1 DOES THE BIBLE TEACH THAT JESUS CHRIST IS THE ACTUAL CREATOR, OR AGENT THROUGH WHOM GOD CREATED? Andrew Ansell In the Gospel of John, we have one of the clearest testimonies in the Holy Bible, to the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. The very first verse tells us exactly Who Jesus Christ is; In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Here the word beginning (Gk. arche), is not the beginning of creation, as in Genesis 1:1, which is spoken of in John 1:3, but eternity past. Which corresponds to the opening verse of John s First Epistle; That which was from the beginning, which is also speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ. These two passages not only speak of the Deity of the Lord Jesus, but also His eternity, as His coexistence with the Father, as well as being the author of eternal life. John 1:4 says, In Him was (the best textual evidence has, is ) life ; which is what we also read of in 1 John 2, where Jesus is called, the life the eternal. Of these two texts, Dr J H Thayer says of Jesus as the divine fountain of life (Greek-English lexicon, p. 273). Thayer was a Unitarian who denied the Holy Trinity and the Deity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. On the Greek word archegos (Acts 3:15, Prince of life, NKJV, etc.), Thayer defines the word, the author (p.77), which can only be used for someone who is uncreated. Likewise, when Jesus says that He is the First and the Last (Revelation 1:17; 2:8; 22:13), Thayer, commenting on this phrase in the Greek says, the eternal One (p.554). Surely this evidence in itself is more than enough to show that the Bible teaches the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He, like the Father and Holy Spirit, is ALMIGHTY GOD. John then continues in verse 3: All things were made by Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. A very powerful testimony of the Creation by Jesus Christ. Here we have the Greek preposition, dia, which is translated, by. Some have sought to make these words mean nothing more than God the Father creating through (dia) Jesus Christ, Who is no more than the subordinate instrument in the creation of the universe. The early heretic, Origen of Alexandria (A.D ), had this to say on John 1:3; All things came into being through him The agent through whom never has the first place but always the second Thus if all things were brought into being through the Word, it is not by him but by one greater and mightier than the Word. And who would this be but the Father (Henry Bettenson; The Early Christian Fathers, p.240). Origen clearly says, that the actual creation is not the work of Jesus Christ, but that He is only the agent, through Whom the Father created. Origen taught that the essence of the Father and of the Son was not the same, but there was a difference of essence (F J Foakes Jackson, The History of the Christian Church, p.163). Based on John s words in 1:3, All things were made by Him, Origen says that the all things must also include
2 the Holy Spirit. It remains therefore that the Spirit has come into being through the Logos (J F Bethune-Baker, Early History of Christian Doctrine, p.202). These are the blasphemies that were taught by heretics in the early Church, some of which continues till our day. Origen s theology was followed in the famous Nicene Creed, which is recited in many Churches today, where we read the words: We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ through (di) Him all things were made. This Creed was based upon the one drawn up by the Church historian, Eusebius (A.D ), who was a sympathizer of the arch-heretic Arius (the Jehovah s Witnesses of the early Church), who taught that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit were created beings. Their theology of course has their beginnings in Origen. On this clause of the Creed, Dr Bindley writes, In theological language the Son of God is the instrument of creation, the mediate Agent of its becoming (The Oecumenical Documents of the Faith, pp.34-35). The Unitarian Greek scholar, Dr George Winer, shows his theological bias, based on his denial of the Deity of Jesus Christ, when he comments on the use of the Greek preposition used in John 1:3. In Jo. i.3, 15, the per of mediate agency is justified by the doctrine of the Logos, comp. Origen in loc. (A Treatise on the Grammar of New Testament Greek, p. 474). Note how Dr Winer says that the use of mediate agency is justified, not because if sound and honest exegesis, or the Greek use, but on the doctrine of the Logos, and then refers the reader to Origen, for his justification. On page 162 of this grammar, Dr Winer is dealing with Titus 2:13, where the Apostle Paul calls Jesus, our Great God and Saviour, the construction of the Greek shows that only ONE Person is here referred to. Dr Winer says in a footnote for his taking the words to refer to the Father, and Jesus Christ, the dogmatic conviction derived from Paul's writings that this apostle cannot have called Christ the great God induced me to show that there is no grammatical obstacle to our taking the clause kai Sot Christou by itself as referring to a second subject. Again, theology becomes more important than actual facts and truth. Then, we also have the Evangelical Greek scholars H E Dana and J R Mantey, "Although dia is occasionally used to express agency, it does not approximate to the full strength of hupo. This distinction throws light on Jesus' relation to the creation, implying that Jesus was not the absolute, independent creator, but rather the intermediate agent in creation. see Jn.1:3; Heb.1:2" ( A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p.102). And neo-evangelical theologian, Dr George Ladd, "John asserts that the Logos was the agent of creation. He is not the ultimate source of creation, but the agent through whom God, the ultimate source, created the world. This same theology is expressed in Paul's words: that all things come from (ek) God through (dia) Christ (I Cor.8:6; see
