Colossians 1:15 - The Image of the Invisible God

In Colossians 1:15 we read that Jesus Christ is "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation." This prompts a couple of questions, the first of which is the meaning of "image". It is important to recognize that there is rarely a one-to-one correspondence between words in two different languages. For a correct interpretation, we must understand the word that was written by the inspired author, not necessarily the word written by the translator. This is why it is so important to check our understanding of scripture in light of the language and culture of the Biblical authors. In English, the word "image" is usually used to refer to an artificial representation or picture of a real object which is nearly always 2-dimensional and/or inanimate. But the Greek word for "image" means something quite different - it communicates the idea of being the same form and likeness of the original. Christ has exactly the same nature and attributes as God (because He is God). This is also confirmed by John 14:9 and 2 Corinthians 4:4. Another question is the meaning of "firstborn over all creation". This clause could be construed (from the Greek) to imply that Christ was the first created being. However, the Greek word for firstborn may also mean "being superior to all creation" or "existing prior to all creation". In any case, the very next verse makes it abundantly clear that Jesus created all things and everything that exists was created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). John 1:2-3 also confirms this.

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