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"The firstborn of all creation" is qualified in verse 18 to be "the firstborn from the dead". Frequently an apparently absolute declaration is limited in application. Consider the following examples in which "all" is clearly to be understood in a restricted sense:
- ". . . there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, thatall the world should be taxed." (Luke 2:1). The "all" refers to the Roman world, not the areas of South, Central and North America.
- "All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers . . ." (John 10:8). The "all" does not refer to John the Baptist and other prophets.
- See also Gen. 3:20 ("all living" did not include the beasts); Gen. 6:13 ("all flesh" did not include Noah and the creatures taken into the ark.)
The creation of which Christ is the first-born is the "creation" of new men and woman, and not the creation of light, dry land, etc. of Genesis. "Create" and "creation" are used of the work of Christ in this regenerative sense. Consider the following:
- "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10 cf. 4:23, 24).
- ". . . for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace." (Eph. 2:15).
- See also Col. 3:9, 10 R.S.V.; Gal. 6:15; James 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:17.
The inspired Apostle, employing the Old Testament background of the first-born, is ascribing to Christ his position, rank, and status in the divine purpose. The following is a summary of this background:
- The first-born succeeded his father as head. (2 Chron. 21:2, 3).
- He received a double portion of the inheritance. (Deut. 21:17).
- A younger son could be elevated to the position of first-born if there were personal unworthiness in the eldest. (1 Chron. 5:1).
Adam lost this privilege because of his personal unworthiness, but the last Adam became perfect, through things which he suffered, and inherited the "double portion". He became the "firstfruits of them that slept" - the "firstborn among many brethren" - "the head of the body, the church . . . that in all things he might have the preeminence." (Col. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:20; Rom. 8:29).
"Who is the image of the invisible God." This is an obvious allusion to Gen. 1:26, "Let us make man in our image". Christ who was "full of grace and truth" demonstrated that he was the "image of the invisible God" by his faithfulness to death. In him both earthly and heavenly creatures are "created" because in him they have a new function in the divine purpose. The angels who "minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1:14) have been instructed to pay him homage - "let the angels of God worship him." (Heb. 1:6).
Colossians 1, rather than supporting the trinitarian doctrine, is opposed to it. Consider the following:
- If Christ is the "image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15), then he is a replica, not the original.
- Christ is the "firstborn of every creature". (Col. 1:15). "Firstborn" implies a beginning, therefore Christ is not the "Eternal" Son of God of the trinitarians.
[Cited from the book "Wrested Scripture" by R.W. Abel]