3 also Col.1:16)" (George E Ladd; A Theology of the New Testament; p edition). Commenting on Colossians 1:16, and Jesus Christ and creation, John Bengal says, "di autou, by in the sense, by means of, through. Christ is not said to have created, but the Father by him" (New Testament Commentary, Vol.I, p.544). Too much has been made of the use of the Greek preposition, dia here, and elsewhere, in relation to the creation by Jesus Christ, where it always seem to suggest that Jesus role was secondary, whereas the Father as primary. If this were in any way true, then we have the problem with the Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not that He would not be God, but, that He would not be in the same way as God the Father is. As Jesus would not be coequal to the Father, Who is seen as the source of creation. As we shall see, this is unbiblical teaching and reduces Jesus Christ as subordinate within the Godhead, even prior to His Incarnation, in eternity past. It ought to be said here, that for anyone who believes, that the Holy Bible teaches that the Being of God is a Trinity of Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and Who are coessential, coequal and coeternal; that this foundational Truth would not allow for any "subordination" within the Godhead, where any Person is superior to the other. If, as the Bible very clearly teaches, that the Three Persons are God, and not that the Father alone is "God" in the highest sense, and the Son and Holy Spirit, in some lower, secondary sense, then, any such teaching, that the Father created through Jesus Christ, as a secondary medium, is unbiblical heresy, and must be completely rejected as this. We shall take a closer look on how this Greek preposition is used in the Greek New Testament, and its rendering into English. The importance of such a study will be seen from the facts presented. The preposition "dia" had its original meaning as "duo, two, and be-tween itself...between two people" (C.F.D. Moule; An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, p.54). "The word often conceals its root meaning. That is "two," "twain," "in two." This original conception appears clearly in some compound words." A. T. Robertson, The Minister and His Greek New Testament, ch. iv, p.29). "Root meaning: two; from duo" (H E Dana and J R Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, p.101). We know that the preposition, "dia", is used to denote "agency", and when used of persons, of someone who does something "through" another. However, this is by no means its only use. We read in Romans 11:36, where Paul speaks of God, For of (ex) Him and through (di) Him and to (eis) Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen, and Hebrews 2:10, For it was fitting for Him, for (di) whom are all things and by (di) whom are all things, in bringing many
4 sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. What shall we conclude by this, where the same Greek preposition is used of creation by God the Father? Does it mean that someone was creating "through" the Father, as it is claimed when used for Jesus Christ? Could it be that here we read of Jesus Christ creating "through" the Father? Corresponding to the text in Romans, is Colossians 1:16, where Paul writes of Jesus Christ, For by (en) 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 (dia) Him and for (eis) Him. So, here we have very similar language used for God the Father, and God the Son, in their relation to the creation of the universe. The only difference is, that the first preposition in Romans is ex, and the first in Colossians, is, en. In both cases it speaks of source, as en is used in John 1:4 for Jesus, in (en) Him was life, as the SOURCE of life. Dr Thayer, as shown above, says of this as Jesus the divine fountain of life. And, for God in Acts 17:28, for in (en) Him we live and move and have our being. Again, our SOURCE of life being in God. There is no reason to assume, that every time God is used in the Bible, that it refers only to the Father. We read in the first Book of the Bible, Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness (Genesis 1:26). Here we have Elohim Speaking as Us and We, which can hardly be used for one Person. Since the Bible does teach that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, were active in creation, it is right to conclude that the plural Us and We would refer to the Three Persons in the Godhead. When we read passages like Romans 11:36, the three prepositions used, of, through, to, can be used to denote the Three Persons as Creators. This is clearly seen in 1 Corinthians 8:6, where we read: yet for us there is one God, the Father, of (ex) whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through (di) whom are all things, and through whom we live. There is very strong early textual evidence for the words and one Holy Spirit, in (en)whom all things, and we in Him", which are after, and through whom we live. Where the Holy Spirit is also Creator. This reading was known to Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis (A.D ); Gregory of Nazianzus ( ); Basil the Great ( ); Cyril bishop of Alexandria ( ); Hilary bishop of Poitiers ( ), and the Second Council of Constantinople (553), which gives 1 Corinthians 8:6, as Biblical evidence for the Teaching on the Holy Trinity. This important Council was made up of 184 bishops from the Greek speaking Church, and some from the Latin Church. Which shows that the words on the Holy Spirit were known to a accepted as Biblical evidence on the Holy Trinity as found in this verse. There is no doubt, like 1 John 5:7, this verse has been tampered with at a very early time, by those who reject the Biblical Teaching of the Holy Trinity.
