Friday, December 21, 2012

Was Christ Created?

In John 3:16, the most popular verse of the Bible, we read that Jesus is the only "begotten" Son of God. Most people have this verse memorized, but few stop to consider what this word begotten means. When we consult a dictionary, we discover that the term "begotten" is defined as "brought forth through procreation as biological offspring." When we understand this definition, it is clear what Jesus means when he labels Himself the "only-begotten" Son of God. Unlike all other humans who have been created by God but brought forth as the offspring of a man and a woman, Jesus is the only person to have ever been brought forth biologically by a woman and God. We see, then, that Jesus was born as a human and created as such by God the Father; but did Jesus exist prior to His human birth or was His birth in Bethlehem His beginning?

Most Christians hold a trinitarian view that recognizes Jesus as coequal in every way with the Father. They reason from this assumption that Jesus, like the Father, has always existed. Contrary to this popular view, however, Scripture tells us something different. In 1 Colossians 1:15, Paul refers to Jesus as "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." This verse provides us with two valuable insights regarding Christ and His Father. First, we see that Jesus is visible while the Father is in-visible. The Father and Son are distinctly different in this way. Second, we learn that Jesus is the "firstborn of all creation," meaning that He was created by the Father, but that He was the first creation of the Father. This fact is upheld in verse 17 of the same passage where Paul states that Christ was "before all things" and in Revelation 3:14 where Jesus is referred to as "the Original of God's creation."

We learn why the Father created Jesus before all other things in verse 16 of the passage where we read, "For by Him [Jesus] 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 by Him and for Him."

Thus, God's divine order consisted of creating His Son, Jesus, first, and then delegating authority to Jesus to create everything else. Ultimately, Jesus left His position in Heaven to come to earth in order to fulfill the Father's plan. In Philippians 2, we read that Jesus made Himself of no reputation by taking on the form of man and becoming a servant, obedient unto death. Clearly, for Jesus to "make," "take on" or "become" something, He had to have existed before it. 

Because of Jesus' obedience, the Father exalts Him with a name that is above every name, to which all creation will one day bow. This event, however, will be "to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:11). All Jesus does is for the glory of His Father, which He will prove when He subjects Himself entirely to the Father at the consummation so that the Father may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:28). 

When we examine Christ and creation in the Bible, we discover that trinitarians and many nontrinitarians are mistaken regarding the pre-existence of Christ. Scripture teaches that Christ did not always exist as the Father, but that His birth in Bethlehem was also not His beginning. He existed "from the beginning" as the firstborn of the Father's creation, but He was, in fact, created by the Father along with all that is ultimately out of the Father (2 Cor. 5:18). In spite of the fact that Jesus did not always exist, He is still worthy of all honor and praise for the status given Him by the Father for His obedience unto death, His nature as the firstborn of all things, and His masterful creation. He is our Lord and Savior, given all authority for the time by the Father, until the consummation when He will subject Himself and all creation to the Father.

© 2012 by Stephen Hill

1 comment:

  1. A few critical comments (btw I appeciate your blog VERY much!):

    #1 That the Son of God is the firstborn of all creation, does n't mean that He was the first creation of the Father. Firstborn denotes a position op precedence. See Ps.89:27:
    "Indeed, I, I shall make him the firstborn, The uppermost of the kings of the earth."

    #2 It is without any Biblical doubt that Christ was "before all things". The question is: in what sence? When I read John 1 the answer is: as Word (LOGOS). "Word" in itself is abstract, a idea or concept. "The Word became flesh" (John 1:14) and since that very moment the Word is no longer a abstraction but concrete. Like the tabernacle existed as abstraction before it was build. On the mountain, God had shown to Moses a design or model (Exo.25:9, 40; 26:30) and had talked about everything, in detail.

    #3 Philippians 2 does not say that Jesus left His position in heaven nor that He was "taking on the form of man". He was taking "the form of a slave" - as the Son of God... on earth (> Hebr.5:8).

    #4 Jesus is the Son of God because the power of the Most High came over Maria and generated Him (Luc.1:35). Before that the Son of God existed as LOGOS.

    #5 It is also important to note that the LOGOS is n't created. In John 1 all things "came into being" (1:3). But the LOGOS "was" as God "was" (1:1).

    The pre-existence of Christ as LOGOS means that the glory He has now, was Gods design before everything.

    Just a few thoughts I made in my best English ;-)