Colossians 1:18—If Christ is only the firstborn in creation, then how can He be God?

Problem: John declared Christ to be eternal and equal with God (John 1:1; 8:58; 20:28). But here Paul seems to say that Christ was only a creature, the first one born (created) in the universe.

Solution: Paul clearly declares Christ to be God in this very letter by saying He “created all things” (1:16) and has “the fullness of the Godhead” (2:9). The reference to “firstborn” does not mean He is the firstborn in creation, but the firstborn over creation (v. 15), since “He is before all things” (v. 17). “Firstborn” in this context does not mean the first one to be born, but the heir of all, the Creator and owner of all things. As Creator of “all things,” He could not have been a created thing.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.