Creator Christ

A couple of weeks ago Becky met with a pair of Jehovah’s Witness ladies in the Kingdom Hall. (She has met with these ladies for close to two years.) They were going through a passage (Colossians 1:16-17) in the JW’s own New World Translation of the Bible that is notorious for inserting one word four times in order to completely change the meaning of the passage. The New American Standard translation of the Bible translates this passage as follows.

16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.
17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Now here is the New World Translation.

16 because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him.
17 Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exist,

Notice any differences? The word “other” appears four times in brackets. This passage is speaking about Jesus, and as the N.A.S. points out, all things have been created by Him. If Jesus is the Creator, then that means that He is Deity. Since JW’s believe that Jesus is the first creation, they have inserted the word “other” in an attempt to make Jesus look like a created being. In other words, he didn’t create all things, he created all other things. Jehovah God created Jesus, who then created everything else.

Becky was quick to point out that the word “other” does not appear in her New International Version of the Bible. Not only that, she showed the two JW ladies that the word “other” does not appear in the Greek either. Last year one of the ladies gave Becky a Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the New Testament. This is the Watchtower’s own publication which has the word for word Greek on the left side of the page and then the NWT on the right side. Becky brings this book with her every week and has found it to be very helpful.

Once the ladies saw that the word “other” is not in the original language, they tried to explain that it didn’t make any difference. The word is inserted for clarification, but even if the NWT did not include the word, the passage still has the same meaning. Becky had an idea and decided to see if the ladies really meant that.

Becky wrote on a sheet of paper, “By means of him all things were created,” and then asked,

“If this sentence was written about Jehovah, what would it mean?”

JWs- It would mean that Jehovah created all things.

Becky- All things? You mean that this would say that everything that
was ever created would have been created by Jehovah?

JWs- That is right.

Becky- Would it leave any room for even one thing to be created by someone
else?

JWs- No, it wouldn’t. If the Bible says that Jehovah created all things, then no one else created anything.

Becky- Then why does the meaning change when this sentence is applied to
Jesus?

The ladies were so caught up in defending Jehovah’s right to creation that they failed to remember that Colossians chapter one attributes the creation, all of creation, to Jesus. If you take the word “other” out of the text, Jesus is revealed as the Creator Christ.

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73 Comments

  1. You’re correct that the NIV does not put “other” in the text at Colossians 1:16,17, but it does elsewhere. For example:Matthew 26:35 NIV”But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the other disciples said the same.”The Greek text has no word here for “other,” so why does the NIV use it? Because based on the context it is legitimately implied part of the Greek word for “all.” Peter, an apostle, is mentioned first and then all the [other] apostles. The NIV translators used the same reasoning for these verses:Luke 11:42 NIV”Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.”Luke 13:2 NIV”Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?'”So using ‘all other’ where only ‘all’ appears in the Greek is not wrong if the translators decide the context demands it. But what about Colossians 1:16,17? Why did the NWT translators choose to use the implied “other” there?Such a choice was made because of what was said in verse 15, which refers to Jesus as “the firstborn of all creation.” Of course, this is a christologically-significant passage, and much debate has been made over it. But one fact cannot be disputed. Whenever the Bible refers to a “firstborn” followed by a genitival construction, in this case “of creation,” the “firstborn” is always, without exception, a part of the group in which he is “firstborn.” So it can be properly reasoned that if Jesus is “of creation,” then of course it was “all [other] things” that were created “by means of him.”TJ

  2. Sorry TJ, I don’t know Greek, but I do know that your interpretation is not consistent with John 1:3. The NWT says, “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.””Not even one thing” would include Himself wouldn’t it?

  3. Hi Keith,We are getting away from strictly translational issues and getting into theology, which is fine, but my primary purpose for posting was to show that the NWT gives an honest rendering of the Greek text at Colossians 1:16,17. You are free to prefer a translation that does not use the word “other” there, based on your larger interpretation of the Bible, but that doesn’t mean that the NWT’s rendering is necessarily wrong or invalid from a translational point of view.Now, with respect to John 1:3, you said, “‘Not even one thing’ would include Himself wouldn’t it?”John begins his gospel mentioning the existence of two persons, Jesus and his Father. The point of verse 3 is to describe the role Jesus had in creation. “All things came into existence through him, and apart from him not even one thing came into existence.”I would think it was obvious that both Jesus and his Father are exempt from the “all things” mentioned there, since he was already around at that point. Bible writers would assume their audience would grasp these exemptions when they said “all” or “all things” (see 1 Cor. 15:27). 1 Corinthians 8:6 gives us more insight into the Father and Son’s respective roles in creation.1 Corinthians 8:6 NIV”there is actually to us one God the Father, out of whom all things are, and we for him; and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him.”So the Father is the source of creation, whereas Jesus is the agent of creation.Proverbs 8:22-31, a passage that has been understood to be describing Jesus even by ancient Trinitarians, says, “Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way” and “Before the mountains themselves had been settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labor pains.” What did Jesus, here called “Wisdom” (compare 1 Cor. 1:24,30), do once he was born? It says, “then I came to be beside [Jehovah] as a master worker.”So based on these and other verses we can determine that Jesus was created by Jehovah, his Father, directly, and then Jesus, working under his Father as his agent, created everything else. That accounts for why it is said that everything was made “through” him. This also accounts for Jesus being called God’s “only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) God has many sons, but only Jesus was his direct creation.TJ

  4. I just realized I accidently attributed my quote of 1 Corinthians 8:6 to the NIV, when it was actually from the NWT. The difference between the two is negligible though.Sorry about that.TJ

  5. TJ,Can you please explain to me the Jehovah’s Witness view of creation? Did Jesus actually create anything? If you want you can contact me or we can continue here.

  6. Hi Jeff,What I have described above should satisfactorily answer what Jehovah’s Witnesses’ view of creation is. I assume that you are looking for a more technical answer, but my purpose here is to focus on the issues directly relating to Colossians 1:16,17 and whether or not “all [other]” is a valid rendering according to both principles of translation and theology.TJ

  7. TJ,I apologize, I did not catch this at first “and then Jesus, working under his Father as his agent, created everything else.”Just to clarify, Jesus did create? Did he create ex Nihio (out of nothing)?

  8. TJ, the point I that Keith made I believe was translational not theological. That is, the justification for no insertion of the word “other” is based upon the context of what is said about the Christ in the whole of the NT scriptures. And for reference the Johanine text states that he created “ALL Things.” You would think that is the NWT translators would insert the word other into the text at Collossians than they would do so here in the gospel of John as well? But this is problematic with the Johanine text because it also add that ‘not one thing apart from Him came into existence.’ So when translators consider how Collossians is to be worded it is in context with what the whole of scripture says about Christ and his act as Creator. Heb. 7:3 and John 1:3 comes to mind that describe him as the NWT agrees as creator of “ALL THING” not “all [other] things” and “without beginning of days.”(Heb. 7:3)In Him,GusP.S. “Context is King”

  9. Hi Gus,You said, “the point I that Keith made I believe was translational not theological. That is, the justification for no insertion of the word ‘other’ is based upon the context of what is said about the Christ in the whole of the NT scriptures.”But I would argue that this is where an individual’s theology comes into play. Likely we both read “what is said about the Christ in the whole of the NT scriptures” and come to vastly different conclusions. In the case of Colossians 1:16,17, the verses in question, I attempted to show what, from a strictly translational point of view, in the immediate context likely caused the translators to make explicit what was implicit in the Greek word for “all.” The rendition found in the NWT is a perfectly valid one, and if they had wanted to, it would not have even been necessary for them to put “other” in brackets, just as the NIV didn’t where it ‘added’ “other” elsewhere. That being said, Keith certainly was not wrong to bring up an outside scripture he felt conflicted with this.You said, “And for reference the Johanine text states that he created ‘ALL Things.’ … Heb. 7:3 and John 1:3 comes to mind that describe him as the NWT agrees as creator of ‘ALL THING’ not ‘all [other] things’ and ‘without beginning of days.'(Heb. 7:3)Like I’ve been saying, it’s up to the translator’s discretion whether or not he should make an implicit meaining in the Greek explicit in English. He should take into account how the English will perceived in its individual context. Evidently the NWT translators’ felt that it was necessary to do this at Colossians 1:16,17.But even in the case of John 1:3, did Jesus create “all things” with no exceptions? Of course not, not even you believe that. We were told that Jesus and his Father were already in existence. So it should be obvious that “all things” are from that point in time forward.Take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:27, “For {God} ‘subjected all things under [Jesus’] feet.'” We can compare this statement with what is said at John 1:3, “All things came into existence through him.” Does the former verse necessarily mean that Jesus is not subjected to anyone? Does the latter verse necessarliy mean Jesus was never created? No on both counts.1 Corinthians 15:27 continues, “But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him.” So this Bible writer expected his audience to grasp the ‘evident exception’ when he wrote “all things.”In a similar way, we have many statements in Scripture that tell us Jesus is not only created, but the first (and only direct) creation by God; the rest of creation, i.e. “all things,” were then created through him. One of these statements is found in Colossians 1:15, which would be the cause for the addition of “other” in the NWT. I have already listed at least two others which haven’t been dealt with, so I will leave it at that for now. But this is where we would be discussing our interpretation of the Bible as a whole, not the specific translational issues bearing on Colossians 1:16,17.TJ

  10. TJ,I’m curious what your credentials are regarding Greek. When you say, “But one fact cannot be disputed. Whenever the Bible refers to a ‘firstborn’ followed by a genitival construction, in this case ‘of creation,’ the ‘firstborn’ is always, without exception, a part of the group in which he is ‘firstborn,'” Do you have any references for this rule from Greek scholars?As I mentioned before, I do not know Greek, but I can use tools to help me understand the language and your argument better. I don’t have the time to do it now, but I will produce some information from those who know Greek that disputes your “undisputed” claim. I’ll give you a hint. Ever hear of Spiros Zodhiates?

  11. In 1950 the JW Watchtower Society was dishonest in that they did NOT put brackets around the word “other”. Which made the text look as if it was actually translated directly from the Greek manuscripts to read that way.But evangelical scholars exposed this dishonesty and pressured the Organization to putting the brackets in in their 1961 editions of this perversion of supposed “most acurate translation” A great resource to read is “reasoning from the Scriptures with the J.W.s” by Ron Rhodes. Not only will you be able to confront the cultist you will also be able to defend true orthidox christianity. If you have any questions you can e-mail me at randallwblackwell@yahoo.com and I will try my best to answer. Thanks

  12. Randall said, “In 1950 the JW Watchtower Society was dishonest in that they did NOT put brackets around the word ‘other’. Which made the text look as if it was actually translated directly from the Greek manuscripts to read that way.”Like I said before, it is in no way dishonest to use the word “other” with the Greek word for “all” when the context demands it. To say it is shows an ignorance of how translating works, as if it requires a one-to-one correspondence (one Greek word must be translated with one English word).The NIV does not use brackets were it ‘adds’ the word “other,” so you would make the same claim that the NIV translators are dishonest, correct? Or do they get a free pass because it does not affect your preconceived theology?TJ

  13. Hi Keith,You said, “I’m curious what your credentials are regarding Greek.”None. 🙂 But that has no affect on the truth of my arguments. (Mat. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:27)”Do you have any references for this rule from Greek scholars?”Well, it’s not a rule, but a fact really. Look for yourself, it doesn’t require you to know Hebrew or Greek, just plain common sense.Who is the “firstborn among beasts,” a human? No, a beast. (Lev. 27:26) Who is the “firstborn of Israel,” i.e. Jacob? It’s one of Israel/Jacob’s sons. (1 Ch. 5:1) Who is the “firstborn of Pharaoh?” One of Pharaoh’s sons. (Ex. 11:5) What is the “firstborn of death?” One of the most death-dealing diseases. (Job 18:13) Who is the “firstborn among many brothers?” Is he not himself a brother? (Rom. 8:29) Do you see a pattern here?”As I mentioned before, I do not know Greek, but I can use tools to help me understand the language and your argument better. I don’t have the time to do it now, but I will produce some information from those who know Greek that disputes your ‘undisputed’ claim. I’ll give you a hint. Ever hear of Spiros Zodhiates?”That’s great that you’re taking the time to learn some of the aspects of Greek, and yes, I have heard of Spiros Zodhiates. But I would just caution one thing. Don’t make the mistake of learning the background issues for the purpose of backing up what you already believe. Learn with objectivity, and base your beliefs on that accordingly.Have a great day.TJ

  14. TJ,You have not answered my questions above. Why don’t you come over to the Unchained Radio forms and discuss these things with me.

