by Osamagbe Lesley Egharevba
via Unmasking Sophistry, Vol. 3, No. 2
The very idea that Jesus was the first to be created is not only absurd, but it is inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible.
Recently I met some preachers in the Lord's church who affirm that Jesus Christ was created. By "created" they mean that Jesus Christ at a point before the creation of the world, was not in existence. Then God the Father had to create Him, after which He (the Father), together with Jesus created all other things in the world.
Interestingly, these same preachers admit that Jesus is God. Quite strangely, they made Jesus a "created God" who is qualified to receive worship. Some arguments were advanced in support of their affirmation. It is my desire to address these arguments and see what the Bible says about them. It seems to me that the concept of Jesus being a "created God" would be like the concept of a "married bachelor" - both statements are not only contradictions in thought but they simply do not exist. Let us look at some of the arguments used by them to defend this doctrine.
Jesus Was Begotten
One of the arguments used by these folks is about the usage of the word "begotten" found in Hebrews 1:5. The text reads: "For to which of the angels did He ever say: 'You are My Son, Today I have begotten You?' And again: 'I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son?'" They argue that the Greek word translated "begotten" as used in this verse means "to bring forth" or "to create" and that since Jesus Christ was begotten by the Father, then it means He was created. By this very argument, they have successfully made the angels uncreated beings. Notice that Hebrews 1: 5 clearly states that none of the angels were ever said to be begotten. And if "begotten" means "created" as these brethren affirm, then the simple meaning of the text would be that none of the angels were ever created. But we know that angels were created as evident in Psalm 148:5. In an attempt to prove that Jesus was created by running to this passage, these folks have inadvertently made the angels uncreated!
But then, we also find the word "begotten" used in I Corinthians 4:15 when Paul told the Corinthians that "though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel." Would anyone argue that the Corinthians were created by Paul? Was it that they were not existing, and Paul had to bring them into existence? Paul is simply indicating that the Corinthians are now in a new position. He was the instrument of their conversion to Christ by means of the gospel; by preaching it to them, that is, by the truth. Whatever the word begotten means, it sure does not mean that the Corinthians were not in existence and then Paul brought them into existence. Surely, the word would not also mean in Hebrews 1:5 that there was a time Jesus was not in existence and God had to bring him into existence.
Jesus Had a Father Before He Came to Earth
Another argument from Hebrews 1:5 often used by these preachers is that Jesus had a Father from when He was in heaven. And just like the earthly fathers always exist before their children, God the Father existed before the Son. But whether Jesus was a Son in heaven or not is not an indication that He was created. The truth is: it is erroneous to suggest (or state) that the word "Son" as used for Jesus necessitates any kind of physical begetting since we are "sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26).
In the United States, George Washington is often called "the father of his country" without any understanding or suggestion that those in the U.S. are his biological sons. So far as I know, he never had any "sons" in that sense. Quite often, I have read of a person who is called "the father of medicine," "the father of sociology," or "the father of" something else without the idea of that individual having begotten a "son" in the sense that "son" is so often used in the Bible. Jesus was not the "Son" because He had a beginning ( e.g., that He was a created being). He was the agent of creation, as the apostle John wrote in John 1, not a part of what was created!
Jesus Was Made
There is another argument that these brethren advance from Hebrews 1:4. The text says in the King James Version: "being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." These brethren say that the word "made" means "to create" or "to assemble." And because the Bible says Jesus was "made so much better than the angels," then it means He was created better than the angels. But we find this same word used in Matthew 23: 15 when Jesus said" Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is_made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves" (KJV). Was Jesus implying that the Scribes and Pharisees created the proselyte? Was the proselyte not in existence before he was made by the scribes and Pharisees? In this verse, Jesus was simply speaking of the conversion of the proselyte. There is a change in his position and in that sense, he was "made." In the same way, Hebrews 1:4 is not even talking about creation rather, it speaks of Christ's role in the scheme of redemption and what He had become. If a man was made ( or became) the director of a company, that would not mean he was created by the company or that he never existed before he was made such. It is very inappropriate to just stick to one meaning of a word and insist that such meaning would be applied in every instance the word occurs without regard for the context.
