From: Rolf Furuli (
Date: Tue Feb 25 1997 - 16:54:13 EST

Dear Charles,

I am sorry but I have to challenge one of your claims:

<The PRWTOTOTKOS PASHS KTISEWS is explained by v.15. in
<other words, the firstborn of creation is also the creator
<creator cannot be part of the creation. I think the
<semantics of the context makes a genitive of
<subordination more likely in this case.

Jesus is nowhere in the NT called `Creator`! Let us analyze
Col 1:16;
In the hoti-clause `was created (EKTISQE)` is predicate, the
subject is `all things (TA PANTA)`, and `in him (EN AUTW)`
is an adverbial, probably instrumental. A passive verb such
as this one must have an agent (agens), and who is that?
A passive clause may be transformed into an active one by
making the verb active and making the subject object. If we
do this, we get `created all things` as predicate and
object. But what is the subject? It can not be Jesus,
because this is forbidden by the preposition (EN) of the
adverbial. There is just one possibility, namely the Father,
who is mentioned in v 12 and 13, and again is implicit in v
19 and 20. So the active clause must be: `God (the Father)
created all things`. The last verb of v 16, EKTISTAI, is
also passive, and must also have God as agens.

Regarding 1:16, Eduard Lohse,1971, A Commentary on the
Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, p 50, note 125,
says: `It should be noted that EN (in), DIA (through), and
EIS (for) are used, but not EK (from). `From whom are all
things` (EX hOU TA PANTA) is said of God in 1 Cor 8:6. He is
and remains the creator, but the pre-existent Christ is the
mediator of creation.`

What Col 1:16 tells us, is that Jesus is no part of `all
things` and that he is another person (I use this word to
prevent a theological discussion) than the Father. The verse
tells nothing whether Jesus is the first, onlybegotten or
unique creature, thus a part of PASHS KTISEWS, or true God,
consubstantial with the Father. The only way to substantiate
that the context forbids an inclusive interpretation of
PRWTOTOKOS in Col 1:15 is to show that TA PANTA has the same
reference as PASHS KTISEWS, but this is not done.



Rolf Furuli
Ph.D candidate in Semitic languages
University of Oslo

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