  15. Hi Jeff,I have not answered you further because we are discussing Colossians 1:16,17 here and not creation ex nihilo. And I don’t feel it’s necessary to start a new discussion with you because our last discussion on the ScripturalTruths DB ended with you leaving the discussion without bothering to answer me.Take care,TJ

  16. TJMost JWs like to go to Luke 13:2 to prove their point on the word “other”. Which to be frank, it doesnt change the meaning of the text so I dont have a problem with it. Now TJ does the NIV use the word other in Colossians 1:16,17? I dont know cause I dont read that translation. However the insertion of the word other 4 times in this text rather changes entirely the meaning of the text. When you study the bible it is supposed to convict you and make U change. Not CHANGE the bible to fit a heretic arian viewpoint. But since I figure you must not believe me check this out. Pull out your Watchtowers own Greek interlinear version of the Bible and look at the word used there. “panta” which means “all” things and not “all other” things.But despite this the Watchtower continues today to deceive people by inserting the word other into the text in the NWT.Thanks for your time,Randall

  17. jeff,To the best of my knowledge the JWs or the Watchtower claim that Christ played a “junior partner” role in the creation since the New Testement says that God made the world through (Greek: dia)Christ. They believe that Christ was created first, then Jehovah used his “firstborn” creation to create.This is why it is so important in their Bible to insert the word other into Colossians 1:16,17. But here is the problem.First, while it is true that the Greek word dia is used several times of Christ’s role as Creator of the universe(John 1:3,Colossians 1:16,…) the word dia CANNOT be taken to mean a secondary or lesser role.The New Testement teaches that the world was created through Christ, it also teaches that the world was created through the Father. And what I mean by this is what are we to conclude about Jehovah when Romans11:36 and Hebrews 2:10 say the universe was created through dia Jehovah… Jehovah says in Isaiah 44:24, I the Lord, am the MAKER OF ALL THINGS, stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, and spreading out the earth ALL ALONE. How do they reconcile this with the Watchtower teaching that Jehovah first created Christ and then Christ created everything else? Maybe TJ can answer that one for us.I hope this helpsIn his service,Randall

  18. Hi Randall,Again you have shown that you do not fully understand what is involved in the translation process. The NWT translators did not improperly “insert” the word “other” into the text, they felt that it was implied in the Greek text and simply made it explicit in the English rendering. This technique is proper translating and is done in every Bible translation that you will find, every single one. Interlinears are not full translations, so they will not necessarily bring out all of these implied elements.Again, the NWT translators evidently felt that “other” was implied because of what is said in the preceding verse, namely that Jesus is “of creation” himself. Here is what Jason BeDuhn, a Greek scholar, has said about Colossians 1:15-20:”It is a tricky passage where every translation does and must ‘add words.’ The KJV and NASB use italics to mark words added for understanding, to make what is implicit in the original Greek explicit in English. The NW[T] uses brackets to indicate the same thing. But readers of the other major translations probably think that every word they read in their Bibles actually corresponds to words explicit in the Greek text. They are wrong to think that.”He continues:”the NW[T] is attacked for adding the innocuous ‘other’ in a way that clearly indicates its character as an addition of the translators. Why is that so? The reason is that many readers apparently want the passage to mean what the NIV and TEV try to make it mean. That is, they don’t want to accept the obvious and clear sense of ‘first-born of creation’ as indentifying Jesus as ‘of creation.’ ‘Other’ is obnoxious to them because it draws attention to the fact the Jesus is ‘of creation’ and so when Jesus acts with respect to ‘all things’ he is actually acting with respect to ‘all other things.’ But the NW[T] is correct.”You said, “Most JWs like to go to Luke 13:2 to prove their point on the word ‘other’. Which to be frank, it doesnt change the meaning of the text so I dont have a problem with it.”So I was correct in guessing before that you consider this proper translating practice “dishonest” only when it affects your preconceived beliefs of what the meaning of a text is. How can you know the meaning of the text before you have dealt with its proper translation? You can’t just say that a translation is “dishonest” because it doesn’t agree with what you think it should say to begin with. That’s circular reasoning.You said, “When you study the bible it is supposed to convict you and make U change. Not CHANGE the bible to fit a heretic arian viewpoint.”I absolutely agree that we should translate the Bible properly, taking into consideration the context (especially the immediate context), and then fit our beliefs to what it says. Everyone, not just Jehovah’s Witnesses, should be very careful to not make the Bible say what they want it to say. With that in mind, how do you understand the verse immediately preceding verses 16 and 17, where Jesus is called “the firstborn of creation?” What is the most simple and straightforward understanding of this description? Does it say something we don’t want it to say, and so we try to stretch it to hold some kind of special meaning not used elsewhere? I’ll let you come to your own conclusions on that.I think the NWT translators allowed the full meaning of the text at Colossians 1:16,17 to shine through in their English rendering. Still, do I have a problem with a translation that does not use “other” in these verses. No! This does not change my understanding of the passage; the only thing “other” does, as BeDuhn pointed out above, is ‘draw attention to the fact the Jesus is “of creation.”‘ In other words, it makes it easier to understand, which is the whole point of adding implied words.TJ

  19. Hi again Randall,I would like to add this bit of reasoning. You had said, “Most JWs like to go to Luke 13:2 to prove their point on the word ‘other’. Which to be frank, it doesnt change the meaning of the text so I dont have a problem with it.”Let’s take a look at this verse again.Luke 13:2 NIV”Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?'”You say that the addition of the word “other” here “doesnt change the meaning of the text so I dont have a problem with it.” This is actually the same conclusion I have come to, after studying the underlying translating principles carefully, both here and with respect to Colossians 1:16,17 as I said in my last post. It doesn’t really matter to me if “other” is included or not.If the NIV had left out the word “other” in that verse, do you think anyone would seriously argue that “these Galileans,” that Jesus first referred to, were not Galileans because Jesus then mentioned them separate from “all the Galileans?” Of course not, he said that they were Galileans, so we can be sure that “all the Galileans” means “all the [other] Galileans.”Similarly, what if the NIV left out the implied word “other” in Matthew 26:35, making it say:”But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the disciples said the same.”Would anyone argue that Peter is not a disciple because “all the disciples” are mentioned separate from him? Again, that would be silly. We would explain to that person that they are understanding “all” in much too absolute terms. It clearly means “all the [other] disciples.” But this is what you are arguing at Colossians 1:16,17.Just because “the firstborn of creation” is mentioned separately from “all things” of creation does not mean that he is not a member of creation himself, no more than Peter was excluded as a disciple because he is mentioned apart from “all the disciples.”I hope this point will be considered carefully.TJ

  20. TB stated And I don’t feel it’s necessary to start a new discussion with you because our last discussion on the ScripturalTruths DB ended with you leaving the discussion without bothering to answer me.Well, since you are anonymous, I don’t know that I didn’t bother to answer you. But, that’s Ok. You’ve already admitted above, that Christ did create.

  21. Well, since you are anonymous, I don’t know that I didn’t bother to answer you. But, that’s Ok. You’ve already admitted above, that Christ did create.In every post here, I have signed off with “TJ,” and you even called me TJ, three times. Apparently that makes me anonymous? Okay.I don’t think we have anything more to discuss.Take care,TJ

  22. TJ,The only reason that I have a problem with the way the NWT translates Colossians 1:16,17 is because it CHANGES the meaning of the text. I believe that Christ is a person of the Trinity. A person of deity. God. Jehovah. Your Bible is the only one I have read that puts the word “other” into that verse. Not once but 4 times. The biggest problem I have with the NWT is that, well I take salvation very seriously. I want to make sure that the mere men that are translating my Bible have proper credentials and can prove to me that they understand what they are doing. How ever the JWs are trying to tell me, their members, and many unbelieving people to just accept what we have written. The translators have “choosen” to remain anonymous and humble. Giving God the credit and glory for this translation. Because they don’t want to what?Logically I cannot accept this. What are they hiding? Mabey they have Changed the original.scriptures to fit their heritic doctrines. Or TJ can I ask you another thing? Do you think it was embarrassing when the names of the translators became public? Four of the five men in the committee had no Hebrew or Greek training whatsoever” only a H.S. education” The fifth Fred W. Franz claimed to know Hebrew and Greek but upon examination in a court of law in Edinburgh, Scotland he failed a simple Hebrew test. It was on Nov. 24, 1954. In fact Franz dropped out of the University of Cincinnati after his sophomore year. he had not studied anything related to theological issues.(Ron Rhodes, Reasoning from the Scriptures, Pg. 98) If you ask me TJ I would think twice about putting all of your faith in a book translated by men who are on a power trip. Instead of defending something that you cannot logically prove. Why not look into a translation of the Bible that you can check the credintials of the people you are putting your trust in to. Your own salvation might just depend on it. You seem to me like a smart person, The Bible is the Word of God. I cant read or write Hebrew or Greek. So I have to depend on someone to translate for me. I guess I am not that trusting.

  23. Hi Randall,This is not a good sign, you’ve continued with the one logical fallacy and at the same time you have started using another. In addition to this, you have chosen not to deal with any of the evidence I provided for you.You said, The only reason that I have a problem with the way the NWT translates Colossians 1:16,17 is because it CHANGES the meaning of the text. I believe that Christ is a person of the Trinity. A person of deity. God.Again, it is circular reasoning to claim that they changed the meaning of the text for the sole reason that it goes against what you already believe it should say. You can continue to ignore this if you wish, but it isn’t much of an argument at all. Are you letting the Bible say what it has to say, or are you making it say what you want it to say?And as it is right now, you are like the hypothetical person I mentioned last time, arguing that Peter is not a disciple because he is mentioned separate from “all the disciples.” And if we add the implied word “other,” as in “all the [other] disciples,” that person then argues that we are CHANGING the meaning of the text. Why? Because he has already decided long ago that Peter is not a disciple, therefore he will not allow the Bible to say that he is. Not very convincing reasoning is it?The new fallacy you have started using is ad hominem attacks, that is, rather than deal with the evidence, you have decided to attack the character and motives of whom you believe to be the translators of the NWT. If they are stupid and evil, you reason, then of course their translation at Colossians 1:16,17 is wrong. I feel sorry for any who are influenced by such reasoning. The Pharisees even accused Jesus of having a demon, so this type of attack is nothing new.I will ask again, what does it mean to you when Jesus is called the “firstborn of creation” in verse 15? What is the most natural understanding of that verse?I don’t mean to be harsh with you Randall, I’m just being direct as possible to get to the root of all this.TJ

