col 1:15 greek help

From: Tom Logan (
Date: Fri Nov 06 1998 - 19:17:58 EST

Hello all. I have no formal greek training so perhaps Ido not belong here.
. I do however have a number of greek helps and an inquisitive mind. I was
dealing with a jehovah witness concerning col 1:15 and he pointed out the
following argument

     The phrase 'first-born of all creation' or 'first-born of every
creature' (KJV) functions as a
     'partitive genitive' thus making Christ part of the class of
"creatures" in the same manner that
     the phrase 'firstborn of your sons' (Ex 22:29; Ex 34:20) includes the
firstborn in the class of
     'your sons'.
     The 'all things' is not in reference to the "all creation" for the
following reasons.
          The TA PANTA in Colossians 1:20 is not inclusive of 'all
          They do not match in gender.
          TA PANTA frequently excludes the subject in KOINE.
     Grammatically, the person who does the action of the verb 'create' is
the Father, not the Son
     for the following reasons.
          The reference to the Son is in an adverbial prepositional phrase
and therefore cannot
          be agent who does the action of the verb create. See this example
presented in
          layman's English by Barry Klooney -- NEW 8/4/98.
          Grammatically, the Father is the agent who does the action of the
verb 'create'
          The Son is mediator of creation by virtue of of the nature of the
instrumental dative
          used in the prepositional phrases.

12 thanking the Father (...) <----- subject is the Father
13 He <----- the Father
     delivered <----- active verb with Father as
     us (...) <----- predicate (object)
14 by means of whom [EN hW] <----- instrumental dative, through

   The Father is the subject, the verb is active and so the action is
   performed by the subject. The Father uses the Son instrumentally.

   An active clause may be transformed into a passive one by making
   the verb passive and making the object subject as in :

   We <----- subject
   were delivered <----- passive verb requires an agent
   by the Father <----- agent performs the action
   by means of the Son <----- prepositional phrase

15 O (he) <----- subject, is Christ
    ESTIN (is) <----- active verb, copulative
      ^ +--> EIKWN <----- image (noun, object)
      | | TOU QEOU <----- of the God
      | | TOU AORATOU <----- the unseen
         | PRWTOTOKOS <----- first-born (adj. to creature)
         | PASHS <----- of every (adj. to creature)
         +--> KTISEWS <----- creature (noun, object)

Christ is the subject, the verb EIMI (is) is being used
copulatively in a predicate nominative construction, thus describing him
with the dual predicates (objects,nouns). He is therefore both an
"image" (EIKWN) and a "creature" (KTISEWS). These two
descriptions of Christ both complement and explain each other.
'Firstborn of every creature' further describes Christ who is the
'image of the unseen God'

my question is two fold. Is ktisews really a partitive genitive. Is there
really a scientific way to determine if it is. I suspect not. secondly
isn't it true that ESTIN as a copulative verb requires a predicate
nominative (adjective i.e. firstborn) so that KTISEWS a genitive noun does
not fit the gramatical demands of the verse. I apologise for the length of
this post but i would really appreciate any light that can be shed on this

in Christ

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