Jehova's Witnesses: Jesus is first born of creation.

Recently, instead of telling them I am a practicing, devoted Catholic and then excusing myself, I decided to have a discussion with some JWs who knocked on my door. We quickly got onto the subject of the divinity of Christ. I pointed out that Thomas, after putting his finger in Jesus’ hand and his hand in Jesus’ side said “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28) and that scripture spells God with a capital “G” in this verse which implies that Jesus is God and equal to the Father. They didn’t have a come-back to this, but they did quote Colossians 1:15 which indicates that Jesus is the “first born over all creation”. With this passage they claimed that while Jesus was the “first born” he was indeed a part of creation and therefore could not be equal to God the Father. I didn’t have a response to this and am interested in how some of you would have responded.

A good book to read and study is Nuts and Bolts by Tim Staples. He goes through all the different passages that you can share with the different well meaning missionaries who come to your home.

I think it is wonderful that you invite them into your home. Above all Charity! God Bless

As I understand it, the term “firstborn” is also a title, meaning one who is pre-eminent. It does not nessesarily mean that the person is the first born in chronological order. In the case of Jesus, it is not chronologically born, but as having authority over all creation.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses will also say that Jesus as first created being was Michael the archangel, and that it wasn’t God who created everything, but Jesus/Michael as God’s “master worker.”

Joelk314,

That particular argument sounds the same with Arianism which was condemned at the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. That’s their rallying point to deny the Divinity of Christ. Since that particular passage refer to Christ as “the firstborn of all creation”, they come to a conclusion that Christ was created first. Erroneous and blasphemous!

The Greek word for “first-born” is “prototokos” which means eternal preexistence (it never means created). There are passages in the Bible that also refers to Israel as God’s “firstborn.” Does this mean that Israel came to be before other kingdoms on earth? Certainly not, since there are other kingdoms that existed prior to Israel, (like Egypt for example). It only means that Israel holds the highest place before God.

Pio

[quote=hlgomez]Joelk314,

The Greek word for “first-born” is “prototokos” which means eternal preexistence (it never means created). There are passages in the Bible that also refers to Israel as God’s “firstborn.” Does this mean that Israel came to be before other kingdoms on earth? Certainly not, since there are other kingdoms that existed prior to Israel, (like Egypt for example). It only means that Israel holds the highest place before God.

Pio
[/quote]

Seriously? I didn’t know that…

Thank you so much for that post. It’s going to come in SOOOOOO handy.

~mango~

Mango,

don’t misinterpret what i said…:wink: it just means that Israel gains more favor before God than the other nations in the OT, and He calls them “His own people.”

Pio

Thanks, all of you. Your posts are very helpful. I will try to check out Nuts and Bolts.

Joel

[quote=hlgomez]Mango,

don’t misinterpret what i said…:wink: it just means that Israel gains more favor before God than the other nations in the OT, and He calls them “His own people.”

Pio
[/quote]

What I mean is that it will be VERY helpful in some Trinity arguments/discussions I’ve been in. That was one verse that I couldn’t ever figure out (the whole first-born thing).

~mango~

Paul wrote, I believe in Galations, that all things were made through Christ. JW’s add the word “other” here. As in, all “other” things were made through Christ. They have to add to the bible to support their beliefs. Also, in John 1, where it says, “and the Word was God.” They claim it says, “and the word was a god.” Yet they believe in only one God. Go figure.