  24. TJfirstborn in this case as well as the rest of your situations stated earlier implies a position. In Colossians it is merely stating that he is supreme over creation and the universe. I believe what Paul is saying here is that Christ is earlier than; as well as preeminent in all creation. Just like in vs 18b first-born of the dead. His position is that he conquered death. You are right though TJ you and I can argue this point till we are both blue in the face. But, I do respect your ability to at least have conversation about these issues. Maybe we can email each other on some different issues and talk about some things. Lets do some discussion on the Trinity. I don’t want to be bashing each other lets just argue our points from scripture and go from there k.My email address is randallwblackwell@yahoo.comThanks for your time TJRanall

  25. Hi Randall,Thanks for your response. You said, “firstborn in this case as well as the rest of your situations stated earlier implies a position.”So it doesn’t imply membership in the group in which the person/thing is “firstborn?” Or are you ignoring this inherent meaning of the word because of the implications it would have at Colossians 1:15?Was the “firstborn among beasts” not a beast? Was the “firstborn of Israel” not one of Israel’s sons? Was the “firstborn of Pharaoh” not one of Pharaoh’s sons? Was the “firstborn of death” not a death-causing disease? Was the “firstborn among many brothers” not himself a brother? You brought up Colossians 1:18 where Jesus is called the “firstborn from the dead.” He was indeed the first one to conquer death by being resurrected to everlasting life. But didn’t he have to be dead to do so and be called that?So now you have to consider whether or not you want to be one of those that Greek scholar Jason BeDuhn was talking about when he said, “they don’t want to accept the obvious and clear sense of ‘first-born of creation’ as indentifying Jesus as ‘of creation.'”All throughout your discussion you have shown that you hate it when people CHANGE the meaning of the Bible to fit their beliefs. Are you going to CHANGE the natural meaning of “firstborn of creation,” taking into consideration how “firstborn” is used in all of the evidence above, so that it fits your theology? I sincerely hope not.TJ

  26. TJ I am running out of different ways to explain the smae thing to you. All the commentaries I have read, and all the diffrent study bibles I have looked at and those who have more in depth knowledge of me say that first-born implies a position. I will NOT say Christ is a created being because then the entire bible would be full of contridictions. What does Isaiah 44:24 say about who created alone and by himself? The reason I do not agree with the translation of inserting “other” in the text is because it doesnt call for smoother reading. Plus the fact that the NWT is the only translation I have ever seen that changes the vs. I havent looked at the book of Morman but there might be another one. But orthodox Christianity calls this false teaching. TJ I believe you are not thinking logically and just trying to make exuses.Sorry to be frank but like I said I have no other way to put it anymore.Randall

  27. In every post here, I have signed off with “TJ,” and you even called me TJ, three times. Apparently that makes me anonymous? Okay.I am assuming T and J are your initials? If so, yes, you remain anonymous. I don’t know who you are, or if I’ve ever encoutered you before.

  28. Hi Randall,You said, “All the commentaries I have read, and all the diffrent study bibles I have looked at and those who have more in depth knowledge of me say that first-born implies a position.”So I take it you are not prepared to admit that it implies that the firstborn is also a member of the group. That’s too bad that you are not willing to be honest about how this word is used in the Bible. We both know why you are not willing to do so, and it has nothing to do with the evidence. You must interpret your rigid preconceived theology into the Bible, and this affects how you would have it translated.You said, “TJ I believe you are not thinking logically and just trying to make exuses.”If I am not being logical, point out specifically where I am not. I have shown you where you have used two fallacies already. You can’t just claim that I’m being illogical and trying to make excuses because you are not willing to answer my evidence head on.Will you answer me specifically “yes” or “no,” according to the evidence I have provided you (forget what all your commentaries and study Bibles have told you), does the term “firstborn” imply membership in the group in which that one is firstborn of?If you refuse to answer this question directly again, it seems this conversation is not worth continuing. Thanks for your time.TJ

  29. TJ I believe that firstborn implies a position of authority. The word first-born in the Greek(prototokos) means “first in rank, pre_eminent one, heir,” So knowing what the writer had intended the word carries the idea of positional preeminence and supremacy.If Paul wanted to illustrate that he is what the average JW states then he would have used the word first-created which would have read more smoothly that all other. Christ is the firstborn in the sense that He is positionally preeminent over creation and supreme over ALL THINGS. He is also the heir of all creation in the sense that all that belongs to the Father is also the Son’s.So my answer to you is NO Now let me explain why your view is illogical. as noted earlier you stated that the firstborn of Pharaoh refers to the first one born to Pharaoh, so Christ as the “firstborn” is the first one created by Jehovah. Notice Colossians calls Christ “the firstborn of all creation”(not the first born of Jehovah) So in a direct parallel between the firstborn of Pharaoh and the firstborn of all creation, then we MUST conclude that creation””parented” Jesus. This is the reverse of what happened, for in the very next vs we are told that Christ “parented”creation. That is He created everything in the universe. Christ was not produced by the creation: rather, Christ produced the creation. We MUST understand what the original writer intended by the words he used. Without this understanding we will misinterpet what he or she is saying. But I guess Logically that if the translators of the NWT were actually scholors of Greek then they would not have misinterpreted what (prototokos) actually meant. But then this leads me to another logical point. The reason they remain anonymous and humble is because they DIDNT know Greek or Hebrew. Since you are supposedly thinking logically check this out,Look at Davids life.He was the youngest(lastborn) son of Jesse. Nebertheless, Psalm 89:27 says of him,”I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth”. Even though David was the lastborn in Jesses family, David is called the firstgborn because of the preeminent position in which God placed him. Still not convinced. Take a look at Ishmael. He was 13 years older than Issac. But it is Issac that is the firstborn. Clearly, Logically, undisputably by the scripture we find that the term “firstborn” refers not to the first one born but to the preeminent one in the family. So TJ in view of the fact that David was the last-born son of Jesse, what do you think Scripture means whin it calls him the firstborn(Psalm 89:27)(David was the preeminent son. In view of the fact that Ephraim was born to Joseph after Manasseh, what do you think Scripture means when it calls him the firstborn(Jeremiah 31:9) Come on now TJ you know. Dont get a Watchtower book to explain it. IT wont. Use pure logic. (Ephraim was the preeminent son) Now point out my illogical fallacies. I am sorry to be so harsh but, I am not going to defend a Bible that I cannot check the credentials of the translators.Logically thinking, Why is it that you choose to defend a Bible translation that is obviously full of apparent fallacies. So TJ in light of this overwhelming information I have just gave you it proves to me LOGICALLY why the translators inserted the word “other” into the text. Its not to create smoother reading it is to CHANGE the text. I recomend using a different translation. One where you can check the credentials of the people translating the Bible. And check it out for yourself. I know I can sleep easily at night. So TJ in sight of this apparent Logic where is the fallicy now. PeaceIn His Service,Randall

  30. Hi Randall,This may be a long one, but please read it carefully.You wrote, [i]”I believe that firstborn implies a position of authority. The word first-born in the Greek(prototokos) means ‘first in rank, pre_eminent one, heir,'”[/i]Of course its first and most literal meaning is (obviously) the first one born. This would be the natural way to understand “firstborn,” but it seems that is not even an option to you.You said, [i]”If Paul wanted to illustrate that he is what the average JW states then he would have used the word first-created which would have read more smoothly that all other.”[/i]Sorry, that argument has been tried before. The Greek word for first-created wasn’t in popular use until shortly [i]after[/i] the first century. But when it did come into use, guess whom it was used in reference to … that’s right, Jesus Christ!You said, [i]”Now let me explain why your view is illogical. as noted earlier you stated that the firstborn of Pharaoh refers to the first one born to Pharaoh, so Christ as the ‘firstborn’ is the first one created by Jehovah. Notice Colossians calls Christ ‘the firstborn of all creation'(not the first born of Jehovah) So in a direct parallel between the firstborn of Pharaoh and the firstborn of all creation, then we MUST conclude that creation”parented’ Jesus.”[/i]Again you show that you do not fully understand what it is you are talking about. Earlier my claim was that [i]”Whenever the Bible refers to a ‘firstborn’ followed by [b]a genitival construction[/b] … the ‘firstborn’ is always, without exception, a part of the group in which he is ‘firstborn.'”[/i] Yes, there are different types of genitives, which is what you’re pointing out above, but my statement allows for that. This does not change the fact that the “firstborn” is a member of the group.You said, [i]”But I guess Logically that if the translators of the NWT were actually scholors of Greek then they would not have misinterpreted what (prototokos) actually meant.”[/i]Actually you are the one forcing a very narrow and limited meaning onto “firstborn,” whereas they are allowing it to mean what it means everywhere else in the Bible. [b]It is the foremost [i]member of a group[/i], usually the literal first one born[/b]. You cannot even entertain this full meaning because of your theology.You said, [i]”But then this leads me to another logical point. The reason they remain anonymous and humble is because they DIDNT know Greek or Hebrew.”[/i]Interesting theory, but perhaps a bit biased.You said, [i]”Look at Davids life.He was the youngest(lastborn) son of Jesse. Nebertheless, Psalm 89:27 says of him,’I also shall make him My firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth’. Even though David was the lastborn in Jesses family, David is called the firstgborn because of the preeminent position in which God placed him.”[/i]David is placed as the “firstborn” of the kings. And what is he? He is a king. Again, the firstborn is a member of the group. Even if you want to take your interpretation that its saying David was made the firstborn of Jesse’s sons, isn’t he still one of Jesse’s sons? Again, the firstborn is a member of the group.You said, [i]”Still not convinced. Take a look at Ishmael. He was 13 years older than Issac. But it is Issac that is the firstborn.”Isaac was the firstborn to Abraham and Sarah. Still he was a member of the sons of Abraham. I don’t think you’re understanding. “Firstborn” is the foremost position [b]in a group[/b]. It is usually used of a literal firstborn son, who would receive a double-portion in comparison to the other children. At times, the firstborn privilege would go to another child. For example, Jacob’s first child was Reuben, but he sinned against Jacob and lost the firstborn rights. These went to Joseph, which is why two tribes were named after his two sons. Double the portion. At other times, “firstborn” is used figuratively, like when Israel is called the “firstborn” of the nations. It has a privileged relationship with Jehovah in comparison to all other nations. But it itself is still a member of the group of nations. See what I mean?You said, [i]”Clearly, Logically, undisputably by the scripture we find that the term ‘firstborn’ refers not to the first one born but to the preeminent one in the family.”[/i]Yes, and I have never denied that it is possible for the “firsborn” to not be the literal firstborn. But you said above that they would still be “in the family,” a member of the group! It wouldn’t be a preeminent one from outside the family who is the “firstborn” would it? So Jesus wouldn’t be an outsider to creation, since he is “the firstborn of creation.”And just to make it clear, when you see “firstborn,” you can usually assume that it is the literal firstborn unless there is an explanation, as in the case of Reuben and Joseph, or if its used figuratively.You said, [i]”So TJ in view of the fact that David was the last-born son of Jesse, what do you think Scripture means whin it calls him the firstborn(Psalm 89:27)(David was the preeminent son.In view of the fact that Ephraim was born to Joseph after Manasseh, what do you think Scripture means when it calls him the firstborn(Jeremiah 31:9) Come on now TJ you know. Dont get a Watchtower book to explain it. IT wont. Use pure logic. (Ephraim was the preeminent son)”[/i]Honestly, I wouldn’t even know what “Watchtower book” to get. :)Again, every example I have used of “firstborn,” every example [i]you[/i] have used of “firstborn,” [i]all of them[/i], [b]the “firstborn” is a member of the group![/b] Every one! But still you don’t see it?!You said, [i]”Logically thinking, Why is it that you choose to defend a Bible translation that is obviously full of apparent fallacies. “[/i]I’ve still yet to see any.You said, [i]”I know I can sleep easily at night. So TJ in sight of this apparent Logic where is the fallicy now.”[/i]I’m really at a loss as to what you think you’ve proven. My point still stands. [b]The “firstborn” is always a member of the group.[/b]You have a simple choice, be honest with yourself and allow the Bible to call Jesus whatever it will, or continue on with the blinders. Personally, I respect those brave enough to take the blinders off even when it is extremely difficult to do so.TJ

  31. Sorry about the tags. I think I left one out. Just pretend that they’re working. :)TJ

  32. Sorry I have not participated much in this discussion. I had an exam last week and now I am trying to finish a paper for the same class. I’ll jump back in once I get to a comfortable “stopping place” in my paper. I have enjoyed reading your posts though and have a lot to add myself.

