This is another in a series of excerpts from “What Every Christian Should Know About the Trinity,” available through Amazon and other booksellers.
As we have seen in previous columns, the Bible declares Jesus the eternal Son of God. Even so, why does the apostle Paul depict Jesus as “the firstborn over all creation” (Col. 1:15)?
Jehovah’s Witnesses have a disturbing take on this. Consider how the Watch Tower renders Colossians 1:15-17 in its New World Translation:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist …” (emphasis added).
Note the unjustified insertion of the word “other” before “things” four times in the NWT.
The Watch Tower’s official website explains: “Jesus is very precious to Jehovah. Why? Because God created him before everything and everyone else. So Jesus is called ‘the firstborn of all creation.’ Jesus is also precious to Jehovah because he is the only one Jehovah created directly. That is why he is called the ‘only-begotten Son.’ Jesus is also the only one Jehovah used to create all other things.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus is the first created being, whom they identify as Michael the archangel. Michael is sent to earth temporarily as a man, then recreated as an exalted archangel after his death on a torture stake and subsequent annihilation as a human being. But is this the proper way to understand Paul’s meaning of firstborn?
In a word, no.