Do the Terms “Begotten,” and “Firstborn” Mean that Jesus is Created?

COPYRIGHT WARNING

Many people are confused by the term begotten or firstborn when used in the New Testament to describe Jesus Christ. Some people believe that because Jesus is described with terms used for those born of a natural birth, that Jesus must be a created being, and not the eternal God. The Jehovah’s Witness church uses these verses from John 1:14, Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5 to affirm their doctrine that Jesus Christ is not God.

The fact is: The Greek words used in these verses, prototokos and monogenes, do not define Jesus as being created. The term firstborn (prototokos) indicates that Jesus is first in order of importance over all creation.[1] The second Greek word that has been used to translate, only begotten, is monogenes. This Greek word is very specific in that it conveys the idea that the object of the term, only begotten is unique, meaning the only one.[2] Jesus is the only Son of God, who is first in order of importance over all creation since He Himself is the Creator of all that exists. In no way does the term firstborn imply that Jesus is a created being. To use this word for the purpose of trying to prove that Jesus is a created being, is not a scholarly usage of the original Greek language in which this text was written.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten (monogenes) of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Colossians 1:18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn (prototokos) from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn (prototokos) from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood…

Jesus is portrayed throughout the New Testament as the Eternal Son of God, who spoke the universe into existence, in Genesis 1:1. The book of Colossians describes Jesus as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, by three specific points:

1. All things in the universe were created by and for Jesus.
2. He existed before all things.
3. In Him, all things consist.

Colossians 1:16-17 For by Jesus all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

As Jesus is uniquely begotten (First in importance) as the only Son of God, Peter wrote that each one of us who love and follow Jesus have also been begotten again to a living hope…

1 Peter 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten (monogenes) us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…

As monogenes defines the term begotten as unique and unlike any other,[3] the intent here is clear: Those who follow Jesus have a unique and very special place in eternity. We are heirs of an inheritance which will never grow old, decay, or be destroyed: It is perfect. Only those who place their complete trust in Jesus Christ now have been given this distinctive designation as joint heirs with Christ Jesus. This means that in eternity, all of the wonderful blessings that the Father has bestowed on His Son are ours also.

Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, describing his prayer that they would understand the wonderful future which God has planned for all those who trust in Jesus. We have a glorious inheritance waiting for us when we depart this earth.

Ephesians 1:16-18 I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the wonderful future he has promised to those he called. I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given to his people.

Can you imagine how wonderful, beautiful, and full of amazing riches the entire universe is? Jesus has given you a portion of everything the Father has given Him for your very own. Because of this amazing prophecy of the firstborn in the Old Testament that Jesus has fulfilled, you are a joint heir with the Lord in all that the Father has bestowed upon Him.

Hebrews 1:2 …In these last days God has spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds…

Galatians 4:7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 …For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

You may not achieve any great degree of riches or material wealth in this present world. You might not be able to secure an ivy league education, a corporate title, or a fabulous mansion in Malibu. Be encouraged, you have a part in Jesus’ inheritance from the entire treasure of universe, all waiting for you in heaven. When the Lord returns to take us back with Him to heaven, we will share in all that the Father has given to the Son.

Because Jesus fulfilled Exodus 13:1, as the firstborn over all creation, you are also entitled to all the blessings of the firstborn along with Him.


NOTES:
[1] Strongs Concordance, 4416 prōtótokos (from 4413 /prṓtos, “first, pre-eminent”
[2] John V. Dahms, “The Johannine Use of Monogenes Reconsidered,” New Testament Studies 29 (1983) 222-32.
[3] Ibid.

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