verse 15 was intended to mean that Christ was firstborn in the sense that he was the first of many (i.e. priority in time), then quite clearly all other things were created by him, as he did not create himself.
The presence of hoti at the beginning of v. 16 is the chief problem (aside from lexical matters) of interpreting Jesus as potentially a member of the set of pasés ktiseós "all creation" in v. 15, as its "first" member. The logical connection is bizarre by your interpretation....Jesus was the first creature because all other things were created in him? The panta and pasin of v. 16-18 also clearly exclude him from their set, and for the sake of consistency it would be best to treat the "all" in v. 15 similarly.
Michael Moore could have done a better job than those clowns did at misrepresenting the Bible. Perhaps his grandad was on the committee? Shoulda been.
The presence of hoti at the beginning of v. 16 is the chief problem (aside from lexical matters) of interpreting Jesus as potentially a member of the set of pasés ktiseós "all creation" in v. 15, as its "first" member.
Leolaia, you're right. You know, you read a scripture a thousand times...and then someone comes along and reads it with a slightly different emphasis and you wonder how you ever missed it. Now, I may well recant my conversion tomorrow but right now I can see this scripture does not teach Jesus is part of the set of those created by him. Thanks for expressing it so clearly.
Nevertheless, my general argument stands that it is helpful to have a translation without the trinitarian bias so evident in the KJV and its successors.
I tend to be long-winded, but on occasion I can be concise.
As you may know, the 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".
On edit: I forgot to mention that rather than being a partitive genitive, pasés ktiseós may be treated as a genitive of subordination (cf. Basics of New Testament Syntax, pp. 54-55), along the lines of the genitive in Matthew 9:34 and Mark 15:32. There is an excellent example involving prótotokos "firstborn" in Revelation 1:5, where prótotokos is paralleled with arkhón "ruler" as a noun that lexically implies some kind of rule or authority: "Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the firstborn of the dead (prótotokos tón nekrón), and the ruler of the kings of the earth (arkhón tón basileón tés gés)". The symmetry would most naturally have both clauses as genitives of subordination, with "firstborn of the dead" indicating Jesus' preeminence in the resurrection over "the dead [ones]". Finally, we may also note that Revelation 1:5 shows some affinity with Psalm 89:27 (LXX), in which David is said to be "firstborn (prótotokos) higher than the kings of the earth (para tois basileusin tés gés)", and this is a good text of prótotokos being used without a sense of generation or origin -- as David here is being adopted through kingly anointing as God's "firstborn". Thus prótotokos is used to indicate David's preeminence over the kings of the earth. This Davidic concept may explain why prótotokos is employed as a Messianic title -- like David, Jesus is "firstborn" as king, but not just over the kings of the earth but over "all of creation". Finally, taking prótotokos as the head of a genitive of subordination also fits very well with the context of v. 16-18 where Christ has supremacy over everything, including "thrones, powers, rulers, and authorities" which are subject to him (v. 16).
Earnest; verse 15 was intended to mean that Christ was firstborn in the sense that he was the first of many (i.e. priority in time), then quite clearly all other things were created by him, as he did not create himself
Are you implying then, that the NAS, KJV etc..contradicts itself by not having [other] in v16?
I dont want to debate trinity values, however the NWT is quite clear in John 1:3 "and apart from him not one thing came into existence. What has come into existence."
What do you mean, Christ was the first of many, many what? Firstborn does not mean first created exculsively.
Would not Paul choose to use one of the two Greek words for "other": allos which means another of the same kind; and heteros which means another of a different kind? I believe Paul could have shown that Jesus was another "created being" if that where the case.
ellderwho.....No, it would have been unnecessary for Paul to specify "other" with an extra word like allos. There are many cases in the NT of pas "all" that includes an already-specified member of set; I refer you to Matthew 13:32, 26:35; Luke 3:19, 11:42, 13:2, 4; Acts 5:29; 1 Corinthians 6:18, 15:27, and so forth. Let me quote one example for the sake of argument:
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint (héduosmon), rue (péganon), and all [other] kinds (pan lakhanon) of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God" (Luke 11:42).
So the problem isn't necessarily that an unmodified pas "all" is used in v. 16-18. The real problem is that in the NWT rendering, pas would include Jesus in v. 15 but exclude him in v. 16-18. That is, in the above example, mint and rue are included in the set of "garden herbs," pan occurs to complete the set. But in Colossians 1:15, if we would treat "firstborn of all creation" as a partitive (as the NWT does, in order to justify adding "[other]"), pasés would include Jesus within the set of "all creation" and then suddenly, inexplicably, panta excludes him from the set in v. 16-18. Panta in v. 16-18 does not complete a set that already includes Jesus; rather, the JW interpretation would require it to denote a new set that excludes him. This is the problem the NWT creates by adding "[other]". No such problem exists by taking pasés ktiseós "of all creation" as a genitive of subordination -- as pas would refer to the same set in both v. 15 and v. 16-18.
