“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15 NET).
In Colossians 1:15 we’re told that Jesus “…is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Unfortunately, some non-Christian religious organizations have elected to co-opt the term “firstborn” in attempting to “prove” that Jesus was a created being and not God. The problem with this idea is that the word “firstborn” does not necessarily mean “born first.”
You see, the word “firstborn” can signify priority in time (as in “He arrived at the finish line before everyone else“). It can also be used to designate positional supremacy. For instance, the word firstborn can be used to identify a person who holds a superior rank, just as a military Captain outranks a Private, Corporal, or Sergeant. We can find a Biblical expression of this concept in the role of the firstborn son, a person who traditionally held a position of supremacy among his siblings.
Each of these concepts are valid in relation to Christ. As God, Jesus existed before any created being and is therefore greater then any created being. In addition, the Son of God and firstborn over all creation holds a position of authority and superiority along with all the rights and privileges associated with that position. So Colossians 1:15 does not serve as a reference to Jesus as a created being; instead, this passage speaks of Jesus’ supremacy and preeminence over everything.
We’ll examine the word firstborn in greater detail in our next study but for now, let’s consider a few Scriptures that clearly identify Jesus as God…
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14 NIV, emphasis added).
“‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ (John 8:58 NIV compare with Exodus 3:14).
“…while we wait for the blessed hope– the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ…” (Titus 2:13 NIV).
“Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours…” (2 Pet 1:1 NIV).
“‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’– which means, ‘God with us'” (Matthew 1:23 NIV).