The Firstborn of All Creation
Paul said He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Col 1:15). I love this verse. Jesus is the image of God. If you want to know what God looks like, look at Jesus. He said, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (Joh 14:7). He also said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” (Joh 14:9a)
It says He is the “firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15b). The word for firstborn is the Greek word prototokos. It means “first born (usually as noun, literally or figuratively): - firstbegotten (-born).” -- Strongs.
So how can He who is the image of the invisible God, who is without beginning, also be the firstbegotten?
In the heart of the Triune God, Elohim, before He created the first Adam, He already planned for the Word of God to become flesh.
The Lord Jesus Christ created all things, including things in heaven, both the invisible things and the visible. He created all thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities, including satan. “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. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Col 1:16-17).
In His all-wise, all-knowing mind, do you think He didn’t know that satan would rebel? Just as Jesus knew Judas was a traitor, the Lord knew what satan would do before He created him. The Lord also knew how He would defeat, dethrone, and destroy satan before He ever created him. He knew that He Himself would do it through the cross. First He banished satan and his demons from heaven. Then He decided to make something called man in His own image. Adam became the image of the invisible God.
In the beginning, when the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, we know that satan was already on it, because he was already around when Adam and Eve were in the garden (see Gen 1:1 and 3:1-5).
The Lord gave him dominion over all creation on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” (Gen 1:26). Every creeping thing that creeps on the earth included the serpent and all his subordinate minions. “God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” (Gen 1:28). Man was authorized to rule of every living thing that moves on the earth. That included satan, that old serpent, whom the Scriptures says “was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” (Gen 3:1).
But before the Lord ever created man in His own image, He knew that satan would attack man with temptation. And you can be sure the Lord already knew that man would fall into sin, thereby distorting the image of God in which he was created. And the Lord already had the rescue plan to save fallen mankind. As I have already mentioned, before the Lord created the first Adam, He already planned for the Word of God to become flesh. He knew that He Himself would then be the One to defeat, dethrone, and destroy satan through His work on the cross. God actually mentioned this plan of His to satan in the garden, when He cursed him saying, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel." (Gen 3:15). The seed of the woman Who would bruise the head of satan is the Lord Jesus Christ and His holy offspring.
The apostle Paul said, "When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him." (Col 2:15) Jesus has stripped satan of his authority and spoiled him through the power of the cross!
Now through faith in Christ, those who come to Him have their dominion over all creation on earth restored as it was before the fall. Jesus said, "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.” (Luk 10:19)
God’s rescue plan was not an afterthought. It was premeditated. He knew that the Word would become the firstbegotten of the Father, Jesus our Lord, who is Christ eternal. So when the apostle says that Christ is the firstbegotten (prototokos), it means that in the heart of God, before He created man, Elohim intended that Jesus would be the firstbegotten of the Father. He would be the first, direct human offspring of the heavenly Father.
When Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary, there was no seed of man involved. There was no human insemination of her womb, but rather a divine one that came through the Holy Spirit. “Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.’” (Luk 1:34-35). It was a virgin birth. This is why He was called the only begotten Son of God, because He was the first human Son the Father had ever directly begotten.
But God wanted a big family, so through Jesus He brought many sons to glory. The apostle says, "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings." (Heb 2:10)
Now there are many sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ and His finished work on the cross. So the apostle refers to Jesus as the firstbegotten. Surely He has now begotten other children, but Jesus was the firstbegotten. The firstborn son in any Jewish family always has the inheritance rights, and holds a place of preeminence above all the other children.
As far as God is concerned, He was the firstborn even before the first Adam was created. He already had the solution to man’s woes before man ever had a problem. God is in control!
This is such an awesome description of Jesus. Before anything else existed, He was. As the eternal God, He is the beginning. Not only did He create all things, but all things are held together by Him. That includes everything from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy.
Once He became flesh, He was then fully man (Son of Man) as well as fully God. As such, when He rose again after His vicarious death on the cross, He became the firstborn from the dead. He was the first one ever to be resurrected and receive a glorified body, so he became the first fruits of the coming resurrection. Like an athlete who places first in every competition, He will come to have first place in everything!
Putting it All Together
When you know Jesus, you don’t need to worry about your troubles. Just pray about everything, and the Lord will take care of you. He had the solution long before you ever knew you had a problem. He Himself is the solution.
He's not only the firstborn of all creation, He is prior to all things, before all, the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, and He will ultimately have the first place in everything. Everything that exists was created by Him and for Him, and is held together by Him.
Therefore this helps explain how the Creator of all things could be called the firstborn of all creation. It was God’s intent before He created anything that Jesus Christ would be the firstborn Son of God to save mankind from perishing.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Is Jesus God? and Supremacy of Christ. You may also access the Main Directory for this blog, or my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.