Arianism. The ancient heresy that keeps coming back like an insidious weed in the theological garden of the Church. Rooted in the 4th century teachings of the arch-heretic, Arius, this toxic belief system thrives today in many forms, including in the theology of Jehovah’s Witnesses. These modern adherents, with remarkable audacity, pervert the Scriptures to advance a diminished Christ, rejecting His full divinity in a direct affront to not only the plain teaching of Scripture, but two millennia of Christian orthodoxy.
Among their favorite verses to distort is Colossians 1:15, which describes Christ as “the firstborn of all creation.” They brandish this verse like a trophy, arguing that “firstborn” of “creation” must mean “first created,” as if this single phrase could dismantle the bedrock of Christ’s divinity. This flagrant twisting and misunderstanding of this passage conveniently ignores the Scriptural context, in which “firstborn” is often used not to denote birth order but preeminence and special status.
So let’s rescue Colossians 1:15 from this quagmire of distortion by examining its rightful context. The Apostle Paul, far from casting a shadow on Christ’s divinity, is in fact laying down a monument to it. The verses that follow (16-17) could not be more clear: “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” This is not the language of mere creation or temporal existence—it is the vocabulary of eternal, unbounded, omnipotent Divinity.
To understand “firstborn” in Colossians 1:15 as denoting Christ’s rank and not his temporal origin is not merely a question of semantics—it is an exegetical necessity. “Firstborn” is not about a starting point in time but a position of supreme authority and distinction. And this isn’t just some linguistic quirk, it’s rooted in the Scriptures themselves. Take for instance Psalm 89:27, where David is referred to as the “firstborn,” the “highest of the kings of the earth.” David was neither the first king of Israel nor the eldest in his family, yet he’s called “firstborn” because of his special status and authority granted by God.
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Or consider the narrative of Esau and Jacob. Esau was technically the “firstborn” in terms of birth order, yet it was Jacob—the younger—who received the blessings and prominence commonly reserved for the firstborn (Genesis 25:23, Genesis 27). The term “firstborn” in Jewish tradition thus carries with it not merely birthright but the weight of authority and preeminence. Even in Exodus 4:22, Israel is called God’s “firstborn son,” not because Israel was the first nation God created, but because of their unique covenantal status among the nations.
So, when Paul uses the title “firstborn” for Christ in Colossians 1:15, he is drawing from this rich well of historical and Scriptural tradition. He isn’t clumsily suggesting that Christ was the first being that God created. No, he’s masterfully affirming that Christ holds the supreme position of authority over all of creation. Far from reducing Christ to a mere creature, Paul is elevating Him as the Lord of the cosmos, the one who, in essence and authority, ranks above all.
In the end, you can choose to twist the Scriptures into theological origami to make them fit a predetermined narrative. But to tear Colossians 1:15 from its rich doctrinal framework to argue that Christ is less than fully God is not only intellectually dishonest, it is spiritually suicidal. Here’s the plain truth, a Christ who is not fully God is a false Christ, a mirage incapable of offering eternal salvation. Only the Christ who is the preeminent Lord over all creation, fully God and fully man, is worthy of our worship and devotion.