  33. TjHi good arguments but I have one question since you still havent used it. Did creation “parent”Christ. This is what you are saying because you keep using the Pharaoh. And if you understand once again the Greek word(prototokos) means what? first in rank= a position right. and preeminent one= supreme over and heir to= the Father gives to the son.) Now in the Greek Paul said prototokos. Am I wrong in this? Did he use the word (protoktisis). And finally why is it that you say firstborn is part of a group. You said naturally firstborn implies 1st one born. So now you say its part of a group huh? You said that it is assumed that unless stated otherwise that firstborn is literal. So to me since I know what firstborn was meant by the writer, Prototokos means that Christ is heir to creation. That is not illogical that I believe is what Paul is saying. The Greek explains all.Peace bro. Randall

  34. TJ Just to let you know I have started another blog at defending-the-truth.blogspot.com. Randall

  35. Hi Randall,You said, “I have one question since you still havent used it. Did creation ‘parent’Christ. This is what you are saying because you keep using the Pharaoh.”Actually I did answer this last time and I have used the Pharaoh example exactly as many times as I have used all the other examples.Again, there are different types of genitives. You are right, creation is not the parent of the firstborn, but that is not the type of genitive being used here. The type of genitive being used at Colossians 1:15 is closer to the genitives used at Leviticus 27:26; Job 18:13; and Romans 8:29. I took all of this into consideration in my very first post when I said, “Whenever the Bible refers to a ‘firstborn’ followed by a genitival construction, in this case ‘of creation,’ the ‘firstborn,’ is always, without exception, a part of the group in which he is ‘firstborn.'”Notice I said “a genitival construction,” I didn’t specify any particular type of genitive. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. The firstborn is still a part of the group. If it had said “the firstborn of Pharaoh’s sons,” would that change the meaning at all? Would that make you feel better about “the firstborn of creation?” Neither firstborn would have been ‘parented’ by it’s genitive noun.You said, “And if you understand once again the Greek word(prototokos) means what? first in rank= a position right. and preeminent one= supreme over and heir to= the Father gives to the son.) Now in the Greek Paul said prototokos. Am I wrong in this? Did he use the word (protoktisis).”You are correct, Paul did use the word prototokos (firstborn). The word protoktisis (first created) was not in popular use at that time.Like I have said though, you are defining prototokos, firstborn, much to narrowly. Look at how it is used throughout the Bible. It does not refer solely to one’s position. Its first and obvious meaning is that it refers to the first one born, who would have a position over others, in a group of children (even if there are no other children). It can be used to refer more to the position of the firstborn, speaking more of the privileges that one would receive, but even in this case, it still implies this one to have the position of firstborn above others in the group.You said, “And finally why is it that you say firstborn is part of a group. You said naturally firstborn implies 1st one born. So now you say its part of a group huh?”Whether or not the “firstborn” is the literal firstborn one with the firstborn privileges or is figuratively the firstborn because he has the firstborn privileges, it does not matter, either way, the firstborn is still a part of a group. This is my whole point and I have said it over and over again from my first message on.So when you say, “So now you say its part of a group huh?” I really don’t know how you’ve missed that main point in all of my messages till now.Yes, my point is that the firstborn is always a member of the group in which he/it is the firstborn. He is never set aside from that group. So when it says that Jesus is “the firstborn of creation,” he must be a member of creation himself, he can’t be the firstborn and not be a member of creation, just like a son can’t be the firstborn without being one of the sons to begin with. Is that clear enough?You said, “So to me since I know what firstborn was meant by the writer, Prototokos means that Christ is heir to creation. That is not illogical that I believe is what Paul is saying. The Greek explains all.”You can make all the claims you want about how you somehow have inside knowledge on what Paul actually meant, but this does not change the fact that the prototokos of creation must be a member of the group of creation. You’re right, the Greek does explain it all, we just have to pay attention to what it says.TJ

  36. tj Well I will give it to you to be honest I am tired of saying the same things over and over. But, one last thing I have to ask you is where did you get the definition of: “Whenever “firstborn” is followed by a genitival construction……”. And how is it you know that prototisis was not used at that time? The word first was surely used and created was used so why not first created. Other than that nice arguments but not strong enough to get me to understand why the NWT is the only one to put other in the vs and that Christ was created. Your arguments have to be stronger. Maybe we can look at your view of “the only begotten son” on my blog or this one sometime. On mine I am talking about the name Jehovah right now. Well TJ thank you for all of your time and your answers and your arguments I can definatly tell you study the JW faith. But like I said before it looks like on this issue we are just banging our heads together. We both have diffrent views on who Christ is. Have a good day.The thing all Christians should do is love their neighbor. There are definatly other discusions that have to be made before we can say this part of scripture is one way or the other.Scripture interprets Scripture. So TJ if you are willing lets please duscuss some other issues and come back to this one another day.Thanks for your timeRandall

  37. Hi Randall,You said, “But, one last thing I have to ask you is where did you get the definition of: ‘Whenever “firstborn” is followed by a genitival construction……’.”Jehovah’s Witnesses have been saying this for years. This is a bit technical way to word it, but nonetheless, it is the same argument. It gets ignored by Trinitarian scholars, just as it is being ignored by you, because it goes against their preconceived theology. Then when we translate the next verses accordingly, they say that we are the ones “changing” the scriptures! It’s ridiculous, but sadly, true. And this is only one of many such verses we are routinely criticized for by scholars ignoring valid arguments and then the usual ‘Greek laymen’ following their lead.You said, “And how is it you know that prototisis was not used at that time? The word first was surely used and created was used so why not first created.”The literature we have from the time period doesn’t contain this word often, if at all. When you think of it, when would they ever really need to use this word? It seems to have come into use later.You said, “Other than that nice arguments but not strong enough to get me to understand why the NWT is the only one to put other in the vs and that Christ was created. Your arguments have to be stronger.”Randall, let’s be honest. NO argument will ever be “strong enough” to change your mind if its not open. I just gave you one that you have refused to address over and over again, most likely because you have no idea how to deal with it so that your theology will be intact.Every example you gave me of a firstborn required the firstborn to be a member of the group in which he/it was firstborn. Isn’t that true? So why then would Jesus, being “the firstborn of creation,” not be a member of creation???You cannot answer that one simple question and now your leaving. That’s fine with me, and I wish you well.TJ

  38. TJI never said I was leaving just that we are not coming to a head on this issue. You say that it is a JW teaching but how do you expect me to accept that when I already dont think your translators have valid credentals. I have to go off of the truths I have learned from scripture. The word firscreated may not have been common, but there is no reason for me to blindly accept this. Give me proof outside the JW organization, I dont believe I am asking too much. Thank youRandall

  39. Hi Randall,I notice that again you have not answered my one, simple question. I even put it in bold last time.TJ

  40. TJ,You said” So why then would Jesus, being “the firstborn of creation,” not be a member of creation???” Ok TJ here it is, my very logical answer for your question.1)First we have to start at vs 15.” Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of creation.”Now what is an image of mean? to me that means an exact representation of. Lood at Heb:1:3″ and the express image of his person,” Obvioulsly Christ is God. Can you have a qt jar be an exact image of a gallon jar. No. The only way that Christ can be the image or the express image of God is if he is in essance God.Now with that in mind we have to look at first born. We both know there are 2 definitions for the word. 1)rank or postion, 2)preeminant, or heir to. Now since in vs 18 Paul is refering to Christ’s pre eminence we should assume that this is what the writer is talking about.Christ is supreme over creation, and he is preeminent in all things. He is heir of creation. If you read the context of the passage TJ. You will see for yourself. In the NWT where the word other is inserted unesseasarily you will see that it is erronous and does not flow logically.If you look in your kingdom interlinear bible you will see on page 805 where on the Greek side the word “allos” or “heteros” both are not where the NWT has put the words other in the passage to the left. Both of these words are used in Greek for the word “other.” So plain admission states that these words HAVE been added. So TJ read your scripture without the use of these words and you will find that it is consistant.Now TJ I will not give any preconcieved views here just logic.There are many reasons that this view of Christ being a member of creation that is totally erroneous.First, it is inconsistent with the context (cf.vv.16-17) He existed before all things; In fact, He is the creator Himself.Second, it is inconsistent with the rest of the New Testament, which often affirms His uniqueness and responsibility for creation.(John 1:3)Third, the word first born in the Greek, (Prototokos) well you know what that word means by now.Though it is grammatically possible to translate this as “Firstborn in Creation” the context makes this impossible for 5 reasons.1) the whole point of the passage(and the book) is to show Christ’s superiority over all things. 2)Other statements about Christ in this passage ( such as Creator of all [1:16} upholder of Creation{vs.17],etc. clearly indicate His priority and superiority over creation. 3) Firstborn CANNOT be a part of creation if he created ALL things. One cannot create himself.4) the first born recieved worship of all the angels [Heb:1:6], but creatures should not be worshiped. (Exodus 20:4-5) and 5) The Greed word for Firstborn is protokotos. If Christ wee the first created the word would be protoktisis.So TJ I have answered your question.So how about you answer one of mine. Isaiah 44:24 Jehovah speaking ” I, the LORD, am the maker of ALL THINGS, stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, and spreading out the earth ALL ALONE.” How do you reconcile this with the Watchtower teaching that Jehovah first created Christ and then Christ created everything else?I answered your question very logically now TJ please do the same for me.In His service,Randall

  41. Hi Randall,I should start counting how many times you manage to side step my simple question.You said, “Now with that in mind we have to look at first born. We both know there are 2 definitions for the word. 1)rank or postion, 2)preeminant, or heir to.”How many times have I corrected you on this Randall? Once again you have managed to completely ignore the point I bring to your attention in each and every answer I give you. A “firstborn” is always a member of the group he is firstborn of.Your answer doesn’t deal with this at all, so I won’t deal with it any further. Jesus cannot not be the “firstborn” of a group in which he is not a member. You have shown this yourself in the examples of firstborns you provided.Do you remember when you said:”Clearly, Logically, undisputably by the scripture we find that the term ‘firstborn’ refers not to the first one born but to the preeminent one in the family.Do you see where you said “in the family” at the end there? That proves my point. Jesus is “the preeminent one in the family” of creation! He is a member of the group or he is not the firstborn.You must deal with this; if you keep refusing to, there really isn’t much point to continuing.TJ

  42. TJ,I gave you my answer I said:Now TJ I will not give any preconcieved views here just logic.There are many reasons that this view of Christ being a member of creation that is totally erroneous.And then I went on to tell you my reasons. Did you not catch that.Your did manage to not answer my question though.If I were to say Christ is created then this vs would be out of context. Christ created all thingshe cannot create himself and be creator at the same time.TJ I think you are just ignoring all the logical answers to your questions. I have clearly answered them. Did you not even read my last comment. Your still havent gave me answers to alot of questions I have asked you. 1.Isaiah 44:24 Jehovah speaking ” I, the LORD, am the maker of ALL THINGS, stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, and spreading out the earth ALL ALONE.” How do you reconcile this with the Watchtower teaching that Jehovah first created Christ and then Christ created everything else?I answered your question very logically now TJ please do the same for me.2.The word firscreated may not have been common, but there is no reason for me to blindly accept this. Give me proof outside the JW organization, I dont believe I am asking too much. Thank you3.Did creation “parent”Christ.Now I can probably find more questions for you if you want but I find it very strange why you wont answer my questions.Is this your way of logical thinking answer my answers the way I want it answered, but I will not answer yours.TJ I have been very thourgh in my answers to you I would appreciate the same respect, and honesty or we cannot continue this talk.I will keep you in my prayers have a good day.Randall

