiguously present in the text.

    The predicate "created" can only refer to what was actually created, i.e., the powers and principalities that can be identified with angels, and which are elsewhere (Colossians 2:10) said to be headed by Christ.

    The insertion of the word "other" is unjustifiable because it falsifies the Watchtower's concept into the sacred text, which is a source to be quoted later with authority. This is, by the way, the essence of a sectarian interpretation, not the context of the text. That is, they put their conclusions and elaborations into the apostle's mouth. This is what is unacceptable in a Bible translation. Translation is a different genre than biblical explanation, let alone religious debate.

    Some amateur Jehovah's Witness apologetics websites (whose enthusiasm earned them a rebuke from Brooklyn, saying that they are not needed, and they will represent and defend "the truth") try to defend this translation, but on very similar grounds.

    The argument related to Colossians 1:16 brings up several examples where it is clear that the "others" are of the same type as the one being discussed - such hypothetical gods, trees, names, governments, people, Galileans, and so on. These examples linguistically only demonstrate that if the context is already clear, the word "other" can sometimes be omitted from "all things" in Greek. For example, everyone else also gave to the treasury, and so did the poor widow. Those who were crushed by the tower in Siloam were also Galileans, as were those to whom Jesus compared them. Peter was an apostle, and so were the other apostles. But how it would become clear from the context of Colossians 1:16 that Jesus is also a creature is not clear. It is the Watchtower Society that needs to smuggle this in: precisely with such a biased translation, for which there is no basis in the text. I would like to draw particular attention to Colossians 1:17, which states, "he is before all things, and by means of him all things were made to exist", - not "He became before all other things" etc. As, of course, John 1:1 and 1:3 also state: "In the beginning was the Word", and "All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." I am curious when the Watchtower will "rethink" this as a "New Light", of course only "logically": i.e., by inserting an "other" word after "everything" and "nothing" in their translation.

    The other loophole is that "everything" does not necessarily mean everything, and is based on the fact that in the said place, the reader is specifically told what "everything" Paul is talking about.

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim


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