5 We shall look at a couple of examples, for another uses of the preposition. Like, 1 Corinthians 1:9, where we read, "God is faithful, by (dia) Whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord". Here we have the case, where, "the Father is represented as acting on behalf of his Son, to bring Christians into fellowship with Him" (Samuel Green; Handbook to the Grammar of the Greek Testament, p.246, note). And, A T Robertson says of this verse, "Through Whom, (di hou) God is the agent (di) of their call" (Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol.iv, e-edition). Are we to conclude from this, that, because the Father is here seen as the "agent" of Jesus Christ, that He is any inferior to Him? Not so! In Galatians 1:1, the Apostle Paul speaks of his calling to the ministry. "Paul, an apostle not from men nor through man, but through (dia) Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead". The Greek for the latter part is, "alla dia Iêsou Christou kai theou patros". It is interesting to note here, that Paul uses the preposition "dia", once, and includes both Jesus Christ and God the Father, where the "agency" of both Persons is jointly spoken of, where Paul places Jesus Christ before the Father. It would be absurd to conclude from this, that Jesus Christ is any more important than the Father. The structure of the Greek text, shows the closeness and unity of both the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Father, which would not be possible, if both Persons are not equal, where the literal English is, "but through Jesus Christ and God Father". It cannot be assumed that both are one and the same Person, as there is no article in the Greek (kai tou theou patros, and God the Father). This is refuted by the following words in this verse, "Who (the Father) raised Him (Jesus Christ) from the dead", clearly speaking of the Father and Jesus as separate Persons. We must also add here, that in Acts chapter 13, we read: " As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them... So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit" (v.2,4). Here we have Barnabas and Saul, being called and sent by God the Holy Spirit into the ministry. Here we have the Three Person's in The Godhead, Who send the Apostle Paul to minister the Gospel. This is exactly how to are to understand the use of this preposition in the Greek, when it is used of creation, where we read in places like Hebrews 1, "God...in Son...by (dia) Whom also He made the worlds" (v.1-2). Where, rather than reading into this, that, God the Father, as the prime source of creation, working through a secondary agent, Jesus Christ, as some teach; we can now take this to mean no more than both the Father, and Jesus Christ, as jointly working to create the universe. This use of the preposition can be seen from the earliest times of the Greek language, where we see its use in Homer, "Through, by means of, by virtue of,
6 by the help or working of" (Richard John Cunliffe; A Lexicon of Homeric Dialect, p.91). "By the help or working of", where two or more can do something, by equal participation, where there is no need to distinguish between the work done. And, Mutual operation: with one another (Henry Smith [G Crusius]; A Complete Greek and English Lexicon for the Poems of Homer, page, ed) Let us now take a deeper look at Colossians 1:16, which is of Jesus Christ, and His relation to the creation of the universe: For in (en) 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 (dia) Him and for (eis) Him. As already said, the first preposition, en here shows that the source of the creation of the universe, is the Lord Jesus Christ. This answers the preposition ex in Romans 11:36 used for the creation by God. It is interesting to note, that in this chapter of Romans, God is used at least 10 times, but not Father or Son, or Jesus, etc. The point being, that these references to God, do not necessarily refer to the Father, but to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as the Trinity. So the creation in this verse would be for the Three Persons, Who did actually create all things. In both Romans 11:36, and Colossians 1:16, creation is ta panta in the Greek. The use of the Greek article, ta, is to show the totality of the creation, which is what the Apostle John says in his Gospel: All things were made by (di) Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (1:3). Note the words, choris autou (without Him), choris here has the meaning, apart from, where the force is that the entire creation was the work of Jesus Christ, but not only so, as the Greek choris denotes that there were others together with, Jesus, as does the Greek preposition dia also used in this verse. As we have seen, Scripture tells us that the Three Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit are very much active in all of creation. The very first verse of the Holy Bible says, In the beginning God created (Genesis 1:1), where God in the Hebrew, elohim, is the masculine plural, NOT as some suppose, plural of majesties, but, plurality of Persons in the Godhead. This is very clear from verse 26 of this same chapter, where we read, Then God [elohim ]said, Let Us [plural] make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. Some have sought to explain this away, by arguing that us was when God was speaking to the heavenly host. Where in the entire Bible to we read that mankind was created in the image of angels, or any other heavenly beings? NOWHERE. We read in Job 33:4, the Spirit of God made me, where the Hebrew, asah (made) is used for creation by God, as we read in Genesis 1:26, let Us asah man ; verse 31, God saw everything that He had asah ; and 2:2-4, God ended His work which He had asah all His work God created and asah Lord God asah the earth and the heavens. No doubt of the Holy Spirit s role in actual creation.