  43. Hi Randall,Frankly, we’re at the point where this discussion is getting repetitive and should probably just end.You said, “Now TJ I will not give any preconcieved views here just logic.There are many reasons that this view of Christ being a member of creation that is totally erroneous.”Your answer did not address specifically how a firstborn can be outside of the group he is firstborn of in this one instance at Colossians 1:15. You only appealed to your overall interpretation of Scripture, your theology. But this forces you to put a meaning into “firstborn,” that it holds nowhere else in Scripture. Show me one instance, just one, where a “firstborn” is excluded from the group in which he/it is firstborn. This would be something like a firstborn of beasts that is a human, or a firsborn of sons that is a daughter, etc.Every example of firstborn that both you and I listed required the firstborn to be included in the group. Like you said, “Clearly, Logically, undisputably by the scripture we find that the term ‘firstborn’ refers … to the preeminent one in the family.”So you are a witness against yourself, since you now try to ignore the fact that the firstborn in Colossians 1:15 “clearly, logically, undisputably” must be included “in the family” of creation.I think we can stop discussing this point now, as I have done everything I can to show you the truth of it, what you do with that knowledge is up to you.You said, “1.Isaiah 44:24 Jehovah speaking ” I, the LORD, am the maker of ALL THINGS, stretching out the heavens BY MYSELF, and spreading out the earth ALL ALONE.” How do you reconcile this with the Watchtower teaching that Jehovah first created Christ and then Christ created everything else?”You’re missing the point of that scripture; read the context of Isaiah 44:24. Jehovah is comparing himself with the false gods of the nations. Did any of them create anything? No! Only Jehovah God alone.In Isaiah 43:11 it says, “I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” Yet others in the scriptures, such as the judges Othniel and Ehud, are referred to as ‘saviors.’ Does this mean that they are Jehovah? No! When Jehovah said “besides me there is no savior,” he was comparing himself to the gods of the nations, who had no power to save anyone. So the point here is that servants of Jehovah can act as agents for Jehovah and take on many of his titles, even though it says that Jehovah alone holds that title or duty when in comparison to false gods.As for Jesus’ role in creation, it was clearly as an agent. 1 Corinthians 8:6 points out this difference, the Father is the source of creation whereas Jesus is the agent “through” which things were created. Notice the difference. This accounts for the fact that even though Jehovah has many sons, only Jesus is called the “only-begotten son.” He was the only direct creation of God.You said, “2.The word firscreated may not have been common, but there is no reason for me to blindly accept this. Give me proof outside the JW organization, I dont believe I am asking too much.”First of all, I never gave you proof from “the JW organization.” You assumed that. Second, you are the one who claimed that Paul could have used the word for “first created” without any proof. The burden of proof is on you, not me, to show that this word was in common use in the first century. It isn’t used in the New Testament.Honestly, it does not matter to me even if Paul had that word in his vocabularly. “Firstborn of creation” means just that, Jesus is necessarily a member “of creation,” but I guess that fact will continue to be ignored.You said, “3.Did creation “parent”Christ.”Are you just not reading my messages? I’ve answered this specifically twice. Here’s what I wrote the second time (I don’t know what good it would do to write it for a third time).Again, there are different types of genitives. You are right, creation is not the parent of the firstborn, but that is not the type of genitive being used here. The type of genitive being used at Colossians 1:15 is closer to the genitives used at Leviticus 27:26; Job 18:13; and Romans 8:29. I took all of this into consideration in my very first post when I said, “Whenever the Bible refers to a ‘firstborn’ followed by a genitival construction, in this case ‘of creation,’ the ‘firstborn,’ is always, without exception, a part of the group in which he is ‘firstborn.'”Notice I said “a genitival construction,” I didn’t specify any particular type of genitive. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. The firstborn is still a part of the group. If it had said “the firstborn of Pharaoh’s sons,” would that change the meaning at all? Would that make you feel better about “the firstborn of creation?” Neither firstborn would have been ‘parented’ by it’s genitive noun.You concluded with, “TJ I have been very thourgh in my answers to you I would appreciate the same respect, and honesty or we cannot continue this talk.”You had been much more thorough in your answers, even if they contained fallacies, until we really got to the issue of how a firstborn is necessarily a member of the group that he is firstborn of, then your answers became erratic. We both know why, though I don’t expect you to admit it.As for my answers, I have been direct on all of them, but your third question above shows perfectly that you have been ignoring some of them repeatedly; I can only guess that this is an attempt to obfuscate my point about the firstborn, which is devastating to your argument.With all that said, I do applaud you for discussing these things with me all the way through. We both have things to learn and we both have our beliefs, so it’s always great when we can have a relatively calm discussion.Take care,TJ

  44. TJ,The main reason I cannot except firstborn as Christ being part of creation is because there would be a major contradicton in the Bible. I dont believe in contradictions in the bible. Christ cannot create himself.Thank you for your time and your responses as well I have enjoyed this. Mabey you can check my blog at sometime. These are the kinds of things I discuss. I have just started and I have no JWs to defend their beliefs yet. Mabey you can pass the word along.Thanks TJRandall

  45. Hi Randall,Thank you for the lively discussion. I will take a look at your blog soon.Take care,TJ

  46. Hey TJ,This morning when I woke up I realized something I wanted to ask you.How come in Isaiah 24 you said look at the context of the passage its dealing with false gods.But, In Colossians 1 you throw context out for vs 15. As clearly seen in the context of the passage it is talking about Christs preeminence.Christ created all.Have a good day,Randall

  47. Hi Randall,You said, “How come in Isaiah 24 you said look at the context of the passage its dealing with false gods.”But, In Colossians 1 you throw context out for vs 15. As clearly seen in the context of the passage it is talking about Christs preeminence.”I never ‘threw out’ the context in Colossians, I was the one arguing for it! This discussion began with the question of whether or not the word “other” should be contained in Colossians 1:16,17. The arguments against this was that “other” was not in the Greek text, so to put it in an English translation is wrong.I pointed out that if we look in the preceding verse, in the immediate context, we find that Jesus is “of creation,” so this would justify making the implicit meaning of the Greek explicit in English.So what is said at verse 15 guides us in how we should translate verses 16 and 17, not the other way around, since I have shown that the Greek word for “all” can very legitimately mean “all other.”TJ

  48. TJ,And this has been my point all along. Even in your own bible you would have to agree the word “other is added in. Now read the text without inserting the word “other” and you get a whole new meaning of the passage. This is why I say the word other changes the context of the passage. So are you telling me that it is ok to change the context of a passage so that it fits a belief. Or should we try to figure out what the meaning is without changing words to fit a belief. And by the way you have not shown how the word all can also mean all other. And if you think that than your own Greek interliner bible would be false then right. Because I plainly gave you the references from your own bible and once again I think you have not read what I have found.If you look in your kingdom interlinear bible you will see on page 805 where on the Greek side the word “allos” or “heteros” both are not where the NWT has put the words other in the passage to the right. Both of these words are used in Greek for the word “other.” So plain admission states that these words HAVE been added. So TJ read your scripture without the use of these words and you will find that it is consistant.Christ is heir to creation. I would guess that means he is in ownership. So does that make him a part of creation. Well he does hold creation toghether and he created all. and he was preeminent to. I fail to see where your view is logically flowing.What does the Greek word (prototokos)mean TJ. This should solve your dilima.This is consistant all the way thourgh the passage. And it lines up with the rest of scripture.You have stated your reasons TJ , but you have failed in giving concrete evedence of your reasoning.I have asked but you have failed to give. So I guess this conversation is over till you can prove what you say.Prototokos does not mean “member of”. It means preeminent one or hair to or, a rank or position.The rank or position for Christ is that he is In charge he made, and he is heir to.Now I dont know what the Greek word is for firstborn for other places in the NT, but here and in Psalms 89 it is prototokos.This is what I call proof.Randall

  49. TJ,How long have you been studing with the JW’sRandall

  50. Hi Randall,Since you insist on going around in circles, I will insist that you answer my earlier challenge. I said, “Show me one instance, just one, where a ‘firstborn’ is excluded from the group in which he/it is firstborn. This would be something like a firstborn of beasts that is a human, or a firsborn of sons that is a daughter, etc.”If you cannot answer my challenge above, it proves that the only reason you do not accept Jesus as a member of creation based on what is said at Colossians 1:15 is because your Trinitarian theology forces you to change the meaning of it in this one instance.So where’s your proof?TJ

  51. Hi Randall,You said, “How long have you been studing with the JW’s”I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses now, but I started studying about 5 or 6 years ago.TJ

  52. I would appreciate other Trinitarians’ thoughts on this discussion, if any are willing.Thanks,TJ

  53. TJ, Once again you have answered my question with a question. You tell me that we HAVE to accept Colossians 1:15 literally. Well If I did that I would assume that Christ was created by creation. But you and me both know that this doesnt make sence. So I have to lood at the rest of the passage to grasp what this means.In Col. 1:18b we see that it says.”that in all things he might have the preeminence.” So from the passage we can see that Paul is making the case that Christ is preeminent to Creation and that he is Heir to creation. Your reasoning is a little blurry to me. Since even in your own translation you can supposedly omit the word “other” from the text and get the same meaning. It plainly says In Him (Christ) ALL THINGS were created.I think all this talk about firstborn is a little word game you are playing to try to avoid my questions.As you can see from the text and from the Greed word (prototokos) You can logically come to a truthful understanding that Christ created ALL THINGS.And TJ I am not going to avoid your question, I have to do some research on it. But, I know I have shown U that my “trinitarian” beliefs do not force me to Change any meaning of any text. And, if I were trying to change the text to make a point of my “false doctrines” I would insert the word “other” into the text. And, try to use this apparent improper translation to support an arian viewpoint.Obviously, TJ you dont understand what us “Trinitarians” believe or you wouldnt have a problem with the doctrine. Let me say, What I believe is far from what the JW book “Why we shouldnt believe in the trinity” really says.TJ I am open to teach you my specific beliefs, but I am not going to not answer your questions.Thank you TJ,Randall

