Was Jesus Created?

Several years ago, I saw a person in a parking lot who was standing next to his car with its hood up. As that’s pretty much the universal signal for car trouble, I approached him with the aim of trying to offer some help. Somehow though, the conversation shifted from his engine troubles to the subject of the Deity of Jesus Christ. I can’t remember exactly how that happened, but I’m glad that it did as this man had a much bigger problem than whatever was going on with his car. He was a member of a denominational church that denies the Deity of Jesus Christ.

Some denominational churches teach that Jesus Christ is a created being. They look at passages like Colossians 1:15 which describes Jesus as the “firstborn over all creation” and emphasize “born” to the extent that they envision Jesus as having a beginning instead of being eternal.

The man I was talking to though had a different prooftext for his belief, one that at the time caught me off guard. I had brought out a Bible from my own car as the conversation progressed, so he asked me to turn to the Old Testament and read Proverbs 8:22-31. He said, “That’s talking about Jesus.” I’m ashamed to say that in those days I wasn’t quite as familiar with the book of Proverbs as I am now. I had to redirect the conversation back to the New Testament where it was before and pledge to look more closely at Proverbs 8 later.

People have been applying that passage from Proverbs to Jesus at least since the time of Arius (256-336 AD). However, it’s worth noting that Arius was a man marked by most professing Christians of the time as being a heretic. It didn’t take me long after I left that parking to see why Arius was regarded this way and why the reading couldn’t possibly reference Jesus.

Bible verses do not exist in contextual vacuums. Before taking a passage in the Old Testament and applying it to Jesus, it would be good to see if textual clues even allow for such a possibility. In the case of Proverbs 8:22-31, there’s sort of a contextual sandwich that should prevent such an application from even being considered.

If you’ll notice, the speaker of the text is identified using the pronoun, “me.” If you’ll follow the personal pronouns back, you’ll find the speaker is identified as, “I, wisdom” (Proverbs 8:12). Keep moving back in the context and you’ll see that wisdom is introduced before its speech with 3rd person pronouns. Note the gender of these pronouns: “…her voice… she takes her stand… she cries out” (Proverbs 8:1-3). The last statement is the one that introduces wisdom’s monolog. It should be noted that neither Jesus, the Father, nor the Holy Spirit are ever referenced using feminine pronouns in either the Old or New Testaments. They are always referenced using masculine pronouns.  

The other side of the passage in consideration is much the same. If you keep reading after Proverbs 8:31 as people would have done before there were chapter divisions, you’ll find the monolog ends with this statement: “Wisdom has built her house…” followed by a number of 3rd person feminine pronouns (Proverbs 9:1ff). The conclusion is inescapable: no Person of the Godhood could be referenced by Proverbs 8:22-31. Instead, the passage is about wisdom which is frequently personified as a woman throughout Proverbs 1-9.

 So, what about those passages that describe Jesus as being firstborn? I’ll be the first to admit that this language, like all of the language surrounding the Godhood, can be challenging. Some try to explain Jesus’ status as firstborn through the concept of eternal begetting, i.e., that Jesus somehow is eternally God’s Son. I personally believe that Jesus was not begotten at all until He was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4), existing from eternity instead as the Word of God (John 1:1-5). Further, I believe that “firstborn” speaks to Jesus’ preeminence instead of His birth. When believers are added to the church that belongs to Jesus, the Hebrews author says they have become a part of “the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). Firstborn there is a plural term in Greek referencing all members of the church; it therefore has nothing to do with birth order and everything to do with status. I believe it’s used in a conceptually similar way when describing Jesus.

In any event, as with Proverbs 8:22-31, there are sometimes contextual clues when “firstborn” is used that keep us from seeing it as an indication of Jesus’ beginning. Take Colossians 1:15 for example. Besides the immediate clue that the word is being used in connection with position (“firstborn over all creation”), there’s this statement found in the very next verse: “For by Him 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” (Colossians 1:16). There’s not a lot of wiggle room there; if Jesus created “all things” that were created, then it stands to reason that He Himself was not created.