7 None would ever dispute that God the Father was the creator of the universe, of all things seen and unseen. However, God the Father, in the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament, very clearly tells the Lord Jesus Christ, that HE created all things, and in fact, the Father takes an Old Testament Scripture passage, which speaks of creation by Almighty God, and uses it for Jesus. Thus we read in the first chapter of this Book: And: You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not cease (verses 10-12). The Greek particle kai (and) at the beginning, shows that the words spoken here are connected to that which precede, where the words from verse five onwards, are by the Father concerning and addressed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, if we turn to Psalm 102, we will read these words: I said, O my God, Do not take me away in the midst of my days; Your years are throughout all generations. Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end. (vs, 24-27). What we have here is, that all of the personal pronouns in the Old Testament, that are applied to Almighty God as the Creator, are here in Hebrews used for the Lord Jesus Christ, by God the Father. Not only are these words in reference to the creation, but also to the ETERNITY of God, in this Psalm, You are the same, and Your years will not cease. Then, to the Lord Jesus Christ, You are the same, And Your years will have no end.. Language that can ONLY be used for ALMIGHTY GOD, and NEVER for a created being, as some blasphemously teach of the Lord Jesus Christ. How could have God the Father, apply words that are used for Himself, in the Old Testament, to Jesus Christ, IF He were not also ALMIGHTY GOD? These words in Hebrews chapter 1 show beyond any doubt, that Jesus Christ is the ACTUAL CREATOR of the entire universe, and NOT simply an intermediate through Whom the Father created, something taught nowhere in the entire Holy Bible. In the passage in Hebrews, where God the Father is the Speaker, and addressing Jesus Christ, He says, Lord, which is equivalent to the passage in Psalm, which has God. This is very clear testimony from God the Father, to Jesus Christ, concerning His Deity, where the Hebrew Name for God, Elohim is used for Jesus Christ. Lord, therefore would be the equivalent to Yahweh. ONLY if Jesus Christ is ALMIGHTY GOD, and COEQUAL, COESSENTIAL and COETERNAL with the Father, could God the Father address Jesus as YAHWEH, and ascribe ACTUAL CREATION to Him. In fact, in verse 6 of Hebrews chapter 1, the Father says of Jesus, Let all the angels of God WORSHIP Him. The Jehovah s Witnesses, in their Kingdom Interlinear
8 Translation (Greek/English New Testament), here have worship, which can only have been used for someone who is ALMIGHTY GOD. Also in verse 8, where again God the Father is addressing Jesus, He says: Your throne, O GOD, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. The Greek here has the article ho theos (the God), which the Jehovah s Witnesses argue is not used in John 1:1, where they translate it and the Word was a god. Which has nothing to do with the Greek grammar, but their demonic teaching on the Person of Jesus Christ. In the Kingdom Interlinear, the English version in the right-hand reads: God is your throne, BUT, the English under the Greek text, reads: the throne of you the God. So, here we have the Kingdom Interlinear Translation, which is published by the Jehovah s Witnesses, use WORSHIP for Jesus Christ, and call Him THE GOD. In fact, in their New World Translation, in Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called Mighty God, which is the same when used for the Father in 10:21, Mighty God. So, according to their OWN testimony, there are TWO PERSONS in the Holy Bible, Who are MIGHTY GOD. The next verse that we shall look at, where Jesus Christ is the Speaker, and says of Himself that He is the ACTUAL CREATOR, is Revelation 3:14: And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God (he arche tes ktiseos tou theou) Firstly, we have to address the comments by W F Arndt and F W Gingrich, in their A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, which is widely used as the standard for Greek studies. On arche used here, they say, the first cause of Christ Rv.3:14; but the mng. Beginning=first created is linguistically poss. (pages ). While saying that the Greek meaning could be the first cause, which would be as the Creator, they add that the meaning Beginning=first created is linguistically poss., which would make Jesus Christ a created being. This is highly dangerous and unbiblical, and does not agree with Jesus own words in this very Book in the New Testament. In fact, for anyone to say that Jesus Christ is a created being, is clearly blaspheming, as they are reducing the eternal Saviour, Who the Bible teaches in many places to be Almighty God, to a mere creature. It is these damaging statements by those who are an authority, as their lexicon is, that fuel the heresies by the likes of the Jehovah s Witnesses, who would use them to promote their biased and demonic teaching on Jesus Christ. Any attempt to connect Revelation 3:14 to Proverbs 8:22, where some are deluded into believing that the latter teaches about Jesus Christ, is 100% nonsense. Proverbs 8:22 is very clearly speaking of WISDOM, and NOT Jesus Christ as the Wisdom of God as He is called in 1 Corinthians 1:24.