  54. Hi Randall,You said, “Once again you have answered my question with a question.”Actually, everything you brought up in your last post I have answered several times in past messages. The proper course would be to deal with my answers, not ignore them and ask the same questions over and over again.And I didn’t answer you with a question, I repeated a challenge from some time ago that you had completely ignored.You said, “You tell me that we HAVE to accept Colossians 1:15 literally. Well If I did that I would assume that Christ was created by creation. But you and me both know that this doesnt make sence. So I have to lood at the rest of the passage to grasp what this means.”Apparently, because you have no defense against the fact that a firstborn is always a part of the group, you attempt to obfuscate the point by saying that it would literally mean that creation created Christ. This is not the same type of genitive Randall, nor does it have anything to do with the argument I am making.In Exodus 13:15 it says “firstborn of my sons;” this would be a similar type of genitive to the one used at Colossians 1:15. Was the firstborn created or parented by “my sons?” No. Still, this is all besides the point, because the type of genitive has no effect on the fact that the firstborn is always a member of the group.This is what you need to deal with if you are honestly seeking the truth.You said, “Your reasoning is a little blurry to me. Since even in your own translation you can supposedly omit the word “other” from the text and get the same meaning. It plainly says In Him (Christ) ALL THINGS were created.”As I have shown ad nauseum, “all” does not always mean absolutely all. There can be exceptions, which makes “all other” a legitimate rendering. I showed this conclusively in Matthew 26:35 and elsewhere. If you still disagree you must prove that ‘all other’ is a wrong translation in that verse. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away.You said, “I think all this talk about firstborn is a little word game you are playing to try to avoid my questions.”Sigh.You said, “And TJ I am not going to avoid your question, I have to do some research on it.”So do you typically come to your conclusions before you do your research? That’s backwards reasoning, but that’s what happens when you set out to prove something you already believe.You said, “Obviously, TJ you dont understand what us “Trinitarians” believe or you wouldnt have a problem with the doctrine.”Perhaps you were not aware of this, but not even “Trinitarians” agree on what they believe. One prominent defender of the Trinity admitted that most Trinitarians would give a ‘heretical’ explanation of it if they tried. The Eastern Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church split largely due to a difference on their understanding of the Trinity, as did the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. On top of all this, it causes scholars and others, such as yourself, to ignore evidence and use fallacious reasoning to get the Bible to appear to support it indirectly.It would seem that I don’t have the problem with the doctrine, rather the doctrine brings nothing but problems. Why do you think that is? Why wouldn’t a clear and indisputable explanation of the Trinity be put in the Bible?You said, “Let me say, What I believe is far from what the JW book “Why we shouldnt believe in the trinity” really says.”First of all, have you actually read that brochure? You got the name wrong. Second, can you point out a specific instance where it misrepresents what Trinitarians believe? You have to back up your conclusions and accusations.Lastly, I would really appreciate any other Trinitarians here to get involved in the discussion. I would like to know if any of you have a problem with Randall’s beliefs, or his methods for supporting them.Thanks,TJ

  55. TJ,You said:”Apparently, because you have no defense against the fact that a firstborn is always a part of the group, you attempt to obfuscate the point by saying that it would literally mean that creation created Christ. This is not the same type of genitive Randall, nor does it have anything to do with the argument I am making.”Well this is not the only place firstborn is used. Look at Psalm 89:27 “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.In this passage God is saying that David would be his firstborn, Higher than the kings of the earth.The same word here is prototokosSo clearly David will not be a part of the kings of the earth but higher than the Kings of the earth.And TJ if you have answered all of my questions then you could have given me some references for your Greek explination for why the NWT scholors inserted “other” into the text. And a reference as to why you said that anytime firstborn is used it is always a part of the group. Well as far as I can see Psalm 89:27, and Col 1: 15. So I assume that these are vs. that are exceptions to the always definition.Then you said. “First of all, have you actually read that brochure? You got the name wrong. Second, can you point out a specific instance where it misrepresents what Trinitarians believe? You have to back up your conclusions and accusations.TJ I have read the brochure, But it was loaned to me and I dont have it anymore. But then again I told you I would teach you what I believe as far as the trinity goes but you haven’t seemed very interested in it. My offer still stands.But, I will say that if I could 100% tell you I know who God is and why he is the way he is. We as mere humans will only be able to grasp a portion of what God is. None of us humans have a God nature so therefore for us to be able to grasp who God is, well we would have to be = to God. So yes I can see why there are different viewpoints as to what the Trinity is. A lot of people just believe in the Trinity with blind faith without ever trying to study the doctrine. I am willing to teach you my beliefs, according to scripture. I am not going to tell you I will be 100% perfect in my explination, but I will show you how it lines up with scripture. Then you can tell me if it lines up with your brochure for yourself. This is the only way I can prove it to you.And TJ, finally the ball is in your court. Why are you trying to see if anyone has a problem with my beliefs here. I am open to criticisim as long as it lines up with scripture. And who are u to say anything about my beliefs, since you and I have different ones. I have done the best I can to try to back what I say up with scripture and logic. I will admit that sometimes I find it hard to answer the same question with different ways to say the same thing. I am trying to be crative so that you may see where I am coming from.I have already told you that there are other things to discuss, so that you can see where I am coming from. But, also I have shown you in the Greek, and in logic how this vs. can be used to support a trinitarian view.You are right the name of the brochure is “Should You Believe in the Trinity?”TJ I dont believe what the Babylonians and the Assyrians believed. They believed in triads of gods. But these triads constituted three separate gods (polytheism), which is utterly different from the doctrine of the Trinity which maintains that there is only one God (monotheism) with three persons within the one Godhead.My point is that pagans may have taught something remotely close to what is in scripture, but this doesnt mean that the trinity doctrine was stolen from outside Christianity.TJ did you know that pagans taught the concept of a great flood that killed much of humankind and the concept of a messiah-fugure named Tammuz who was allegedly resurrected?Are the biblical doctrines of the flood and the Messiah false simply because pagans taught remotely similar accounts long ago?TJ I would like to talk to you about some other scriptures. Like 1Corintians 14:33,John 17:3,Mark 12:19…….Do you really want to see what I believe or are you just trying to avoid me and tell me my beliefs are full of fallacies.TJ, I will leave you with one simple question today. According to John 17:3 how many true Gods are there?Thank you TJ,Randall

  56. Hi Randall,With regard to Psalm 89:27 you said, “So clearly David will not be a part of the kings of the earth but higher than the Kings of the earth.”So let me get this straight, you are arguing that King David of Israel was not a king of the earth? That’s a strange argument, since David was King of earthly Israel.Aside from the factual innaccuracy, a quick look at a few other translations show that your argument is baseless. From the NIV:”the most exalted of the kings of the earth.”From the NASB:”The highest of the kings of the earth.”From the NET Bible:”the most exalted of the earth’s kings.”From the NKJV:”The highest of the kings of the earth.”From the New English Translation of the Septuagint:”high among the kings of the earth.”So it should be obvious that King David could only be the firstborn of the kings of the earth because he was in fact a king of the earth to begin with.You said, “And a reference as to why you said that anytime firstborn is used it is always a part of the group. Well as far as I can see Psalm 89:27, and Col 1: 15. So I assume that these are vs. that are exceptions to the always definition.”Try again. Psalms 89:27 does not support your view; it supports mine. So your explanation of Colossians 1:15 again stands alone, and is an obvious case of special pleading. That is, “an argument that ignores all unfavorable evidence.”You said, “And TJ if you have answered all of my questions then you could have given me some references for your Greek explination for why the NWT scholors inserted “other” into the text.”In many of the messages above I listed verses in which other recognized translations, such as the NIV, used ‘all other’ for the same Greek word found in Colossians 1. I also quoted Dr. Jason BeDuhn, a Greek scholar, as supporting the NWT’s decision to use ‘all other’ in Colossians 1. You have yet to respond to this evidence.You said, “Why are you trying to see if anyone has a problem with my beliefs here.”For whatever reason, in many ways you’re just not making sense. I have shown you over and over again where the Greek word for “all” found in Colossians 1 is used elsewhere and properly translated as ‘all other,’ I quote a scholar giving reasons why this is acceptable, and you don’t argue against this. Later, out of nowhere, you say, “And by the way you have not shown how the word all can also mean all other.”What happened Randall? Did you forget the evidence I provided or are you blocking it out? This is just one such example.You said, “TJ, I will leave you with one simple question today. According to John 17:3 how many true Gods are there?”This is off topic for the thread, but there is “only one true God,” the Father.Take care,TJ

  57. TJ,OK thank you for reading the text. You are quite right in your answer. Now, would you agree that whatever is not true must be false?Randall

  58. TJ, I am really tired of arguing around in circles about the word first born. I believe that the word is used to describe Christ’s preeminance. You have made a good argument for saying that firstborn is always a member of. I wont deny that. But, I do believe that in this case as I have said time and time again that if Christ is a member of creation then the text would not line up. “In him all things are created.”Randall

  59. Hi Randall,You said, “You have made a good argument for saying that firstborn is always a member of. I wont deny that. But, I do believe that in this case as I have said time and time again that if Christ is a member of creation then the text would not line up.”But now aren’t you changing the meaning of this just so that it fits with your theology? And isn’t this what you condemned the NWT for supposedly doing?The Bible absolutely lines up when you understand that Jesus is a created being. For example, you can then understand the natural meaning of Revelation 3:14, where Christ is called “the beginning of creation” and Proverbs 8:22-31, where Jesus is described as personified “Wisdom” and became Jehovah’s “master worker” (compare 1 Corinthians 1:24,30).In regards to John 17:3, you said, “OK thank you for reading the text. You are quite right in your answer. Now, would you agree that whatever is not true must be false?”So you agree with me that the Father is “the only true God?” That excludes Jesus, who is listed separate from “the only true God” in the same verse.Before I answer your question about true and false, can you consider this for me? Jesus is called “the true light,” but then his disciples are called “the light of the world.” (John 1:9; Matthew 5:14)Does this mean that his disciples are false light? If not, why not?Thanks,TJ

  60. TJ, I will answer this to you tomarrow: where you said The Bible absolutely lines up when you understand that Jesus is a created being. For example, you can then understand the natural meaning of Revelation 3:14, where Christ is called “the beginning of creation” and Proverbs 8:22-31, where Jesus is described as personified “Wisdom” and became Jehovah’s “master worker” (compare 1 Corinthians 1:24,30).I had it all typed out and somehow I lost it. I was trying to put a ref from the Bible in it and I pushed the wrong button. But in response to the question that you failed to answer me by asking another question. ” Before I answer your question about true and false, can you consider this for me? Jesus is called “the true light,” but then his disciples are called “the light of the world.” (John 1:9; Matthew 5:14)Jn 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.Mat. 5:14 14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. This is 2 differnt contexts and the answer is no. Jesus is the light sent. And the apostles are what carried the light into the world. The light is the word. The light is truth. If I understand what you are saying. True truth is true truth.Then you said:So you agree with me that the Father is “the only true God?” That excludes Jesus, who is listed separate from “the only true God” in the same verse.Now TJ. Please answer my question: Now, would you agree that whatever is not true must be false?” Thank you Randall.