Jesus Is the Firstborn of Every Creature
Speaking of Christ in Colossians 1:15, Paul said "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." And these brethren think that the word firstborn is used in this passage to mean that Christ was the first to be created. But the usage of the word "firstborn" simply indicates that Jesus is supreme over all creatures (not that He is a created being). It refers to the firstborn in position and not in time. For instance, when we refer to Jill Biden as the "first lady" of the United States of America, we do not mean she is the first woman in time. We simply refer to her as the first lady in position. Another good example is found in Jeremiah 31:9 when God called Ephraim His firstborn. However, notice from Genesis 48:14 that Ephraim was the younger son while Manasseh was the firstborn: "And Israel stretched out his right hand ... upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, ... for Manasseh was the firstborn." Colossians 1:16 clearly tells us the very point of Colossians 1:15 - everything was created by Jesus and for Jesus - He is supreme! If Jesus is a created being, then it means that He created Himself based on Colossians 1:16.
Jesus is the Beginning of the Creation of God
The last argument we would consider is found in Revelation 3:14 where Jesus said He is "the beginning of the creation of God" These brethren interpret this passage to mean that Jesus is the first to be created. However, the term "beginning," as employed in Revelation 3:14, does not suggest a commencement in time for Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, these brethren claim that "the beginning of the creation" was a time prior to Genesis 1 (before God created the world) and that it was sometime within this period that Jesus was created. But the Bible teaches that the beginning of creation began with Genesis when God created the heavens and the earth. Notice in Mark 10:6 ("But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female'") and Mark 13:19 ("For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.") that Jesus referred to the beginning of the creation and this points back to Genesis when God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present in creating all things. Hence, "the beginning of the creation" does not refer to a time before Genesis as these people contend that Jesus was created. Since Jesus was present at "the beginning of the Creation," it is an assumption to find another beginning of the creation in which it is claimed that Jesus was created.
So, this phrase as used in Revelation 3:14 simply indicates that Jesus is "first in rank," not first to be created. The Greek word that is rendered "beginning" in Revelation 3:14 is arche. The term is employed in various senses in the Bible. It may refer to the "beginning" of something (e.g., in "the beginning of the gospel" (Mark 1:1)and it can also signify the "first cause, of a thing, or that by which something "begins to be, i.e., the originating source. In Revelation 3:14, arche is used of Christ as the uncreated principle, the active cause of creation. The term in this text is not to be understood as the first of created things. Notice that in Revelation 22:13, Christ refers to Himself as the "beginning [arche] and the end [telos]." If "beginning" suggests that there was a time when Christ did not exist, but that He came into existence as the first being of God's creation, does "end" indicate that there will be a point at which the Savior will go out of existence? The question hardly needs a response. Also, in Isaiah 48:12 the Lord God described Himself as "the first" and "the last." Did He mean to indicate that there was a time when He did not exist? The very idea that Jesus was the first to be created is not only absurd, but it is inconsistent with the teaching of the Bible.
The Bible Teaches that Jesus Is from Everlasting
The Bible teaches that Jesus is God and that suggests He was not created. He accepted worship on different occasions (Matthew 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 28:9,17; Hebrews 1:6). Cornelius refused to accept worship since it was improper to worship a creature like him (Acts 10:25-26). Romans 1:25 makes it clear it is wrong to worship the creature: "who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Creature worship is sinful and if Jesus was created as these brethren affirm, it would be a sin for Him to have been worshipped.
Micah 5:2, in speaking of Jesus teaches that His"goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." This means He has been from eternity. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1:3, Colossians l:16, Hebrews 1:2, Genesis 1:26).