Actually, the term prototokos is a fairly complex one, and context is very important in determining how one should view it’s use in a given verse of scripture. For instance, in Luke 2:7 there is no question that prototokov (accusative form) refers to Jesus as Mary’s firstborn child. However, Col. 1:15 is a bit more complex. Wihelm Michaelis in his entry on prototokos in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament has the following to say:

The description of Christ a prototokos pasEs ktiseos in Col. 1:15 obviously finds in the hoti clause of v. 16 its more precise basis and explanation: Christ is the Mediator at creation to whom all creatures without exception owe their creation…Hence *prototokos pasEs ktiseos *does not simply denote the priority of time of the pre-existent Lord. If the expression refers to mediation of creation through Christ, it cannot be saying at the same time that He was created as the first creature. The decisive objection to this view, which sees in the pasE ktiseos a partitive genitive, is that it would demand emphasis on the –tokos, whereas with the exception of Lk. 2:7 which refers to literal birth, the –tokos is never emphasized in the NT in passages which speak of Christ, especially Col. 1:18…What is meant is the unique supremacy of Christ over all creatures as the Mediator of their creation. (Vol. VI. Pp. 878, 879.)

Grace and peace,

Aug

Ps. 89:27 “I will make him my firstborn.” Obviously refers to rank rather than “birth order.”

I found out and learned that the J.W. used their own Bible. The Watchtower Society Bible. Becareful when debating with them using your own Bible. Read up on them and Catholic Aswers has a good tract on talking to a J.W.

Andyz

Col. 1:15, along with Rev 3:14, typically form the basis for the “creation of Jesus” argument. The JW’s will at times also use Proverbs 8.

The exegesis of prototokos has been dealt with sufficiently in previous posts, just keep in mind that the Greek for first created is a completely different word, *protokistos. *

Also, as interpreted by the JW’s, the context of Col. 1:15 forces them to actually alter their translation of the Bible. They insert the word ‘other’ four times! The New World Translation reads, “…All [other] things have been created through him…” etc. They actually have to add ‘other’ to their translation because if Jesus created everything, he could not be created himself!

John

The best way to refute the JW’s belief on Jesus is to understand the nature of Christ. It’s very obvious that they are either confused or misinterpreted the Holy Bible.

One of their arguments say, "how can He (Jesus) be God when He says that ‘the Father is greater than I’? Well, it’s simple, in His humanity the Father is greater than Jesus, in His Divinity, He is equal to the Father (“the Father and I are one,” making Himself equal to God). They will also say, “if Jesus is God, why did He die? Certainly God will not die!” Again, greatly misunderstood. Jesus died in His human nature alone, not His Divinity.

There is also a passage in Rev. that says that “Jesus will come… with the voice of an archangel,” and then apply it to Jesus as an archangel:eek: . Well, it’s erroneous and misinterpreted. Further, it doesn’t say who that archangel was, and they refer it to Michael–but the Bible doesn’t even say it’s Michael. They are just guessing. Also, in the book of Rev. it always refer to Jesus as the “Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”. No one can claim this title except God Himself!

Now, in Proverbs 8, it refers to Wisdom being with God in the beginning, and JW will use it to refer to Jesus. Simple logic: if Wisdom came to be before God the Father, can we say that there was a time when God the Father didn’t have Wisdom? Of course not! God didn’t lack nothing from eternity to eternity! This was one of the greatest antidote to the heresy of Arius during the Council of Nicaea.

Pio

Thank you all. I realize they did use the word “other” when they read Col. 1:15 to me, and that’s why I was so baffled. When I created this thread (about 3 weeks after my encounter with them) I looked up Col. 1:15 in my bible and of course the word “other” is not there. That’s what I quoted in my original post. Your responses are very helpful and it has also been helpful to read some of the other threads and links to JW info. I can see I need to be a little more prepared next time, but there is a lot of info. available. Thanks

Joel

You’re very much welcome, Joel. God Bless and pray for those JW members who knocks on your door. And remember, talk to them with full of charity, even though they may at times attack the Catholic Church.

Personally, I encountered these kind of people before back in the Philippines. At first they were furious and hands me over stuff that attaks our faith. I responded with great calm and charity, and then they too calmed down, thanks to God’s grace. If they start talking against the Church, start talking about love. They will be amazed, I tell you, and you will plant seeds of love in their hearts. :slight_smile:

Pio

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