  61. Hi Randall,I’m sorry that you lost what you had typed up, that must be frustrating.You said, “This is 2 differnt contexts and the answer is no. Jesus is the light sent. And the apostles are what carried the light into the world. The light is the word. The light is truth. If I understand what you are saying. True truth is true truth.”Thanks for that answer Randall, I would agree with you here.You said, “Now TJ. Please answer my question: Now, would you agree that whatever is not true must be false?”Yes, but not if the “not true” object(s) is a copy of the true one. In that case it would not be false. Let me explain.As you indicated above, the context guides us in understanding what is meant. Jesus, “the Word,” was the true light. As you said, he brought truth into the world. His disciples ‘reflected’ that light, teaching the truth that Jesus brought, so they are not false light, but rather a reflection of the true light. False light, or darkness, would be teaching salvation apart from Christ.I could make this illustration. There is only one ‘true’ Declaration of Independence, the actual document that was penned back in 1776. But in many classrooms there is a Declaration of Independence hanging on the wall. Are these false Declarations? No, they are copies. They reflect what the ‘true’ or original Declaration has to say.So what I am talking about here is that ‘true’ is not always contrasted only with false. There can be a ‘true’ archetype along with types that are not ‘true.’ An archetype is “the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.”To show again how this can be used check out John 6:31-33:”‘Our forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”‘ Hence Jesus said to them: ‘Most truly I say to YOU, Moses did not give YOU the bread from heaven, but my Father does give YOU the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.'”Notice Jesus calls himself “the true bread from heaven.” Does this make the manna false bread? No, it is typical of “the true bread,” Jesus. The manna reflected the life-sustaining qualites that Jesus has by means of the value of his sacrificial death.But the manna only reflected this quality to a degree. Notice how this is brought out in verses 49-50:”YOUR forefathers ate the manna in the wilderness and yet died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that anyone may eat of it and not die.”Furthermore, in this context, a ‘false’ bread would be a food with no nutritional value or a another savior who had no means to save anyone.TJ

  62. TJ,Wow you really gave that a lot of thought. I can appreciate the thoughouness of your answer.Now, then if their is only one true God, (the Father) are you telling me that all other gods are false gods? Am I correct in my thinking?Now I will answer your previous blog questions once again on my mistake. lol.You said ” But now aren’t you changing the meaning of this just so that it fits with your theology? And isn’t this what you condemned the NWT for supposedly doing?The Bible absolutely lines up when you understand that Jesus is a created being. For example, you can then understand the natural meaning of Revelation 3:14, where Christ is called “the beginning of creation” and Proverbs 8:22-31, where Jesus is described as personified “Wisdom” and became Jehovah’s “master worker” (compare 1 Corinthians 1:24,30).First let me say I am not changing text to fit my beliefs. With the vs you have given me I will prove that they line up with my beliefs.Rev 3:14,The Greek word (arche) translated “beginning” in this vs, here carries the meaning of “one who begins”,”origin,””source,” or first cause”. The English word architect is derived from (arche.) This vs. says that Jesus is the architect of all creation (see John1:3,Col 1:16, Heb. 1:2 …)Furthermore, the same term, beginning” is applied to God the Father in Rev 21:4-6. It cannot mean a created being, or God the Father is also a creature, Which we would both have to reject. The Greek word arche is also used for the Father in (Rev. 1:8, 22:13)Now since the use of arche with God Almighty does not mean that He had a created beggining, why go against John’s usage in Revelation and claim that when used of Christ the word arche indicates a created beginning?Proverbs 8:22-31,In this passage it seems best in view of the context and the poetic nature of Proverbs not to take this passage as a direct reference to any person. Poetic expression of ten speaks of an abstract idea as if it were a person. This “personification” is a common feature of Hebrew wisdom literature. The wisdom refered to in Proverbs 8 is not Jesus. Rather, it is a personification of the virtue or character of wisdom for the purpose of emphasis and inpact.Further, the first 9 chapters of Proverbs personify wisdom, And it wouldn’t make much sense to say any of these chapters refers directly to Jesus. Look at 1:20-21, and8:12 do these vs look like a direct comparison to Christ. Plus it is noteworthy to see that none of the NT writers ever applies Proverbs 8 to Christ.As Proverbs 3:19 put it,”By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place”(NIV). Thus, some commentators have seen a parallel between this and Jesus, the wisdom of God(1 Cor. 1:24 Col 2:3) who was the instrumental cause through whom the universe was created (John 1:3, Col 1:16)So you see TJ that a understanding of history and Greek words helps to clarify my beliefs. I dont just change context to fit my belief it lines up with scripture.You see all this fit together before the NWT translators changed the Colossians verses. Why change something that does not need changing. Maybe to try to fit a created Christ belief.The only reason I am saying this is because you told me that My beliefs dont line up. Well on the contrary, My beliefs come from a Bible by scholors that have a understanding of Hebrew and Greek.Thank you,Randall

  63. Hi Randall,You said, “Now, then if their is only one true God, (the Father) are you telling me that all other gods are false gods? Am I correct in my thinking?”Yes, if they are not servants of his that are ‘gods’ in a typical sense, that is, they reflect his godly authority that he has delegated to them. For example, Jehovah called human judges in Israel “gods” because he had given them the authority to judge, so obviously they were not false gods, neither were they “the only true God.” (Ps. 82:1,2,6,7; John 10:34,35) Moses was also called a god because he carried a divine message to Pharaoh; he wasn’t a false god. (Exodus 7:1)You said about Revelation 3:14, “The Greek word (arche) translated ‘beginning’ in this vs, here carries the meaning of ‘one who begins’,’origin,’ ‘source,’ or first cause’.”Randall, I know that many of the sources you look to tell you that arche can mean those things, but get out an interlinear and look for yourself how it is actually used in the Bible. It is not used in that way!The NIV study Bible has “the ruler of God’s creation,” and the footnote reads, “The Greek word can mean first in point of time (‘beginning’) or first in rank (‘ruler’).” These are the two possibilities for biblical usage of the word. But it should be noted that though John uses arche several times in his books, it is never with the meaning “ruler,” but always with the meaning “beginning.”The standard Greek lexicon, BAGD (2nd edition), lists arche at Revelation 3:14 under the definition “the first cause,” but it lists no other scriptures under this definition. Why? Because nowhere else in the scriptures does arche carry this meaning! Still, the lexicon does admit, “the m[eani]ng. beginning=first created is linguistically poss[ible].”In the third edition of this lexicon, the BDAG, it goes even further, stating that arche meaning ‘beginning’ or ‘first created’ at Revelation 3:14 is not just possible, but probable!So I’m going to issue you another challenge. If you truly believe that John is calling Jesus the “‘one who begins’,’origin,’ ‘source,’ or first cause'” of creation, show me where arche has this meaning elsewhere in the Bible.You said, “Furthermore, the same term, beginning’ is applied to God the Father in Rev 21:4-6.”Context, context, context! When arche is used in reference to the Father, it certainly would not automatically make him a creature. He is not called ‘the arche of creation,’ but ‘the arche and the telos,’ that is, ‘the beginning and the end’ and also ‘the alpha and the omega’ and ‘the first and the last.’ These titles speak of the Father’s exclusive claim as the only Almighty God. This calls to mind what is said at Isaiah 44:6, where Jehovah is compared to the false gods of the nations.You said about Proverbs 8:22-31, “In this passage it seems best in view of the context and the poetic nature of Proverbs not to take this passage as a direct reference to any person.”This passage gives a strikingly personal view of “Wisdom,” moreso than other uses of it. And if this is only the attribute of wisdom being spoken of, you’ve got a problem, it was ‘produced’ or ‘created,’ which means that Jehovah did not always have wisdom. Do you think that God was once not wise?’Wisdom’s’ role in creation as God’s “master worker” fits remarkably well with how Jesus is described in the NT. Significantly, Jesus is actually called God’s “wisdom” at 1 Corinthians 1:24,30!And, as I had said before, the early Church Father’s, even at the time of the Nicene Council, agreed that this passage was talking about the pre-human Son, Jesus.Lastly, if you understand “the firstborn of creation” and “the beginning of creation” in the most natural way, then there is no doubt left, since “Wisdom” says “the Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.” (NRSV)The same thing that blinds you to the natural meaning at Colossians 1:15 and Revelation 3:14 is now causing you to miss the natural meaning of Proverbs 8:22, something that even the early Church Fathers recognized.Interestingly, most study Bibles today either recognize this passage’s application to Jesus or they go out of their way to discourage such a view; either way, Jesus is usually mentioned with regard to this passage specifically.You said, “You see all this fit together before the NWT translators changed the Colossians verses.”Randall, I find it unbelievable that you resort to this same old line even after you were not able to back it up. They did not change the Colossians verses, they simply took into consideration the context, that Jesus is “the firstborn of creation.” You cannot accept this for the simple reason that it goes against what you already believe about the Bible, as you admitted.So we have seen that you must understand “firstborn” at Colossians 1:15 differently than every other use of “firstborn” in the Bible. It remains to be seen if you will continue to understand arche at Revelation 3:14 differently than every other use of it in the Bible and/or in the books authored by John.TJ

  64. TJ,I have stated my reasons for the way I have understood the scriptures and you yours. I do not use the NIV bible for I feel the translation isnt a word for word. You like to use it often. I use the KJ, RSV, and NASB. I have done research on the Greek words. I know their meanings from biblical times and I maintain what I have said. You feel I have a veil in my mind, as do I of you. How could a perfect human die for the sin of all. Take this for example. 1 man Adam brought sin into the world. I can understand that. But If Jesus was just a man then his sacrifice would have been good enough just for himself and not all creation. If you were to go outside and shatter a glass on the ground do you know anyone that could fix it perfectly once agoin? No but God can he can do anything.I will leave you with this to ponder.Randall

  65. Hi Randall,You said, “I have done research on the Greek words. I know their meanings from biblical times and I maintain what I have said. You feel I have a veil in my mind, as do I of you.”So does this mean you are unable to answer my challenge? Where does arche mean “origin,” “source,” or the like, anywhere else in the Bible? Or are you saying it only means that in this one instance, and if so, why just here?You said, “How could a perfect human die for the sin of all.”As you went on to say, it was one perfect man that sinned and so lost perfection and everlasting life for the entire human family. (Rom. 5:12) We inherit this sin and so are born already sinful because Adam’s one act enslaved us to sin. (Ps. 51:5) So what could free all of us from this one sinful act of rebellion?Well, the equal value of a perfect man sinning (which brings death) would be the blood (or life) of another perfect man. This is why God’s law stated “soul for soul.” (Ex. 21:23) So the only sacrifice to make atonement for that original sin would be the blood of a perfect man and this would cover all of the sin we inherited, since that all stems from the sin of a perfect man. Does this mean that everyone will be resurrected by means of Jesus’ sacrifice? Not necessarily. The Bible also speaks of an unforgivable sin. This is explained below:”For if we practice sin willfully after having received the accurate knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins left, but there is a certain fearful expectation of judgment.” (Heb. 10:26,27)So this type of sin would be outside the realm of the inherited sin and imperfection we are all born with. This person would be willfully battling against what he knows to be the truth and against the operation of God’s holy spirit. He would be making the same decision Adam made when he conciously decided to rebel against God. Jesus’ sacrifice only covers over the effects of Adam’s deliberate sin for those who are enslaved under it, so this would not cover the sin this person commits.TJ

  66. TJ,We have been talking for what 3 weeks now. I have noticed that you do have a deep love for what the Bible says. Would you be willing to teach me on the Watchtower Organization. As you can see I am already skeptical as for my views. But I am kind of interested in what you have to say. Thank you for being patient with me.Randall

  67. Oh TJ,In response to your answer you said,”So this type of sin would be outside the realm of the inherited sin and imperfection we are all born with. This person would be willfully battling against what he knows to be the truth and against the operation of God’s holy spirit. He would be making the same decision Adam made when he conciously decided to rebel against God. Jesus’ sacrifice only covers over the effects of Adam’s deliberate sin for those who are enslaved under it, so this would not cover the sin this person commits.So If one sins after he is saved how does one get clean once again, or are they lost forever. Randall

  68. Hi Randall,You said, “Would you be willing to teach me on the Watchtower Organization. As you can see I am already skeptical as for my views. But I am kind of interested in what you have to say.”I’m willing to discuss the Bible with you further Randall, though I think it is time we move on from Keith’s blog entry. After all, the original blog dealt primarily with the verses in Colossians and we are beginning to get far away from that. :)I’ll email you at the address you provided above if that’s okay.You said, “So If one sins after he is saved how does one get clean once again, or are they lost forever.”Remember that “sin” literally means to miss the mark, as in archery. That’s what we do when we sin, we fall short of living up to the standards that God expects of us. So we’ll continue to be sinners to some extent even after we dedicate ourselves to God in baptism. Of this, the apostle John wrote to such ones:”My little children … if anyone does commit a sin, we have a helper with the Father, Jesus Christ, a righteous one.” (1 John 2:1)This is how Jesus’ ransom sacrifice helps us now. When we do sin, due to our weakness and imperfection, we can approach our God and Father in prayer, and ask forgiveness on the basis of that sacrifice and we can be sure that we are forgiven if we genuinely repent. This will allow us to have a clean conscience before God.Proverbs 24:16 says, “For the righteous one may fall even seven times, and he will certainly get up; but the wicked ones will be made to stumble by calamity.”So one who commits the unforgivable sin is quite different than the “righteous one” who may continue to struggle with particular sinful tendencies but keeps getting back up to try serving God once again.Jesus indicated that the Jewish religious leaders in his day were committing this unforgivable sin. They saw the miracles he performed and must have known that he was from God, having God’s holy spirit, yet they still conspired against him.After Jesus cured a certain blind man, that man later said to the religious leaders questioning him:”This certainly is a marvel, that YOU do not know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes … If this [man] were not from God, he could do nothing at all.” (John 9:30,33)Though they were able to recognize that Jesus displayed works clearly involving the holy spirit, they refused to acknowledge his message of truth and actually worked against it. In this they showed themselves to be sons of Satan; they were incorrigible in their wickedness. They have no place in the ‘new heavens and new earth’ in which “righteousness is to dwell.” (2 Peter 3:13)TJ