BTW, I just did a search in the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae to see if I could find any other attestations of prótotokos with a genitive pasés, and all occurrences seem to be variations on the Colossians text....but I found this revealing use of the expression in Justin Martyr (c. 150 AD) who was one of the first to interpret Paul's prótotokos pasés ktiseós "firstborn of all creation":
"For righteous Noah, along with the other mortals at the Flood (that is, his wife and three sons and their wives, being eight in number) were a symbol of the eighth day, wherein Christ appeared when he rose from the dead, forever the first in power (dunamei d'aei prótés). For Christ, being the firstborn of all creation (prótotokos pasés ktiseós), became again the chief of another race (arkhé palin allou genous) regenerated by himself through water, and faith, and wood, containing the mystery of the cross; even as Noah was saved by wood when he rode over the waters with his household" (Justin Martyr, Dialogue 138.2.2).
The comparison with Noah is interesting; just as Noah was the progenitor of all mankind after the Flood and was himself saved, so was Jesus -- as the redeemer -- the one who makes possible the resurrection and was himself resurrected. Since it is Jesus' death that makes future redemption possible, Jesus stands as the "chief of another race," and this expression is paralleled with "firstborn on all creation". This is the earliest known interpretation of Colossians 1:15 and interestingly Justin interprets the expression in light of the similar "firstborn from the dead" in v. 18, making Christ ruler over creation, being "first in power" in his glorification after his resurrection. This is also the sense of v. 18-21 of Colossians 1, with his resurrection occurring "so that (hina) in everything he might have supremacy (próteuón)", and "his blood on the cross" enabling him to "reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven".
Leolaia....brilliant work as usual You certainly have a mind I'm sure many envy.
As a side note....as I was tripping out on the Colosian verses concerning the defintion of Jesus the godman, I couldn't help of think about....why the jews were not content with Jehovah had he been high on their list in their monoistic belief structure. Why did the jews who supposedly worshipped Yahweh, sacreligiously adopt a messiah to deify in Yahweh's place?
Evidently their faith was weak since the jews converted to christianity and gave their attention to Christ over his daddy. Yes Jews today still worship their O.T. god, yet the christians grew in numbers like the Rutherferdites, over the Russelites.
( my spelling is horrid...I know)
Leolaia, Thank you.
My point to Earnest would be that the NWT by having [other] in Col. 1:16, leads the reader to believe that Jesus created certain things, and he himself was created at some point.
IMHO the NWT grossly presents the above verse, while the KJ leaves the text to the reader.
Leolaia, thanks for the additional research on this passage.
Leolaia : ...we may also note that Revelation 1:5 shows some affinity with Psalm 89:27 (LXX), in which David is said to be "firstborn (prótotokos) higher than the kings of the earth (para tois basileusin tés gés)", and this is a good text of prótotokos being used without a sense of generation or origin -- as David here is being adopted through kingly anointing as God's "firstborn". Thus prótotokos is used to indicate David's preeminence over the kings of the earth. This Davidic concept may explain why prótotokos is employed as a Messianic title -- like David, Jesus is "firstborn" as king, but not just over the kings of the earth but over "all of creation".
Interestingly, A New English Translation of the Septuagint, by Pietersma, translates Psalm 89:27 (LXX) as "I will make him the firstborn, high among the kings of the earth". So although prototokos is used to indicate David's preeminence over the kings of the earth, this does not in itself suggest that David is not himself a king of the earth, which Pietersma's translation states explicitly. Surely this is also true in Colossians.
ellderwho : What do you mean, Christ was the first of many, many what? Firstborn does not mean first created exculsively.
If "firstborn" is used in the context of "firstborn son" then clearly he is the first of many (or at least two) sons. This isn't rocket science.
ellderwho : I dont want to debate trinity values, however...
My point in connection with this thread is that it is helpful to have a translation without the trinitarian bias so evident in the KJV and its successors. If you don't agree you must either argue that the KJV and its successors do not have a trinitarian bias, or that the NWT also has a trinitarian bias. Otherwise, it remains true that the NWT widens our scope of understanding with a translation unconstrained by trinitarian dogma.