Affirming the Deity of Jesus is the same as denying that Jesus was created. So, the next time you meet someone in a parking lot (or anywhere else) that believes that Jesus was created and believes that the Bible teaches that, try to help them see the importance of viewing biblical statements in their context.
-Patrick Swayne  






1 Corinthians 12 1 Corinthians 14:15 1 Corinthians 14 1 Corinthians 16:1-4 1 Corinthians 7 1 Peter 1:6-12 1 Peter 2:9 1 Peter 3 1 Peter 5:6-7 1 Peter 1 Samuel 4 1 Thessalonians 5:18 1 Timothy 4:1-3 2 Corinthians 6 2 John 1:9 2 John 9 2 Kings 2 Peter 2 2 Peter 3 2 Peter 2 Samuel Abel Abraham Absalom Acts 17 Acts 19 Acts 2 Acts 8 Acts Alcohol Alleged Contradictions Apostles Ark of the Covenant Attitude Authority Autonomy Autumn Balance Baptismal Regeneration Baptism Barnabas Benevolence Bible Contradictions Bible Questions and Answers Bible Study Bible Biblical Interpretation Bishop Body of Christ Borrowing Broad Way Cain and Abel Cain Calvinism Catholicism Catholic Celibacy Challenges Children Christian Living Christmas Church Funds Church Leadership Church Membership Church of Christ Church Circumspection Citations Citizenship Colossians 3:16 Communication Communion Community Confidence Congregations Contend for the Faith Contentment Covetousness Creation Credit Current Events Dating David Debt Forgivness Deconstruction Degrees of Punishment Deity Deliverance Denominationalism Devil Difference Different Discipleship Divine Nature Doctrine Dragon Drinking Easter Ecclesiastes 7:10 Ecclesia Eldership Elders Elder Elijah Elisha Encouragement Enoch Ephesians 2:8-9 Ephesians 5:15 Ephesians 5:16 Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:19 Ephesians 5:5 Ephesians 5 Esther 4:14 Evangelism Ezekiel 36 Ezekiel 6 Faith Alone Faith Only Faithfulness Faith Fall False Teachers False Teaching Fathers Fear Feeding of the 5000 Fornication Free Will Fundamentals Galatians 4:9-10 Gender Roles Generosity Genesis 22 Genesis 4 Genesis Gift of Tongues Gifts Giving Godhead Godhood God Gospel Meeting Gospel Grace Gratitude Greater Sin Greed Grief Grieving Hallelujah Praise Jehovah Hallelujah Hebrews 13:4 Help Hermeneutics Holidays Holy Spirit's Deity Husbands Hymns Hypotheticals Idolatry Imperatives Influence Insomnia Instrumental Music Instruments in Worship Intertextuality Isaac Isaiah 2 Isaiah 6 James 1:19 James 1:27 James 1 James Jehovah Witnesses Jehovah Jerome Jesus Temptation Jesus' Deity Jesus\' Deity Jesus Job John 11 John 19:11 John 4:24 John Calvin John the Baptist Jude 1:11 Jude 3 Jude Judgement Judging Judgment Kindness Lamb of God Lamech Lazarus Leadership Leaven Lemuel Lending Levites Limited Atonement Living Sacrifice Local Church Lord's Supper Luke 1:28 Luke 5:1-11 Mariolatry Mark 1:12-13 Mark Marriage Martin Luther Mary Matthew 5:13-16 Matthew 5:3-12 Matthew 5 Matthew 7:13-14 Matthew 7:1 Melchizedek Men's Business Meeting Men\'s Business Meeting Men\\\'s Business Meeting Men Metaphors Minor Prophets Miracles Miraculous Gifts Money Mormonism Mothers Mount of Olives Mountain of the Lord's House Mountains of Israel Mountains Murder Music Mutual Submission Narrow Gate Narrow Way No Elders Non-Denominational Olive Trees Olives Olivet Olive Once Saved Always Saved Parenting Pastor Patience Patriarchs Pattern Paul Peace Pentecostalism Persecution Perseverence Perspective Philippians 3:20 Philippians 4:6 Plagiarism Poetic Language Politics Prayer Praying to Saints Praying Pray Preacher Preaching Priesthood Priests Proverbs 31:6 Proverbs Providence Psalm 148 Quotations Reader Response Redeeming the Time Relationships Relationship Religion Religious Pluralism Religious Syncretism Remission of Sins Restoration Movement Restoration Revelation 12:9 Riches Roman Catholic Church Romans 12:1-8 Romans 12:10 Romans 12:15 Romans 12:1 Romans 12 Sacrifice Saints Only Salvation Satan Scarecrows Sermon on the Mount Serving Others Sexual Sin Silence of the Scriptures Singing Sin Sleep Sobriety Song Studies Sons Sovereignty of God Spending Spirit and Truth Spiritual Death Spiritual Gifts Spiritual Leadership Stephen Straight Gate Stress Student Debt Submission Suffering Temptations Thankfulness The Beatitudes The Problem of Pain and Suffering The Problem of Suffering The Way of Cain The Way Tongue Speaking Total Hereditary Depravity Tradition Trials Trinity Types and Antitypes Uncleanness Unconditional Election Understanding Unity Unknown Tongue Vulgate Wealth Wide Gate William Kirkpatrick Wives Women in the Church Women's Roles Word Study Work Worship Zechariah clergy death sickness