  69. TJ,Yes you can email me this is getting off subject of the blog. My e-mail is randallwblackwell@yahoo.comOnce again thank you for taking the time to help me with my questions.Randall

  70. Thanks to you too Randall.TJ

  71. I would like to post a comment toward the Colossians 1:16-17 NWT and NIV discussion. I think “Anonymous” posted what I am responding to. In fact, it may be the first repsonse to the initial posting.Before I leap into the text, I would like to first say something about translation theory and the examples cited by Anonymous (Matt 26:35, Lk 11:42, 13:2, Col 1:16-17).Many more could be cited.Translation theory > Let’s be clear that every translation is an interpretation. In Bible translation, one’s theology simply cannot be laid aside in the interpretive process, which is part and parcel of what translators do. Since there is no one-to-one correspondence between languages, there must be some interpretation when rendering source (this case the Greek NT) to target (English). Even Young’s Literal translation makes interpretive choices in order to place the meaning of the Greek or Hebrew into intelligible English. If someone would like to challenge that, my guess is he or she hasn’t spent much time working with languages or doing translation work. Good translators are never dispassionate linguists. So we are limited to consistency in translation techniques and principles (and I don’t know of any translation that is perfect in this regard…some are better than others), and related to that, a careful exegetical reading. “Anonymous” is quite right to mention with respect to Matt 26:35 that the NIV inserts the word “other”… “Because [Anonymous says] based on the context it is legitimately implied part of the Greek word for “all.” Peter, an apostle, is mentioned first and then all the [other] apostles. The NIV translators used the same reasoning for these verses.”I could not have expressed this better myself. This is, after all, part of the NIV translation philosophy, to render a “dynamic” equivalence. The interpretive word “other” inserted is a stylistic gloss, since without it we are left with a somewhat stilted English expression as attested in the NAS, KJV, ASV, Youngs, Holman Christian, ESV, etc., which merely reads “all the disciples” (pantes Hoi mathhtai). Now, neither the NIV nor the NAS (et al.) are wrong, since the removal or addition of “other” does not alter the essential meaning of the passage. In this case there is no debate as to meaning, nor should there be. Further, this particular instance does not offer any theological advancement, since it serves to carry on the situation/response of the interaction between Jesus and the disciples, with Peter in the fore. This is typical of narrative bantering and language exchange. Again its inclusion merely offers a more stylized expression for English tastes. So, in this case, the NIV, TNIV, and NWT are in accord. The other translations I chose (arbitrarily) opt for a more “formal” equivalence of the Greek – that is, they chose to render a word for word translation – where possible. But, most of us would have easily understood from the context what the NAS and others meant by simply making an all inclusive statement about the disciples. The author of the Greek did as well.The next example cited is Luke 11:42. The NIV reads, “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. Like the previous example, “all other kinds” merely stylizes the English. Removal of “other” does not change the meaning (e.g., NAS, KJV (all manner of herbs, archaic), ASV, Youngs, Holman Christian, ESV). By way of observation here, the adjective “pas” (“all”) is interpreted by NIV, NWT, KJV, and others as a “qualitative” adjective, as opposed to a regular adjective. The difference in meaning can be great (e.g., NIV – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil; KJV – For the love of money is the root of all evil), but it is not a big deal in this case.“Pas” as adjective = “all” herbs“Pas” as qualitative adjective = “all kinds of” herbsAgain we notice that the NIV and NWT are in agreement.The last example cited is Luke 13:2. The NIV says “Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?'” In this case, we have more of a representation of translation divergence. The Greek reads (pantas tous Galilaious) “all the Galileans”, which is represented by Holman, ESV, KJV, Youngs. “All the other Galileans” is represented by NIV, ESV, NAS, TNIV. Again the NWT is in accord with major translations that have also recognized modern English nuance.The above examples all occur in (historical) narrative where we expect to find good deal of stylistic writing, in narrative style. The author knows that the audience knows what he is talking about in the mundane details of question/answer/reply – this is well recognized by scholars. So the NIV and NWT inclusion of “other” is nice, but entirely unnessesary. It doesn’t change anything.So on the face of it, I think these examples are fine for demonstrating linguistic difference in translations style and to some degree philosophy of translation, but that is about all I can say for these examples. The Kingdom Interlinear (1985) cites Lk 11:41, 42 as a footnote (which is undoubtedly where Anonymous got some at least one example), knowing well the controversy its interpretation would make. But let’s be clear, the NWT is alone in its interpretation that Jesus is created as per Col. 1:16.Col. 1:16Greek – (ta panta) “all things”NAS, NIV, TNIV, KJV, Holman (everything), Young’s, ESV, ASV – all/all thingsNWT – All [other] thingsCol. 1 is an intensely theological creed, and is not analogous linguistically to the examples cited in the Gospels. Here the wording is terse and deliberate and does not assume the reader is inserting ideas that have drastic theological consequences. A sort of “ad hoc” interpretive move on the part of the NWT betrays a deeper theological predisposition. However, once we jump from a monotheistic confession now to acknowledge some kind of special semi-deity (which is the only way I can make sense of the NWT’s translation [?]), through whom all [other] created existence besides himself came to be, we are no longer dealing with Christian theology, per se. It is one thing for the NWT to insert [other] as a commentary on what it believes, but to place this into the “intention” of the text as though this was somehow the way it was historically, is simply spurious and irresponsible. So, the examples cited above are in no way analogous to the Colossians interpretation. Now, I am not an expert on the theology of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, as many of you will no doubt say. But as a reader of the NWT, I would be led to think that Jesus is “just” below God the father. But, he is only divine(-like?), since he creates all things, besides himself of course. But because he is the creator of all [other] things, he is even above all of the angels and principalities. So, in my estimation, Jesus is in his own category, straddling the deity and the ordinary. He is even called “a god” (Jn 1:1). By reading Col. 1 in the NWT, I feel I am being asked to buy a theology that rests somewhere between monotheism and polytheism.Colossians 1:16,17As to the Greek, let’s be clear about a few things. (1) The Greek does not include “other” as has been mentioned, and challenged. (2) It has long been pointed out in the literature on this passage that prototokos is used, not protoktisis (first-created). As I look at Colossians 1:16, I am struck by the fact that the Greek for “all things” (ta panta) is actually represented by many manuscripts as merely the neuter plural article (ta). This is akin to the Classical Greek usage of what grammars call a “conceptual” demonstrative pronoun (since the article is derivative of the demonstrative pronoun – “this/that”), where the antecedent of the pronoun is an amorphous whole, group, or entire preceding context. Since many Bibles represented this reading (see the apparatus of the NA27 for a listing of these), there can be little doubt anyone would have read into this creedal passage about the chief object of their faith in terms of creating “all [other] things.” This would cut directly against the force of the Greek. But if this is not enough, the text chosen by the editors of NA27 actually reads “all things” (ta panta) placed in the neuter plural – a construction often used when its referent is undefined or includes a “grab bag” of grammatical genders (i.e., masculine, feminine and/or neuter items).In this case, the referent is given to us in v.16b-c. This is further established later by the nominative plural subjects that now further define what “all things” in 16a was talking about. In other words, “all things” is the grammatical subject in 16 – in the nominative case. “Things visible and invisible” (16b) are nominative by virtue of their relationship to the grammatical subject. That is, they are in “simple apposition” to the subject, and thereby further define and describe what they are in apposition to. They tell us what “all things” consist of. “Ta Panta” (all things) is used to denote the totality of “created” (15b) cosmic existence. So, if the NWT should have bracketed anything, it should have bracketed [all things] in 16b, that is, “[all things] visible and invisible, whether that include thrones or dominions, whether that include principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.”In essence I am saying that appeal to the Greek will not solve the issue here, for some. Though, I think it should in this case since it is so emphatic. Appeal to the Greek is often poorly used and becomes an appeal to a false authority as a sort of “trump” card. Its use often leaves people mystified and speechless since terminology is thrown around unqualified (usually by the one who doesn’t know Greek or Hebrew), leaving everyone to scratch their head as to what was just meant. At the end of the day, if we are honest, we must acknowledge that our theological allegiances and predispositions guide the way we read the text. Differences of interpretation are often guided by linguistic criteria, as I have done here, but people are not often convinced by a solid linguistic argument. I think that if the NWT wants to treat Christ as a created being, that is fine, but don’t do so at the expense of Colossians 1 or Christian theology as a whole. I think the NIV (which is not my favorite translation by any stretch), is, however cognizant of theology more broadly, since it is clearly in accord with the context and wording of Col. 1:16-17, and John 1:3, as was mentioned. Why the NWT doesn’t view that verse so as to exclude Jesus from “all things,” I do not know. It certainly is not consistent, and even contradictory to the way it has treated Colossians. The responsible theologian who wants to go about the task of translating, needs to do that responsibly as well. We must be willing to lay aside preconceptions for the sake of honest inquiry. At the end of the day, I think the NWT has portrayed its own reading of Col. 1:16 (but not Jn 1:3 ?), with a highly irresponsible translation, which to me seems to border on manipulation.I would like to make further comments, but this post is already too long. My apologies. I will “tip my hat” to the next topic, actually part of the same post I am responding to now. I quote: Such a choice was made because of what was said in verse 15, which refers to Jesus as “the firstborn of all creation.” Of course, this is a christologically-significant passage, and much debate has been made over it. But one fact cannot be disputed. Whenever the Bible refers to a “firstborn” followed by a genitival construction, in this case “of creation,” the “firstborn” is always, without exception, a part of the group in which he is “firstborn.” So it can be properly reasoned that if Jesus is “of creation,” then of course it was “all [other] things” that were created “by means of him.”First, I would like to say that if you are citing a work, please give bibliographic info. I will say this in regards to the “one fact” that cannot be disputed. The statement you make about the first born following a geneitive is simply a spurious comment to make. Sorry, but no. That is not the way language works. If you would like to offer a choice of what kind of genaitve is used, I am listening. I didn’t hear you nuance that point. What kind of genative is this? Rather you made “blanket” interpretive statement about a syntactical construction. What I see here is a basic tautology > Jesus is the created because he is the firstborn of creation which necessitates him to be created. The grammatical “protokos” + genative does not necessitate this interpretation. Your interpretation of “firstborn” nessesitates your interpretation. But that is for another time.-Randy Gauthier

  72. Randy,Thank you for the very detailed look into the other versions of translations. You are right I dont know Hebrew or Greek. I have to go off other sources. But at least I can check the credentials of the sources I am using to know that they took the classes. No where in any research have I found that “firstborn”=”prototokos”means that this has to be a member of what is being stated. Hey by the way, Nice name : )Randall

  73. Hi Randy,After reading through your long post, there really isn’t much new that hasn’t been dealt with ad nauseum already. So I don’t see much point in starting this up again.Take care,TJ

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