9 Dr J H Thayer, says this on arche, that by which anything begins to be, the origin, active cause Rev.iii.14 (p.77). This is exactly what Jesus Christ is here saying about Himself. Even though Dr Thayer denied the Deity of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Trinity, at least here as elsewhere is honest to give the correct definitions for the words, rather than expressing his own views for them. He is also very interesting in his comments on the phrase, the beginning and the end : (he) arche kai (to) telos, of God, who by his perpetuity survives all things, i.e. eternal, Rev. i.8 Rec., xxi.6, xxii.13 (Greek Lexicon, p.620). The last reference from Revelation 22, are words spoken by Jesus Christ about Himself, And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. (vs.12-13). As the three references from Revelation are grouped together, with exactly the same meaning, it is evident that the word, of God, who by his perpetuity survives all things, i.e. eternal, also refer to Jesus Christ. We have already seen, that, when Jesus says He is the First and the Last (Revelation 1:17; 2:8; 22:13), that it means the eternal One, which can ONLY be said of someone who is UNCREATED. In fact, the Greek Old Testament version, has Exodus 3:14, ego eimi ho on, that is, I AM THE ETERNAL ONE, as God s eternal Name to Moses. Dr Thayer, a Unitarian, is absolutely right in what he says here about the Lord Jesus Christ, sadly some who even claim to be evangelical do not go as far in their belief on the Person of Jesus Christ, but wrongly hold that He is subordinate to God the Father, within the Godhead. The language of the Bible says, loud and clear, to those who will listen, that Jesus Christ CANNOT be a created being, and IS ALMIGHTY GOD. The blatant lies and deception of the Jehovah s Witnesses can be seen in the way they handle Revelation 3:14. They render the Greek in their New Word Translation, the beginning of the creation of the creation by God. You will note, that they have deliberately changed the preposition of, which is what the Greek text says, to by. The ONLY purpose for this, is to promote the demonic heresy that Jesus Christ is the first-created by Jehovah. The Greek text has tou theou, literally of the God. In this same chapter of Revelation, we read: the seven spirits of God (tou theou), same use of tou theou as in verse 14. Here the New Word Translation has it: of God. Why does the SAME Greek read different in both these places? Their corruption of the Word of God can also be seen in their Kingdom Interlinear Translation, where the English translation on the right of the page, reads by God, but the English under the Greek text has, of the God. On page 5 of this translation they have a section called, By Way of Explanation, on the Greek and English text. For the interlinear word-for-word rendering the English word or phrase has not been taken from the modern translation in the right-hand column and transferred to a position under the Greek word to which it corresponds. Rather, the
10 translation under each Greek word sets out what the Greek word itself says according to its root meanings (where the Greek word is made up of two or more particles) and according to its grammatical form. So in many cases the reading in the English word-for-word interlinear translation is not the same as that found in the right-hand column. This aids us in determining what the Greek text actually, basically says. By their own admission, they show that the English translation under the Greek text, is what the root meanings of the Greek text actually are. Had the Apostle John wished to write, by God, then the Greek would read, hupo tou theou, which would require the Greek preposition, hupo prefixed. An example of this can be found in Matthew 22:31, have you not read what was spoken to you by God (hupo tou theou). Where the Jehovah s Witnesses, in their versions read by God. You can judge for yourself on the honesty of the Jehovah s Witnesses. There is much Biblical evidence for Jesus Christ as the actual Creator, as is the Father and Holy Spirit. We have seen that even in instances where the Greek preposition dia is used for Jesus creating, as in John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6, and Hebrews 1:2, its sense is not weakened in any way, and can be used to denote a working together with, which is confirmed when this same preposition is used for the Father, in Hebrews 2:10, where it cannot refer to someone creating through Him. We must not force the Word of God to say something other than it does. There is not a single reference in the Bible, to show that God the Father alone is Creator, and that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are secondary in their roles. Evangelical Christianity that is Biblebased, believes that the Persons in the Holy Trinity, are coequal, coessential and coeternal, in every respect within the Godhead.